Recently

Istanbul has been fortunate enough to experience 9 days in a row of nothing but warm, sunny days.

I spent a day with friends, eating a kilo of strawberries from our local market and looking out over the Bosphorus.

My roommate made me this delicious cookie!

Personalized and everything!

Personalized and everything!

I had a day off from school for May Day, or Labor Day. This happened, but I was far away from the protests.

A friend and I took a day trip to the beach at Kilyos, located on the northern end of Istanbul on the Black Sea.

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I visited Hannah and Ryan for a barbecue. This morning, we walked along the Bosphorus in Sariyer and saw a sailboat race.

A photo from a 2010 race on the Bosphorus, photographed by Kaan Verdioğlu

A photo from a 2010 race on the Bosphorus, photographed by Kaan Verdioğlu

Currently: hearing the celebrations for Galatasaray’s Champions Cup win – virtually every car driving by is honking its horn, there are fireworks going off in multiple places in the city, and I’m hearing a lot of chants… “bir, iki, üç, dört!” (one, two three, four – the number of goals Galatasaray scored in this particular game).

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Sarıyer market

To sum up the past few days:

Tuesday: Went to Istinye Park (a big mall in Istanbul)

Wednesday: Went to the weekly market in Sarıyer (see more below), met Hannah and Ryan’s friends

Thursday: Learned to play tavla (backgammon), saw The Hobbit at Istinye Park

Friday: Took the metro for the first time to Kanyon (a really neat outdoor-ish mall), tavla tournament with Hannah and Ryan

The market on Wednesday was a really cool experience. There were so many stands set up along the road under tents. Most of them were selling produce, but some were selling things like clothes, shoes, and bed linens. The produce was all fairly inexpensive compared to what I’m used to in the US. Here are some of the photos I took:

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First days in Istanbul

Hello friends and family! I’m in Istanbul, so I hope this blog will keep you all up to date on what I’m doing here for the next 5 months.

I arrived yesterday afternoon after a 9-ish hour long flight. The view of the city as we landed was beautiful. I was amazed at how warm it was when I got off the plane; it was around 12 degrees Celsius, or 53 degrees Fahrenheit.

I met up with my cousin Hannah and her husband Ryan at the airport, and then we took a cab back to their house in Sarıyer, which is the northernmost district on the European side of Istanbul. Hannah and Ryan both teach at Koç University, and I’ll be staying with them for a couple weeks until I can move into my dorm at Boğaziçi on Feb. 4th.

Last night, I got settled in and we got pide (Turkish flatbread pizza) for dinner.

Today the call to prayer from the mosque woke me up around 6 am, but I fell asleep once it stopped. It’s pretty loud since the mosque is literally right outside Hannah and Ryan’s house, but there’s something nice about hearing it.

the view from Hannah and Ryan's balcony; the mosque is really close and you can see the speakers on the minaret

The view from Hannah and Ryan’s balcony; the mosque is really close and you can see the speakers on the minaret

Today we took a minibus into downtown Sarıyer where we shopped, got döner for lunch, and sat by the river to eat. The weather today is beautiful – it’s been mostly sunny and around 60 degrees. We walked along the river for a while, I exchanged my American money for Turkish lira, we bought some eggs and baklava, and then we came back home.

eggs and pumpkin at an outdoor market

Eggs and pumpkin at an outdoor market

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View up the Bosphorus from Sarıyer

fish for sale in Sariyer

Fish for sale in Sarıyer

I’m realizing that I need to start working on my Turkish skills, which are basically non-existent. Since I haven’t traveled much it’s pretty disorienting to see every sign in a new language, even if I was expecting it. I’ll be taking a Turkish class at Boğaziçi, but that doesn’t begin until Feb. 18th so hopefully I can get a head start on my own.

I’ve only been here for a day, but I’m loving this part of the city and trying to learn as much as I can.