29 August 2009

It was 30 years ago today

On this day in 1979 I arrived in the U.S.

I don’t have any tickets, receipts, pictures or other documents left from that day. But I still have my little, now yellowed, notebook.

My primary concern for the first few months seems to have been not to overspend my meager TA stipend. So I was keeping track of my daily spendings to make sure my daily average was at or below what I could afford in a month. It's amazing how little food cost back then. On 10 September, I had 2 hotdogs and a coke for lunch for $1.30. Dessert was an additional $0.25. I didn't specify what it was. A cupcake? A chocolate bar?

The school wasn't open yet and I spent most days exploring Philadelphia, the closest large city. On 2 September, I made my 1st major discovery in the U.S.: a bookstore in Philly. It was the Encore Books (are they still around?) and bought a cheap book. There is a sketch of the location of the bookstore in my notebook with the landmarks written in Turkish or English.

If you are familiar with downtown Philly, you can probably recognize the streets around Chestnut St. fışkıran su: fountain spraying water; trene inen merdiven: stairs to the train; köşede restaurant: restaurant in the corner; pazar da açık: open also on Sundays.

I was so impressed by the abundance and the variety of books that I resolved then and there that I was staying in this country.

Here I am 30 years later.


Duane Smith said...

Welcome to the United States! A little late perhaps but welcome anyway.

Anonymous said...


Where did you attend school. I had just left Phily after being at U. Penn from 1975-1978.


Frank Anderson said...

Happy anniversary, and congratulations!

Jannavi said...

We are glad you stayed :)

kutkut16 said...

mazal tov! I had a similar notebook for Ankara (1991-2) and Athens (1999-2000). I left them with a trusted friend, so I cannot lay my hands on any of them right now.
Well: I realize in "pazarda acik" you had the "da" fixed to the noun, tsk tsk!! :-))


Well, yes, until not too long ago I used to write all of those suffixes together with the preceding words. Blame it on my lise education.