This week I purchased two, round-trip tickets from Izmir to New York City to visit family later this year. It was a long time coming, as we haven't been back to the US since February 2010, which means that by the time we get there, it will have been some 20 months or so since our last visit.
Many of my non-Turkish friends head to their "home" countries much more frequently than that, at least once a year, maybe more, but Jeff and I average a trip more like every two years. We find it difficult to find the time -- Jeff is restricted quite heavily by his teaching schedule (not every teacher gets summers off, you know) -- but we have managed to plan this year's trip around Kurban Bayram, so that at least one week of it is a sanctioned holiday.
And though earlier this year, we entertained serious thoughts of going to the US this August (as in, next month), once we started looking at airfare we simply couldn't justify paying more than $3000 to fly to the American suburbs at the hottest time of the year.
I always feel some anxiety about going back to the US, and it's not just because of the time and money factor. It's because I can never please anyone by going back, least of all myself (so that whole maxim about making yourself happy and everyone else be damned doesn't really apply here). Everyone wants something different from us, and I simply cannot make everyone 100% happy.
And I guess I'm feeling a bit of anxiety about something else too because I had this dream the other night where I went to the US and then I didn't come back to Turkey.
I can't remember the particulars of the dream, like where I was, or who I was talking to, but I remember quite clearly what I was saying and the sense of anxiety that pervaded in my dream. I remember listing all the reasons I couldn't stay in the US, that I had to go home:
"But I don't have a job here! Don't you know what the economy is like here? I have a really good job in Turkey, and I'd like to keep it!"
"What about my 4 cats? I can't just leave them in the flat! Someone will put them on the street!"
"But all my friends are in Turkey!"
"But my life is in Turkey! I can't leave it behind!"
Sometimes, when I'm being 100% rational, I know I won't stay in Turkey forever. Or maybe I will. I don't actually know. But every time I think about going back to the US for good, I cringe a little inside. Emotionally, I am simply not ready to give up the good life I've created for myself here.
Which is why, when I woke up, I -- I admit this is absurd -- I double-checked the confirmation email Turkish Airlines sent me and reassured myself that I had indeed purchased a two-way ticket, one that goes from Izmir to NYC and then back again.
As far as nightmares go -- and I have plenty of those -- this one was pretty tame. I didn't wake up still feeling anxious; in fact, I remembered the dream only much later in the morning, hours after I had woken up. I'm not big on dream psychology, but I do wonder if this whole episode is some kind of sign or something, like (at the risk of stating the obvious) that the real reason I drag my feet on going to the US is that I'm worried somehow I won't be able to get home again.
Or maybe this is me already fighting the onslaught of questions I am expected to hear that go along the lines of, "When are you coming home again for good?"