Dancing With Fear

by Lena

 I have been restless lately; A few days ago, I bought my plane tickets to Morocco, Egypt & Turkey. Leaving at the end of March for my 28th Birthday. I have never felt fear of flying or traveling before. I do now though… It’s twisting all of my senses, feelings and mind into a wicked dance …

I want to begin by remembering this one amazing country that I have visited throughout my childhood, teenage years and now going back to, a whole decade later…

( where does the time go? .. )

Antalya, Turkey in the 90's

It’s a beautiful country, full of history, culture with very kind and hospitable people. It is also home to the best coffee in the world. Oh, how I love Turkish coffee in the morning! My heart is full of memories that forever tie me to this land…

In the 90’s I was staying at this 3  now  4 star hotel near Kemer. But sometimes I would just pack a small backpack, get a couple of Turkish liras for snacks and go outside of the hotel to explore the surroundings; nature, people, cafes & 5 star hotels near by : ) ..

I would waltz in like nobody’s business, go to the pool area and pretend like I’m staying there .. I know, I know.. but hey, I just wanted to swim in a bigger pool, that’s all.

After a glorious day by the pool I would walk back to my hotel, along a dusty road surrounded by houses of locals and small cafes.

On one of those walks as I was enjoying exotic scents, summer wind and sounds of crickets, I heard a different sound.. It was a sound of loud music which was mixed with laughter, coming from the other side of the road.. of course, I had to cross the road and explore the sounds. And there they were ~ proud, colorful, larger than life, Gypsies.. playing on guitars, drinking, laughing and dancing.

They couldn’t believe when they saw a “tourist” kid by herself .. they invited me inside.. we danced, ate and laughed. I will never forget an old gypsy man sitting very quietly in a corner.. just watching.. he’s eyes told stories.. behind those wise, honest, dark eyes was a whole life. A life full of roads, dust, music and passion.

Women kept asking me how could a mother let her child wander around in a different country by herself.. They wanted to meet her. I tried to explain to them that since I could remember I was very independent and had no fear of life and people, because I’ve learned to trust both.

July 1995 .. oh my dear god, what am I wearing?!

By the age of 7 I could get from point A to point B by metro in a crazy megapolis such as Moscow and take bus to my ballet classes, swimming & horseback riding, where at 9 I made my first money by cleaning stables and horses.. but guess what? I got to ride for free!

My mom was and still is, a working mother. Whenever she could, she would try to pick me up, but if she couldn’t, it wasn’t the end of the world and I happily walked to a bus stop by myself, listening to the peaceful sound of falling snow and watching how it shimmers from the moonlight.

I’m forever grateful to my mom for not smothering me and for not being overprotective.

Anyway, back to the Gypsies …

They insisted on walking me back to my hotel. And the next time I went to their place by the road, I invited my mom…

August 1994. With my mom at Anais Hotel.

 They couldn’t believe that in front of them was a tall, blonde woman with intimidatingly piercing green eyes.

Back in Moscow after Turkey.. I'm 10 here.

No matter where I was in the world, I would always come back to visit Turkey.

With my friend Tanya in our hotel room.. bluffing away .. 12-year-old me in the Summer of 1996.

The last time I was in Turkey it was in 2002. I traveled there with my Tourism & Hospitality business faculty for “Praktika” ( Internship ). We studied half of the time and the other half .. well .. you know.. sightseeing ..

Amphitheatre at Myra, Finike 2002

This was my first international trip which was fully paid by my part-time modeling gigs. I was so proud.

Beautiful Rock Tombs at Myra, Finike

It was also a time of my glorious rebellion; my first tattoo and the absolute worst taste in men. I’ve tried to hide my panther tattoo for as long as I could, but couldn’t fool my father for too long. He saw right through me.. always..


10 years after my last visit to Turkey, I’m going back. But that’s only half of the story…


We had our ups and downs, we lived through pain, anger, loss, tears and a few years of complete silence. It’s been almost 9 years now …

9 long years since we last saw each other. We’re too stubborn and too proud. Anger and pain is too heavy of a burden to carry in your heart.. it slows you down and eats at you from inside. Someone has to take the first step.. it’s the hardest one you will ever take.

In order to forgive we have to ask for forgiveness.. there is no other way.. One must ask for forgiveness and then let it go..

I’m afraid of the unknown.. probably for the first time in my life.

I’m nervous, happy and exited. How do you begin to measure fear?.. What about happiness?..

I measure fear by the sound of an airplane landing and by walking out of an airport. I measure happiness by seeing her eyes again and by having her arms around me. No matter how different or similar we might be and regardless of the things that happened or didn’t happen in the past…

She is an extraordinary woman…

…she is and always will be

my mother.