You could tell that our first few months in Istanbul will be rough, just judging from our first few hours in Istanbul. For example, one of Wizard’s brothers who was supposed to pick us up from the airport was nearly an hour late. He kept us in the dark about his real location relevant to the airport though, and kept us waiting for him on a street median…literally with airport traffic of cars picking up and dropping off flowing in front of and behind us. I felt waves of panic wash over me one after the other, us standing stranded with our eight pieces of luggage and two children…both of whom were tethering dangerously on the edge of excitement and famishment.
“He better get here soon before either one of them remembers that they are hungry,” I kept telling Wizard through clenched teeth.
Finally he showed up, the truant brother and quickly he took us to a café where we awkwardly ate our first Istanbul meal. Had I known this will be my only meal for the next eight hours, I’d have been wiser and squirreled away something for Monster and us. As it so happened, the brother after a quick trip to the apartment we’d chosen online to sign the contract and rent it, decided to drop us off at his empty home and go join his friends.
I should clarify empty: His wife was away, and since he wasn’t cooking himself, there was absolutely nothing in the kitchen. Yes, that was the time of our life…and me, on the waves of panic and anxiety began to already resent the move with every part of my being. Monster was hungry, Wizard was hungry…and I, breastfeeding Falafal every 2 hours, was near dying from hunger. We did get food in the end, but I don’t recall much of it except that I was crying while I ate it.
I demanded to be hosted by a different brother and his family after that.
The first two weeks in Istanbul were spent buying some more urgently needed necessities like dishes, cookware and cleaning supplies. As soon as our new apartment was ready, I rushed my harrowed family out of my brother in law’s home.
This was not our only experience with possessive children sadly. Even at the new apartment, a new saga started: “Winning friends for the preschooler.” To date, I have failed my daughter miserably. Everyday was a rough day for my intelligent little sprite. Anytime I watched her struggle with kids her age, the way she ran towards them excitedly, the way her shoulders sagged when they ran away from hhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifer, the pain in her face when she’d tell me “They’re not letting me play with them” I broke inside. How much can a mother’s heart implode until you say ENOUGH? One day when I saw two older girls push Monster away while their father watched the scene, I exploded.
“How can you watch quietly as your daughters are being so cruel to a little girl?”
“But she also stepped on their sand pile,” was this idiot’s reply.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” I was livid. I think I yelled for quite some time in my broken Turkish and then coaxed Monster to go to the different park. It was still warm and many babysitters had brought their charges out to play and even though usually I was quite meek around them, this time I used their inability to leave the park in a hurry to my advantage and repeated the entire incident. “What kind of parents are these!?” I asked them.
“The kind that can’t say no to a child because they don’t see them often enough,” one baby sitter offered kindly.
“But they are letting them push a smaller girl around…bullying her…and ….what… is this…” I couldn’t go on any more in Turkish. If I tried any harder, I would have broken. I was already near a catastrophic nervous breakdown. So I changed the topic.
“She’s just three and a half years old, you know,” I told the sitter. “She’s just trying so hard to start talking in Turkish…but no other kids are willing to talk to her.”
“Oh, she looks so much older. We thought she was like 5 or 6! AR will talk to her, won’t you A?” she asked her own 4 year old charge who immediately turned to Monster and offered up his truck as a token of friendship.
Our summer was saved by a baby sitter. Me, I was going to hit rock bottom before I could be ready to be saved.