About the Fortune Teller I Met in Istanbul in December 2010
Near the beginning of my visit in Istanbul, when I was still somewhat friendly with my Turkish friend, B, whom I was staying with for part of my stay in Istanbul, B asked me if I had ever had my fortune told. I told her not really but I did believe in what fortune tellers had to say (especially after reading the book, ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ by Elizabeth Gilbert, and when my mother brought me to see a Chinese fortune teller shortly after I was born [and she saw that I was going to be more successful abroad, that I was going to live a really long life, that I was going to have a shy disposition, that I was going to make a lot of money, and that I was going to meet my significant other later in life], and a fortune teller did come up to me when I took a walk down a street after having had my braces removed, when I was fifteen [and she briefly saw that in my future I wanted to be happy in my career and happy in love, and that I needed to depend on people, that I needed people in my life, and she said it all with a painful expression on her face, which touched me until she said that in order for her to tell me the rest of what she saw in me, I had to give her twenty dollars, which I didn’t have, but I still believed in the little that she told me anyway]). B asked me if I ever had my fortune told by use of a coffee cup and I said no. She said that that was the common way that fortunes were told in Turkey and she wanted me to have an authentic Turkish experience by going to a cafe with her to have my fortune told that way. We walked to the cafe together, along with a friend of B’s, whom I’ll call E. E was B’s best friend; I still remember the mole on one side of her face above her lip and her pretty brown eyes and brown hair. I thought that she was really pretty. B said that E teased her for having a voluptuous body and I told B that I thought that she looked fine the way that she was. E was thin and B said that, despite that, E ate a lot and loved to ear as much as she does and B was envious of her at times because E never seemed to gain weight. They had known each other since high school and they were university classmates. E didn’t know English very well, but she was friendly and sweet (as all of B’s friends were) and I thought that E tolerated my silence quite well. E actually didn’t seem keen on trying to speak English (a lot of Turkish people [and a lot of other people in the world for sure] were often quite self-conscious to speak in English and I understood that completely because I was a shy person and I thought that it was painful to try to speak in a language that I thought made me sound funny. One of the main reasons why I liked to travel abroad was because I was a quiet person and I didn’t want to have to talk to people much, and when the locals didn’t know English very well then it was really good for me because I never liked to have the pressure to say much. I preferred to be nice to people without saying a lot of words and I wished for people to do the same to me. When B, E and I reached the cafe, B said something in Turkish and a man, whom I believed to be in his late twenties, who wore a long-sleeved green sweatshirt with the word ‘Mexico’ on it, and who didn’t speak a word of English, appeared and he introduced himself as the cafe’s fortune teller. I was surprised at how young he appeared and I asked B to confirm whether that was really the fortune teller and she said that he was indeed and he was even considered one of the best in the city. I decided to believe B, since B was an incredibly honest person. I decided that along with getting my fortune told, I wanted something to eat. B said that in that case, she could have her fortune told first privately, while I sat with E, who also wanted something to eat, and waited for B’s turn to be over until it was E’s turn and me last (because I volunteered to be last). I don’t remember what I ordered but E ordered manti, which was Turkish-style ravioli (which meant that it was pasta in a yogurt sauce with some mint and/or some other herbs. Manti was prepared slightly differently depending on the place where you eat it at, since chefs in Istanbul came from all over Turkey and each region had slightly different recipes for everything). E and I quietly ate our meals, facing each other at the table. E was a lot like B; she liked to talk, and I could tell that E didn’t feel comfortable sitting with me, thinking that her English was so bad that there was no way that she could have a conversation with me, and she only asked me about the weather and how she didn’t feel too great because of issues with her boyfriend, but she only mentioned those things in a few words. I felt perfectly fine and at ease with not having to speak. I knew that it bothered E and I knew that she felt bad that she couldn’t talk to me, and I didn’t tell her that it didn’t matter that she couldn’t say much because I was a quiet person who didn’t care for small talk or chit chat, but I refrained from telling her because I thought that I would have sounded weird if I did say that and I didn’t want E to think that I was inferior for being a quiet person. E ate her meal quickly and she excused herself so she could get some fresh air. I ate the rest of my meal alone not feeling bad about eating alone at all. After B’s fortune was told, B went to get E and E had her fortune told while B said that she was going to go out for a minute to smoke a cigarette (B and most of her friends loved to smoke and I often had to stand far away from them, or they refrained from smoking for my sake). It didn’t take long for E’s fortune to be told and when E told B that she had to go, I drank my cup of coffee and set it down upside down to let the grounds gather. E nor B mentioned anything about their fortunes except E did say that everything was going to be alright between her and her boyfriend. B only said that her fortune was okay. Because the fortune teller didn’t know any English, B served as my translator and I believed that B was a good translator. So the fortune teller and I communicated with each other through B. The fortune teller picked up my coffee cup and turned it around slowly, squinting his eyes, carefully analyzing the cup and from what B translated, he said that I was going to live in three countries. I was meant to be successful abroad. I was going to meet a man with brown hair in Georgia soon (whom I will talk about in the next confession) and that the relationship didn’t last at all. He said that I had a health problem but it wasn’t a big deal and I was going to be fine (when I returned home shortly after leaving Georgia [which I left after having left Turkey just a week prior], and it was right after my trip to Mexico City when I learned that I had an abnormal pap and that I had a low risk of having cervical cancer. From 2011 to January 2014, I’ve had a low-grade risk of having cervical cancer. The abnormal cells have been around for a while, but they have slowly been decreasing). The fortune teller told me that my mother didn’t understand me but that she was going to understand me one day. He told me that that summer, my parents were going to earn a large sum of money (I actually don’t remember what wealth they obtained that year). He said that the man of my dreams wasn’t going to meet me anytime in the near future, that I was going to meet him far, far from that year and once I married, I wasn’t ever going to divorce. Far into the future, I was going to meet The One and stay with him for the rest of my life. He said that I was going to return to Turkey someday and I will meet a woman who was going to offer me a job which I will earn a lot of money from. He told me that I was going to take some time to deeply and carefully consider the decision to take the job, but I do eventually take the job. He said that there will be a time when I will get along with my co-workers. He also said that I was going to live a very long life. I remember asking him questions about what might happen in Georgia and he did answer them, but he told me to remember that he was only a human being and he liked to think that he told fortunes for fun, and that only Allah knew what was going to happen to each of us, that Allah knew all of us very well and with faith in Allah, what we wanted to happen will happen. He gave a peaceful and gentle smile. The fortune teller used to make decorations and lamps for a living since he was a teenager before he decided to make fortune-telling his way to earn a living. Since he was a teenager, he was into the art of fortune-telling and he always took time to perfect his craft. To this day, I’ve taken that fortune-teller’s words to heart. I believe that I will meet that woman in Turkey someday. I hope that I will meet her soon. I don’t know when I will meet her. I don’t know what job she would offer me. At the time, i didn’t know which three countries I was going to end up. I didn’t know for how long I was going to be in those countries. I didn’t know exactly when I was going to meet The One and I didn’t know if I was going to have any children at all with him. I didn’t know where I was going to settle with him. I didn’t know when I was going to stop being alive (nor do I want to know at all). I didn’t know if I was going to be happy in my career, or if I was going to confront a lot of difficult issues. I didn’t know if my parents and I would get along better. I didn’t know if my brother was going to be financially successful. i didn’t know whether or not I was going to be famous or an influential person in society. But I knew that I was content when I was abroad. I believed that I was going to make a home in Turkey someday. Though, Turkey treated me rather badly, I believed that giving Turkey a second chance was going to be good for me. I didn’t know how many years I was going to be in Turkey. I wanted to think that I was going to live and work in more than three countries after Georgia for sure. At the moment, I dream about working in Ukraine, because I’m drawn to the Ukrainian people, especially since they shared many similarities with their Russian neighbors, and their cake, Kievskiy. Right now, I dream of Turkey. I hope that my time to finally get along with my co-workers will begin soon; all I want is peace at work. I still think about the fortune-teller’s words and I hope that I will see all of his words come true.