Yesterday was one of those days that you look back on and your heart fills with gratitude… Well, at least mine did.
After spending my whole day interviewing former street kids at CHA I made my way to the apartment where my advisor and his wife are staying. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with the feature piece I am supposed to do and concerned that it wasn’t going to work out. Basically, I was feeling attached to a certain outcome and was fearful that it might not go exactly the way that I want it to go. Anyway, we sat on the roof top, drank tea and talked. They are such cool people. Open and kind and so willing to to be helpful and supportive.
I left their apartment, filled with gratitude and feeling a sense of ease and comfort, and began my long walk down the hill to the tram that would take me home. I realized half way down the hill that I had not walked down the same way that I had walked up. I found myself walking down a narrow street with no street lights and no people. It was a little unnerving, to say the least, but I knew that the best thing for me to do was keep going (quickly) and to stay alert and aware of my surroundings. I made it to the main road unscathed, but since I had come down a different way, I found myself all turned around. It was late at night, I was tired, the streets were dark and empty, I was alone and I was mildly lost. Not the greatest feeling in the world.
As I was walking I came across a Muslim family (husband, wife and child) that was saying goodbye to a family member (an older gentleman) and getting into their car. I stopped and asked the older gentleman how to get to the Karaköy tram stop. He asked me where I was going (he spoke English) and I repeated that I needed to find the tram stop. Again, he asked where I was going and I told him that I needed to get to Beşiktas. He said “ah, they are going to Beşiktas! Get in the car.” He opened the door for me and told them to take me with them.
It was one of those moments where I asked myself is this a good idea? But then I looked at the family, warm and smiling, and I looked at the street that I was on, dark and ominous, and I knew that I would be safe with them. As I got into the car the last “Call to Prayer” started to sing and the older man looked at me and asked, “do you hear the call?” I replied that I did and he said “well tonight they are calling for you,” and he smiled at me and closed the door. I was so moved by his words that tears gathered in the corners of my eyes. As we drove through the streets of Karaköy, I was so grateful to this family for their kindness and their generosity. Considering that it was late at night, that I am a foreigner, that I don’t speak Turkish and I am covered in tattoos (something that goes against their beliefs), for them to take me into their car and give me a ride home was one of those acts of kindness that is unexpected and leaves you feeling taken care of.
When we arrived at the university where I am studying (right down the street from where I am living), I thanked them extensively and the kid (probably 19 years old) and I got out of the car. He spoke English so we talked and walked. While we were walking he said to me “my father (the older man who ushered me into the car) was trying to say that he thinks you were sent to us from God.” My heart smiled and I relplied “no, I think you were sent to me from God.” They were my guardian angels last night. The kid, I never even got his name, walked me all the way to my door and then said goodnight.
I walked inside feeling love for him, his family, the older man, and all things. It was one of those moments when you realize that in that experience, the planets had aligned perfectly (or the universe had planned perfectly) in order to allow a brief exchange of kindness between strangers to occur. I will never forget the family, their kindness, or how grateful and loved I felt in that moment.
Peace and Love