By Mune Tan
I am from seeing the world and people from high above, hidden on a flat roof with a snowball,
waiting for cars to pass
From watching horses pulling carriages filled with tourists watching different people from all over the world in my city for the Mediterranean Sea
I am from seeing people move to the south of my city to run away from snowy winters, carrying luggage
above cars, waiting hours in crowded traffic
From crowded streets with migrants looking for places to rent to prepare for winter, during fall.
From waking up every morning to the smell of sweet Turkish coffee
From cinnamon cookie baking, onion soup, and garlic bread to break the fasting every night during Ramadan
I am from the city of night time waves of orange blossoms, from a salty breeze and wood coal fires
at the beach on a summer night
From the scent of my Mom’s fresh pita bread and sour yogurt
From organic vegetables, mixed in olive oil with bulgur spreading through the house from the kitchen
that smells like Mama
From my Dad’s scented meat straight from the butcher’s, shop grilled on Sundays
I am from a famous city with many beach restaurants and the smell of Turkish kebab throughout the streets
From a city with a bakery on each street spreading the smell of fresh bread all over the city.
I am from a home where arguments stayed private and mama never raised her voice to Daddy
From where kids don’t talk too loudly addressing their parents
From a very quiet home during nights with everyone sleep at nine o clock.
I am from loud laughter giggles, and voices that can be heard in the morning
I’m from roads filled with the sound of children playing all day
From a noisy city where car horns are very loud
I am from a city very crowded and noisy on the streets until 5 in the morning during the month of Ramadan
A city never sleeping, loud voices, and music playing the whole night
I am from people laughing on the beaches during summer nights.
I am from proverbs “Necessity is the mother of invention,” “Honesty is the best policy,” “Easy come easy go,”
“There is no place like home,” “Listen more talk less,” “Knowledge is power,”
“Tell me who your friends are, I will tell you who you are.”
From Grandma’s angry response to visitors knocking on the door.
I am from Daddy’s sweet “Good morning soldiers! Breakfast is ready!” to Mom’s “Night night” and special lullaby.
I am from sticky humid summer nights, cold showers and sleeping on the roof of the house
I am from the rush of the wind in the shadow of the trees and from smooth hot sand
burning my bare feet in summer
I am from feeling the cold weather slapping my face when I open the door, from windy winters
sweeping the streets.
I am from tall glasses of fresh homemade sour Ayran with every meal
From fresh fish seasoned with olive oil and fresh garlic and cooked on wood fires
From homemade pita bread with every meal
From salad made with juicy tomatoes, lettuce, parsley, cheese, olive oil, and vegetables grown in the back yard
I am from sweet baklava that took Mama many hours to make
From sweet red strawberries growing in the backyard
I am from sweet hot tea, almond cookies, salty crackers, and flower seed, eaten during long winter nights
I am from sweet potatoes cooked over charcoal, from chestnuts cooked in a fireplace and homemade sweet fig jam mixed with walnuts mama made for winter.
I am from those moments.