Sunday, May 24, 2009


I am feeling something today. I guess you could call it homesickness. An event happened yesterday that got me thinking about Turkey. I was able to dismiss the feelings for the most part, because I was enjoying myself. Then today my kids started talking about the fun times they had walking home from school in the snow in Turkey, and the feelings swept in again.

For 6 1/2 years I lived in this building.

This pink and yellow and gray building. 3rd floor, apartment #12. The building was new when we moved in so we were the first to live in that apartment. It was like no apartment I had ever lived in. There were four bedrooms, a kitchen, a combined living and dining room, and three bathrooms. Only two of them had toilets though. You could start at the front door and follow the hallways in a square passing every room in our apartment and end up back where you started. Every room had a door that could close it off from the rest of the house. We took the kitchen door off it's hinges right after we moved in because it was in our way. It took up precious wall space when it was open and closing the kitchen door seemed strange. Our doorbell rang to the tune of Für Elise. It was a friendly way to announce a guest.

I honestly can't imagine not going back to that apartment there. I walked in and out of that front door countless times in the 6 1/2 years I lived there. I took off my shoes as I entered and hung my bag on one of the hooks by the door. I greeted many a guest in that entryway. We don't even have a real entryway hall here. The front door just opens into the abyss that is the office/formal living and dining room area. We don't even use the front door on a regular basis save for the pizza delivery guy and the kid next door.

I moved around a lot as a kid. I remember lying in my bed at night in the new house and closing my eyes. I would picture the old house. I would picture the layout of my old room. Being in the same bed made it easy. The closet door was to the right. My dresser was in front of me. The pink prayer picture was hanging on the wall to my left. I would fall asleep remembering.

It's much harder to do that here. The bed is different. It's a king size instead of a queen. All of the furniture is different. I can't close my wardrobe and feel the air rush out of the small crack between the doors. I don't have that wardrobe anymore. I have a closet for my clothes. I can't pry open the secret compartment in my dresser to reveal passports and shot records. The dresser here doesn't have secret compartments. The passports and shot records are kept in the filing cabinet in the office now.

I don't have a basket full of winter wear by the front door. I did bring back a few of our favorite scarves and hats for winter, but they weren't ever taken out of the coat closet. It never got cold enough, because well, this is Texas.

The treasure chest that sat on our entryway table...the one where we kept loose change to give our doorman so he would bring us a loaf of fresh bread in the mornings sits empty in our office here. There is no doorman to bring us bread. This is Texas.

There is no sending the boys to get their haircuts, no asking one of the kids to run to the store for a forgotten item, no walking to a friend's house, no doing a lot of things I got used to doing. This is Texas.

The kids still take their shoes off as soon as they come in the house even though it isn't considered dirty to wear your shoes in the house here. Some habits die hard even though this is Texas.

For some of my musings about Turkey and moving to America you can go here and here and I'm sure many other places on my blog. Clicking the Turkey link on the sidebar will get you to some of it. If you're interested.


Lost In Splendor said...

Do you ever think you'll move back there?I can't imagine living so much of my life in one place...feeling so at home there and then moving to somewhere completely different.

I'm sure you're asked this a lot, but how are your kids doing? Esp the younger two who really grew up there.

Also? This post was lovely. You really painted a portrait of your things there. I could really picture them. Gorgeous.

Unknown said...

You sound quite melancholy. I hope you're all doing ok. It's a huge change for all of you and some homesickness is to be expected!

LiteralDan said...

I can kind of imagine how you feel, having spent some time in another part of the country for a few years from where I grew up, but it wasn't as drastic a change as this. Hopefully it gets easier with time.

But let me tell you, it is considered dirty to wear shoes in the house at MY house, especially on the carpet. So let that continue, says I.

Amy @ Dear Mazzy said...

I know how you feel. I'm a railroad brat & the longest I've ever lived anywhere is 6 years, in a rent house my now-husband & I shared. I can't imagine ever leaving the house we live in now , the first we've owned, where both are children were born. But I imagine someday we will. You'll always have your memories, though. It's nice to feel nostalgic, and maybe someday you'll feel the same about where you live now.

Lynn @ Walking With Scissors said...

I'm sorry you're feeling down. :(

Why is it not considered dirty to wear shoes in the house? I've always been baffled about that one... Of course, it's cold and snowy in the winter here, but even in summer, no one wears shoes in the house.

Sara Campbell said...

You miss Turkey and we miss you. I think of you every time we bounce down your street and hit all the potholes. And Natalie, you won't be able to look out your den window and watch the crashes and buses sliding backwards when it is icy. :(

Mamadallama said...

I liked your little trip down memory lane. It was just like being there, more so than the posts written when you actually WERE there! I never moved as a child but since being on my own have moved quite a few times, but on our own schedule. We lived in a couple different houses while the children were in school but did not uproot them from their school districts or neighborhoods. The only time I ever got homesick was for my childhood home; not the house itself, just that part of the country and more specifically, autumn (live in FL now). Now, after 35 years, I don't really get homesick for that anymore, but I like to go back to visit my brothers because I do miss them. I think the first year after moving is the hardest and then after that, the new place starts really feeling like home. I would think that because there is such a huge difference between Turkey and Texas, that it would be even more difficult.

By the way, I cannot even imagine actually living somewhere where the doorman would bring you fresh bread everyday! That is awesome!

Lisa said...

And the packs of wild dogs are waking us up at 4 a.m. this week. If it was Texas, someone would have already grabbed a shotgun out and taken care of it.

Crystal DeLong said...

Oh, this is so how I am going to be next year! We miss you guys too.

Anonymous said...

You've painted quite a picture. I guess the homesickness for your former home is to be expected, but I'm sorry you're having to go through it.

Amazing Greis said...

I'm so glad ya'll were able to spend time with an old friend. I'm sure the kids were so surprised. It's perfectly normal to long for what use to be. The memories from Turkey are FOREVER, and maybe ya'll will go back one day.

Kay Martin said...

I understand the tenor of your post. You brought back many memories for me. Even though we only lived there for a year, our apartment in Polanco in Mexico City was its own universe for me. I always kept pesos handy in a ceramic bowl in the kitchen to pay for our drinking water, which the doorman would bring up once a week. I loved the view of volcanoes from our balconies and the sound of the traffic in the distance. We too walked everywhere. I've heard "you can't go home again" but it doesn't mean we stop wanting to. I hope you visit that apartment that was your home someday.

Joe @ IrrationalDad said...

Shoes are a no-no in my house... except when I'm in a hurry and running in for just a second. I hope things work out for you, wherever you end up living.

Marcia said...

Having been born and raised in California, whatever was on my feet outside was on my feet inside. And then we went to Texas and left our house to some Norwegians. When we returned, there was a shoe basket in the entry hall! Oh, yes. We left some of our winter clothes in Texas, because it gets colder there than in California. Go figure.

Ronnica said...

That picture (and the one you paint with your words) brings memories back to me, and I was only there a few days, so I can only imagine what it's like for you.

C.J. Koster said...

I know that feeling.

Momo Fali said...

I'm sorry you miss it. My wish for you is that you will make new memories here that will stay with you forever and bring a smile to your face.

Gina said...

Yeah, I'm a little behind on reading your blog. (let alone updating my own!!) But after I read this particular one, this is my prayer.

I don't know what God has in store for you, Brian and your family. However, I think it would be SO cool if God calls you back to Turkey, and one day Billy & I end up being your neighbors. We just got back from there, and I still get excited just thinking of the time we will get to live there permanently. All in God's timing, right???

Natalie said...

lost in splendor - i have no idea if we will move back. i really don't know. the kids are doing ok. they all would love to move back, but i think they are finally getting used to it here. there are days though when they really have a hard time. i guess days when we all do.

thanks for your sweet words.

headless mom - i'm ok. that was just one of those days. most days i am totally fine!

literaldan - thanks for your warm wishes.

i am glad my kids still take their shoes off. i think it has helped a lot with the dirt factor!

amy - i know. it seems crazy, but i know we are where we are supposed to be for now. and the missing is normal. it does make me very introspective though!

lynn - thanks. i am ok. just had a moment. and we have totally adopted the no shoes in the house thing. i think it's a great idea!

sara - ok...i love that you said "bounce down our street". i have to say that i don't miss the potholes! i did think about those fun icy days some this winter when it was almost hot outside here. crazy!

mamadallama - thanks! i enjoyed writing it and sharing it with you. and the bread...it was amazing!

mike and lisa - i don't miss the dogs wandering the streets. not a bit!

crystal - yep...you will have some reverse culture shock as well as some missing. it is a strange feeling.

citizen - that's ok. i don't mind this journey. i just think a lot during times like these. that's ok by me.

amazing greis - thanks! i do love the memories. many fun times!

kay - it seems strange doesn't it. so many memories of times spent in a place that is hard to describe. you can tell people about it, but most of the time they can't quite understand. i don't want to go back, but i also can't imagine not going back. so very strange!

joe - we aren't doing shoes either. just by habit now. i'm perfectly ok with that!

marcia - the kids just can't imagine wearing shoes in the house. me neither really. it is just so automatic now. and it feels so strange to have them on at home.

ronnica - i'm sure it does. there were many memories made in the weeks you were there.

cj - i know you do. weird, huh.

momo fali - i miss it, but i'm not dying to be there. i remember the not so great parts too! i know there will be many good memories made here as well. thanks!

gina - it seems weird that you guys were in turkey and we weren't there! looked at the pictures and it looks like you had a good time!

~m said...

Natalie, just getting caught up w/ your blog...
this is a lovely and evocative post. I know your exact feeling. It never goes away but sometimes its stronger than others.

Natalie said...

~m - thanks so much. that means a lot. it's nice when people can totally get it.