Take Allen County, wrinkle it up to create some hills, stretch the St. Mary’s River to the width of the Mississippi, multiply the high rise apartments and offices downtown so they cover the whole county, then fill them all with 10-15 million people and you have a place roughly equivalent to Istanbul, Turkey, our new home.
So many contrasts exist between living in Waynedale and living in Istanbul that sometimes we pause and wonder if indeed we still live on the same planet. But then a glance into the night time sky or a friendly conversation with a Turkish neighbor reassure us we have not moved so far away.
In Waynedale, if we needed some groceries for supper, we would hop in our Voyager, drive down Lower Huntington to the neighborhood Scott’s and stroll the air-conditioned aisles picking out whatever our pantries needed. On a really bad day, the traffic might slow us down a few minutes, but afterwards we would drive back home through the rich farmlands and past beautifully tended yards, enjoying the peacefulness of the Indiana landscape.
People in the states sometimes comment about how slow southerners tend to move about their daily lives. Compared to life in Middle Eastern metropolis, life in Fort Wayne can hardly be considered anything other than one of the quietest and slowest places around.
The hustle and bustle we see in Istanbul never really stops. Sure, it has a certain rhythm of up and down, but the movement continuously flows.
The style of life we enjoyed in Fort Wayne takes its roots in that particularly American of all values: individuality. A quick look at our history reveals that we are a nation of hearty individualists, entrepreneurs and pioneers. We have never clustered too closely together, the fact is, we like our space.
I suppose in the U.S. we thought very little about the fact that had our automobile not worked, we would have had a long walk to Scott’s for a loaf of bread and a jug of milk. Our society has been tailored to accommodate our need for some space and if there is a problem, somehow we will find another set of wheels to get around on our own.
Sure, Turks have cars and occasionally a private yard where they can cook a shish kabob (their version of a summer barbecue), but 10 million people cannot live in a space the size of Allen County and hold the same attitude about their autonomy as we did in Waynedale.
We can make the adjustment to life here if we take into consideration the different way the Turks and we view living in community. We still like our space and hope to get our own set of wheels eventually, but in the process of adjusting to their ways, the Turks might teach us a few things about contributing to communities of our own like Waynedale as better members.