Signed, sealed, delivered to Istanbul

Signed, sealed, delivered to Istanbul

If you could choose one, just one place where you can spend 2 months, where would it be? Remember, time is priceless. What kind of activities will fulfill my days? These 2 questions crossed my mind when I was about to chose my EVS placement. Time was ticking away and I was running out of time due to the age limit. Have you ever been to a Running Sushi restaurant? If you’re not a fan of raw seafood, skip this line or two. For the rest: in such a restaurant, the sushi is coming on a slow track next to your table and if you don’t catch the plate you made an eye-contact with previously, you’re more likely to catch the next plate in the next round like a chameleon catches the fly with his tongue.

I’ve arrived at Atatürk airport physically, but my past was still with me, in my pockets, luggage, passport, and it occupied my mind also. I was a gypsy for a year before this project- wherever I laid my head was my home. The memories stormed and I was stunned.

I have arrived in Orhan Pamuk’s metropolis with the curiosity of a child and with the mindset of a professional poker player: all in. I am about to call Istanbul my hometown and Arel University my workplace from dusk till down for 2 months. You bet I had a scattered mind.

Earlier, when I was asked for this blog entry, I was still trying to find my place in the sun in Istanbul, as someone who freshly arrived, while my headphones were on my both ears, in between The Chainsmokers & Coldplay singing “I want something just like this…”. This put a smile on my face. My playlist always knew better what fits best the moment.

But regardless the circumstances, if your coordinator/boss/mother asks you to do something, you supposed to be obligated to do it, isn’t it?:)

Not even for a single second, I considered it as a task. Writing and expressing myself goes smoothly. How can you ‘force’ a fish to swim when it is in his cold blood?:) Okay, jokes later.

I rate myself as an easy-going person. Packing went smooth, arriving the same, did it countless times. I have been living even in the Middle-East in some Muslim countries earlier. In my home country, the capital, the biggest city, Budapest has 2 million inhabitants, while Istanbul occasionally over 20 million. How can I compare the incomparable? Oh, and I am from the countryside. My hometown has 25 000 citizens. Anyways, 20 million people can’t be wrong- I noted to myself.

I found myself dropped in the middle of the city which never sleeps, whose bridges are occupied by fishermen, bazaars filled with tourists, the müezzin is calling for salah 5 times a day with 59 decibels, mainly during daytime, and on the other hand the clubs calling to party all night long with the music of 100 decibels. It’s a crazy competition, who will be the winner? I guess there is a tie for the first place.

The cultural shock is not my cup of tea. Even though the kisses (wanted or not) from the people I’ve just met shook me. So when I was just about to ask from the sky above, where’s the challenge here, the answer, as always, arrived earlier than a thought: in the shape of kisses on my cheeks, living with a family, having a roommate who’s inner-directed.

So I wish I had a cultural shock, or I felt homesick, or even a little bit of jet lag would make me over the moon. Have I burned out? Welcome to my world. I was hoping so. Just a couple of days later I learned I haven’t ( if you catch my drift ).

I could use the mainstream and overrated expressions like „it’s once in a  lifetime opportunity” or „it’s a life-changing experience” but then what would make this blog one of a kind? So instead of it, I just decided to put down the learning outcomes, and the facts that set my soul on fire- if I won’t be discovered as a blogger of the year after this, I’m doing something terribly wrong :)

Then, all of a sudden, love came in so many different shapes and forms: on the bus from the driver and passengers, co-workers, landlords, cashiers, stray dogs, and students.

The instinct kicked-in. I finally arrived. I was home for this first time after several months.

This journey is teaching me every day something else: today’s lesson: my new jacket is not waterproof and hamam is a must.

I am already sure about one thing: Istanbul will be worth every lira and kuruş I will spend here.

At the end of the day, when I leaned back I was super content, Masha'Allah. It’s said your home is where your heart is. My heart was in Istanbul.

Stay tuned- more to come

Anna Knézi-Ződi / Volunteer at Istanbul Arel University Youth Center

Istanbul Arel Üniversitesi - Gençlik Çalışmaları Merkezi

About Author

Istanbul Arel University provides support to young and adult people’s education process since 2010. We aim to update standards in line with the developing world and constantly follow the changes in the world.

Within the Erasmus+ Programme o

2 Comments for this blog

  • Mohamed Mohamed
    Mohamed Mohamed

    21-03-2018 04:09:21

    Even though I am not one of the original inhabitants of this city, but staying and living there for 2 years .. make me feel as if I am one of its traditional inhibitants ! and also have the right to welcome you ! :D Beautiful Anne, beautiful as usual .. Welcome to Istanbul :)

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