First, it was the strawberries. Shops and street bazaars that used to have stalls weighed down by tiny succulent strawberries began to only have small amounts available; some more bruised than the others, most already crushed into strawberry paste. But it wasn’t a problem as cherries and apricots were aplenty. (“One kilo each of cherries, apricots and strawberries, please! No strawberries? I’ll just have the others then.”) Yes, it was only here that I started buying fruit by the kilograms. Continue reading
It has been four months and several days since I moved to İstanbul. Off the top of my head, I can’t accurately account for most of the 120 days and it’s terrifying how quickly time has gone by. I’ve been really bad at keeping a record of, or maintaining this blog to keep track of, all the amazing things I’ve done and seen so far.
I returned to Singapore for a quick trip back home a month ago, which was a real eye-opener.
I’ve been looking around my surroundings a little more closely these past few days. A Turkish friend who worked briefly in Singapore and loves it there reluctantly admitted that he did get bored there towards the end of his one year posting. There was no element of surprise anymore, he said, and nowhere where you could walk and stumble onto something old, unsanitised or unusual. Everything was in its place and accounted for by the town planners.
It was… interesting talking to a few local Turks and hearing their loathing of their country.
Right of the bat, they all started off by saying, ”I’m Turkish, unfortunately…” Then, they proceeded to explain what they were doing at an expat social gathering (”I’m trying to improve my English” or ”I hate socializing with Turkish people and only want to meet foreigners,”).
The one thing everyone who visits Istanbul always mentions is the friendliness of its people. People go out of their way to help you and are always willing to lend a hand. But one thing I’ve found different after moving here is that the average Istanbulite is just like everyone else. Helpful, but not exceedingly so.
It seems like I’ve been talking about moving to Istanbul forever—four years, in fact, ever since my first trip there. I’ve gone on and on about it to anyone who would listen. “I’m going to do it, I’ll make it happen.” Over the years I’ve tried to find a way in from over eight thousand kilometres away. I returned time and again, officially as a tourist but always sussing the city out and getting a sense of just how I would fit in.
Two years ago I received a response on a position in Istanbul I had applied for but the timing just wasn’t right then.
This time, the timing is right. This time, everything has fallen into place. It has taken a while, but this time I won’t have any unresolved issues or loose threads hanging. All that’s left is me is for me to quit my job here and book that flight out.
This is it.