Hello. It’s Been Awhile.

Hello.

It’s Me.

I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet,
To go over everything.
They say that time’s supposed to heal ya
But I ain’t done much healing . . .
(Song lyrics by Adele)

This month is my two year anniversary of being back in Dallas, my home. I’ve spent these last two years in deep reflection, trying to mend my broken, homesick-for-Istanbul, repatriating heart. Some days have been full of love and laughter, but many others were filled with deep sadness and longing. I’ve turned over every rock hoping to re-discover my identity and to make peace with who I became in Turkey.

Looking back at photos over the last two years, I made a list of all the good things that I’ve experienced. I don’t want to forget my time here because 2018 will be a year of extraordinary change for me.

  • Just after moving back, I participated in a 4-hour long historic tour of Dallas. It started at Lee Harvey’s and ended at Clyde Barrow’s grave.
  • I’ve wandered through historic Fair Park and marveled at the beautiful Art Deco monuments and architecture. I’ve also explored the Butterfly Gardens.
  • I’ve had two different apartment leases in two very different historic neighborhoods of Dallas: Oak Cliff, near the Bishop Arts District and Uptown, near Downtown’s Arts District.
  • I’ve been able to visit my daughter and her husband in San Diego, CA numerous times and they’ve visited me in Dallas. I’ve enjoyed spending the weekend with friends in Austin, Texas, and was able to see young friends tie the knot in Palm Springs, CA. I’ve travelled internationally to London, Switzerland and Mexico.
  • I’ve been able to spend holidays and birthdays with family and I’ve enjoyed watching my niece and nephew grow up. I’ve been able to care for my elderly mom and help her with many things.
  • I’ve experienced rapid population growth and expansion of Dallas in the last two years. I’ve personally observed skyscrapers, apartments and corporate offices being built all over the metroplex as more and more companies move to Texas.
  • I’ve been proud to help my brother and my sis-in-law expand their family business and learn new skills. I’ve been able to learn about an entire new industry.
  • Out of personal loneliness I created two new communities in Dallas. I started a Mah Jong group in Oak Cliff and I started a Global Education Group within InterNations Dallas. Both groups provided me much needed friendships and both groups continue to thrive.
  • As a member of InterNations Dallas, I’ve been able to participate in international experiences through a variety of cultural activities. Highlights include a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, a Thailand and an Armenian festival, a Middle Eastern Iftar dinner during Ramadan, a Polish book club meeting and a group trip to San Miguel Allende for Dia de las Muertas.
  • I’ve been able to help others through HRI (Human Rights Initiative of North Texas), deliver food on Thanksgiving with Operation Turkey Dallas and help with the Hurricane Harvey relief effort.
  • After a terror attack on my city, I experienced shock and mourning when five police officers were shot and killed in 2016 less than 3 miles from my home. In 2017 I participated in a prayer vigil at Dallas’ Thanksgiving Square for the Las Vegas victims following another domestic terror attack and I’ve just marched with thousands of my neighbors in the 2018 Dallas Women’s March.
  • I’ve played tennis regularly and have explored my city on foot in my Uptown neighborhood. I have loved having access to Klyde Warren Park, Griggs Park and the Katy Trail.
  • I’ve been fortunate to see many wonderful art exhibitions at my favorite place, The Nasher Sculpture Center, where I still participate as a member on the Nasher Teacher Advisory Board.

Most of all, I’ve made so many new friends, many from other nations. Dallas has indeed become an international city seemingly overnight. I frequently pass people speaking other languages on my daily walks. After two years, I’m beginning to feel at home again.

And yet, my heart continues to be unsettled; yearning.

I want to go.

So I looked to see what else there might be and there it was. Again I have been given a great opportunity to live inside a new culture and teach children from many nations.

And so, I go. I am so grateful. Thank you everyone. Thank you, Dallas.

Will 2018 be a year of change for you too?

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16 thoughts on “Hello. It’s Been Awhile.

  1. claudia boysen says:

    Dear Anita, you are really amazing!
    I feel for you and hope your yearning heart will find another home.
    But what you have achieved in Dallas!!!! Wow!

    Micha and I are sitting in the Mindelo hostel on the Cape Verdes soon to have breakfast. Carneval is to start tomorrow. Later we will meet some new friends. And in a weeks time we will start filming in a remote and very poor village without knowing the language. Wow, sounds somehow exciting on digital paper.
    lots of love from here. you are are inspiration
    claudia

    • Dear Claudia, Wow! It is so good to hear from you! It’s been waaaayyy too long, friend. Thank you for your encouragement. I wish I could sit in your kitchen and hear all about these films you’re making and the travels you’ve taken. Give my love to Welda Velda (?) 🙂

  2. Happy New Year, Anita! And Bon Voyage!
    I’m already looking forward to your dispatches!
    Theadora

    • Dearest Theadora, God. Bless. You. What a mighty one you are! Thank you for sending well wishes. I want to apologize to you for not commenting or saying one darn thing about your continued beautiful posts on People, Places and Bling. Forgive me. I kid you not, these past two years have been rough riding for me. I have melted away from existence in many ways. But with this post I’M BACK! 🙂 Surely, surely we can meet up somewhere soon. I’d love that. Are you still in Paris? I will soon be announcing what my forthcoming adventure will be in 2018. Thank you.

  3. sherryhoupt says:

    Anita, you are an amazing person. I am so thrilled for you, and the new adventure coming your way. What an asset you are to Dallas, and to the world. Keep living large!

  4. Rachel says:

    The pastor at my parents’ church said something that really stuck with me today, “What gifts are you taking with you because of this season?”
    You’ve listed just that.
    Looking forward to seeing your next step!

    • Rachel, how cool. I’m glad you gave me these words. This perfectly connects. I’m sure you are doing the same thing in your own life. Even in my pain and sadness I ALWAYS knew I was exceedingly blessed and I always stood in a place of gratitude. Hope to see you around the block in the days to come.

  5. Jan Wilson says:

    It is wonderful to read your thoughts and to feel your emotional searching.

    You have so much to share and the skills and experience and passion to share in a high-quality way.

    God speed in this next phase of your exceptional journey.

    XO

    • Jan Wilson! We must see one another again someday. I’d love to invite you over for a cuppa tea and a nice, long chat. My life has changed so much since we were roomies. I miss you! Thank you so much for your encouraging words. I admire you so much. What a fantastic teacher you are!

  6. iamsallyrose says:

    Very nicely written, Anita. Congratulations on your upcoming change.

  7. sassiekiwi says:

    I was struck by this phrase … “Out of personal loneliness I created …” Bridge building. I think it has been the most valuable lesson for me in life. When I was younger and moving my first big move a good friend said to me, “be a bridge builder”. Reach out and keep reaching out. At some stage someone will build back. And it’s so true. I have the most amazing friends from building bridges. Not all bridges built back, but the ones that were … beautiful! You did the same. I am proud of you.

    • Yes. Creating out of the ashes, as I say. I like your Bridge Building Visual: “Reach out and keep reaching out. At some stage someone will build back.” That’s exactly what happened. And I agree! Bridge builders make good friends! Thanks for reading!

  8. Suzanne says:

    And you aren’t telling us WHERE?! 😀 Congratulations!

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