Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sunday, September 02, 2012 - No comments

Ramblings from the Road (or the sky, as it were) and Another Celebrity Stalking Fail

Sitting in O’Hare, Terminal 5, Gate 12 on a green bench painted with alphabet blocks and chubby naked babies.  A conveniently positioned crack prevents any inappropriate visuals.  Must be some sort of sit-able art exhibit, since the terminal is full of them.  

Sipping some mediocre (but delightfully cheap) coffee from a Metropolis coffee cart.  Apparently this is the ONLY place to buy coffee (or snacks, for that matter) once you pass security in the international terminal.  Not even a Starbucks in sight.  The other terminals are amazing, with their Pretzel stands and frozen yogurt stalls and fancy restaurants and that migraine-inducing musical light show corridor, but if you’re flying overseas, you’d better be okay with gas station coffee.

Thankfully (and, unbeknownst to me, wisely) I ate my (long overdue) lunch in the domestic terminal where I landed.  It’s sort of tradition for me to have a hot dog for my first meal upon arrival and my last meal before departure, since I’ve either been missing proper hot dogs or are about to miss them for a very long time.  (Once this backfired on me when I landed in Chicago and boarded what turned out to be a very turbulent flight to Louisville....yeah.)  

Today’s farewell dog was at America’s Dogs, where they doctor the dog by city - baked beans with bacon and onions for Boston, BBQ sauce with pulled pork and cole slaw for Memphis.  I went for the Green Bay - cheddar cheese is something I’ll be missing soon, too.  I was a little disappointed when they handed me a hot dog smothered - I mean, the entire bun was literally drowning - in that fake-o cheese they put on nachos at the movie theatre.  Not precisely what I’d envisioned - and it took a whole lot of napkins to recover from it - but yummy nonetheless.  So long, North America.  :)

I thought I had an encounter with a celebrity this morning at the Vancouver airport.  In fact, I’m still convinced I did and he’s just denying it.  “Oz,” the Turkish ambulance driver on the Canadian show “The Listener” is played by a guy called Enis Esmer, and I was SURE I saw him ahead of me in the immigration line-up this morning.  I paid attention to what he was wearing (a fresh-off-the-cruise-ship “Alaska” hoodie” - not so movie star-ish, but to each his own) so I could stalk him once I got through.  And, lo and behold, there he was with his wife, having coffee at Tim Hortons.  

I was super excited and went up and asked him if he was Oz, and he acted like he didn’t know what I was talking about.  I told him about the show and said, “You look just like him - you’re him, right?”  But his wife said his name was Andreas and that they were from Texas.  I kept pushing, though, cuz even standing there, looking him in the face, I was SURE it was him.  He had this amused twinkle in his eye that kept me thinking he was just pulling my leg, but when I said I was from Turkey and he still didn’t bite, I figured I’d best just give up and leave them to their Timmy’s.  Still, I swear it was him....  I’m gonna ask Google.  

(**Post Script:  when I Googled him, he came up not married.   Maybe I should contact the real actor and let him know he has a Hispanic twin out there impersonating him in airports....)

I stopped in at the Swiss Airlines counter a few minutes ago to try to get a boarding pass for my Zurich-home flight and get my bags checked all the way through, which thankfully they were able to do, even though the United lady in Vancouver insisted it was impossible.  I was both grateful and disappointed - grateful cuz it means I have a shot at making my next flight, even though I only have an hour in Zurich, and disappointed cuz I’d been excited about the prospect of missing my plane and having to spend the night in Switzerland.  

As I gathered my documents and zipped up my backpack, much to my surprise, the ticketing agent said, “İyi uçuşlar!” - Turkish for “Have a great flight!”  

Didn’t see that coming.  I checked his nametag - “Amir.”  Not a Turkish name.  I switched to Turkish and said, “You aren’t Turkish though - where are you from?”  Turns out he was Iranian and had lived in Turkey for awhile.  (Maybe as a refugee waiting for the UN to place him?  Goodness knows they usually get stuck in the country long enough to learn the language.)  I should’ve asked for his story, but I think I was just all too surprised and so enjoying getting to speak Turkish with someone.  (That and his green eyes were pleasantly distracting!)  

We chatted for a few minutes about my life in Turkey and why I love the country, and then I made my way to security.  I went through smiling, so grateful for that little exchange cuz it felt like the perfect transition out of North America and into my Other World.    Kinda like getting to chat with that older Turkish couple at the Migros in the Zurich airport on my way home in June.  This little gift helped turn my heart in the right direction.  

This summer home was so wonderful, and though I never actually entertained the thought of staying, it was sometimes so tempting to daydream about what my life would be like if I lived in that world full-time instead of popping in and out for visits every year or so.  But, as much as I love the dyke and Stanley Park and seagulls and running in shorts and mango ginger cheese and Thai take-out...a five minute chat with a Turkish-speaker woke up the truest part of my heart and made me so glad to be going home.