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
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
View up the Bosphorus from Sarıyer
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.