its high time for me to write an update on my life in istanbul. while i'm sad to be posting less and less, i think it stems from me DOING more and more in this amazing city, and that's good news.
since my last "real" post, i've moved into my wonderful new apartment in cihangir with the best flatmates i could ask for (volkan, aysha, tony), hosted my parents and sisters, begun turkish language lessons, begun my daily yoga practice at cihangir yoga, and have just finalllyyyy begun to feel "at home" in istanbul. i definitely acredit this to moving out of the ucsd group's hotel in sultanahmet, and into the heart of the NEW istanbul.
from my bedroom i have a gorgeous view of the bogazici koprusu, and after a week of decorating, i really feel like i can call this place my own. at least for the next month!
the social life in my apartment is amazing, and i can't believe my luck at finding such sincerely great people to live with. its hard, in a big city/the world, to find good people, i feel so damn fortunate to have these 3 in my life now! i've been having stirring, challenging intellectual conversations (iraq, the future of europe, the american dream, the end of the nation state as we know it, charter schools in america, the headscarf, islam in politics in turkey...the list goes ONnnnnnnn). all of this is mixed in with just excellent kick back time. for example,
tonight at 11pm, tony and i decided we were bored and so we went to get some cay (i was craving). at 1am, we decided we weren't yet ready to go home, so we set off for istiklal, and he showed me nazirpede (i think? cant remember exactly), and this ridic cool club araf that i'll fasho be back at this friday night.
the flatmates celebrating aysha's 26th bday!!!
we also did tony's intiation ceremony that night. volkan comes up with some ridic stuff we have to do to become members of the akyol gang :). it involves knives, a big stick, and then some.
anyways to skip all around for brief updates...my family's visit was all in all so nice. despite some intense injuries (stephanie sprained her ankle halfway through, and my dad's hip was gone by the end), the fam really toughed it out through the hot and humid istanbul summer! they really pushed through big sightseeing days (we did topkapi, ayasofya, sultanahmet, basillica cistern ALL IN ONE DAY). OH annnndddd great side story: I GOT A MUZE KART! this is a highly sought after 10TL pass into basically all the museums in turkey. its worth like 100's of TL in entry fees, and i've been asking at every museum i pass if i can get one but it's only supposed to be availalbe for turkish citizens! i dont know how this happened, but a security guard at ayasofya HOOKED IT UP and now i have a muze kart and i can go to all the museums all the time! i cannot express my excitement other than in CAPS YAYYYYYYYYY for this!!!!! yay yay yay!!!
anyways my fam really came to like istanbul by the end of the trip. not gonna lie, its a challenge to like a place where you don't speak the language, and its so hot that u cant go outdoors without sweating profusely, but i think istanbul's charm is irresistible :). as much fun as i had bringing my fam all around and acting as tour guide, the best of times were just sitting around with my sisters and parents playing card games, drinking cay, catching up on life.
some pics from the family visit:
yeah, we went to asia and did the compulsory asia pic. actually this was followed by the nicest dinner i've had in istanbul at a restaurant called dilruba with the coolest view of the bosphorus. and dilruba was hosting a turkish wedding that night!
stephanie getting some amusement out of the kahve dunyasi chocolate spoons! this one had just melted in her hot chocolate.
cathy lounging at my apartment. turkish samovar in the foreground, with elma cay waiting to be consumed :).
family at ayasofya.
i've also made some cool new friends at tomer, my turkish language school. deniz, senim, and her sister dedim. grabbed some dinner and drinks after class today at a nice terrace bar off of istiklal, and then headed to senim/dedim's apartment in osmanbey for some cay, to do our homework, and play with dedim's rosetta stone. (according to rosetta stone, i can't speak english correctly. nor can deniz/dedim, both native german speakers, speak german!)
ok well its 2:45 am and i promised myself i would get up to write postcards to friends (apparently they are getting lost in the mail!), so that means i have to cut this short. hopefully better this than nothing!
iyi aksamlar (good night)!