While drinking my Turkish coffee, shuffling between music of Beyonce and Hadise I'm faced with predicaments. Looking over the bird paradise from the kitchen window with the sun gently going down, I keep wondering, how did I make it here. It was a pain to organize everything, paperwork, bank accounts, ID cards, plane tickets, housing arrangements; but I am here.
It has almost been 9 months here in Izmir, Turkey and I have completely fallen in love. The friends that I have met are awesome. They are open to breaking the language barrier, if there is any, and they are always welcoming. I should have expected that since that IS what the Turks are known for. The scenery does not consist of the Eiffel Tower or the Vatican, but Turkey offers more! It opens your eyes to the not so perfect lifestyle, that in my eyes, is exactly what perfection is! The food is amazing and always fresh, and with a Turkish mother around you will NEVER starve.
The sea and bayside in Izmir is soo peaceful and relaxing after a day at school or after a long conversation about stressful things. One of my favorite things is to go for a walk on the seaside at sunset. You can feel the breeze, listen to people talking in a foreign tongue, not worrying about if you are the one they are talking about. Off in the distance you can hear that little group of guys playing instruments and singing old Turkish songs about losing your love and finding happiness. You can almost taste the sea salt and the Turkish bread, simit, that is being baked for your liking at 25 cents a piece. You can hear under your feet the gravel crunching, surprised that it is even there, since many. many years ago it was the sea you would be standing in. Watching the sunset of Izmir. About the sunset, I must first say, it is indescribable! The mix between the sea and colors and the fishing boats and the birds. Amazement.
The cafe's are amazing social tools. Many time-constrained/conscience Americans could never imagine sitting in a cafe for 4-6 hours at a time. I mean, I didn't either to be honest. But this is the lifestyle that is relaxing, mind-provoking, and something to be cherished. Drinking teas and Turkish coffee, conversating, or playing a game or two of tavla (backgammon); THIS is pure simplicity that I could live with!
I'm not saying I don't love America for what it is. There are soo many positives about the freedoms and potentials in America. I just personally believe the Mediterranean lifestyle is something to partake in and really grasp in life. Being late for a meeting, spending more than the alotted amount of time with friends, taking a walk just because it is unplanned, going to the bazaar and spending less than 30$ on weekly groceries, conversations even when there are 50 things to do on your agenda. THIS is something to get used to.
I have gotten used to it! When reading this, you may think, oh. ok. So go to Turkey to become lazy. NO. That is not at all what Im saying. The Turks get things done, they stay healthy and fit. But what they dont tend to do is stress over the little things like time, agendas, and fast paced lives.
I am very tempted and have a strong urge to stay another semester. Again, I love America a lot, but in a way, there is a major weight or dread that is keeping me from going back. I have adapted to this lifestyle so deeply and cherish everything about Turkey, even its ignorant leaders. Again, this is growth and the growth that I am having is tremendous and wish everyone had the opportunity to do this same thing.
Now that my Turkish coffee is over, maybe I shall plan what to do this evening. Perhaps a cafe or maybe the Eurovision Song Contest. However with whatever I decide to do I know to be at the meeting place a half hour late, to still beat the Turks on being on time! Have a great weekend, and book your flights to Turkey!