3 Days, 3 Quotes Day 2: Fitzgerald, Books, and Belonging

Wooh, it’s day 2, and I’ve got another quote for you all today! If you want to look at the rules again, read yesterday’s post. Again, thank you Carly and The Daily Geekette for the nomination!

fitzgerald quote

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Even this cat found a home with books (and magazines).

This quote really needs very few words. I feel like you have either experienced this with books and wholeheartedly agree with Fitzgerald, or you don’t. I’ve written a lot about belonging and what home means to me on this blog. I’ve struggled with loneliness considerably during my lifetime, which is why this quote resonates with me so much. So often during my life, I felt like I was on the margins. I need an invitation to feel like I belong, where it seems like other people just create a space for themselves and call it home. But books? Books welcomed me. They said, “Hey there, wandering soul. Find a home here.” Books gave me the human connection I was craving. And they have done that for countless others.

I think we all want to belong. We all want to be at home somewhere, with people who really know us and care for us and tell us that we are welcome and wanted. And it’s really wonderful that books can alleviate loneliness for people, even people who wouldn’t consider themselves very lonely.

I hope you not only find a kindred spirit in the pages of a book but also on the streets of your life. I hope you know that you belong.

Here are the people I’m nominating today:

Enjoy your quotes, everyone!

Where I Belong

Let me take you back two years to a bus dripping with rain and filled with forty-some singing high school sophomores from the Academy of Science. We were on the island of San Salvador because only at the Academy of Science do we go to the Bahamas for a field trip.

When we got to Gerace Research Center, we found our living spaces amid the pouring rain. After a long day of traveling, it was comforting to be settled in one place, even if it would only be for a week. That night by the girls’ dorms, we played Ninja in the rain and Imagelearned how to “dougie,” because why not? At least, that’s what the others did. I mostly just watched, hoping that this trip would be all that they said it would be. It was more.

I’ve always been reserved. Maybe that was because I lived in another country for the first nine years of my life, and American culture was still a little foreign to me. Maybe that was because of my bookworm tendencies that led me to find the characters in novels much more welcoming than the real, flesh-and-blood people around me. But either way, I had found that in my main circle of friends, I was always “the smart one” or “the responsible one.” I didn’t truly connect with my peers because I always knew I was different from them.

And then I went on this crazy field trip with a bunch of nerds. I considered them my friends, but the fact still remained that I didn’t know most of them very well. For the first few days, I was distant, as always. On the fourth day, the sun came out, and that is when everything changed.Image

I have always connected with the sun. Maybe it’s because I was born in a sunny place; maybe it’s because the sun epitomizes everything that I find beautiful in nature. But when the sun came out that day, it filled me with an overwhelmingjoy. And I let go of everything that was holding me back. I was singing and dancing and praising the glory of the sun. I was a completely different person than I had been before, and I honestly think it scared my friends a little. In that moment, I didn’t care if I belonged or not, and I finally let go of the fear of showing my true self to people.

Over the next few days, I bonded with my classmates even more, from our games of Capitalism on the basketball courts to complaining about mosquito bites and the sand in our diving suits. My friends laughed with me when I chased all the stoplight parrotfish with my underwater camera instead of sticking to the buddy system. And I willingly offered my shoulder as a pillow to anyone who had need of it, whether that was on the rides to the diving sites or waiting in line to get snacks. I did this out of love for my friends and not because I thought I needed to, the way I might have before. That made all the difference in the world. Image

Before the Bahamas trip, I had recognized how different I felt from most of my peers, and that kept me from connecting with the people at the Academy of Science. I was used to not belonging, so I didn’t know how to let go of my reservations. When I went to the Bahamas, I bonded with people who were like me. For once, I was an equal. I wasn’t the only smart one, and I finally had a place to belong. That place was with my newfound nerdy friends.

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 * * * * * 
That was my main Common App essay, and I decided that now that the whole college application process is over, I can safely share it with you all. I also shared it because today I had the Commencement for the Academy of Science, my beloved nerd school. The reality of leaving still hasn’t hit me; I’m in denial about the whole thing.
 
 
As some people have already mentioned and as more will continue to mention, “It’s not goodbye; it’s just see you later.” But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s still a little bit of a goodbye. I won’t see these people every other day anymore. Sure, I’ll find new people who will hug and gush about nerdy topics with me. And this is nothing against all the other people I’ve met over the years. You all are amazing, and I couldn’t have done it without any of you. You all have touched me in so many ways, and I’m so incredibly thankful.
 
But I will always have a place in my heart for the incredible people who were my home for 4 years. 
 
Epylle Spydre
 
(All pictures taken by yours truly)

“I love it, because I have lived in it a full and delightful life,–momentarily at least. I have not been trampled on. I have not been petrified. I have not been buried with inferior minds, and excluded from every glimpse of communion with what is bright and energetic and high. I have talked, face to face face, with what I reverence; with what I delight in,–with an original, a vigorous, an expanded mind. I have known you; and it strikes me with terror and anguish to feel I absolutely must be torn from you for ever. I see the necessity of departure; and it is like looking on the necessity of death.” ~Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Home is Where the Heart is

I recently discovered this website for third culture kids. Third culture kids are people who have grown up in different countries during their childhood. They take the culture from one place and the culture from another place and create a hybrid, thus the name, third culture. Even though I grew up in Turkey and have still lived more than half of my life there (read all about the different homes I’ve lived in here), I never considered myself a third culture kid. Maybe it was because I didn’t hear the phrase very often, but I really only considered myself a slightly different American kid. I know that I don’t understand all of American culture, but I attributed that to other factors. And then I find this website.

And I see myself in the third culture kids they are describing. I can see how I really don’t have a home, that my home truly is wherever my heart is. I can see how I can relate to people and how I form deep relations quickly because that’s what you have to do when you know you might move soon. Granted, my childhood was different from the average third culture kid’s. But it was eye-opening to be able to relate to people that I didn’t even know, just because of this website.

And someone said something along the lines of “Third culture kids are used to saying goodbye.” Maybe it wasn’t even said, but it was implied. Yes, we’re used to moving around. Yes, the airport sometimes feels more like home than an actual home. But just because we say goodbye a lot doesn’t mean we’re “good at it.” I find goodbyes to be one of the hardest things to bear. You go along and make these deep connections with people and then you have to leave them. And that’s hard, really, really hard. I’ve found that having to say goodbye a lot doesn’t make me better at it; it makes me value my home more. And home is where the people are.

And I think that’s something that’s true about a lot of people. We want security, that warm place where you know that nothing needs to change. It’s our Castle on a Cloud, to quote the musical Les Miserables. We love change; just think of Bilbo Baggins leaving the comfort of his home to go on an adventure. But we also value security. It is a precious thing, to know that you belong somewhere, whether that is a physical place or not.

Last year, I was part of a choir that song an absolutely gorgeous song called “No Time (that isn’t us singing it; I just found this link on Youtube).” The whole song is about our journey home. And I think it’s accurate. That’s what we pursue in our lives. We are just searching for a place to belong.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Just one of the many homes I’ve lived in.
Epylle Spydre

A Place To Call Home

I know I haven’t been on in a while, and I’m sorry. So when I found an assignment that I legitimately liked, I decided that I would post it. The assignment is basically to fill in the the phrase, “I’m from”, with details and stories about your life in a poetic manner. Here is mine.

I’m from an apartment in Antalya,
The sunny city on the Mediterranean Sea,
And from swimming in the clear waters,
Clear enough to see all the fishes.
I’m from living a floor below my best friends, Laura Damla and her brothers.
Playing with them while the grownups had church.
And my other best friend, Talya,
And the time she fell off the banister and cracked her head open.
Good bonding time, that.

 

I’m from the pink house by the sea,
The Black Sea, to be exact,
Where we would go swimming with our neighbors
And one time, burying dead jellyfish that got washed ashore,
Marking their grave sites with sticks so that people wouldn’t get stung.
I’m from chasing the chickens back across the street,
Because if we didn’t, Zahra, the dog next door, would kill them.
I’m from going to the school down the road,
Where I thought I was so cool because I would jump off the swings and “fly”.

 

I’m from an apartment in Samsun,
(Still near the Black Sea),
On the top floor,
Where, if I looked down,
I was so afraid of falling into the street below.
I’m from taking walks with our housekeeper/babysitter, Gamze Teyze,
Hanging upside down on the monkey bars and getting ice cream.
I’m from doing science experiments with my dad
And learning about the birth of the United States with my mom:
Lessons filled with silk worms and yelling at the British,
Being excited that I could spell “preposterous” as a 3rd grader,
And almost running out of books to read.

 

I’m from a row house in Ambridge,
Right next door to my new best friends, Emily and Natalie,
And right next door to them was the park
Where we pretended we were superheroes or practiced cartwheels.
Or our other good friends, Lily, Timo, and Peter,
Who liked to play Lord of the Rings role-playing games.
I’m from my first years in public school,
Not knowing what sarcasm was,
Or being one of the four girls that didn’t watch the scary movie at the big slumber party.
I’m from still being a huge book worm
And reading at lunch when I should have been socializing with people.

 

I’m from the Van Dyck House in Fairfax,
The rectory of Truro Church,
By far my favorite house of all.
I’m from going to the homeschool group at Truro,
Where I met Sarah,
Who nurtured an obsession of Harry Potter in me,
Dressing up in her mom’s dresses
And pretending we were at the Yule Ball.

 

I’m from the old house on Edwards Ferry Rd.,
Here, in Leesburg,
Right across the street from cows,
The horses, Chaps and Diamonte,
And the peacocks:
James George Joseph Teal III, his wife, Samantha Jane, and later Henrietta
(all christened by my siblings and me)
I’m from a transition to public school (again),
Which led to getting into AoS and the best friends I could have.
I’m from the new concept of “late nights” as I started high school,
Which Mr. T, my science teacher, contributed to a lot.
I’m from being transformed from an awkward caterpillar
Into a (still clumsy, but less awkward) butterfly.

 

I’m from the house we moved into a year ago.
I’m from changing schools and making new friends,
Something I’ve had to do a lot over my life.
But I’m also from my closest and deepest friendship
With my little sister and shadow, Tara.
I’m from my blog,
Every day, asking what to write about,
Yet somehow pulling off a philosophical musing that sounds great.
I’m from being given the chance to show love to my friends
And crying over things for no reason.
I’m from days looking for the sun,
And it finally feeling like home when I found it.
Only 2 more years, and then off to college
And another place to call home.