The Fireball, the Twitch, and the Persistent Widow

I have been in the States for about 26 days now.

My left eye is twitching and I have had a neck cramp for the last 5 days. It’s to the point that I can no longer turn my head fully in either direction.

The reason I am back in the States for 56 days is to complete grad school, which means completing 100 hours of an internship. You would not believe how difficult it is to complete 100 hours over the course of 56 days (even less weekdays). My university wanted me to do 50 this summer and 50 next summer. I have been fighting their requirement since January, “persistent widow” style*, and only last Friday did they finally decide to let me do it my way. Incidentally, my neck cramp began last Thursday.

My body and my brain are either too connected, or not connected enough. I feel a decent amount of stress, but my brain has suppressed its instincts to be overcome with anxiety, or to randomly cry at inappropriate times. It’s gone into Beast Mode, as though it knows we only have 30 days left and we need to just suck it up and get ‘er done.

But my body has not gotten the memo.
stress eating
I’ve started a new diet, which is actually going very well, but the problem is I am not stress eating like I used to. I mean, it’s great that I’m not stress eating, but my body is like,”HEY! You’re upset/stressed/frustrated/sad. You should totally be eating something salty and maybe oily right now.” But my brain, with its new dedication to healthy choices, says,”NO WAY. Do you know how much money I’ve invested in this new diet plan? Do you not realize we have a wedding coming up?!”


Since I neglected to give my body a healthy way to release the stress, it decided to manifest itself in a throbbing, fiery ball between my neck and my right shoulder. Now that ice, heating pads, Aleve, Advil, Tylenol and Bengay have failed me, I’ve decided to try acupuncture. I am counting down the hours. I have to endure two more work days before I can have someone prick me with needles and holistically nurse me back to good health. I have a LOT to do in these last 30 days, and it can’t get done with my head cocked to the left side (looking normal and attractive is included in my list of “a LOT to do”).

Things coming up:
– Finish internship. Finally show grad school who’s boss.
– Sara Bareilles concert (yaaaassssss!)
– A childhood friend’s wedding (I’m a bridesmaid).
– A friend’s vow renewal (I’m just a happy guest).
– Selecting and ordering wedding favors for the January 2015 Turkey wedding and further planning for the July 2015 US reception.
– Bracing myself to begin the paperwork process for getting hitched in Turkey. Canim and I have a few tricks up our sleeves.

Just looking at this list reminds me of how very expensive the next month will be. Ohhh, I think I just felt my neck-shoulder fireball tighten.

Breathe in, breathe out. Goosfraba. Only 30 days until I am back in Canim’s arms.

*The “persistent widow” is a reference to a parable Jesus used to teach His disciples the importance of being persistent in prayer and never losing hope. When I’m frustrated with the system and I feel like plopping down on the ground, banging my fists and pouting like a toddler, I try to remember this parable. 


In Sickness and in Health

In my last post, I mentioned how in a brief moment of silly superstitiousness, I blamed myself for Canim feeling sick. It was my fault because I brag about him too much, I share too many cutsie pictures of us on Facebook and Instagram, and I gush about him every chance I get. All of the gushing (according to superstition) conjured the nazar and made him sick.

Well! I’m not sure what this means, but I am now sick, too! It turns out that even though he was being a bit theatrical, he was, in fact, sick. Our symptoms are almost identical, only mine are a little bit worse. Of course!

While I can’t say that the “evil eye” is the reason we both got sick, I do still think it was my fault. Here’s why:

Yesterday morning, I woke up feeling sluggish, irritable, and a bit queasy. I’m not a morning person, so I didn’t think much of it. My body is often repulsed by the idea of having to wake up at 6:30 in the morning. But yesterday morning was different. As a result of 1 week of eating almost nothing but fruits and vegetables, and I mean LOTS of vegetables, I have been in the habit of having 1 tomato, 1 cucumber, and a little üçgen peynir spread on a cracker for breakfast. Anyway, yesterday’s cucumber left something to be desired, so I ate 3 small tomatoes and a few crackers instead. That’s when I knew something was wrong. My stomach felt so strange, I couldn’t even drink tea. Every cup of water I attempted to drink tasted bitter and dirty.

Stomach cramps abounded, and then I skipped lunch. I never skip lunch. It is what gets me through the day. Actually, no. Lunch doesn’t get me through the day. My post-lunch Turkish coffee gets me through the day, and I couldn’t even have that. When I refused that AND I refused a vanilla cappuccino, my work BFF gasped, plopped down in her chair and said,”Allah Allah, you really ARE sick!” She blamed the nazar, because we know a few people who may be casting it my way, which amused me in the midst of my turmoil.
ImageI made it through the work day and hurried home. I appreciate the way my sickness waited for me to be in the privacy of my own home before unleashing its fury on me.

Like the dutiful (pun sort of intended) fiance that he is, Canim came to check on me and reciprocate the TLC I had given him when he was sick. We tried to figure out the source of our sickness. We figure it could be one or all of the following: the absurd fruit and veggie diet, the copious amounts of organic dried apricots we’ve both been eating, and/or my tendency to walk around without wearing layers and I sometimes tiptoe around the house barefoot (if my slippers somehow manage to be inconveniently out of reach).

Personally, I think choice 1 and choice 2 joined forces to create the perfect storms in our stomachs. Dried apricots can MESS.YOU. UP. if you overindulge. Who knew? Now  I know that dried apricots and chickpeas (that’s a story for another day) are two delicious, “healthy” things that secretly want to kill me. Choice 3 is entirely Turkish, and I have to be as receptive as possible to the local scientific hypothesis that not wearing layers when it’s 80+ degrees out will make you suffer all kinds of maladies. The whole wearing slippers thing has definitely become a part of my second nature, but sometimes, I deviate back to my American mentality that being barefoot in the house won’t kill you. However, I try to be sensitive about wearing my slippers as often as possible when I’m around Canim, because I don’t want him to worry that my lack-of-slippers will cause problems for us when we try to have children in the future (maşallah, tug your ear, pucker your lips and knock on wood!).

So yeah, this probably wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for my idea for us to try the extreme diet. The dried apricots were actually his choice, but we only bought them because we went to Carrefour one day *just* to buy fresh mint leaves for one of my detoxtails, and ended up realizing we were starving, so we bought every “healthy” food item in sight. 🙂

Editor’s Note: When discussing illness in Turkey, be careful not to say “sick” too much, as it sounds just like the Turkish f-bomb. You can say “ill” when talking to an English-speaker, or just say “hasta” because it means “sick” in Turkish, and it’s easy to say.

Also, anyone notice how I managed to do three product placements in one picture? #talent