I’m currently sitting at a cafe in the International Terminal of Ataturk airport, staring across the way at a green circular sign with a white mermaid in the middle. I don’t need to read the words “Starbucks Coffee” to know that I’ve already re-entered the Western world. The constant recorded announcements over a sound system, the arrival/departure schedules, the forced smile of the Turkish Airlines woman checking my passport, the existence of a moving walkway to get where you’re going faster…these all reinforce the fact that I’ve been living a world away for the past 2 months.
This is a big culture shock, the transition back to the West. Thanks to the wise words of a dear friend, I started to prepare for this shock over a week ago. In Olympos, I discovered a different approach to life and I embraced it whole-heartedly. After connecting with nature, appreciating today, and centering myself, I am now faced with the challenge of keeping that peace.
My natural tendency is to plan, organize, and manage – all great qualities for navigating the workings of the West – but that tendency became an obsession, one that led me down a path which was not my own. I will need to be very deliberate in my effort to maintain the balance I’ve achieved in Turkey. I’m not sure yet how to accomplish this, but I imagine it will start by taking a deep breath. Maybe two or three.