The Back Side of the Earth

Lesvos Island, Greece
Photo: Ayse Kaya

Happy full moon everyone!

This month, beginning of the lunar and solar months -almost- coincided, so now they are peeking at the same time. Full moon and the midsummer’s dream together…This is the perfect time to be in a boat in the Mediterranean sea! If you are in the middle of the ocean in mid-August you can see the sun setting on one side of the boat and the moon rising a minute later.  On the eastern horizon the moon looks so hot and big that there has been a few times I thought I had been watching the sun-set only later to realise that it was actually the moon rise!

I always think of the middle of August as the peek point of summer. From that point onwards, it is a downfall to Fall. Many of friends and family are actually watching the sunset/moonrise over the Mediterranean sea this time of the year because they live nearby. Plus with the economic crisis in Greece, the islands have become the cheapest destinations for the Turks whose country is competing with Switzerland in terms of the prices of the boutique hotels, which were once simple family guesthouses.

Long story short, this summer’s favourite holiday pattern in Turkey is to rent a boat and hit the Greek shores, have wine and fish and swim in the unpolluted Aegean waters away from the hot political climate in the country. This is what my friends are doing now…

Here in Portland, if clouds allow we may be able see the full moon and enjoy its silver light over the pine leaves.

Maybe because we are on the “back” side of the world, I feel like we are catching everything the last minute. In terms of the time zones I mean! By the time it is morning for us, majority of the world population has already lived that day and are ready for bed. Most of the time I think I have something precious in hand, that is a fresh “today, something my friends and family on the “front” side already used up!

The full moon will salute us the last and I find it very special for some reason.


This morning I woke up around 7am. No yoga practice due to fullmoon. In fifteen minutes I was already on my bicycle heading towards…


Somewhere where I can write my morning pages.

Now if you are from the front side of the world, you may ask, what kind of a coffee shop opens at 7 on a Saturday morning? As oppose to Istanbul where the earliest good coffee starts to be served around 9am and Athens around 11am, in Portland, coffeeshops do open at 6am! Believe it or not! This is an American dream!

And it is not just that…If you come to Portland from a dense city like Istanbul, entire town looks like a scene from a fairy tale. I remember my first morning here, only 8 weeks ago. As I was cycling up on the Clinton street and looking at the quiet green scene around me, I kept asking to myself: Is this a movie set or some sort of a Truman show situation? Could this be real?

How is it possible that this little back corner of the world remained so green, abundant, quiet and healthy while in the rest of the world people live shoulder to shoulder in dusty, polluted cities or filthy villages where there are children with black teeth.

Every time I come back to Portland I can’t help but ask: How real can this life be?


Well for the people of Portland, it is real. Now, after 8 weeks of my arrival, it is real tome as well. I quickly forgot how its beauty and its ease seemed surreal at the beginning. Now I act and spend my day as if the American dream is my only life.  I live as if the front of the world with its dusty narrow streets and tiny portions of meals does not exist!

But more than anything it is the availability of the space that strikes me the most! It is this space I miss the most when I am away. It is for this space that I choose the clouds over Mediterranean Sea.  And it is not just space in the physical sense. Yes, the streets are wide, houses have 2-3 bedrooms, plus a basement and an attic and a front porch and a back yard!  The bathrooms in the restaurant are so spacious two people and a wheelchair can move around freely…Abundance of physical space…That is something we have in Portland for sure. But  there is more…

There is inner space, there is space in between parked cars, space in the human relationships and there is private space, and here even time feels spacious…(maybe because the distances are near and there is no traffic to struggle through)

In the midst of all this space, I am thinking about writing a series of blogs.Let’s call it the “Space Series” and see where it takes us!

To be continued, stay tuned!

Defne Suman

The Back Side of the Earth” için bir yanıt

  1. Deniz 13/08/2011 / 10:40 am

    yahu Defnecim, bu sehirlerde cok benzer seyler dusunuyoruz bugunlerde galiba; ben alistim cok bu mekan, yesillik, ferahlik haline. Kendi kendime bu da benim american dream’im diyorum; ama bir yandan senden farkli olarak unutmuyorum ben hic alternatifini. O kalabaliga, toza, ust uste yasama haline donmeyi dusunmek icimi daraltiyor (oysaki bir yandan da akdeniz kiyisini dusunmeli). Ben simdi yoldayim, donunce konusalim… Bu arada bugun tam da bu sabah erken acilan dukkanlar hakkinda bir yorum yapacaktim facebook’ta. dur bi gidip yapayim :))

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