Principium Contradictionis

15 Responses

  1. Jenn @ Juggling Life says:

    It's fine for us to criticize our home and families, but let someone else do it . . .!

  2. Em says:

    Each of your posts helps create a fascinating portrait of Turkey. It seems like both an exotic, wonderful place…and a place to be avoided. I love each of your updates and your observations.

    And you are right, the same kind of conundrums present in Turkey are evident in the US…just swap one obsession or belief for another and the irony is still there.

  3. Vicky says:

    I live in Urgup and share your frustration about reading matter. I met a (very stupid) Swiss woman who also lives here and I hoped she might have brought some books back with her on her last visa hop. I told here that I was so desperate to read anything in English or French that I would cry for joy to read a Cornflake packet in English. She looked at me weirdly and said "But you can find Cornflakes in Goreme". Whatever.
    Great blog – am enjoying following.

  4. alwaysinthebackrow says:

    Travel opens the mind, and you can begin to wonder at what you find. This is why I wish every American child had the opportunity to travel around the world. Your children are gaining so much for their future as world citizens. To be able to see others without judgment…, what a difference that could make in our world and this country.

  5. actonbell says:

    Great post! I'd love to see Turkey someday, though if that happens, it won't be the in-depth experience you're having. I'm getting a sudden Elvis Costello earworm, when he sings, "I hear that travel broadens the mind, 'til you can't get your head out of doors." heh.

    You make such fascinating observations. It's impossible to live without contradictions, and they are so prevalent and OLD that it's easy not to see them. I'd add to your list our love of privacy that collides with our love of internet sites such as facebook.

    The underground city tour sounds most intriguing. And I agree with your husband. It seems a shame that more time and money could not have been put into showing the wonder and beauty of such a national treasure. And it's really sad, about all the trash that's marring the countryside.

    Of course, we have both situations right here at home.

  6. ds says:

    I agree with you: what's "really real" is the stuff you find in the gaps, not the surfaces.

    Perhaps that's true of the unexcavated underground city (such a cool notion!) also. Imagining what could be in those rooms might be much more interesting to your hosts than what they would actually find…

    Or not.

  7. Deborah says:

    Ah, yes, contradictions. this reminded me of my Vatican experience – being refused entry because of my bare shoulders, while my daughter with her extravagant cleavage sailed right through.
    Greece is untidy like Turkey – to the point where it makes Italy look like Switzerland! People would seem to be entirely unconscious of the litter they create.

    here's a little something I read today that made me think of you:

    Writers experience the world and themselves in a unique way. We look for meaning. We see it even when we are not paying attention, which is seldom because, as writers, paying attention is what we do. We are scribes to the ticking of the days, and we have a job to do. We are not at peace unless we are doing it.
    We recognize irony, we look the abyss in the eye, and we pause to honor beauty, while others are fighting to change lanes or raising a glass to… nothing at all.
    That comes from Larry Brooks, at, btw.

    And now that you mention the suit coats, yes! What's with that?? I so enjoy your take on things, and your critical and affectionate eye. I do hope these are traits you are passing on to your children. Silly me, of course they are.

  8. geewits says:

    Good point! And the more you know, the more questions you have, which pretty much defines life.

  9. secret agent woman says:

    If it weren't very different, there'd be no point in travel.

    (But I'm cringing at the nipple-biting image. Gah.)

  10. Green Girl in Wisconsin says:

    There is so much humor in hypocrisy. During my sojourn to Egypt, I was also stunned at the TRASH on the ground–everywhere. The litter was amazing. And such a beautiful place, too.
    Your observation about the artifacts and excavations had me chuckling–so did the raisin nipples. Ha! I'm reading "Lipstick Jihad" right now, which is set in Iran, and so many of the same contradictions take place there. One wonders if any civilization is pure of them?

  11. monica says:

    Ah yes , the world is such a wonderful and complex place… the one about "what you see is what you get" isn't always " the whole truth and nothing but the truth"…

    and spending time abroad in a strange ( in all aspects) country like you do, sure can be an eye opener… for you for sure, but for us blog followers too 🙂

  12. Mother Theresa says:

    I'm still giggling over the nipple-raisin newspaper thing 😀

    What would any country be without its contradictions? I'm sure there are many here, but I've been here so long that I can't even think of a single one right now. Maybe I need to go to Turkey too…but I'm not sure I'm ready for that. 😉

  13. Midlife Jobhunter says:

    Incredible essay. Incredible experiences your family encounters each day. I'd send you a Big Mac if I could.

    Will be most interesting for you, and your readers, when you return and look back on this year. Much different than living in it, which will also make your present day observations valuable. Oh, how wonderful the ability to write.

    Meantime, I'm thinking my travels have been much too tame.

  14. lime says:

    ah, your summation makes me so proud. i ultimately expected nothing less than seeing turkish inconsistency propel you to examine where it exists in our own culture. bravo. it is quite a lesson, isn't it?

  15. Pam says:

    Seems like you might be ready for outback Australia Jocelyn,resplendent with a very ancient culture and respect for the land,but with its fair share of litter, roaming dogs and old suit jackets worn in the heat.
    There are so many contraditions in this country that one wouldn't know where to start. I am still disappointed that Australia fell through for you, but it has given me a chance to see Turkey through your eyes, and am enjoying every minute of it.
    I think one of my most bizarre travel contradition experiences was the kitsch available at Lourdes in France,ie ashtrays where you could stub out your cigarette on the face of Our Lady of Lourdes, after you'd lit it with the Virgin Mary cigarette lighter. Such a beautiful place too – simple in it's history of a (maybe)miracle in a rock grotto (depending on your belief system) but a contraditory big rich church placed on the site. Strange isn't it!

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