Ever since I was a teenager in the flat green suburbs of Detroit, I’ve wanted to get out and see what’s ‘over there’. And nothing thrills me more than going somewhere new.
Born in Ankara, Turkey, I consider myself to be from Istanbul, where my extended family still lives. By the time I was three, though, my parents and I were on a KLM flight to LaGuardia Airport and eventually to Brooklyn. I loved the roar of the daily parade in Times Square and on Fifth Avenue. At night, my dad would set up his easel and capture the city’s colors and bright lights with his oils. By day, he finished his second residency at Mt. Sinai Hospital. My parents’ visas soon ran out. After two years, we moved to Montreal, Canada, where we would drive up to Mont Royal, the mountain after which the city was named, to take in the cityscape. I learned French in school.
Once we got our green cards, my folks, baby sister – she came back in Brooklyn – and I moved to Lapeer, Michigan (near Flint). After living in cities like New York, Istanbul, and Montreal, though, the isolation of country living scared me and I had constant nightmares about aliens landing in our vast back yard. I think everyone was happier in suburban Birmingham, where my twin brothers were born.
When I got into Boston University, I was delighted. My teachers inspired me and I heard about the journalism program through a friend whose boyfriend wrote for the Harvard Crimson. After Watergate happened, I was hooked. I read everything I could, and wrote for several local publications.
Beacon Hill, the Commons, Cambridge– I loved exploring every bit of it. Sophomore year, I enrolled in a study abroad program through BU, sitting in on classes at the University of Paris, Jussieu, as well. I lived with two different French families and took in Paris’ nooks and crannies, determined not to visit the traditional tourist sites. I didn’t think I could ever come back to the States, but I wanted to be a journalist, and BU’s J-school beckoned.
My career has mainly centered on community journalism. I reported for the Dedham Transcript and the East Boston Community News in Mass. Once I moved to California, I reported for and then edited two weekly newspapers on the San Francisco Peninsula: the Redwood City Almanac and the Foster City Progress. I’ve also freelanced for the San Jose Mercury News Magazine SV, Bay Area Parent, and The Northern California Healthcare Journal.
In addition to the places mentioned above, I’ve lived in Vermont and England, due to my ex-husband’s Apple assignment. I’ve visited Maui and Honolulu, Hawaii, Seattle and Vancouver, Washington, Texas, Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Sarasota, Siesta Key, Del Ray Beach, Miami, Boca Raton, Orlando, Cape Canaveral, St. Petersburg, and Tampa, Florida; Provincetown, Marblehead, Milton, and Boston, Massachusetts; Washington DC; New Hampshire; Maine; Reno, Lake Mead and Las Vegas, Nevada; Colorado; Utah; Buffalo, Saratoga Springs, Woodstock, and Rhinebeck, New York; Iowa; Chicago and Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Overseas, I’ve traveled to Amsterdam, Delft, Bosch, and Eindhoven in the Netherlands, Arles, Aix-en-Provence, Marseille, Nice, Cannes, Cassis, Chamonix, Chartres, Versailles, Lyon, and Dijon in France, and London, Brighton, Stoke-on-Trent and Liverpool, England, Florence, Milan, Rome, Pisa, Sirena, and the Vatican, Italy, Alanya, Antalya, Pamukkale, Izmir, Konya, Fethiye, Bodrum, and Selcuk, Ephesus, Turkey. There’s much more to see and share.
I’ve had the surreal experience of feeling Turkish in Turkey, but looking and acting American.
Here, they think I’m ethnic or European, whatever, but they know I’m not American. People often question me as if I represent all near-Easterners. I often feel like a global citizen. Maybe I can help you become one, too.
Travel can be a great eye-opener. If we can understand other cultures and patterns, we can all be global citizens.