Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ankara

I am in Ankara, Turkey’s capital. There is something about capital cities...history...power of government. I grew up in Washington DC. I lived most of my life in a capital city..maybe that’s why I enjoy them so much.

I came to see a famous Turk..the most famous Turk actually...Ataturk (see his mausoleum on the left). He was the father of the modern Republic of Turkey. He gave everyone last names, made them wear hats and western clothes, did away with the Muslim courts and laws and made Turkey the country it is today...so everywhere you see his picture...his statue and most cities have an airport, train station or bridge named after him.

I love studying modern history - my history professor in college used to say by knowing the past we can know the future. And in history like in life, sometimes we keep repeating the same patterns over and over...or repeat history. Turkey is facing some of the same issues that were dealt by Ataturk.

I found a tour guide - a very cute one. Actually he was one of the reasons why I decided to come down to Ankara. We chatted a few times on Skype. He works for the government and is an urban planner. Let’s call him Turk #2. He’s coming to Istanbul later in the week. We had a very deep conversation. He himself also suffers from depression and we talked about therapy and medication and shrinks...very New York.

We had a wonderful three days together. He even showed me where he studied at University. I’m very fortunate that everywhere I go I seem to meet wonderful people...who go out of their way to tell me their story. Like SBS TV in Australia says, 3.6 billion stories....everyone has a story. I’m lucky to be able to come into contact with these strangers...who I connect with.

I forget how amazing the world is...that you can connect with people from different backgrounds, who speak different languages and who have different values. The more I travel and interact with people..the more I realise we are all deep down the same. We have the same insecurities...needs...hopes and dreams.

The Turk is depressed because he’s stuck. He’s me back in Sydney. He’s unhappy with his work, getting over a relationship...not going anywhere. I do not even remember that me...it seems like I left him so long ago...far..far away.

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