Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Paying Bills

Sipping down to the muddy bottom of my glass of Turkish coffee, enjoying the cinnamon we have taken to adding automatically, I am feeling very well here.

A water bill came a few days ago and I didn't think it was really ours. The names on the envelope were not those of the most recent tenants nor the names of our friends who own the place. Mysterious names were not reason enough to assume the bill had been misdirected. Rather, it was the fact that the address itself was an address on the street perpendicular to ours. I kept putting the bill in the place next to the mailboxes that it for mail for folks not at this address. It kept showing up back in my mailbox. Finally yesterday it showed up in my mailbox with a note handwritten on the front of the envelope in red ink. The note was addressed to Naomi and I couldn't make all that much sense of the handwriting.

I was in quite a tizzy over all of this last night. There was the mysterious water bill and, even if it was ours, what kind of strange maneuvers was I going to have to go through to pay it? And there was also a piece of paper from the post office saying that I have a package. But I didn't know where the post office was and, wherever it is, it's only open until 1:30 on Wednesdays.

This morning I saw my helpful next door neighbors who said that the bill was indeed mine. The wrong address? It's because our building is on the corner and apparently mail also gets here if it's addressed to where the entrance would be if it had an entrance around the corner. Then just now I called the previous tenant and he was very congenial about paying his part of the bill and also told me that he always paid the water bill online.

So, despite my fears of standing in endless lines in mysterious places to pay bills --which I may yet have the opportunity to experience with some other utility-- I just paid the water bill painlessly through the wonders of modern technology.

Paying the water bill, drinking Turkish coffee, half-hearing Alan in the next room on the phone for his weekly phone meeting with his supervisor. All of these contribute to this feeling that the things I am most enjoying here thus far are the everyday details. These are the tiny interactions through which I am getting to know this country, getting to know Alan, continually getting to know myself.

One detail I am definitely enjoying: the amazing variety of bourekas, croissants, and other tasty baked goods-

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