One other brief thing I wrote in my journal while in Istanbul that I knew a few of you who read this would appreciate…
Sitting alone on a wooden bench on the last day of February, palaces and ornate mosques and beautiful ancient churches and thousands of years of history behind me. Clusters of frail trees just beginning to blossom with tiny pink flowers line the Bosphorus before me, and grimy fishing boats bob up and down in the water, knotted piles of fishing nets scattered here and there; across the strait, I see the Asian side of Istanbul, the minarets of its many mosques rising up out of the haze that rests over the city. I’m sitting here quietly, alternating between watching the fishermen and reading Anne of Green Gables (yes, again); and though I really do know that Anne is not a real person, I still find myself feeling like she’d experience a “queer thrill” knowing that she’s sharing this particular moment with me.
I have, however, come across one quote that I find myself disagreeing with. As Anne is reaching the wise age of 13, she observes:
“That’s the worst of growing up, and I’m beginning to realize it. The things you wanted so much when you were a child don’t seem half so wonderful to you when you get them.”
My kindle tells me that many previous readers have highlighted this quote, and I guess I can understand why. But I’ve found myself thinking exactly the opposite so many times in the last few days. If ten-year-old Hannah could look into the future and see 22-year-old Hannah, she would be so excited to reach these days of hiking in the Middle East for a living and setting off to Istanbul on a whim and finding my wallet a mess of 6 different currencies and keeping in touch with close friends on 5 different continents. I don’t think she could have dreamed of a future more enticing than that (unless it also happened to include a marriage to Orlando Bloom. That may have been the cherry on top for my middle school self). Of course it doesn’t feel glamorous at every moment. Of course every waking second isn’t an exhilarating adventure. But when I think about where I am and what I’m doing and how deeply these things satisfy the shimmering castles in the clouds I constructed as a child, never really believing that I would see them realized… I feel pretty blessed.