Wednesday, August 17, 2011

In case some of you don't know exactly what I am doing, I'll explain.

Here's what I know:
a) I want to travel
b) I eventually want to work for myself

Now, I might go to law school, and I might go to business school; I don't know. But I do know that whichever thing I do, I'm taking time off. And I could take time off in Dallas, getting a job doing whatever OR I could take time off somewhere else doing whatever. I chose somewhere else.

I chose Turkey. I came here in 2008, after my freshman year at Princeton, and I had a WONDERFUL time. No, seriously, I was my at my best while I was here. I woke up early, made my bed, and ate healthily. I loved my time in Istanbul. And I wasn't half bad at Turkish.

I thought it might have been because Turkey was my first exposure to a new country, a new culture, but last summer I went to France and Italy and definitely did not have anywhere near the same experience. My senior year at Princeton, I studied Turkish. I had a great teacher, Erika Gilson, and wonderful classmates, and it was easier than French. 

It was like the world was telling me something. And without a plan post-graduation, living in Turkey and learning Turkish, which I consider an investment in my future international law career, sounded perfect. So I bought a ticket to Istanbul. It's a one-way ticket and my goal is to at least make it a year here. I need to find a job. I need to find an apartment. I need to learn Turkish. I'm not a part of any program; I'm on my own. I have the money in my bank account and all the common sense that the Lord has given me. But I also have a year. And who knows? I might just stay a little longer. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Land of Milk and Hummus

Milk and hummus are actually pretty rare in Turkey. You can always find hummus on the menus of Turkish restaurants in America but no hummus in Turkey. And milk isn't a very common beverage either.

I take my Turkish food very seriously, and when I arrived on the afternoon of Thursday, August 15, I knew exactly where I wanted to go for dinner. I booked a hostel close to this restaurant. My friend, Kerem, had taken me a couple times the last time that I was here, and it was on the busy street, Istiklal but hidden on a roof. Not crowded with a great view. I convinced Stephen to go with me, even though I didn't know the name of the place or exactly where it was, but I knew I would know it when I saw it.

By the time I got my stuff settled in the hostel and washed the airplane off my face, it was raining. Thanks, Istanbul! We huddled under an umbrella making our way down Istiklal but because the restaurant was on the roof we had to keep glancing up. I finally saw it from below but could already tell that it was probably closed and, if not closed, probably not a good place to eat in the rain. We walked into the building and Stephen used his Turkish skillz to determine that the restaurant was actually closed. Sad.

We ate at another restaurant, and the food was fine. Between the rain and the disappointment, I spent my first night in Istanbul a little bummed out. But the morning held the promise of a week-long trip to the seaside towns of Izmir and Bodrum.