Le Premier

Paris. Lutecia, to the Romans. The City of Love to foreigners today. But La Ville-Lumiére (the city of lights) to those who know and love it best. And to me?

To me it still seems uncertain and murky – my allumeur has not yet arrived. Because at the beginning, it was terrible. I arrived in the city when the sky was overcast and it was raining, and my mood turned dark like the clouds. I repeatedly told myself that I was finally in Paris, that I should lighten up and rejoice. “You’re living a dream!” I tried to tell myself. But it only got worse once I reached the hostel and settled in for the night.

The bed creaked. The pillow was lumpy. The see-through curtains were full of holes. And the repetitive clicking sound coming from the fridge, which I thought would be good white noise to help me sleep, ended up preventing me from falling back asleep when I woke up in the middle of the night, jetlagged. The whole place seemed – and I’m totally setting myself up to sound like a brat, here – unclean.

When I woke up that night at 4:30am, I tried for an hour, to no avail, to fall back asleep. For the next hour I was on my phone, scrolling through Facebook and texting my mom. By 7am, I was crying. I hated this hostel, was disappointed by the city, was worried that all the cool kids were hanging out without me (a legitimate concern), and I wanted to go home.

So a few hours later, when I saw that the sun had come out, I decided to pull myself out of my misery and go outside – my spirits lifted immediately. I got out and explored a little on my own, and jumped at the chance to speak in French with anyone and everyone. I ended up at the Jardin du Luxembourg, where children were yelling and sailing miniature boats in front of the palace. Being there felt so peaceful – not necessarily quiet – just peaceful. There was activity everywhere, and yet the entire garden felt frozen in time and space, like a Renoir painting.

From there it got better. I have been to Paris once before, when I was 9. I was not impressed. This grand city that everyone gushed about just seemed overrated to me. So I was pleasantly surprised when, last night while picnicking by the Seine, I saw the way the light touched the rooftops and transformed the city. All of a sudden, I knew I was in the right place.

And then, just as quickly, it got worse again. I found that as much as I love exploring on my own, I get upset when I find out that the others in the group are doing things without me. I need time to myself, but I also want to meet people here. I can’t go through this entirely alone.

Everyone says that study abroad changed their life, but even after just three days here (has it only been three days?), I’m beginning to see that it may not be one constant whirlwind of adventure. It has its ups and downs, just like anything else in life. And rather than feeling too happy or just depressed, it’s about finding the peaceful moments, learning to accept things you can’t change, and taking risks. And I’m learning that it takes time to adjust.

Baby steps.


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The Reichenbach Fall – Unedited Thoughts

I meant to post this months ago – it’s a little late now that the third season is done airing, but I found this sitting in my drafts folder and realized it needed to be posted.

So I just watched Season 2 again with my best friend and it’s got my thinking about everything all over again.

The one thing that’s really bugging me is: who is Sebastian Moran?

Moffat and Gatiss are Sherlock Holmes fanatics – they’re going to stick to the canonical works as far as possible. I’m willing to bet a huge amount of money that Moran will definitely appear in Season 3. But is it possible that we’ve already been introduced to Moran? Here are my theories/guesses:

1. The person who we think is Moriarty (Jim from IT) is actually Sebastian Moran, which means we still haven’t met the real Moriarty.

2. Kitty Riley is Sebastian Moran. Or at least she’s Moriarty’s accomplice. Or, possibly, she actually thinks Richard Brooke is real.

3. Is it Donovan? Or Anderson? Or more likely, one of the assassins?

4. Remember Sherlock’s “school friend” from The Blind Banker? His name was Sebastian. Does no one else find this suspicious?

Other questions I have:

Why are there so many references to fairy tales?

Why does Sherlock Holmes let Moriarty call Mrs. Hudson and Lestrade his friends? The very previous episode, he told John that he only has one friend.

For that matter, why is Sherlock Holmes so emotional in this episode?

Is I O U an acronym?

Is Moriarty really dead? Throughout the episode, Moriarty and Sherlock keeps saying things like “I am you” and “You are me” – the logical assumption (dismissing the theory that they switched bodies through disguise, because that’s completely absurd) is that they shadow each other. What one does, the other does. So since Sherlock fakes his death, does Moriarty do the same?

What are we supposed to infer from Grimm’s fairy tales? (These references are totally driving me crazy – I have no idea what they mean)

Does the dummy at the beginning of the episode have anything to do with how Sherlock faked his death?

The OOC thing was, at the school, when Sherlock was investigating the kidnapping case, and he suddenly said “get Anderson” – did nobody else catch this? Sherlock HATES Anderson. Why on earth would Sherlock WANT Anderson to be around him – is this possibly the OOC thing we’re supposed to be watching out for?

One thing I have to mention – some people are saying that in Hounds of Baskerville, it is hinted that humans were being cloned in the facility, and so these people think that Sherlock cloned himself and that’s how he faked his death. Let me just say that this is not possible. Clones don’t work like that; you can’t just put someone in some kind of giant machine and have two of the same people pop out. Clones work like identical twins. Genetic information would be taken from Sherlock’s DNA, and inserted into an embryo, meaning it would take 25+ years for the clone to look like/be the same age as Sherlock, and even then, 90% of the clone’s personality and a huge part of its appearance would be different due to differences in environment. This was an extremely unintelligent theory..

Is Sherlock one step ahead of Moriarty? Or does he just think he’s one step ahead of Moriarty, when really, Moriarty is winning?

Is the answer to how Sherlock faked his death hidden in The Final Problem or The Adventure of the Empty House?

We see, but we do not observe. It’s ironic that the person we need to solve Sherlock’s fake death is Sherlock.


Professor James Moriarty has a brother… named Colonel James Moriarty. Not sure how this ties in with the TV show.

Aren’t we all forgetting Mycroft? Everyone has theories about Sherlock, Moriarty, John, and Molly, but we all seem to be forgetting Mycroft. Remember that Mycroft is smarter than Sherlock. When he tells John about the assassins near 221B, and John asks if he thinks they’re Moriarty, Mycroft says “If not Moriarty, then who? He’s sworn to destroy Sherlock.” (or something to that effect).

Mycroft knows about the rivalry between Sherlock and Moriarty, and he knows Moriarty is dangerous. I don’t think he’s stupid enough to sell Sherlock’s entire life story to Moriarty. Either he fed him the wrong information, or he, too, was in on the plan.

But it seems as though everyone is in on this plan except John: Mycroft may have been involved, Molly was, Sherlock’s homeless network, and even Mrs. Hudson (some people have claimed).

Isn’t that dangerous? In SiB, we saw how easily people found out that Irene wasn’t really dead, and at that point, only three people knew she faked her death. With just three people knowing, her killers found out so quickly.

And here we are thinking that at least 10 people knew that Sherlock faked his death. The more people that know, the more likely Sebastian Moran (or Moriarty?) will find out Sherlock isn’t really dead.

So I think it’s quite likely that only Sherlock and Molly knew about it – remember that everyone underestimates Molly, so it’s not likely that Moriarty’s people will find out about Sherlock through her.

However, if you notice the strangers milling around St. Barts, they act pretty strangely when Sherlock falls:

1. When you see someone commit suicide, you’re not going to rush towards the corpse. Most people would stare for a bit, then go away – some people might be kind enough to phone the ambulance. But in this scene, everyone rushes towards Sherlock’s body, which is very suspicious.

2. Strangers don’t act the way the people near St. Bart’s did. In the scene, you can see that they’re all touching each other, kind of creating a circle or chain around Sherlock. Strangers don’t teach each other like that, they would act rigid around the body.

3. If you saw someone who had just died on the ground, and someone came and said “let me through, I’m a doctor” wouldn’t your first instinct be to make way for said doctor? All the people around Sherlock were trying as hard as they could to keep John away from the body.

From all this, I think we can conclude that most of the crowd around Sherlock was hired – possibly his homeless network. So we know for a fact that Sherlock had help from Molly and his homeless network.

The mistake that everyone is making is that they’re trying to fit facts into their own theories – how many millions of times has Sherlock Holmes warned us against this?

We have to find theories that completely fit the facts – all of us are bending the facts too much.

Okay and here’s an unlikely theory but what if, what if Sherlock hired someone a while ago who looked a lot like Sherlock, and this is the person who kidnapped the kids – that’s why the little girls screams. Up till now I thought that Moriarty set up the kidnapping to smear Sherlock’s name, but what if Sherlock was one up on him? And that’s why he says “I may be on the side of the angels, but don’t think for one second that I am one” because he did something bad, but it was in order to defeat Moriarty. So then once Moriarty commits suicide, Sherlock can switch places with his hired doppelganger, and then he takes the fall, while Sherlock makes his escape.

Okay, so maybe that’s a little far-fetched.

WAIT. I just got another idea. Since we’ve already assumed that all the people around St. Bart’s were Sherlock’s homeless network, what if it was just Sherlock all along? Sherlock jumps, the homeless network creates a human net to break Sherlock’s fall. Then the bike rider bumps into John, and the laundry truck remains in front of Sherlock, so that they can all arrange the blood, and Sherlock could stop his pulse using the rubber ball.

Why hasn’t anyone thought of this theory before? Even though it’s not as elaborate as other theories, it’s just as likely, right?

Thoughts about His Last Vow coming soon.

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Common Misconceptions about Sherlock Holmes

1. The deerstalker hat: Sherlock never wears this hat. In fact, he rarely wears head wear at all (except when he’s in disguise). When he does, Conan Doyle mentions a top hat. The hat was probably first introduced by Sidney Paget, illustrator for The Strand. It later gained popularity in theatrical adaptations until eventually, it became difficult to find a Sherlock Holmes avatar existing without this iconic hat.

2. Sherlock Holmes frequently says “Elementary, my dear Watson.”: False. Only once or twice in the 56 stories written about Holmes does he say ‘Elementary’. On several occasions Holmes says ‘my dear Watson’ in the middle of a sentence, but never does he ever say “Elementary, my dear Watson.”

3. Sherlock Holmes always smokes a Calabash pipe: The curly, distinctive pipe that is always associated with Sherlock Holmes is never mentioned in the books. In fact, Conan Doyle never even mentions that Holmes prefers pipes to other forms of tobacco. Sherlock never would have even used a Calabash pipe, because it mellows the smoky mixture, and Sherlock preferred strong, harsh tobacco. This was, most likely, a Hollywood invention.

4. Sherlock Holmes was old: Holmes was born in 1854. The first story, A Study in Scarlet, is set in 1881, making him 27 at the time. This means that for most of his adventures with Watson, he was a young man. Obviously he grew old at some point in time, but he was not always old.

5. Sherlock Holmes was a drug addict: it can be easy to assume this, but first the context of the stories must be taken into account. At the time when the stories were set, it was not uncommon for people to take drugs. In spite of this, Sherlock Holmes did not frequently take drugs. He mentioned that he only took drugs when his mind required stimulation, or when he did not have a case to solve. Moreover, he only took morphine and cocaine (which were legal, over-the-counter drugs at the time), NOT opium. Opium is only mentioned in The Man with the Twisted Lip in which he must pretend to take opium in order to solve a case.

6. Sherlock Holmes was gay: this is false. Holmes was, to a great extent, asexual. Watson married in The Sign of Four, and loved his wife very much. The relationship between Holmes and Watson was purely platonic. This myth is largely perpetuated by such adaptations as the Guy Ritchie movies and BBC’s Sherlock.

7. Sherlock Holmes loved Irene Adler: Again, Holmes was asexual. While many interpreted A Scandal in Bohemia to indicate that Sherlock Holmes loved Irene Adler, this is not true. Holmes was a famously misogynistic man, and therefore Watson’s surprise at Holmes’ respect for Irene Adler comes through in his writing. But that’s all it was. Holmes’ feelings towards Adler were admiration and respect, not love.

8. Sherlock Holmes was a very serious man who never laughed or smiled: on the contrary, Holmes laughed or smiled in almost every single story, sometimes sarcastically. In fact, Sherlock Holmes was totally capable of feeling and conveying normal human emotions, which brings me to…

9. Sherlock Holmes was socially handicapped: this is the misconception with irks me the most because it is simply not true. There are various claims to this myth, including: he cannot deal with or understand other people’s pain, he does not feel emotions, and he cannot understand social interaction. None of this is true. Clearly he has to be able to understand pain in order to help people. In the Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton, he stoops to a criminal level in order to save a woman’s engagement. In this same story, he becomes engaged to a woman, which shows that clearly, he must have a total understanding of social cues and norms in order to manipulate a woman to the point that she falls in love with him. He regularly acts kindly towards women and his clients in general.

Up next: Thoughts on the Reichenbach Fall (BBC Sherlock)

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The Best Meals I’ve Ever Had

I’m a vegetarian. I have been ever since I was 12, and my reasons are a combination of religion, belief in animal rights, and taste. But I love food. Like, I really love food. I get sudden cravings at all times of the day, and for something very specific, too, not just “normal” cravings like chocolate or fries. Sometimes it’s spring rolls, sometimes it’s falafel wraps, sometimes it’s gulab jamun.

I’ve had the good fortune to be able to travel around the world and taste the different foods of the world, and I’ve had some truly spectacular meals – some of these stand out in my mind.

1. The Salish Lodge, Seattle, Washington – Belgian Waffles with Apple Butter and Cinnamon Whipped Cream, yummm. Oh, lord, what a delight! This was one of the best breakfasts I’ve had in my life.

2. Cafe Amedros, Istanbul, Turkey – the stuffed mushrooms. This whole meal was wonderful, including the dolmas and baklava, but the stuffed mushrooms were the best part.

3. My Mother’s, Capadoccia region, Turkey – I had some of the best vegetable curries here. After a week in Turkey, we were rather tired of some of the generic curries and the odd emphasis on eggplant, but the curries we had at My Mother’s were different and delicious.

4. Santorini, Greece – unfortunately I don’t remember the name of the place, but I do remember that the tomatoes stuffed with rice and vegetables was excellent. The people here were wonderful, and the restaurant was filled with cats.

5. MBK mall, Bangkok, Thailand – it’s a little strange that one of the best meals we had in Thailand was in a mall, but it’s true! It was hard for us, being vegetarians, to find varied meals in an east Asian country, but the food court at this mall had a variety of options available to us. The Thai curry and Pad Thai were particularly delicious.

6. Chokhi Dhani resort, Jaipur, India – koftas in a red curry (I can’t remember the name). The meals here were served in the form of an Indian thali, with a fixed menu every day, and the whole meal was excellent. This is probably the best Indian food I’ve ever had. And that’s saying something because I am Indian!

7. The Lazy Dog, Manali, India – some kind of paratha stuffed with cheese and apple. This is a kashmiri dish, I’m told, and the sweetness of the parathas combined with the more salty and spiced gravy is an absolute treat! We came to this place after a long trek up a hill, so I’m sure our opinions were affected by the fact that we were exhausted and starving!

8. The train station in Florence, Italy – this is even more ridiculous than the mall, and you’re probably laughing at me, I know, but hear me out! They have a wonderful dining section in the train station that serves both fresh food and frozen options. After a disappointing experience the previous day where we payed close to 20 euros for a salad (which wasn’t even good), the food train station was perfect for us. Fast, cheap, and tasty!

My mouth is watering now, remembering all these wonderful meals. I look forward to having more food adventures all over the world!

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Finding a Novel about Women that’s Not About Love – Not as Hard as You’d Think

“It’s Frustratingly Rare to Find a Novel About Women That’s Not About Love” says The Atlantic. As always when I find people attacking women writers and their subjects, or female characters and their interests, I was indignant and bothered when I first came across this article. When the initial anger passed, though, I stopped to think about whether there was any truth in this statement or not. What I discovered is that there is not. There is just about the same amount of romance in a book featuring a female protagonist as there is in a book featuring a male protagonist (for the most part – romance novels are obviously excepted).

The way I see it, there are two ways to approach this question. The first is to assume that when the writer says “About Love” she means the book is exclusively about love – enough so that it can be classified as “romance”. The other way to look at is that “About Love” simply means that a large portion of the story is devoted to romance, but it is not the main focus of the story. I’m going to talk about both these interpretations to show just how wrong The Atlantic is.

Let me list out 12 books I’ve read recently which feature both male and female protagonists, and are written by both men and women. I think that I have quite varied taste, and an open mind, when it comes to books, so I’m fairly confident that I’ve made a reasonable selection. (I’m limiting the books listed to those published in the last 200 years, simply because society before then was much more patriarchal than it is now).

Going with the first method (the main focus of the novel is love), then:

  1. 1984 (George Orwell) – fail
  2. The Museum of Innocence (Orhan Pamuk) : pass
  3. The Other Boleyn Girl (Phillipa Gregory) : fail – while the main character of this book, Mary, does love the King, the larger focus of the book is not her romance (or lack of romance). It is her relationship with her sister, her family’s ambition, and her ultimate decline in the court (hence the title).
  4. Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro) : fail – Kathy and Tommy’s journey together is a vital part of this story, but ultimately, the story is about the society they live in and how this affects Kathy personally.
  5. Great Expectations (Charles Dickens) : fail – this story is, more than anything, a coming of age story
  6. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) : fail – I already know that I’m going to be disputed on this matter, but hear me out. If Jane Eyre was a love story, the sections on her life with her Aunt Reed and her experience at Lowood would have been much briefer, believe me. This novel truly is a bildungsroman, so it fails this first test, albeit the fact that the person who helped her realize who she was may have been a man.
  7. Out of Africa (Karen Blixen) : fail – again, this will be disputed (and the movie adaptation doesn’t help), but the love aspect in this book was so insignificant it is barely worth mentioning. It is much more about Karen’s experiences in Africa, and her relationships with the people and animals she finds there.
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky) : fail – this is not a love story. But because the protagonist is male, I’m almost positive everyone will agree with me (whereas most people are happy to jump to the conclusion that Jane Eyre is a romance novel simply because the protagonist is female, when it is just as much a coming-of-age story as The Perks of Being a Wallflower is)
  9. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand) : fail
  10. Atonement (Ian McEwan) : fail – keep in mind that this is the story of Briony, not the story of Celia and Robbie. I think the point of the story is quite evident in the title of the book.
  11. Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy) : fail – again, many will argue about this, but this is a story of a woman who has to live with the decisions she has made. Men do shape her decisions, yes, but this is an internal journey for Anna, not “about love”
  12. The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald) : fail – there are many interpretations of this novel out there, but to me, The Great Gatsby embodies the American Dream, wanting something you have, and the difference between reality and dreams. Not a love story.

The only novel that passes this first criterion (the focus of the story is love) is The Museum of Innocence, which is both written by a man, and features a male protagonist.

Okay. On to the next case: the story features love prominently, though it is not the main focus of the novel. I’m going to use the same list of books.

  1. 1984 (George Orwell) : pass – Winston’s relationship with Julia is substantial enough to qualify as a love affair.
  2. The Museum of Innocence (Orhan Pamuk) : pass
  3. The Other Boleyn Girl (Phillipa Gregory) : pass – Though, you should remember, the book is set in 16th century England. Women are raised to think that their lives revolve around men.
  4. Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro) : pass – Kathy and Tommy’s romance does help Kathy shape her views and thoughts about the world around her and her ultimate fate.
  5. Great Expectations (Charles Dickens) : pass – Pip waits for Estella for a good ten years, if not more, and his interest in her only cements his place in society.
  6. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) : pass – For all I said about this book not being a romance novel, Jane’s love affair with Rochester does play a huge party in the story.
  7. Out of Africa (Karen Blixen) : pass
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky) : pass – for all that The Atlantic said about heroines being supporting characters in their own stories, I’d almost argue that Sam was the lead in this book. She shapes Charlie’s life and experiences so much that it’s hard to argue that Charlie has the sole claim to the title of “main character”
  9. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand) : pass – although I’m not sure Howard Roark can actually feel love.
  10. Atonement (Ian McEwan) : pass
  11. Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy) : pass
  12. The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald) : pass

Guess what? Every single novel on the list passed. Out of the 12 books, 6 have female protagonists, and 6 have male protagonists – regardless, love plays an important role in each book. Why? Because love plays an important role in life. It’s frustrating when people refuse that men are often searching for love, because they are too. It’s a human instinct and almost a societal requirement.

And even after all this, if you aren’t convinced, here are some honorable mentions of books with female protagonists that lack a substantial ‘love’ angle: The Help (Kathryn Stockett), The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold), To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee – does this count if the main character is only 6 years old?), The God of Small Things (Arundhati Roy), and The Thirteenth Tale (Diane Setterfield). The list is limited by my own reading list, but I’m sure there are many more such books.

I think the writer overplays some of her points. “These female characters had love stories of heartbreak, but no stories of solitary self-discovery.” That’s a misleading statement, because there’s no such thing as ‘solitary self-discovery.’ No man is an island, and we are all the product of the people around us. Of the novels I’ve listed, I’d say about half were stories of self-discovery – and those include books with a female protagonist. Even stories with male characters on the path to self-discovery are not totally solitary – I’d say a huge part of Holden Caulfield’s journey was shaped by his younger sister, Phoebe. And she may not be a love interest, but what about The Great Gatsby? Jay Gatsby as we know him today would be a totally different person without Daisy.

Now I’m not arguing with everything the writer of the article says. I realize that there are still many problems with the way women are perceived in our world, and that, like it or not, we still live in a largely patriarchal society.

But don’t invalidate the books we cherish and love by saying that the women in these books are motivated solely by a desire for marriage and children. Don’t discredit the whole of our sex.

Link to the article: http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/07/its-frustratingly-rare-to-find-a-novel-about-women-thats-not-about-love/277621/


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Serince, Turkey

Serince: a small village in the district of Sincik, Adiyaman Province, Turkey.

“Hos Geldiniz” says the friendly sign weathered with rust that appears as our car rears up to the peak of the small summit it just climbed. On the left is a small tea shop that boasts of night time wrestling and to our left is a small dirt road, but beyond this there is nothing to indicate that people live here. The car snorts in protest, but we accelerate forward onto the tiny dirt road, maneuvering our way higher up into the clouds. After many hairpin bends and a few near death experiences, we arrive at the Nishanyan Hotel. Looking down, I can finally see the tiny village of Serince, reaching out my hand as though to grasp it, not realizing is much farther away than I can perceive. The crooked path here slopes inwards, so that I have to place my feet in an odd orientation that makes me look like a penguin to make sure I don’t trip.

We walk past a Turkish hamam that hasn’t worked in years and a swimming pool that’s too cold to swim in, only to find a young boy sitting on a chair in front of reception, reading intently. After seeing us out of the corner of his eye, a few seconds too late, judging by the harsh look he is given by the lady behind the counter, presumably his mother, he scrambles out of his seat and smiles up at us. After we exchange greetings there is an awkward pause before he says “I’ll be taking care of you today”

His name is Tevet, he says. He can’t be more than twelve years old. He offers us welcome drinks whose sweetness almost makes me wince. His eyes are a light blue grey, and he has a round nose that reminds me of Caillou. When he talks, the corners of his mouth turn up into a smile, perhaps in satisfaction that the English words that come out make sense to us, foreigners. When we ask how he learned English, he tells us that he learned mainly from the internet – I am both impressed and envious, wishing I had the commitment to learn a language like that. He offers us a menu, telling us that dinner has to be pre-ordered, but after seeing the sky high prices, we decide it would do both us and our wallets good to visit the village to eat.

Standing on top of the hill as we were, looking down on the village made it seem both very close and infinitely far away. It is a small gathering of buildings, all shingle-roofed, deep in a valley, surrounded on all sides by mountains. The paths are cobblestoned, and a silent hush covers the village after 5pm, as the light starts to fade. The only mosque in the village has just a single minaret. Every few streets, the smell of manure and farm animals drifts by, and occasionally one can smell alcohol from the nearby wineries. From the houses around me I can hear Turkish folk music played from an old device which crackles when the music gets louder.

On our way down, we encounter a white scruffy dog that looks lost, and I see him looking wistfully at the people passing by, as though begging for a new friend. I smile at him, and instantly, his wish has been granted. His tail starts wagging furiously and he trots faithfully behind us, allowing us to lead the way. I imagine that in another life I am a Turkish villager, and this dog and I found each other on the street, and became instant companions. My thoughts run wild and I start to fantasize about living in Turkey, learning the culture, and adopting its customs.

Suddenly the dog hears a noise and runs off behind us. I want to call to it but it has lost interest in us. As it runs away, I catch a glimpse of a shiny metal collar jutting out from its fur and I am hit by the sad realization that the dog was never ours, not even for those few moments.

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