(From August 2007)
I’ve arrived! I officially live in Turkey. Me, my dog, four suitcases, and my MacBook. Apparently these are the items crucial for survival in a new country. Or so I have decided and time will tell if I’m right.
So far things are going well: no one (appears) to think I’m insane for having a teeny tiny white dog in this non-dog culture; I already ran into someone I know at the airport; the flat I’m subletting is clean, bright and has a view of the Bosphorus; and the men sitting outside the front door of my building reinforced my view of the hospitable nature of Turks in general by grabbing my suitcases as soon as I exited my taxi, running them up the stairs to my front door, then running away just as quickly leaving me barely enough time to say thanks.
Last night I went out thinking I could find the cafes I know are sprinkled around my new neighborhood but I was defeated by the winding streets and jetlag. Instead I ended up with a can of tuna and some really good juice from a little market across the street. These markets remind me of the bodegas in New York. They’re small, stay open late and have two or three of a remarkable array of items. Some of the stuff is fresh but if you pick up something dusty, well you just put that back and steer away from that item in the future.
Today, I am up early on my first morning in my new home. As usual when I am in Istanbul I can not sleep late. I think it’s something about the light which is clear and bright. I hope I never adjust to it, I’m so much more productive here. As I sit in this sunny room I realize it doesn’t feel like I live somewhere “foreign” when I’m in my apartment (I guess I should start calling it my “flat” but that still sounds funny to my American ears). When I venture out though, I feel like a “FOREIGNER”. I’m sure that will fade with time and within a few days I always feel right at home, but I guess I will always look like a “FOREIGNER” to the Turks.
Things that are the same:
- The sounds of birds outside my window in the morning.
- My dog waking me up before I’m ready and then sleeping soundly once I am wide awake.
- My apartment never seems quite neat and clean enough.
- The sound of helicopters flying far overhead.
- There’s not enough room for my clothes.
- The internet looks mostly the same.
Things that are different:
- The sound of cats outside my window at night.
- I can see the Bosphorous from my window.
- I live across the street from a Ducati dealer and a pet store– how lucky I am I? No need to search far and wide for Chloe supplies and who knows, maybe I will buy a motorcycle. Or meet the Turkish Fonzie.
- I have no idea what anyone is saying to me.
- Some of my websites are in Turkish. No idea why or how to change that. My 12-word Turkish vocabulary helps me only a little.
So far more similarities than differences. Interesting.