Friday, July 19, 2013


I cannot help but stare in awe as I sit on the rooftop of our Bilgi University dorm building and soak in the glorious Istanbul that surrounds me. I can see the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, and the still Bosphorus lit up under the bright night sky. I can hear the hum of the city broken by a call to prayer from our next door Mosque. The ringing voice echoes past the proud Turkish flag and bounces against the hilltop, surrounding me. I look across to Asia at the blue flashing lights of the Bosphorus Bridge and think about how, just a few weeks ago, that bridge was the spotlight of international attention. I feel goosebumps on the back of my neck that remind me that this moment is not a dream. This is Istanbul. It is beautiful. And for the next three weeks, it is home.

These past few weeks, I have had many discussions with other Global Scholars about what home truly means. Is a home just one place? Is home where your loved ones are? Is home the place where you spend the most of your time? Or can it be a place where you barely spend any time at all anymore?

During our time in Rome, we all referred to our apartments as our 'homes;' they were places we would go to relax and feel fully comfortable. In fact, even when we left Rome today to travel to Istanbul, I looked out the bus window with the sinking feeling that I really was leaving. That the beautiful culture and city that we had lived in and spent so much time in was no longer ours to call home. We passed worn graffiti, swarms of Alfa Romeos and Vespas, and the Gelateria that we had grown so fond of. Though it was sad to leave that home behind, arriving in Istanbul has opened my eyes to the amazing experiences we are going to have now that our new home is in this amazing city.

I have come to realize that a place is not a home - it is simply a place. A person is not a home - they are simply a person. What home is, or at least, what I have come to believe home is, is a combination of those two. My home is the place where I live and feel the most comfortable, with the people I live with and feel completely at ease with. Home is our childhood house and all of it's memories. Home is our dorm room in Washington DC. Home is our apartment in Rome. Home is now Istanbul.

Our first dinner in Istanbul at Murat - such delicious food!

A sample meal. Can't wait for what's to come!

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