It was with a very heavy heart that I recently resigned my position at school. I am leaving my city by the water. I hope I am wrong in this, but I just don’t feel that the security situation in Turkey or in this region of the world is going to get better any time soon.
As I look back, there are things I wish I would have done more of, or just better. There are things that I am terribly proud of and others… well just normal, really.
Reflecting upon my decision, I understand that the light of the sun in Istanbul cannot and never will be duplicated. And when it hits the Bosporus at the beginning or end of each day, wow. Nothing is more lovely.
The very act of writing this as I sit in one of my favorite cafes is an act of restraint; trying to book my one-way ticket back to the States last night brought many tears to my eyes – I couldn’t do it. Yet I know in my head, this is the right decision for me. It is just my heart that is having trouble accepting this.
It would be easy for me to list all that I cherish, adore, and love about Istanbul. With all of Istanbul’s problems, I still don’t know how anyone could not love this city. It’s like when I meet people who don’t like chocolate. Only it’s the best chocolate in the world and someone is like, meh, no thanks.
But for me the city has changed. After the last attack in Ankara (#jesuisankara), I woke up before work one morning and I just knew it was time to leave. Then Istiklal happened in a spot that is as familiar to me as the street that I live on. How many times have I walked right there, just living my life? Lately it seems that there are many more security warnings, non-essential Consulate staff are being flown out from certain cities, and articles of terror raids just don’t leave me feeling safe.
Granted, there are far more dangerous places, it can happen anywhere, and some fellow teachers aren’t fazed… but I need to follow my instincts on this one.
For now, I will go around and record this city I love with sounds, photographs, and videos. What I need to figure out is how finally capture what stirs my soul and invigorates my senses. Afterwards, I need to try and organize these fleeting moments in time. But how does one organize what is in one’s heart?
Below are some photos of the tulips. Ah, lovely Istanbul.