When I am old with a will written, I will need a house large enough to host family gatherings. I want people to come to my house like in the movie The Godfather (minus the murder). I want them to know their stomach will be complete with sarma, börek and poğça, and when they leave, their hearts will be lighter, and their mind will be at ease. I want my house to be the therapy house. No one will ask for a cup of water because they will know where the glasses are. I'd like the backyard big enough for the children of my friends and family to disappear. They'll play soccer with goals made of rubbish bins, and their screams of joy will rattle between the wind. I’d like the men to sit outside next to their parked cars, discussing their latest projects with their house and work. The women would be inside laughing and singing our favourite songs, feeding each other food and memories. These memories will be the stories that can not be told when men are around. Just like my mother’s kitchen, my kitchen will hold secrets like it took an oath.
'I don't want a small apartment anymore. I want to wake up and walk to my kitchen, I'm sick of turning around and being in my living room, kitchen and dining room at the same time. I'm done feeling alone.'
The way immigrants and children of immigrants create families is our future. My family is no longer just Turkish but weaved with Pakistani, Palestinian, Lebanese, and so many more roots. My future is diverse. My plate is colourful with spice combinations that I never thought of. My ancestors would never have guessed that their great great great grandchild would be the only Turkish girl among her friends. My grandfather never would've assumed that my dad's best friend was Spanish. Wherever we go, we find our family — writing this from Turkiye while thinking of my Turkish "family" that I adopted in Australia because my parents didn't want to be alone. We were constantly trying to find a place to fit in. While in Turkiye, I have felt the image of a foreigner, a feeling similar to the one I felt back in Australia.
"A girl with two countries is actually a girl with none" - Sumaya e.
My family, away from their blood, created something that would last generations. My grandfather's journey started with his best friend from Turkiye. One settled in Melbourne, while my Dede chose Sydney. All of our holidays were spent either visiting them in Melbourne or spending time with them in Sydney. My two-story house became a home for over 45 people. The three bathrooms weren't enough, and mattresses were shared between three 19-year-old boys. When I think of it, would my future self still spend her holidays in Melbourne? My grandfather's friendship allowed us to see four generations. Without them, I wouldn't know the definition of family. Ben sizle büyüdüm.
However, now my children would have Pakistani aunties. They won't find it weird or different to have a whole new culture added to their growth. Sometimes I sit back and wonder which one of my friends would be worthy of holding the title and coming to my house on a Friday night just to see me, for no other reason. I wonder who would have the way to my house memorised and engraved in their mind, no matter where they are? I hope it's you.