August 28, 2014, CRITICAL UPDATE – WITH ONLY ONE BUSINESS DAY TO SPARE – OUR PASSPORTS – AT THE SOUTH AFRICAN EMBASSY IN NYC FROM AUGUST 4th UNTIL TODAY – ARE FINALLY BACK IN OUR HANDS. Our flight to Turkey is early Tuesday morning (five days from today) and Monday is Labor Day and a holiday and (naturally) the embassy is closed over the weekend. We could not fly without our passports. Our passports sport a beautiful long term stay visa for South Africa, so I know this was worthwhile, though excruciatingly painful in the waiting department.
August feels like the eye of the hurricane – the quiet space between the frantic July deadlines and the exciting September transitions. With most of our “chores” in the pipeline (in no way done), medical procedures scheduled (but still to be endured), visa applications mailed (but not yet returned), Rich and I have settled into a routine of a morning “check-in” to compare our “to-do” lists, and then off on our associated tasks with a check-in for lunch and then a late dinner. With a single car, schedules must be coordinated or someone will be stranded at home without transportation to an appointment. I have never spent this much time at home and it feels GREAT. My house is quite beautiful, the woods lush, and the weather delightful and the pace suits me fine.
Part of my routine is a daily hour or so with Rosetta Stone’s Turkish Levels 1-4. It is supposed to be intuitive, but I confess to being sometimes a bit confused without an English narrative to explain the going’s on. Will I ever master this?
I am also reading everything I can get my hands on about olives, and thinking a lot about the course. I am almost through with Julie Angus’s “Olive Odyssey” and finding inspirations from that text about must-see places for understanding olive culture in the Mediterranean. Julie took a many month journey with husband, Colin and then not yet one year old son, Leif, to retrace Phoenician sailors journey throughout the area to spread the gospel of olive oil throughout the region. With her training in molecular biology, Julie’s explanations feel just right to me, though in my -re-telling in my course, I will of course need to use more than words to explain the ideas of genetic mutation rates, free fatty acid content, polyphenols, oxidation rates, and so on. What comes through loud and clear in Julie’s text is her own passion for olive culture and the shared passion with the people she meets. I can endorse that sentiment wholeheartedly and ask myself on a regular basis How DID this Irish gal (me) from New England via Long Island become so enraptured by the olive?
We SKYPE with Zeynep weekly now and the plans for our own Fall Odyssey are starting to fall into place. We have inquiries out to two places in Catalonia, Spain (north east coast) and one in Toscany in Italy: our plans for Greece are settling in – we will go to olive production facilities in Crete and modern day Sparta as guests of our Greek host. Here is a map of the general region that Julie Angus used, and which serves as a placeholder until I can get a more appropriate map for our journeys through many of the same regions.
Our landlady in Istanbul is excited by our arrival, and we have made plans to get into our home on the fourth of September. Here’s our address in Turkey:
14-1 Toraman St., Boyacıköy, Emirgan, İstanbul, Turkey
Odyssey: Book 2, The South African embassy now has our passports and we are hopeful we will get our long stay visas by August 18th – two weeks after we mailed them. We have a lead on a modest home in Stellenbosch and have a few other inquiries not yet explored, but we have some time to move on that.