What Is Home? Didem in New York


Name: My name is Didem Civginoglu.

Where are you from?  I'm a nomad born in Izmir. I moved to Istanbul when I was 18 years old… I'm a fish from the Aegean sea in the ocean right now. 
Occupation: Photographer, storyteller, if only it can be an occupation, then "curious kid" … before I moved to New York I was a storyteller as a consumer researcher. I was asking many questions, and now I'm asking my questions with my camera…

Where do you live now? I live in New York… a seeing eye exploring the city and looking for miracles.

What are you wearing? The pants are from a local shop in Cesme, paradise of my childhood…they are so comfortable that I have 2 more in different colors.

While I was with Didem, she made me Turkish coffee and told me that in Turkey they tell your fortune afterwards (from the coffee beans). Here's the story from her:

I am not an expert on background rituals but I can say that turkish coffee and fortune telling is one of my favorite things. When I was a kid it was more like an adult thing, that my mom and other ladies did when they got together. I had no interest in it except for its amazing smell. I always loved the smell of it… even forced myself to drink it a couple of times because it was hard to understand the fact that a thing with such a strong and beautiful smell had such an intense taste. I was more into Kinder surprise eggs where you have no idea what was going to pop out from the pack. It was suprising, exciting, fun and even sometimes frustrating if you didn't get what you wanted. Furthermore you build your own thing and if you have a series of them you can come up with your own story… It took me a while to understand that they are similar and now it is one of my favorite ones…. You have the turkish coffee with a friend most of the time, and those conversations are the best ones.. sincere, genuine, confident, fun and sometimes with some tears... you turn the cup upside down and let it cool, then it is time for story telling…you look at the shapes in the cup that the ground coffee beans leave and try to come up with stories about the other… a lot of hope, surprise, fun, creativity… you just want the magic to happen, hear the unexpected, guess the unpredictable… it is a game people play…you know that it is not for real but you want to believe… that is the essence of it, you want to believe in magic… "As long as there's one person to believe it, there's no story that can't be true.” ― Paul Auster, Auggie Wren's Christmas Story 

The picture she saw in my fortune was of "Don Quixote." 

Didem's photography can be found here.

What Is Home? Canadian Tai Chi Class

What is home to you?

"Home is where my family is."

everyone nods

"Yes, we all agree."

"And it's a place where you're safe. Usually."

"When our kids move it's our friends who are our family, though."

"But yes, it's family."

"We're boring.  We have boring answers." 

everyone laughs

"Home is peace, love, all those things."

 –The ladies at my Grandma's Tai Chi Class, when I asked them what home is to them.

What Is Home? Reflecting between two oceans

The Pacific.  Where you call home.  You spend every fog filled morning and every setting sun with the water brushing across your ankles.  There are sand dollars and seashells scattered across the sand.  The seashells are the ones you've seen a thousand times and are oh so familiar with.  In front of you west winds breathe into your lungs, and from behind, there your city stands.  It is magnificent.  It is where your house stands, perhaps your apartment, let's face it, you can only afford an apartment in San Francisco.  While you're staring out into nothing but blue, behind you is the city where your dreams have climbed 50 and a few flights of stairs to the tallest building.  Behind you is the city where your dreams have swayed in tall buildings as the earth shakes beneath you reminding you that you're small.  But right now you're just staring out into the blue ocean, the golden sky, the bitter sweet cold air that makes you wish you wore your hair down to protect your shivering neck.  You feel warm inside because your memories are sweet.  The salt water comes up through your feet and cleanses your soul.  This is home, you say.  This is the air that I breathe and the sea that I see.

And there it is.  You're running.  You're running as fast as you can towards the water, warm east winds rushing past you as your feet feel stone… sand… salt water.  The waves are calm, consistent, repetitiously caressing your ankles, the water slowly expanding up your pant leg.  The seashells are orange and ancient.  Rough.  Thick.  Prehistoric.  You pick one up and study it in the palm of your hand.  It possesses the same seashell like qualities you've always known, but it is unfamiliar.  You take a deep breath and the air feels new.  It flows gently and makes your lungs tingle like you've had too much nicotine again.  Behind you stands a city between your city.  It has dreams, too, dreams that probably rattle and shake, but then also make it to the top.  The sky is grey, the sun is setting.  Behind you.  The sun is setting behind you and as you look into the soft grey sky you realize that maybe you feel at home, but what does that mean about your own home?  Shouldn't you want to go back and watch the sun set into blue abyss and not rise?  Wave broken bubbles skitter past your feet as you pace along the shore, spelling your new name in the sand and watching as those same wave broken bubbles dissipate between the letters and wash every last bit of you away.  This is not my home, you say.  This is not my home, nor is anything between the Atlantic and the Pacific.  Not even the Pacific is my home.  This is just the air that I breathe and the sea that I see.