I’m pretty sure I’ve made a new discovery: a time machine. I don’t know what it looks like, how it works or where it’s located, but it’s the only way that could possibly explain how I’ve already been here for two months! It seems like yesterday that my stomach was in knots and tears were rising as I said goodbye to my mom and sister at the Orange County airport.
I’m going to start by saying that lately I’ve been overcome with a sense of true bliss. I’ve had this feeling a small handful of times in my life…times when everything just felt “right.” It’s a feeling that I’m right where I need to be, that I’ve made a series of correct decisions, that I’m surrounded by people who are affecting me in positive ways and that I’m doing things that will change who I am forever. What a wonderful feeling this is.
I first felt the feeling of blissfulness about a month ago. The weather in Istanbul had turned from 65 degrees and beautiful to about 45 and overcast. Despite the drizzling sky, Ashton and I decided to go on an adventure. We boarded the first ferry we found and took off for the Asian side of the city to “get lost” for the day. Somehow we ended up at an outdoor “cafe.” It’s difficult to explain, but imagine cushions lined up against a few rows of stadium seating that face the European side of the Bosphorus. We ordered a hookah and a few cups of tea as we chatted about life the way two young adventurous girls do.
The moment of bliss came when I spotted the dorsal fin of a dolphin peak out of the water. One fin was followed closely by another, then three, four, five, and finally six dolphins total. They were likely headed north toward the Black Sea. We squealed with excitement, and in that moment, I thought to myself, “life is good.” I was sipping tea with my best friend in my new home where dolphins graced us with their presence; and that’s when I first confirmed to myself I had made the right decision by moving to Istanbul.
Maybe it’s something about water, more specifically the Bosphorus, but my second blissful day came as I looked down on the Bosphorus from Rumelihisari castle. Contrary to the dolphin day, the sun shone brightly through a cloudless sky. For one of the first times since I arrived, I wore light spring clothing as Ashton and I walked up the 15th century steps to the southern most of the three towers. We found a shaded seat as we dug books out of our bags and began reading. I sat there with a goofy grin upon my face the entire time because that feeling of bliss had returned. Again, here I was, perched high atop an ancient castle with my best friend, the sun warming my face and arms, looking at the crystal blue waters of the Bosphorus and feeling the sense that I’m right where I’m supposed to be.
Now these two instances are just a few of the amazing days I’ve had the last two months. Every day brings a new story and it would take more time than I have to write everything down, but something else worth mentioning is the hospitality of the people I’ve met here. For instance, one day we were looking for the laundromat in our new neighborhood, but couldn’t find anyone who spoke English. We wandered from shop to shop until we found a small market where the owner used his broken English to explain that he would have one of his employees drive us to the nearest laundromat. Another day, it was pouring down rain and we were 30 minutes late to dinner because our cab driver didn’t know where the restaurant was located. We put him on the phone with the restaurant manager who told him to drop us off right there and that he would walk to pick us up because traffic was going to take too long. Ten minutes later, the restaurant manager arrived with a huge smile on his face and said, “follow me!” I can’t think of any restaurant in the states where the manager would walk 20 minutes through the pouring rain to find two lost girls.
One more interesting thing has been the people I’ve met here. A few have some really interesting occupations: a Turkish dentist, a German airplane pilot for Lufthansa, a woman who worked as “Pocahontas” at Disneyland, an Italian model, a costume designer for a television series here in Turkey and a Turkish/German musician. Another friend’s mother works in the entertainment industry and often works with people like Justin Timberlake and Justin Beiber. The same friend’s family owns a large share of Hyatt Hotels and Resorts so during my stay in Paris, lodging will be covered 🙂
I’m currently in a hostel on the southern coast of Turkey in Antalya, but I’ll save these stories for my next blog post…