Turkey is a beautiful country, but İstanbul as a city has its own beauty. I had already made plans to visit İstanbul this summer, but then some changes happened and I thought that I wouldn’t have any time to. Then, my sweet family surprised me with a three-day trip, which ended up being wonderful.

On the first day, my mom, my aunt, my sister and I had a girls day to ourselves. We started with a wonderful breakfast at Emek Cafe in Yeniköy, went to the Sakıp Sabancı Museum, where they had the “Feyhaman Duran: Between Two Worlds” and “Selim Turan: Thesis-Antithesis-Synthesis” exhibitions. Following is a poem by İbnülemin Mahmud Kemal İnal, dedicated to the artist Feyhaman Duran:

“European painters would bow to his brush

His brush is a wonder that charms the eyes

His power is undoubted, as he himself is aware

Devotee of his profession, master of his art

Loyal to his brush, every work a masterpiece

His beautiful calligraphy is as inestimable as his painting

His letters are all flawless, his diacriticals just like Dürer

He behaves like his letters and looks like his pictures

He commands respect, is loved by all

May Feyhaman enjoy a long life that never sees Fall

A person whose skill is always admired.”

-İbnülemin Mahmud Kemal İnal

Later, I had some alone time with my aunt. She is like my second mom, we talk about everything, so when we are apart for so long, everything piles up. We had coffee and it was lovely. Afterward, we went to the Edebiyatçılar Kıraathanesi in Sultanahmet, which you MUST visit for dessert if you are ever in İstanbul. Finally, we met up with my dad in Taksim for dinner.

Coffee with auntie.

I spent the next day with Alisha (my other half, one of my best friends) and it was priceless. Whenever Alisha and I get together, we end up having a great time, which is why I miss living with her so much (we went to UWC together so we lived right next to one another for a year). We, of course, started our day with breakfast (in Turkey breakfast is a big thing). I then took her to the Borusan Contemporary, where we took our signature photos with the art and the lovely Bosphorus. J The current exhibitions were “Remains of the Days”, “ Ola Kolehmainen Sinan Project”, and “Overture: New Acquisitions from the Borusan Contemporary Art Collection”. Next, we had some time to kill before dinner so we went to Erciyes Cafe in Taksim. It is such a uniquely designed cafe and it reminds me of the Goldfish Cafe in Sarajevo, which Alisha and I love, so I took her there. After having some lovely talks with the women who work there and some tea, Alisha took me to Kadıköy. We had dinner, then we went to a bar to have a beer. Finally, we went to this place called Arkaoda for cocktails, which was soooooooo fun.

Although our schools are both in Illinois, we just didn’t have the time to see each other very much last year so having this reunion was so nice. We had so much to catch up on but seeing her felt like we had only been apart for a day. Now that I am going to Denmark, we will be apart once again for a while but distance only makes things more exciting, haha. 😉

The third day began with a family breakfast, which was delicious as always. Then, I decided to spend the day with my one true love; İstanbul Modern. I had seen the current exhibit, “Artists in Their Time” before, but I was with my family then, so, this time I read and observed everything I wanted in detail. After spending many hours at the museum, I had dinner with my friend Batu from Lake Forest, then met up with the family for a drink.

Family waiting for me while having drinks.

We, unfortunately, left the next day… I move to different places all the time and they are all beautiful in their own way, but none of them make me feel the way İstanbul does. You are probably thinking “Well that is normal since it is in your own country.”, which is true, but there is something else that I don’t exactly know how to put in words… Every café, every restaurant, every museum, every pub, every neighborhood, every street, every corner I go to do makes me feel a thousand different things at the same time. When I walk around in a certain area, I discover new places, new people, new cats, new stories, new streets, new feelings, new everything. I don’t like sleeping when I’m in İstanbul because I feel like I would miss so much; the city feels as if it is alive every single second of the twenty-four hours of every day. Although I never got to live there, every time I leave İstanbul I get nostalgic about memories I never lived, people I never met, places I never went. It feels as if there is something that wants me to stay there, which keeps on pulling me. Maybe İstanbul’s energy simply matches mine… After spending this summer in Turkey and the three days in İstanbul, I have made the decision to come back after I have fulfilled all of my goals abroad (well maybe Turkey AND Denmark). Having the opportunity to receive such high-quality education made me aware of the ways I could contribute to my country using the things I’ve learned abroad. So many people are running away from Turkey, and they aren’t necessarily wrong, but finding excuses and running away is always the simpler thing to do.


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