Cappadoccia April 2019

In April 2019, we got on our flight out of Calgary to Istanbul. It was a 10 days trip. We planned it out. I took ten days off unpaid leave because in my previous job I didn’t get paid days off. See our itinerary here.

We did what every tourist does. We made plans. We book flights, bus trips, a balloon ride, researched for hotels book hotels, airports and ‘how to get around in Turkey’.

On our first few days in Istanbul we stayed at an old town family run hotel. At first it didn’t impress me at all. Shabby carpets, too uncomfortable couches, very minimal breakfast and a tiny room with four beds in it – this is not how I imagined. Four years in the making and this is what I am getting. I was disappointed. Read full story here.

We left Istanbul feeling a bit defeated, but hey the Cappadocia region was next on our list so we got pumped about our world famous balloon ride. Reaching Goreme’ and finding our cave hotel was a different ordeal.

Reaching our hotel, we find out that our hotel owner had been taken ill and was away but another hotel owner a friend was going to help us settle in the room. Again it felt like a bummer. For breakfast, we would need to walk over to another hotel. We try to settle in our room which was a room in a cave and was very cold. There was no running heat so we borrow an extra heater. We eat supper in a restaurant in town and try to sleep. We had booked the famous balloon ride over Cappadocia only weeks earlier and had not got any confirmation. Our hotel owner tells us you will be very lucky to get on it as the ride previous morning was cancelled and there are tens of people waiting to get on one. We get a call around 9 pm that the ride is still on and we are on it. The catch is to get up freaking early think 4:00 am.

Our ride came knocking at our door exactly at 4:30 am and we were on our way. He collected more people and we had a light breakfast at a small inn somewhere in the region, we didn’t know where we were as it was pitch dark, an hour before sun rise. We are on the bus again that takes us where one of a hundreds balloons are being inflated. Then you hear it. The roaring engine inflating the balloons making this giant beasts rise from their sleep. Just the sound and the light from the flame creates an ever-lasting effect.

We get on the balloon. Some others have taken flight minutes before us. The rest of the balloons followed. I was skeptical getting on a hot air balloon because prior to me leaving on this trip, one of my colleagues had remarked ‘a balloon, you must be very brave’. Yes I was brave. Brave enough to admit, I was dead scared.

Once I got on the balloon, I felt exactly the opposite. The ride was smooth, the pilots very kind, the tour very informative. We went higher and then we went lower in the Cappadocia valleys.

And in the midst of it all, I felt it. I felt that calmness, that peace, that joy, that love, that embrace within myself. For all the years, I searched for a home. It was within me. I was Home. I felt I belonged here. I carried this ‘home’ within me all the time, mostly forgetting that belonging comes within. A shift happened. It was bound to happen.

Suddenly, I didn’t feel disappointed at the dinginess of our hotel in Istanbul. What I remembered was the hotel owner’s utmost kindness and his staff’s cheerfulness as they greeted us every morning and every evening. His family had moved from Syria two generations ago to Turkey and owned the hotel for more than a decade. His teaching us a few words of Turkish was what stayed with me.

We eventually continued on the rest of the trip through Izmir visiting the ancient City of Ephesus and then back to Istanbul. Hubby got miserably sick the last few days and we decided to abandon the rest of the plans to stay inside waiting for our flight back to Canada.

I came back with a renewed energy that I invested in the courage to break my silence about my journey through infertility. The blogger who encouraged me and I did take that plunge because of her, became a trusted friend. I decided to speak up. I decided to give voice to hundreds of women going through the same journey. This time it felt home. Read the full blog here.

I am not sure where this journey will take me but I am open to new adventures because life is full of them. I can choose to embrace it with all its ups and downs or choose to deny it. I choose to say ‘bring it on’. So to my refugee parents and my grandparents, this daughter of yours has found home within herself that no one can take away until she gives them the power. A power, she intends to keep for herself.

(reposted in 2021) ~ Jamal

Hot Air Balloons_edited.jpg