30.5.10 - 30.5.10 30 °C
This is not the Istanbul I know. Touring the famous parts of the city has become exhausting and the throngs of tourists (of whom I am nothing alike) annoy me to no end. The men selling balık ekmek in Eminönü wear little stupid hats now, belittling their ottoman roots. They never did that in the winter. Cute waiters with perfect English keep asking which hotel I am staying at. I LIVE HERE. I am nothing like these foreign people who whirl through town like the dervishes they buy overpriced tickets to see. This is my city! The ferries, the chaos, the history, the rakı, the beautiful cats, the mangy dogs, the Bosphorus, the broken pavement, the spices, the casual backgammon and nargile, the çay, the cultural richness, the silhouette of the most beautiful city in the world from the Asian shore - it's all woven into the tapestry of my life now. Taking a drunken dolmuş between continents (where I write this now) is a normal part of my routine. My limited understanding of Turkish is my constant inner monologue, and bartering my way down to a 'Turkish' price for things is a precondition for any sale. Being told that my accent sounds Turkish makes my head buzz (in a good way). I have seen more of Turkey than most of the Istanbulus I've met here and eaten pretty well every important Turkish dish. My name is Turkish for goodness sake! I feel uncomfortable exposing knee or shoulder regardless of temperature and expect men to move on buses so I can sit beside another woman. I have internalized countless cultural habits, most of which I probably won't be aware of until I get home and feel completely out of place. I have fallen in love HARD with this city and this country in a personal way. Istanbul is in my blood.
My eyes burn thinking of this next sentence: How will I ever leave?