November 6, 2010

ISTANBUL! magic city, magic magic city! i was terrified to do a CELEBRATION ROOM in turkey because i had no clue how the public would react. unfamiliar with the culture, the language, the people, who knows what the street would think of some crazy american girl hanging streamers in the park??

we prepped all of the decorations the night before with the help of many couchsurfing friends. they taught me how to make these awesome folded paper garlands called “mousetraps,” which apparently all the europeans knew how to make and i had never even seen before. the only thing similar i had ever made was springy folded chains from the perforated edges of old computer paper!

the next day we brought all of the supplies to a small park behind the galata tower, the symbol of istanbul! ezgi chose the location, right in the center of the city with lots of foot traffic, both native and tourist. i was so nervous as i approached the park, which was full of men enjoying the sunny afternoon, people-watching, chatting in groups on benches. i very nervously started hanging colored laundry line around some trees, marking off the boundary of the space. a few guys came and questioned what i was doing, and i explained the project and asked if they wanted to help. they enthusiastically helped me wrap the rope around some trees and poles…

people slowly became interested and a crowd gathered around the park. we handed out streamers to passersby and most people would sit for a while, fold a mousetrap, ask what we were doing. all of my turkish friends had said that people would be very inquisitive, curious, and helpful, and it was completely true! there were very few people who ignored us or who refused to participate!

i gave one couple some streamers to weave and came back to give them candy and the man said that he and his wife (who didnt speak english) had just gotten married and they were in istanbul on their honeymoon. he was so excited about the project and said that it had made them so happy to be able to do something so fun and simple with strangers! a great feeling to be able to affect people with such a simple act.

so much gratitude and a great big teşekkür to all of my wonderful turkish friends, children, adults, strangers, couchsurfers, and anyone else who was involved. this way by far the largest of all of the CELEBRATION ROOMS and an incredible success!


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