Adventures in Istanbul


May 22, 2011 by k. liz

Ah, it is good to be home and with my best friend (aka, my husband!) again!! Yesterday and this morning seemed like a whirlwind! But, I feel like we got a lot accomplished. I am currently teaching in southeastern Turkey (for the next two weeks.) In two weeks, my husband and I will leave this part of the country for Senegal, West Africa for three weeks, and then America to visit with family for about a month and a half, and then we will come back to Turkey. However, when we return, we will be going to Istanbul. Things have moved kind of fast, so this weekend ended up being last-minute and rather crazy!

I left my house Saturday morning at 5:30. My flight left at 7:00 to Ankara, and then I immediately jumped on the next plane to Istanbul. I landed in Istanbul around 10:00, grabbed my nearly 100 pounds of luggage(we are trying to move everything we can now, because we can’t lug it around the world all summer!) Oh, and I had gone alone because last minute tickets aren’t very cheap, and it was a quick trip that I needed to take.

Next, I got a taxi to take me to my new school. We got a little lost, but asked for directions and ironed things out very quickly, but when we turned onto the street where my school is and someone clipped the taxi. So, I could see the door I was about to go in, but I didn’t want to walk down the small street with my 100 pounds of luggage while the taxi guy was fighting in the street. So . . . I waited for the 10 minutes they argued and then he dropped me off right outside the door.

Next, I waited around for a while, read a bit, called my husband. Then, I was able to talk with the head of the English department for a long bit. That was very helpful and encouraging. Next, I had a meeting, kind of. I felt like I was whisked in and whisked out, but they communicated in Turkish quite a bit, so that would play into why I felt that I didn’t understand much. But, they did offer me the position of Kindergarten homeroom teacher – basically, teaching the Kindergarteners all day in English. I hope it works out, because I am really excited about that now.

After everything was squared away, I left the school with my now empty backpack and wandered for a long time trying to get to a source of transportation that I knew and was comfortable with. We have friends staying in Istanbul right now for a cultural immersion program, and I was trying to meet up with them. NOTE TO SELF: Figure out the buses of my new neighborhood, because I don’t want to do the hour and a half walk to find the tram every week!! I eventually met up with my friends, after several opportunities to practice my Turkish and be extremely thankful that they always use gestures when giving directions!

Next, we stopped and ate Iskender at my favorite restaurant in Istanbul. Yummmmmm! Then, we went to a park. My friends had set up a cultural exchange meeting at this park, but sadly no students came. So, we made the trek back to the European side, and met with even more of the group. Last night was a lot of chatting, catching up, and meeting new friends. But, I clocked out early since I was catching a taxi this morning at 4:45 to head back to the airport. I was really nervous that I wouldn’t wake up! But, I was sleeping on a loveseat, so the fact that I didn’t sleep super hard worked in my favor. Tonight, I will sleep very well. 🙂

Made it back to the airport and had one of my most in depth completely Turkish conversations so far – with the Starbucks guys. It was really early, and still dark, so I decided they were probably not super excited about it, and I wasn’t, so it was at least worth a shot to start the day with some laughter. Made it back to my city by 8:00, and considered dropping back into bed as soon as I got home, but it is so bright. So, instead, just chilled with my husband for a bit, and now getting around to blogging and planning for the week. I feel like that was a good half of a week, but only about 24 hours! So, we have a lot of our belongings moved to Istanbul, a job solidified, caught up with some friends, and back before lunch!

Hope you’re having an enjoyable weekend as well!


One thought on “Adventures in Istanbul

  1. Wasn’t going to comment but… ah, Istanbul! Your itinerary sounds very much like those of some of my Turkish friends except they have those trips over Turkey every week – they are in Sales (but I try not to hold that against them).

    Your comment about getting lost in the taxi made me laugh! Coming from Britain, where taxi drivers pride themselves on ‘the knowledge’ or at the very least have a GPS in the car, I was amazed (and somewhat suspicious) when my taxi driver couldn’t find my hotel which was actually right next to the Blue Mosque! Then again, there in lies the interest, beauty and sometime-frustration of cultural differences.

    I’ve only done Istanbul a handful of times and never for more than 3 or 4 days but I do love the place; the food, the variety and the people! Have a great time when you finally get settled in!

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