Prosecards from the Edge (of a Continent)

A running commentary on my life in Izmir, Turkey...and other thoughts.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Having a Fit -- A Minor Awakening (Postscript to 'Beyond Help')

Today was a breezy, sunny, beachy kind of Saturday. The obvious thing was to get out of town and hit the beach in Çeşme or Ilıca or Alıçatı. A phone call here, a phone call there, and I was on the ferry to Üçkuyular and then hanging out on the curb while I waited for friends Lisa and Janetta. Promptly at 10:00 they swooped up, I tumbled in, and we peeled off, headed down-peninsula to an up-and-coming 'boutique' town, a famous bazaar, and an endless white beach with jaw-dropping crystal-clear turquoise waters.

The bazaar was first. Shaded and calm, the earth's bounty quietly glowed on display tables. Artichokes that had flowered a vibrant purple, zucchini blossoms (stuffed and fried they are to die for), succulent lemony basil plants, strange curving cucumber-like things that I had never seen. With a bit of effort we managed not to buy, knowing we had a long hot day before us that would be death to the veggies.

Around the bend, the clothing bazaar began. I felt myself go a little distant, tune out from the general goings-on. My friends dug enthusiastically through piles of gauzy summer things. I joined in for a while, but didn't feel optimistic, grew bored, tuned out. I resisted efforts to get me to look at things. Buying in the bazaar is a crap shoot -- no mirrors, and you can't try things on or return anything (not for a refund, anyway) and given my previous experience even in stores where I had been able to try things on, I was generally pessimistic about the whole undertaking.

Fortunately, I have persistent friends. A hint, a nudge, a prod, a foot-stomp, and there I was, slipping on a skirt it would never have occurred to me to try on. Fearful of the results. Blindly needing to rely on friends' judgment. Reassured by the fact that they seemed to be making a critical assessment...and finally, delighted when the verdict was positive. Amazingly, I left the bazaar with three new items of clothing.

The rest of the day was spent in a glow of well-being that persisted over grilled chicken salad, through a chocolatey profiterole swamp, onto the glowing white beach, and into the marvelous aquamarine water.

Floating on my back and contemplating my toes, rocked by the gentle waves, I couldn't help reflecting. Sometimes collaboration is good. Being helped is good. And sometimes, people can help you better than you can help yourself. Today, my inner grouch was quieted, for a time at least. I rode home in the back of the car drowsy and content, covered in sea salt and the happy feeling that in the grand scheme of things, other people might actually be the best thing you can ever do for yourself. I just hope I can remember that.


At 4:07 PM, Blogger Hope said...

Hey Kate!

I love how your entries always take me back to the time in Italy. These last two really rang a bell; a loud, raucous bell in fact.

Sizes were always a problem, but what I hated the most was the fact that the Italians had never heard of wash - n- wear! No permanent press for them, you had to iron EVERYTHING!

But oh!, how I would love to be there ironing again...

At 5:02 AM, Anonymous April said...

Dear Kate,

We'd love you to list your expat blog on our new website, to help us build a great resource for all women living overseas.

Please take a look at our site at:



At 11:04 AM, Blogger Kate's Blog said...

Hi April,
List away! Thanks for including me on your site. It's a good thing you're doing...I'll be sure to come and visit!

At 11:05 AM, Blogger Kate's Blog said...

Hi Hope, makes me shudder. Absolute hands-down worst household chore ever. You have my belated sympathy. :-(

At 8:18 AM, Anonymous Mum said...

I've got a few comments for you: First, I enjoyed your article, and agree wholeheartedly with your conclusion about the importance of friends in one's life. Second, I loved the photos--especially the one with the ears of corn decorated with the blue eye--but was disappointed that one of you in your new, bazaar-acquired new garments was not included among them. Third, re-read April's comments, and your response thereto. She sais "we'd love YOU to list your expat blog on our new website...." I think that means they ain't gonna do it for you; you have to go to the site and post it yourself. I've checked it out; it's an interesting, useful website. So please do post your blog there.

At 8:16 PM, Blogger 日月神教-向左使 said...

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