1. I like to be slightly off the beaten path. I don’t live in Istanbul, and I’m none the worse for it. Sometimes I get too hermit-y, but I need less stimulation in my daily life, not more, to do my creative work. Are you the kind of creative person that needs to live off the beaten track, too?
2. Saying the right thing is overrated. Observation, sharing, smiles, kind looks, accepting and offering food and drink, all help me to be expressive in Turkish. The persona I thought I adopted as a survival instinct to manage living abroad was not a veneer – it was an unused muscle, an un-actualized part of myself that had been dormant.
3. Raising kids abroad anchors me to Turkey in unexpected ways. I have to be present. My kids say and do things that put me at ease because they don’t think about being half Turkish, half American. I’m learning to ignore parenting disparities and find commonalities.
4. Creativity doesn’t need a rigid set of tools. I trade canvas for textile, fabric for pen and ink, then drawing tools for words depending on the space I am in. I’ve learned to slip in creative moments where I would have thought there was no time. Parenting brings out my creativity rather than prohibits it.
What have you learned about yourself from the place you are in?