Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.
So I knew I couldn’t walk to my Turkish class, and would need another plan. I stared at a map and felt some vague hope that if I went to a metro station I knew, I could probably walk the rest of the way to the school. Perhaps. Just in case, I leave 90 minutes early. However, to get in the metro, you need a special card, and I learned I couldn’t buy that card at 7 in the morning. A man at a market assured me that a bus driver would let me pay in cash. So I waited in a long line for a morning bus. I boarded and only then learned that I could not–in fact–pay the driver.
I would have considered it a victory for my Turkish language skills to understand the driver, if he hadn’t been sullenly saying, “If you don’t have a card, don’t get on the bus. Get out.” A pile of people were pouring in behind me and I had no way to return to the street. A woman in the front row handed me her card to use, and despite her protests, I gave her the change the driver wouldn’t take. She had no idea what this meant to me. Later I watched her glare at the driver in the mirror above his seat. God bless her.
I moved to the back and stood shoulder to shoulder with other passengers, I had to swallow m pride and use my flawed Turkish in front of all my neighbors in order to ask a woman where I should get out of the bus. She kept saying the names of stations, which I didn’t recognize as stations, and I gave her a lot of smiles while thinking, “I’m just going to have to take a taxi.” Another woman noted my glazed panic, recognized my school, and walked me to the proper street before going off to her own work for the day.
It had been a while, to be honest, since I had been so lost in a city. I’ve gotten in the habit of going to places I know, where I can navigate the city without having to ask anyone, and where I know what to expect. Here, I am foreign again. Here, I have to be humble and allow others to have mercy on me. They did so with kindness, and my need reminded me to be grateful. This is also a part of finding my way.