It sounds so European to say "We spent the summer abroad", doesn't it? With all the implied sense of adventure, free spirit, and joy embedded in that simple sentence. And it's all true, there is all of it included, and then some.
After a 2 year break we took to have our daughter Luna, we resumed our tradition of going back "home" to my birth country, Turkey, this time with 2 children. As much as we are proud and devoted American citizens, I'm a firm believer of keeping connections tight with the "old country", wherever that may be, as it instills a strong sense of belonging and culture in the children, rooted in a wider understanding of the world and appreciation of differences that makes us who we are.
The whole trip was lovely, and exciting, and even a little bit boring at times, just like being home. And the duties of changing diapers, nursing a feverish teething baby into the wee hours of the morning followed me across the Atlantic Ocean onto the hills of ancient Istanbul and into the gentle waves of the Mediterranean Sea. The days were hot and the nights were long. The children stayed up as late as the parents did, and sometimes fell asleep on our laps at dinner tables. Sometimes we fell asleep while the kids were still wide awake.
It was a dream come true for my older daughter Shaya to be reunited with her beloved cousin Pia. It appeared as if time stopped for them and they were transported into a world of cousin life. Magical creatures, baby dolls, imaginary stories, running up and down the house making a mess on all the floors, eating half a breakfast with us upstairs and another half with my brother and sister-in-law downstairs, friendly sharing and sibling rivalry all in one. Making up for lost time in the way that only children can, I think the girls lived these 5 weeks more fully than did any of the adults.
The children's never-ending laughter and arguments spiced up the time in a roller coaster, giving them a reason to understand what family is. There to love and support you unconditionally, get on your nerves like no one else can, and to offer themselves up to you unmasked... What great honor and joy to see it through the eyes of our children again... At the ripe ages of 42 and 41, my brother and I are not so far off from exactly that. Maybe we don't pull Barbie dolls from one another's hands, but the rest is all the same.
Seeing old friends, exchanging hugs, stories, congratulations, condolences... 5 weeks is just long enough to pretend you've never left, but also short enough that it's over in the blink of an eye...
After a bit of jet lag, we are reporting back to our lives in NJ. Our hearts full of memories, and my memory cards jam-packed with RAW files that need to be sorted out. There is easily 6 months of retouching material in there, if I had the time! Ha! That may not be happening, but I am fast and furious diving into my new sessions and clients' galleries.
I hope that you've all had a memorable and magical summer, and I can't wait to see you soon in the coming months. Remember, these are the last few weeks of warm outdoor photo shoots before we turn into cooler days and fall foliage. If you have an end-of summer or fall outdoor session in mind, please let me know soon. Also, if you want to take the whole family out to an art fair soon, please come and visit me at the Anderson Park Fine Art Fair on September 16 and 17, 2017. (Show hours are 10 am to 5pm, rain or shine. Admission is free to all and there is free parking around the park.)
See you soon!
Our family of 4 on our boat trip on the Mediterranean. More to come, in a future blog, on our "Blue Voyage"...
This is an original Teddy Bear, from my beloved, late father's childhood. He was born in 1936.
To think that my daughter is snuggling with it in 2017 - 81 years later - is really precious.
This is one way she is able to connect with her grandfather, via the straw-filled Teddy, with torn up feet and hands,
which have been repaired with a glue gun and duct tape :)
One of the priceless benefits of visiting the childhood home is connecting the babies with heirloom objects like this one.
Now Luna has a memory with Teddy, too :)
This is the view of Istanbul from our home (and my studio) Bebek. Looking at this scene immediately takes me back to my childhood.
My 2 girls, celebrating Shaya's 6th birthday in Istanbul.
My niece, forever the gymnist (or monkey) :)
Enjoying a cuddly moment with my little one after an intense breakfast!
(she likes to feed herself - and all her clothes!)
Nothing like home-made ice cream, made with organic fresh summer oranges from the native land.
My beloved brother with his family...
We miss these 3 so, so so much!!!