I came to USA for a reason: I was sick of moving around, and I wanted a home. However, the outcome has been… more moving!
American graduate programs’ undisputable quality was not the sole reason for deciding to live here. I wanted a stable home for the rest of my twenties. It could be far from “home” but I wanted to build up a new life in a city, and basically live there for a long time. I wanted to become a local in another part of the world. Given that the programs here are longer than the European ones, USA seemed a perfect place to do settle down and do graduate work. If you are a graduate student at a US institution, you have to really live wherever your school is. You can’t enjoy that European freedom of pursuing a PhD in France, working in a Turkish university, and taking your vacations in Italy. In USA, you have to be on campus 10 months a year, and summers are really not times to relax. All of your classmates are learning another language or doing some awesome internships around the world, so you just can’t buy your ticket home and do nothing for three months. You have to do something, and that’s what brought more moving to me.
When I moved from Beyoglu to Uskudar in the beginning of my second year at college, I already knew I would be moving out at the end of the year to do exchange in Europe. When I arrived in Paris and entered my room, I remember telling myself this was my home only for 10 months. I came back to Turkey, got an apartment in Kadikoy this time, and said again: “Well, this is a great place to spend only one year since I’ll be heading somewhere else next year.” I did, I came all the way to Tucson, Arizona to make here my home. I did it, but it does not mean that I am no longer moving. In fact, I am moving more. Here is how:
Today, I left my second apartment in Tucson. I had to leave the first one because I was constantly ill due to my roommate’s obsession of 65°F as indoor temperature. I moved in with an awesome Chilean geologist, who was always cool about my messiness or Glee songs. Then I got accepted to a language program in Vermont for the summer, so I had to leave my apartment for a cheaper one, in which I will spend only one month before my language program starts. Today, I am writing this entry in my third home, and I will be packing again in one month, to head up north, and seven weeks later, I will be returning to my new home—somewhere I should find during June before I leave. So, this August, I will be moving into my fifth room in 12 months. Is this how you settle down, or is it just life telling me the harder I try, the worse it gets?
I really don’t know the answer, and I am freaking out if the response to my question will be something like that: “Well, honey, you are already a nomad. Deal with it.” No, I am not that 18 year-old romantic who went to “the New World” but was called back “the fairy tale city”. I don’t buy that kind of stuff anymore.
As a pragmatist academic, all I think now is I should find such a great place to move in this August that I will never want to get out until I am done here with Tucson.
Wish me luck; I will need it so bad when I am trying to stop this four-year long habit.