California

It’s really good to be back in California, back in the United States. Whenever I see the American flag flying, this is what it sounds like in my mind: I know it’s a bit corny but that is how it feels to me. There is a poem below by Yahya Kemal Beyatlı about Istanbul that a friend sent to me. Although I love being home, back in the States, the words below could have been written by me:  

Scratching the Surface

For the past four years, I was a California girl living in Istanbul. Come August when I fly off to my new destination, it will be difficult for me not to miss my beloved city by the water. So I thought it might be nice to put a small collection of some videos together as a tribute to my time in Istanbul. This compilation does not come close in demonstrating everything I experienced  or felt in this charming city, but if I thought too hard and spent too much time, I would never finish. Istanbul was an experience of a lifetime and as such,…

Breaking of Fast

It is Ramadan right now in Istanbul. Iftar (breaking the fast) is a religious observance and it happens at the evening call to prayer. The fasting during this month lasts all day; no food, no water. When that evening call to prayer comes, people come together as a community to break the fast (Iftar). So as you watch the small video below, try to imagine families and friends getting together after a long day with no food or drink to enjoy a good meal.

Capturing the Sounds

Sometimes I compare Istanbul to a beautiful shark; always on the move, never resting. As a result, the city can be loud as people go from place to place. This noise is part of the fabric of this city and oddly, one of the things I will miss the most. The video below was recorded on a street very close to my own. If you have a little over four minutes to spare, I hope that as you listen, you can picture yourself in Istanbul… enjoying the tapestry of sounds.

#iamistanbul

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…

The Istanbul I Love

A ferry in the distance, a plane overhead. A couple having tea and a group of young men hanging around, enjoying the view along with everyone else. Small waves full of jellyfish rolling through time. Cement sidewalks wet with drops from splashes against the rocks. It is one of the reasons that Istanbul is so magical. In so many big and small ways, the Bosphorus is Istanbul. The attack last Saturday on İstiklal Avenue shook me up. Not just because it happened in a place that I have walked often, a short distance from my apartment, but because I don’t…

Difficult Bits

Living abroad as an expat has changed my life in many ways. I have seen some beautiful sites and grown as a person in many ways. But what I don’t always talk about with friends and family are the difficult bits. One of the main reasons I don’t write about the lonely and isolating parts is because they don’t last that long. Normally it takes a Skype call home or an inspirational walk around Istanbul to help me pass the blues. But these blues can run deep. I read an article recently that said expat life is filled with high highs…

Speaking in Whispers

Recently, I read an article about how being an expat changes people. While living abroad, people tend to become better listeners and to take a step back. When you don’t speak the language and aren’t with the people that know you the best, I think this seems normal enough. And in many cases, you are just hoping for the best. You hope people are being fair and kind because you have no idea what they are saying. I will give you an example. When I first arrived in China, I took a taxi home at night and to make a…

Banksy in Istanbul

As a person who likes street art, Banksy is a bit of name. For me, his work can be thought provoking and as a marketer, he is second-to-none. I knew there was an exhibition about his work in Istanbul, but it was a happy accident when I stumbled upon it yesterday morning in Karakôy. There are many things to write but I think I will just let the images speak for themselves. Enjoy!    

Happiness

The attack here in Istanbul last week left me a little shaken. I love this city but I also want to live in a place that is safe. However, as I look at the world around me, no place seems safe… just less dangerous? Is it time to head out of Istanbul before it gets worse? Will it get worse? To be honest, I don’t see how it could get better at this point. Many of the countries close to or around Turkey are hot messes. It’s already spilling over. It is with these heavy thoughts running around my mind…