Early this morning, Esma the hippie puppet woke me with a whisper, saying only “it’s a new day – and you need to reflect on your personal globalized reality.” Helping me to take sips of strong glass of lemony, sugary çay made from Black Sea bred Rize tea bushes she kept repeating “reflection” over and over again. So, I did. And I focused on the muse of the moment, tea. It is not the milky, honeyed tea of my New England youth, usually an Earl Grey, Assam blend or English Breakfast brewed *just so* by my meticulous Mom, obsessed with the rules of proper tea service, even in our eccentric home.
My puppet-delivered çay brings me smooth comfort and a hint of Aegean sun when it is most needed in cold New England months, it has become equal in its comfort currency to the above-mentioned “cuppa” here in this Turkish American household. Deep in the process of sipping shallow swallows from the tiny glass, I consider the other regular teas in my life – the milky-sweet Nepali spiced chai I learned to make from a friend’s Nepali Mum long ago even though the friendship has changed – and the Kenyan chai my brother made, taught firsthand by a Masai family he spent time with in his youth (minus the nip of cow’s blood). Never mind that my bro dubbed that particular chai “the colon blaster” during our mis-spent slacker years…
And all of this tea reflection reminded me of yet another aspect of my personal, globalized reality. It is much more than the Turkish-American vortex that I have come to reside in – it is much more patchworked and global in nature, as these small sets of words about tea reveal. And that’s when Esma, the hippie puppet with the creative (and hidden competitive edge), hit me with a proposal. “M’lady, she said, “you need to submit to this week’s photo challenge over at WordPress. The theme is reflection. I learned about it on our e-friend Madhu’s blog – you know -The Urge to Wander where she highlights two lovely and engaging photos today.” Shifting in her seat on my shoulder, she pressed on, saying “Remember that photograph you took as a self-portrait last year? You should submit it – it represents your personal globalized reality to a t.” My original caption for this photo was “An ethnically mixed American with a Turkish-American life partner looking at French art deco antiques in a New England market recovering from jetlag after teaching in the Netherlands, wearing a new boiled wool clementine-colored coat crafted in Tunisia” The multiple reflections of me in this photo make this my favorite self-portrait that gets at my #personalglobalizedreality“
And so I got up, looked at Madhu’s latest wonders in photography and here I am entering my photo to a contest for the first time in my life. I suppose this could reflect the new leaf that the puppets encouraged me to take yesterday, during their protest against November.