To Istanbul and Beyond

When I first arrived in Turkey, everything was very new and strange. However, all of that was expected because I was in a place I had never been. When I got back to the U.S., everything was strange, but since I have lived here my whole life I never expected it to be. I thought I would come back and I wouldn’t even think about it.

Obviously that was not the case. Of course I heard English everywhere, but I also heard English quite often in Turkey. The thing was all the American accents. The first day I was back I went to the mall in town and I heard American accents everywhere. I think I did a double take every time an American accent was in listening distance. I think my mind still thought I was walking around one of the massive malls in Istanbul.

Another thing that took me a while to get used to when I got back to the states were the flushes on toilets. The first time I had to flush a toilet it took me about thirty seconds because I could not locate the lever to actually flush it. Don’t worry, I am managing just fine now.

One of my favorite things about Turkey is the many different lifestyles you can experience. There are cities like Istanbul and Izmir that are busy, modern metropolises, and then there are very small, nearly self-sufficient villages. It is extremely interesting to visit both of these in the same day because then you can really see the contrast. On the other hand. the U.S. is completely modernized in that sense.

Something else that is different between the States and Turkey is the traffic. Turkish drivers are the best drivers and the worst drivers all at the same time. Their precision is near perfect, but that is only because they refuse to use the painted lines and end up coming centimeters close to the next car. When I was driving home from the airport in the U.S., the first thing I noticed was the amount of space there was between cars. Now, don’t get me wrong, it is exhilarating riding in a Turkish cab and it is going to be kind of boring not having to worry about my well-being. However, it is also nice not having to worry about my well being.

Since I have been back I have been asked, “What will/do you miss the most?” about fifteen times. That question is almost impossible to tackle. The first and foremost will be the amazing people I met while abroad. I met people that I hope to never grow apart from, which will be a challenge being that almost none of us share a home country. Another obvious thing I am going to miss is all the amazing Turkish food, especially breakfast food. Turkish people know how to do breakfast better than most. There was never any bacon, but they more than make up for it.

One of the things I am glad to have back now that I am in the U.S. are usable sidewalks everywhere. There were definitely sidewalks in Istanbul, but they didn’t always reach my apartment. There are extremely narrow streets in Istanbul that not only cars, but garbage trucks have to share with people. I have had many run-ins with different vehicles while walking home.

Like I said in one of my previous posts, I have become quite confused about my future, but in a good way. I want to seek out all the goals I had when I left, I just might want to push those goals back a couple of years to pursue other goals that came up this past year. I got the experience to teach English as a second language while I was abroad, and I may want to experience that. To be honest, I have no idea what I want to do right after graduation, and I am okay with that as long as it involves some kind of world experience.

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