Saturday, August 3, 2013

Reflecting On the Past Two Weeks

Our first view of the Bosphorus from across the Galata Bridge
Two short weeks ago, I sat on the terrace balcony of our dorm building looking out across the Bosphorus, wondering if there was possibly a more beautiful city than the one we found ourselves in. I thought perhaps that this was a feeling of infatuation; of feeling the initial elation of a city of which I may find some fault in the upcoming weeks. I had not yet explored the uneven stone roads or the bustling markets of the Grand Bazaar or the Spice Market. I had not yet met hordes of friendly street vendors, construction workers, restaurant owners, students, or families who sat on the grounds of the Hippodrome and the Blue Mosque eagerly awaiting the call to prayer at 8:24pm, which allowed them to break their fasts.

Sitting now, again on the terrace balcony of our dorm building, I cannot help but still feeling the same initial infatuation with this city as I did two weeks ago. But there is a difference. I have experienced so much more of it. Sitting at a dinner table overlooking the Bosphorus River and both the Asian and European sides of Istanbul tonight, I couldn't help but feel as though I had found my rhythm in this city. While two weeks ago, Istanbul was fresh and new, it is now an integral part of my daily routine. I feel comfortable getting around the city by myself, or even having a brief (if only two lines) conversation with a waiter at a cafe or restaurant. What was foreign and uncomfortable in the first hours of our arrival in Istanbul are now things that have become customary. I no longer feel awkward and eager to leave if a waiter continuously brings out cup after cup of çay long after I have finished a meal. I have now come to enjoy the completely made up stories that vendors tell me about all of the people that they know in America.

Of course, there is still so much to learn about the city, and I do wish that we could spend more time here. Then again, I guess that just means I will have to come back again soon.

Someone asked me yesterday if I could live here. Though I have only been here for two weeks and am still very much in the honeymoon phase of my relationship with the city, I can certainly say that I would love to try.

A View of the Bosphorus from the rooftop restaurant of the Istanbul Modern museum

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