Watching the events in Istanbul and around Turkey unfold is worrying, anger-inducing, heartbreaking, inspirational, hopeful and exhausting all at once.
I don't get a lot of news from the mainstream media, (mainly because they aren't covering it much), but from my sister and friends in Istanbul, (both Turkish and foreign) who are doing a fantastic job of keeping the world updated via Facebook and Twitter.
Each one reports on what's going on in their vicinity, and together they paint an accurate and personal picture of the current situation...
My sister lives just a few blocks from Gezi Park and has shared video footage and photos over the last few weeks of everything from police aggression to peaceful congregations. She's abandoned her flat several nights due to teargas and general tension in the area.
Another friend, Kathy, has been keeping her world abreast of all the action from the Asian side. She uses her journalistic skills to provide timely and verified info to the rest of us.
Another friend and her fiancé have been part of the protests since the beginning, her photos and view from the street provide the rest of us with an emotional on-the-ground perspective.
Another Turkish friend regularly posts where the hot-spots are at that moment, what transport is running and what (medical and non-medical) supplies are needed in certain areas.
These are just a few people who provide the world with their stories.
In all, we agree that this is a positive step forward for Turkey, no matter how it may look on TV. For years, I've heard Turks and foreign residents complain that Turkey was inching towards an Islamic state. These protests are a stand against that slow crawl.
But my heart breaks to know that so many people are suffering there, and, as I sit here in the peaceful Okanagan Valley, the peace, the freedom and the clean air do not go unnoticed and unappreciated by me. Not today.
"Peace at home, peace in the world."
Watch Mel's latest video here.