Emerald City Awaits

It is somewhat traumatic to start a new life in a new to a place, even with all of the creature comforts that I am afforded with my job. For me, the first week is the worst with many tears and unanswered frustrations. And it’s just lonely. Everyone and everything that you are familiar with is very, very far away. It’s rough.

But then slowly, something starts to happen and stuff become a tad less frustrating and little by little, things become more familiar and more manageable.

For instance, all I am going to say about my new apartment is that it is not my Istanbul apartment. Let’s say that if my apartment in Cihangir was my most favorite dessert in the entire world (my mom’s homemade chocolate brownies with vanilla ice cream, topped with chocolate sauce), my new apartment is a Hershey’s Kiss. Still good, does the job, but not quite as decadent. However, the location is unbeatable as I am a five minute walk to school and the Mall of Emirates (which is turning out to be a cultural phenomenon all on its own). And my doorman helped me with my IKEA (heavy lifting) items. Let’s be honest, that was pretty clutch in a very weary week.

One of the fellow new teachers commented that seeing the Dubai skyline reminded him of the Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz. I could not agree more. It is stunning and I simply cannot wait to explore the architecture more. No two buildings are alike and on some, I was like… concrete, bricks, and steal can do that??? Really, this place seems like a playground for architects. Also, the geometric design. I swear I have fallen in love all over again. I just can’t wait to run my hands over the patterns that have been around for hundreds of years.

I just had my first weekend here (Friday and Saturday… Sunday is my new Monday) and it felt good to just relax, get my apartment organized, and visit with some friends.

A note about the heat. It is hot here. Last Wednesday it was so hot that it burned my eyes the moment I stepped outside. However, as I walked over to a friend’s house last night, I must say that (surprisingly) the heat felt kind of good. It was a small moment, but a welcome one.

There are still many unanswered frustrations, which is par for the course at this point in my journey. However, I am looking forward to exploring this new city. The Emerald City awaits!



  1. what wonderful experiences you are having!

  2. I love your honest and adventurous heart, dear Claire! It sounds like the hard part will be over soon and the exciting adventures await! Can’t wait to follow the pictures and stories that will be happening! God bless you and all the lives you brighten each day!

  3. Susan Wachowiak

    It would be almost impossible to beat your “digs” in Istanbul but the five minute walk to school surely rants very high in comfortable living. Sounds like things are coming together and the “adventure” part of your new surroundings will kick in soon. Can’t wait to hear all about the “Emerald City”!

  4. Thanks for a great post. Can’t wait to read the others 🙂

  5. Hi Claire!
    My prayers are with you and I love your stories. You r such a good writer I almost feel I’m there. We miss you girl and I’m sorry I couldn’t see u when you were here. I love patterns of art and all over too, so thank you for sharing your journey.
    Keep up sharing all that you see,
    We share your travels.
    💝 Terri Syktich

  6. Katherine Freeman

    Way to go, Claire! So excited for you :). LOVE the pictures of the designs and patterns – awesome. Already looking forward to your next post!

  7. Christy Herrmann

    OH goodie. The blog posts have started. I get to travel through Claire’s words. Thanks for your descriptive, honest reactions to what’s happening. I look forward to the next one. Love your adventurous spirit.

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