Reminiscing My 30s: The 33rd Year of My Life

A little blog post series: I am turning 40 next week, and I thought it would be fun to look back at my last decade before my birthday. So, every day for ten days, there will be a new blog post reminiscing about one year. Also, check out my Instagram for a few more photos and videos from these last ten years of my life.

The Big Picture

When I turned 32, not much changed immediately. I still missed Turkey so much that I spent almost the whole of my summer vacation there. So right after a lovely Independence Day with friends, I packed my suitcase and flew to Bodrum. To be honest, it was cheaper for me to pay rent for my one room in Cambridge and also travel and live in hotels in Turkey than staying in the U.S. for the whole summer. The bad news (of course there are some)? I was there right when the alleged military coup attempt happened. So instead of traveling around much, I decided to stay in Kuşadası from where I could have easily and quickly taken a ferry to Greece should things have gotten worse.

Reminiscing My 30s: The 33rd Year of My Life | janavar

I got this amazing cat cake on my 32nd birthday

When I returned to Boston, the school year started and I felt like being back in the hamster wheel. At least I got more creative with my hair and had it dyed red. The other fun thing was that I found a photography meetup group in Boston and regularly went to shoot photos. I really enjoyed that because it made me practice taking better photos and also learning from the other people. As well as getting to know more people outside of work.

Overall, I felt a bit more settled in. That fall I also discovered my love for the opera and regularly went to see it. I managed to see a little more of the U.S., like I went to NYC to attend the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting, to Las Vegas, and to Atlanta. My biggest trip within the Americas was in April 2017 when I met my parents for vacation in the Dominican Republic.

Reminiscing My 30s: The 33rd Year of My Life | janavar

In summer 2016, I went to Harran in Southern Turkey – a place where people have settled for at least 4,000 years

That April, I also had a huge problem: I needed to find a new roommate to keep my shared apartment. For some reason, I couldn’t find anyone. The year before there were so many people interested that I even had a choice. This time I was in danger of having to move. And I really couldn’t afford an apartment just for myself and Canavar (esp. considering the deposit and real estate agent fees). But I also wasn’t interested in having to find a new shared apartment myself. Finally, there was one guy interested – but he was traveling through Ecuador. So we set up a time to Skype. And let’s be honest: he was a bit weird. But he was also my only chance to keep that apartment. Luckily for me, he chose to move in exactly on the last possible day to renew the contract. Apparently, my cat was one of the big arguments that convinced him. Anyway, that guy called Rich was going to move in in June.

My Firsts

That year I bought my very first car! It was in May 2017 and I purchased a used Dodge Neon and was absolutely thrilled. Finally, I was able to get to work in 10 minutes (vs. about 50 minutes by bus), and I could drive around to explore the region more. I still wasn’t a great driver, but automatic cars are significantly easier to drive than manual ones. The Boston turnpike turned out to be my nemesis, mostly because I find it extremely stressful. Who ever thought it would be a good idea to put exits and entrances on the left and right? Like in some cases I enter from the left and have 200 m and 3 lanes to exit on the right. Totally bananas!

Reminiscing My 30s: The 33rd Year of My Life | janavar

My own car! I still have it, although it looks a lot more used now and lives in Maine to be only used in summer.

Else, I had found an amazing hairdresser to take regular care of my hair. That was how and why I went red. I quite liked that color, if only it didn’t require so much effort.

That year was also definitely the year where I started to explore more of the Americas. I still couldn’t afford much, but e.g. flights to Las Vegas are usually cheap.

Oh, and talking of America, I also experienced my first U.S. elections. Sadly and unexpected, Trump won. I still remember the day after Election Day when it felt like the whole of Boston was in shock and mourning. I still can hardly believe how popular he still is in this country.

What I Learned

I don’t think I was particularly happy that year for several reasons, but I slowly learned to let go of drama and to just rely on myself. There are so many things in life that I just have to pick the more fun ones. I also slowly let go of the idea of moving back to Turkey. Unfortunately, it is hard to keep in touch with friends who are in a totally different time zone. I had moved on. They had moved on. So I lost my direct connection to Istanbul. But at least I always had Canavar as my favorite reminder of Turkey.

Reminiscing My 30s: The 33rd Year of My Life | janavar

I learned that it is true that public transport in the U.S. is mostly bad and therefore you need a car. Even in a big city like Boston. That purchase gave me so much more flexibility and freedom. Plus it definitely meant that I was ready to stay a bit longer.

Finally, I learned to weigh in: new roommate (albeit slightly weird) or an expensive move? Luckily, I chose the roommate – even though at the time I obviously didn’t know what an impact that would have.

My Travels

1. Turkey: Bodrum, Şanlıurfa, Mardin, Kuşadası & Istanbul

2. Germany: Mecklenburg & Schwarzwald

3. White Mountains

4. New York City

5. Las Vegas

Reminiscing My 30s: The 33rd Year of My Life | janavar

Atlanta was absolutely worth a weekend trip

6. Atlanta

7. Dominican Republic

8. Syracuse, NY

Reminiscing My 30s: The 33rd Year of My Life | janavar

My first time in Las Vegas and I loved it

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