That next time might never come… Now it never will. 20 September 09Posted by Fantastic Four in Life.
Tags: love, my grandmother
My grandmother passed away. I always thought to myself she would be there when I visited next time. Last time I was in Ireland and I had a 10 day visit to Turkey. For this and that reason I didn’t see all my relatives, that includes my auntie and my grandmother. As if she was going to live forever, I was going to see her soon, the next time I visited. Guess what, next time didn’t/won’t happen. There is not an emotion as powerful as regretting not having seen my grandmother one last time the last time I visited.
My best memories of childhood and youth are those summers spent with my grandmother. She used to drive down with my grandpa, from Istanbul down to Ankara, pick me up and take me down to Antalya for camping in the incredible, beautiful beaches of the Mediterranean.
She was also my very first teacher. She was a primary school teacher. She bought me books, she instilled in me the passion of reading, which I have – also – regretfully got out of the habit of for a while.
During those amazing summer holidays she used to buy a couple of chickens after we have set up camp. She used to go to the nearest village and buy fresh vegetables, fruits as well as the chicken. I remember eating fresh eggs every morning. I remember picking olives from the olive trees by the beach, and her marinating/pickling them. She was so resourceful, before the holiday was over we’d be eating olives for breakfast.
She also would go up to tourists during our summer camps, and ask them if they would come and strike up a conversation with me. I was only preschooler when people would come to me and say: Hi Gaye, my name is…. And try to speak English with me. She wanted me to speak another language. Or many. Languages became my passion, and hobby thanks to her breaking my shell as I was a shy child. When strangers come up to you and chat away in English, and when you make pen-pals from your summer holidays with English, German, French kids, you forget that you are shy. I did not end up being an introvert, thanks to her shoving me headfirst into social situations.
She bought me a violin. She encouraged me to play musical instruments. My parents sent me to private lessons so I could learn to play violin. I cried, I hated it. I wanted to play outside with the boys, soccer, volleyball, that sort of thing. Later on I played volleyball in the league, and dropped violin playing. I don’t think she ever got over the disappointment of that. She could see me as a violinist, playing concertos. I could only see myself chasing after a ball.
We used to pick up sunflowers wildly growing on the side of the road. Berries as well. And I’d get into them in the car. I still love eating sunflower seeds. Kind of like Mulder in X-Files. I could carry a whole bunch in my pocket and eat anytime.
Then there was the time when I would visit her in her apartment unit in Istanbul. It was by the train station, in a trendy part of town. It was the top floor of a 5-6 storey apartment. Her balcony was larger than the living space. I learned to ride bicycle on her balcony. She had barrels of roses there, flowers, hot chilli peppers, tomatoes. She grew things with love.
I wrote she was a school teacher, so her salary was not great as you can imagine. But with her salary and grandpa’s income she not only raised two children, but also paid private school fees for me, then my brother, also later helped with my sister’s fees. She supported my aunty as well with that little salary. She did all this by being clever with her money. She didn’t even ask for money from her husband, she’d do all this from her own.
She was this amazing woman who would make her own liquor to offer her guests with chocolate on the side. It was sour cherry liquor. I was allowed to have a bit on special days, even as a child. She had these little lovely glasses where she’d pour in the liquor with a couple of cherries. Her kitchen was always full of amazingly delicious food. You could not go there and not see something ready to eat at any given time. She used to make breakfasts fit for kings, from fresh eggs to cheese, honey, milk, tea, fruit juice, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives…
In the morning, every morning, until she was old and broke her hip, she did two exercises. One was laying on her back and lifting her legs up in the air, down, up, down, up. The other was curling into a ball and rolling back to front on her back. She did this without exception everyday for years. She’d be cooking dinner, making breakfast, when she peeled cucumbers she used to use the skins on her face. Would wipe her face with cucumber milk from the skins, some of which she’d give me too. I still do it when I remember to. She had the softest skin I have ever seen.
She bought me books. Lots of books. All of the children’s classics. I was only little when I would be reading many times over Oliver Twist, Pollyanna, Around the World in 80 Days, Tom Sawyer, Little Women, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, 2o Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
There are too many memories I can’t write them all in one sitting because I was fortunate enough to spend so much time with her. Not just a weekend visit here and there. Upto nearly 3 months every year, from age 3 to 20something. Even after I’d still go visit during my holidays. At some point they were too old to do the camping so when they moved to Antalya as it was going to be better for my grandpa’s asthma, I began to visit them.
I hope she always knew I loved her dearly, because there were breaks in our contact. I hope she never thought I have forgotten about her or our times together. I hope she can still see somewhere up or out there, into my heart, and know that I miss her. That I am miserable knowing I won’t ever be able to see her again, that my heart is broken into a million pieces.
I hate growing up and getting old, not because it is bringing me near to my own mortal end. But because grandparents, who have been my heroes my entire life (both my grandmas and grandpas) are coming to the end of theirs.
I know I need to just celebrate her life, as it should be, but my grief right now is too heavy to bear. My mind travels back to all the happy times, yet my feeling of guilt for not having been able to visit her that one last time. After all, she has always been there. As she was always going to be. That next time might just never come, you know. And it didn’t. And it never will.
Rest in peace my dearest grandma, hope you have reunited with the love of your life and are happy again, with all the earthly ailings and pains gone. I love you so much.
PS: I was able to write this post in English. Because she encouraged me to learn. Learn and speak well.
Epitome of Poise and Style 19 September 09Posted by Fantastic Four in Inspirational, Life.
And that’s all I have to say about this beautiful pair.
Conversations with Self ~ 1 5 August 09Posted by Fantastic Four in Conversations with Self, Fun, Life.
Tags: a lonely profession, self, translating
I published this post a while back in my linguistic blog. But since I am going to be posting Conversations with Self series, I thought to re-heat and serve it for my first post in the series. Besides, I hardly like anything I write and this one I do.
Why don’t we go get pampered today? It’s been a while. Manicure, pedicure, hair…
I am so sorry we can’t. I have to finish a translation. Deadline tonight.
Ok, not to worry. How about tomorrow night? Out with friends…
Sorry no can do. I have a proofreading to do, which I need to submit the next morning.
Seriously, you have no life!!!
Hmmm. Better save this before something goes wrong. *pause* Sorry, what were you saying?
… Nothing… I rest my case.
Are you practicing being an ugrateful self again?
Every profession has its very own pros and cons. I have always been a translator, full-time, part-time, freelance; You name it – I have done it. I worked as a consecutive interpreter also, but that’s been pretty much on and off over the years.
I love my job! For starters, if I want to, I can work in my pyjamas (I say pyjamas, you say pajamas). I don’t even have to get out of bed thanks to the laptop and mobile internet technology. Or I can sit outside and enjoy a bit of sunny Sydney winter. Even the printer is connected wirelessly. Don’t you just love technology? Wouldn’t you want to be in my shoes? Or should I say, in my slippers?
And then there is the flexible work hours. Unless it’s an urgent translation I can choose when I want to work. If I want to be a night owl I can sleep during the day and work at night. I can get up early and work in the quiet hours of the day.
A special mention has to go to the low cost of maintenance. No office so no pressure to get dressed up to impress the boss and the colleagues. No transportation costs, no waiting in traffic, no road rages, no petrol consumption.
Last but least, I learn so much while I translate. I get to experience the joy of brain overload with information on plants, cars, internet, games, finance world, a whole variety of topics. Even in the areas I have specialised, I continue to add new terms to and expand my vocabulary. I learn specific terms in a broad spectrum of topics. It’s just brilliant!
How much longer will you be on that thing?
That thing? You mean the computer? I am writing in my blog.
Which one? Ah, the new one. The translation one.
Bingo! Ok, now if you just leave me to it for a few more minutes *voice trails off*
Actually, Helen sent an e-mail, she’d like to catch up this weekend.
This weekend? Impossible, I am expecting a new project. It’s on sustainable living. How cool is that?
Someone needs to talk to YOU about “living” though…
So where was I? Ah yes, the pros of being a freelance translator. The list is not a short one, believe you me.
The cons? I seriously can’t think of one. I guess eyes could be strained for looking at the screen for many hours at a time. There is a simple remedy for that; take frequent breaks and rest your eyes. Drink plenty of water and hydrate. Easy stuff.
Ok, how about “life”?
What do you mean “life”?
You know what I mean. You don’t have a life.
Now that’s a myth.
No, it isn’t. When did you last go out with your boyfriend?
When was it last that you went out to see a movie; enjoyed it over a popcorn and a drink of your choice?
You were planning to go to the pool and swim regularly. How’s that going?
It’s winter, too cold. Ok, can I finish this post? I have to get back to translating.
Sure. Just ignore me why don’t you? I know you know I am right.
What’s up with you? Is it pre menstrual? I am just going to write the end of the post. Hang on.
Geebus, that short self-rant just reminded me of a single-handedly crucial disadvantage of working as a freelance translator from home. Your best friend, the one with whom you share your life 24/7, happens to be yourself. Don’t ask why. It just happens that way, you become a translator and one day you start having conversations with self. It’s actually quite a rewarding relationship. But on a fateful day, when yourself turns against you; starts complaining and back-chatting, that’s when the going gets tough. Freelance translator’s life can prove to be difficult if the relationship with self is strained due to work load. There isn’t really much that can be done about it though. My suggestion to anyone else experiencing it, is to basically just put up with it, ignore if need be and threaten if nothing else works. And one day self might just stop complaining and claiming that you have no life.
Peh! “Translators have no life,” says self. That’s an utter and complete myth. Truth couldn’t be any further from it. I’ll prove it to you by simply putting forward myself as an example. I have a life! I have my computer, my internet connection, my blog, my blogmates, and *drum rolls* my very own virtual real-friends database. I even have a green patch, which my real-friends look after for me on my virtual real-friends database. I have just watered my purple lilly and saved two centimetersquare rain forest about half an hour ago. Thanks to my virtual real-friends database, my bad memory problem is no more a problem. They all get a virtual real-friends database message from me on their birthdays. What ever else can I ask for? I have everything I need. I am far from being greedy; the wanting to go out on picnics, to cinemas, to meet and hang out with friends, the need for pampering… None of that thanks. Unlike my.. self… I am quite self-sufficient (ha!) and happy with my life.
That will do for today. Now that a myth is completely destroyed, I’d better go back to my translation.
Tomorrow will you write about self-denial?
Hmm? *mumbles* No I told you. Have a proofreading job. Oh, and I need to hit Ebay for a bit, too.
Why, what are you buying online now?
I will check out the auctions for a new self-best-friend.
You wouldn’t! … *whimpers* would you?
Focus 18 July 09Posted by Fantastic Four in Life.
Tags: what happened to focus?
Focus is shifting, drifting, diminishing, briefly recovering, drifting. Never thought it’d be such a challenge to maintain focus on anything, big or small.
I want to be able to focus into a matter, like the rays of the sun going through the magnifying glass, all but reduced to a pinpoint of light, so intense you can start a fire only with a handful of dry leaves.
I feel like I have attention deficit disorder. Unable to keep my attention on a thought long enough to see where it is coming from, where it is going to, what I should do about it, or to determine if I need to do something about it at all. Off I go to another tangent.
Practice… but how?
Life’s good! 14 July 09Posted by Fantastic Four in Life.
Tags: a woman of not too many words, life's good
That’s all I wanted to say today.
If you are buying a new car… 6 July 09Posted by Fantastic Four in Life, Movies.
Tags: things we notice
Eveytime there is something significant happening in my life, which occupies a lot of time and space in my mind more than other events and issues, I find that all I see around me is that same something or similar somethings. Let me explain, when we were buying a car, all I could see was cars, there were so many of the ones we wanted to buy. When we wanted to rent a place, suddenly there were so many “For Lease” signs all over the place.
Last night we were watching TV, then put a DVD on. On TV every channel we tuned into had something to do with either pregnancy, or parenthood, or miscarriage. It was surreal. Niall pointed that out before I could and said “Wow, bebek – that’s what he calls me – will this be the theme of the month you think?” We shared a sad little giggle, snuggled upto each other closer and kept munching on pistachios, sunflower seeds and sipped cold ginger ale.
Earlier we were at the video shop and rented a couple of movies, one of which was Marley and Me. I just wanted something a bit of light fun, no depth. Started ok, a silly dog making the main characters run around. But then, she is pregnant. Yay for them. Then she goes to ultrasound, and they found out it wasn’t going to happen. At this point, we look at each other and wonder what happened to the comedy we were after. Movie goes on, they have 3 kids, they have stress, disappointments, arguments, ok so it’s a romantic-comedy-drama-real life is like this kinda plot.
At the end Marley the dog gets old, has ailings and has to be put down. Well, that was the last drop, literally we sat down there and cried while watching this movie, with actors in it, both aware it’s only a movie. And we were sure no animals were harmed during the shooting of this film.
I wish we were just buying a new car…
Project P ~ To tell or not to tell 16 June 09Posted by Fantastic Four in Life, Projects.
Tags: why don't you just blurt it out to the whole world
He: Did you tell anyone about the project?
She: Uhm, noone really, well I told only 72 percent of my workmates and my sister, mum, brother, sister-in-law and grandmother.
He: Is that all? *sense the sarcasm here*
She: No, I also wrote a bit on the blog. But only a couple of people read it so, they know.
He: So a whole bunch of people you know and the rest of the world, most of whom you don’t know.
She: I guess if you put it that way, yep.
He: *laughs* You are mental.
She: And you love it!
Project P ~ He offers her food 11 June 09Posted by Fantastic Four in Life, Projects.
Tags: food, he, love, she
He: Would you like bacon, eggs, sausages for breakfast?
She: Eeew, yuck, blaaargh. No thanks.
He: Oh ok.
10 minutes later:
She: Oh my god, that smells so good.
He: *sigh* ok I will add more to the pan.
Half an hour later:
She: I feel sick.
She: Eeeugh. Eeew. No.
He: *taking a bite from his pizza* Mmm this is good, sure you don’t want any?
She: Ok I will have a slice.
4 slices later:
She: I feel very sick.
He: Want me to cook something for you?
She: No I am not hungry yet.
He: Ok, let me know when you are.
She: I don’t think I will ever be.
A little later:
She: *whines* I am starving!!!!!!!!!!!
He: I asked! What would you like, I will make.
She: Nothing, I don’t feel too well.
He: But you just said… Never mind.
Project P ~ Pick me! 6 June 09Posted by Fantastic Four in Life, Projects.
He: Pick me!
He: Pick me! Pick me!
He: Pick me pick me pick me pick me pick me pick me!
She: Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,
Catch a tiger by the toe
If he hollers let him go,
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.
My mother told me to pick the very best one,
And that is Y-O-U