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.


  1. Adele McIntosh

    Travel safe cousin! XO

    1. Will do! Thanks!

  2. Istanbul is such a beautiful and wonderful city — but I can totally understand how the situation right now is concerning enough that you would leave. It’s really too bad…

  3. Christy Herrmann

    There’s another adventure right around the corner. Be safe as you do you final look ’round.

  4. Susan Wachowiak

    I know this is a very difficult decision! And my heart aches for you!!!

  5. Jude Pidgeon

    But weren’t you lucky to have so many years there? Istanbul will always be part of you.

  6. Oh my, my heart broke for you reading that. How does one give up on Istanbul – I wish I knew. I have tried and it always calls me back! I’m not fazed either by the security threats, but completely understand your personal decision to move on. I wish you all the very best and hope you find inspiration to keep blogging in your next destination.

  7. Sylvia Palma

    Claire, your life is so unique. You have filled it with so many special memories. I can only imagine how hard this is for you. All I can say is what you love and what is right are two different things and it sucks when you know you have to make a decision on what’s right. The only comfort is that love never fades, just transfers with time. Be present and take it in with your photos. Oxox Syl

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