Our departure from Paris and our arrival to Turkey went very smoothly. We were picked up by friends who are living here and brought back to stay in their guest room in their apartment. I was surprised to find that the apartment is quite spacious! It feels like a small house, minus a backyard. Today was our first full day in Istanbul. We don't have any pictures to share with you, but it was still a great day. We woke up early and were able to have breakfast with the family and talk with them about what life is like here in Istanbul.
After lunch, we went out for a walk to the local weekly bazaar where there were all sort so delicious looking fresh fruits and vegetables, clothes, jewelry, tupperware, scarves.... anything and everything it seemed. It was really interesting to see this completely foreign way of doing business. I saw an old man selling things at his stand and was lost in the thought that he has lived many years without my knowledge of him... and then today... randomly... I saw him. I wondered about his life and his family. I wondered about who he loves and where he lives.
After the bazaar, we walked down to the sea and enjoyed some time looking out on the water and talking. It was really quite beautiful. There were people walking their dogs, rollerblading, riding bikes... our friends said that in the summer the grass leading up to the waters edge is full of people who bring pillows, blankets, dishes, small grills, and relax by the water all day. We walked a bit further and went to a little Turkish restaurant and got some delicious desserts! It was interesting trying to order off a menu that left me completely clueless. So naturally, I ended up getting something that had a picture on the menu. It's been so weird to not be able to speak to anyone or read anything.... and by weird I mean frustrating. I know I should ask, I think I'm just nervous about pronouncing things wrong, but I don't even know how to say "hello" "goodbye" "thank you" or "excuse me" if I bump in to someone. It's very, very strange for me.
Once we were done with the desserts, it was time to pick the kids up from school. It was so interesting to see the parents who were waiting for their kids at the school. Very protective, very loving, waiting with anticipation for their child to come out from the school. The school is in a great neighborhood, but the parents here, just like American parents, love their kids an awful lot and want the best for them. It's amazing how life here really isn't that different. Kids play in the playground, do their homework, fight with their siblings. Parents work, talk to other parents about school, love their kids. Even on the other side of the world, it's easy to see that at the core of being a human being, we are all quite similar.
When we got home, I called my mom and had a lovely chat with her. We ate a delicious dinner (I'm getting the recipe!) and played the wii a bit and as I type, the kids are being put to bed (against their will, desiring glasses of water, of course) and we are getting ready to call it a night. Istanbul is a great city, though. I have felt very safe and have been surprised at how much it feels like any other big city. The buildings and streets aren't quite as "nice" as other cities, but it has the same feel. So far. Tomorrow we are going to the historical section to check out a couple of the popular sites in Istanbul and I'm really excited for that. I'm sure Josh will get some incredible pictures that we'll both be really excited to share with everyone!
Thanks for being a part of our journey!