Roman Diaries: Toughts towards the end of 2018

It is very hard to believe that 69 days passed since the beginning of my Rome adventure. Time really flies quickly. I was checking my first blog post about Rome, a few minutes ago. I want to begin to this post with the one quote from that post, because it reflects a lot.

Rule 10: ‘..East, West, South or North makes little difference. No matter what your destination, just be sure to make every journey, a journey within. If you travel within, you’ll travel the whole wide world and beyond..’ – Elif Shafak

It’s Thursday, 20 December. A late afternoon, I am writing in a cosy libreria-caffé of Pigneto area. One of the colourful and hippest neighbourhood of Rome along with San Lorenzo, Monti and Trastevere. Of course, Trastevere (with its charming soul) takes the first place in that list. Pigneto is my neighbourhood. I live here, I buy my fresh fruits and vegetables from its daily open market/bazaar. Monti is where I like to take long walk, have a nice drink in its cool places or sometimes just observing the vibrant crowd. For San Lorenzo, I do not have much to say, because I still have to discover it.

When I look back to 2018, I am amazed about ‘how much happened and where the road took me’. Last year around this time, I was planning my first solo-trip, which took place in the end of January 2018. Thessaloniki, Skopje, Ohrid, Belgrad, İstanbul. I went to all of these lovely places by bus, in 17 days which in total was 3047 km. It was a trip that allowed me to do a lot of self-reflection about my weaknesses and strengths. I was able to hear and witness about different worlds then mine. After 10 month of that trip, I am writing these words to you from Rome. This is a totally unexpected adventure that caused by a precious friend of mine. She is someone that is always able to touch my heart. I do not know how, sometimes I feel like words are not enough to describe this kind of connection. In a strange way, we accompany each other on our life journeys, even though we live far away most of the time.

Since the beginning of my Roman adventure, there was always one point that I was raising as the main idea of everything: Exploring the diversity.

Learning about different cultures, lifestyles was at the center of this journey. Because that was the only way to develop further as a person. Elif Shafak has an interesting description about this. In a recent Ted talk, she tells about storytelling.

‘…Now we all live in some kind of a social and cultural circle. We all do. We’re born into a certain family, nation, class. But if we have no connection whatsoever with the worlds beyond the one we take for granted, then we too run the risk of drying up inside. Our imagination might shrink; our hearts might dwindle, and our humanness might wither if we stay for too long inside our cultural cocoons. Our friends, neighbors, colleagues, family — if all the people in our inner circle resemble us, it means we are surrounded with our mirror image…’

Her words does not need any kind of comment. They are quiet powerful.

I can say that, I feel relax and more confident then ever in the end of this 69 Roman days. I take time for imagination, walking and cooking. The eternal city of Rome has a thought-provoking environment for an individual.

Currently I am almost about to finish the famous novel ‘The bridge on the river Drina’. It is telling the journey of a town through the eyes of the bridge. It is quite fascinating how the life of the people changed with the arrival of train to the town in late-18th century. Last night, I watched a Turkish movie called ‘vizontele’, a movie which describes the first interactions of people with television in a remote-town of Turkey.

These two cases are only little examples about how much achieved in years. Humanity came long way since the beginning. Moreover, Change accelerated in last few centuries. It is even getting faster with the 21st Century. All of these things makes me curious of the events and ideas that 2019 may bring.

Another good thing that 2018 bring me was being part of Tabellaas a writer. Tabella is a collective online platform of young Turkish Cypriot writers. Every week, multiple articles are being published on the website about many different subjects. Tabella covers topics on daily politics, literature, science, environment and dreams about our homeland.

Last words of this post will be: enjoy the process. I know it is hard and usually we are very much focused on result. We are very much focused on what is going to happen or what happened. But the real joy, the real essence of the story lies in the process.  It is also very hard for me to the that. But I promise, I will try harder.

Because;

“It’s the journey that matters, not the destination”

― Gabrielle Bernstein,

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