Engaging with Mourning

Dear fellow culturtwiners,

I shudder at myself, allowing two months and ten days to pass since I last posted on CulturTwined! Someone as hooked on writing as me should never let so much time pass without writing anything, and I definitely shouldn’t call myself a blogger if I’m never in the blogosphere! To those of you whose blogs I follow, your words are all queued up on Feedly – hopefully I will catch up with you, too – I know it goes both ways and I really do benefit so much from what you write.

Here’s the summary of my silence:

In July, I was nervous about a potential job offer, uncertainty in my existing job, awesome office politics, and the usual litany of transition that is my life. And, to be honest, I was really, really enjoying life in Istanbul – what a magical city!

In August, it occurred to me that I should update CulturTwined, but I had this odd emotion: I shuddered at the thought of writing! I so absolutely did not want to write anything that I didn’t have to write for work.

Now September is soon to be over and my theme for the month is BREATHE. There is too much going on in my life right now and I just need to remember to breathe. I thought that leaving Turkey and leaving work on the Syria response would joyfully propel my life back into some blissful type of culturally monolithic boredom. Well, that didn’t happen. Once a culturtwiner…

Instead, I’ve started a new job, continued to do research on the Middle East which involves regular skype calls with people still in-the-thick-of-things, fielded a series of irritating little personal problems, and – possibly most importantly – tried to figure out what my relationship to Syria should be now that it’s not my job anymore.

During the past year or so, I’ve read a few things on mourning. Mourning describes me pretty well. I’m definitely in mourning – but mourning what? Am I just mourning the great food in Damascus, the legendary Syrian hospitality, and the breathtaking view from Mt. Qasioun?

Here is a video of the things I may be mourning:

Or am I feeling some internal urge to mourn on behalf of my friends, mourning their homes, the jobs and degrees they have had to give up, and in some cases the loss of their loved ones?

Or is this survivor’s guilt? Am I mourning because I feel guilty that others are going through this and I’m not?

Or is it something else that I can’t yet capture in words?

Well, CulturTwined is back (albeit with no promises of regularity), and it will be taking a bit of a meditative tone. I’ll be exploring what it means to love a culture but not belong, to care about a place from afar only to watch it disintegrate into ashes, to care about friends who are living a nightmare.

Thanks for bearing with the journey, Kati

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