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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