I Never Be Picture Perfect Beyonce

This is a picture of me from today. Evidently people in Istanbul don’t wear stickers on their faces but they laugh a lot when they see someone wearing one!

Today I woke up feeling sick with a closed up throat and a terrible headache. I tried every remedy I knew from eating brownies to watching trash TV with no success. Seeing as being home wasn’t going to help the situation I decided to go exploring in hopes that the fresh Bosphorus air would help fix me right up.

My exploring led me to a much more residential part of the area. It was nice to see normal Turkish people instead of the masses of chic people and tourists on Istikal street. I found myself smiling at the shop owners, nodding my head like someone who is familiar to the area, who may have lived there her whole life. But then I am forced to buy something at one of the shops and the shop owner quickly realizes I don’t know Turkish. Suddenly, my cover is blown and I am just a foreigner again.

As I was walk out of the shop, I began drafting a letter to Rosetta Stone in my head. This is what it looked like but I think in my head the font was Courier and not Times New Roman.

“Dear Rosetta Stone,

I would like to strongly urge you to create a Rosetta Stone for Turkish that will teach things one might actually need to know in a foreign country. In almost one month in Turkey I still have not had the opportunity to say, “The boy is under the table.” or “The dog is jumping.” In fact, the dogs in Turkey never jump! They just lay lifeless outside my front door. In say, some time in the first five or so lessons, I would recommend teaching things like, “That is too expensive!” or “You can’t be serious!” That would end around 90% of the conversations I have. Also, “Do you know that Obama is a close personal friend?” might come in helpful sometimes. I sincerely hope that you will consider these suggestions.

Best Regards,


To get the bad taste of being a foreigner out of my mouth I walked down the steep, steep road to the Bosporus and had one of the best moments of my life. I was walking along side the Bosporus and the sun was hitting the water in such a way that even with my sunglasses on, I could see millions of diamonds. The heat felt so good in contrast to the breeze coming from the water. I could hear the Imam leading Friday prayer at the Mosque beside the water and I could feel the words in every part of my body. I hope I can remember this moment for always. Of course I will remember it happened, but I hope I can remember it. The feeling of hope and of promise that one day I will stand before God.

Since I have been in Turkey I am almost becoming frustrated with how much time I spend thinking about God. I just can’t get Him out of my head! Maybe it is all the mosques everywhere or maybe it is because I spend so much time with myself but somehow God is never more than a thought or a feeling away. In Ann Arbor I got so good at not thinking about God. Even when I prayed I was barely thinking about Him. Instead there was always somebody around, always somebody to talk to or go out with or meet for dinner.

But now here in Istanbul, I am always walking towards Him, always thinking about Him. Ghandi once said “There are people in the world so hungry that God can not appear to them except in the form of bread.” I think that for so long I filled my life with so, so many people that God could not appear to me. I was so consumed by the creation that I lost sight of the Creator. It became so, that God could only appear to me in the depths of my loneliness.

And now days, I don’t feel so lonely. As I let new people enter my life, as I reconnect with old friends, I find that they don’t have to consume me. A large part of my motivation for coming to Turkey was so that I could grow stronger. So that I could challenge myself to adapt in a world where I didn’t know anyone and where I didn’t know the language or culture. But mostly so I could learn about the strength of my own two feet. What I didn’t realize was that at times it would be incredibly hard and painful. As I finally find myself emerging on the other side, I am thankful for the challenges that Istanbul first presented and those that it still will. Already I feel the stirrings of someone who is stronger, more confident and more ready to face this very, very big world.

One comment

  1. beautiful post, i really want to see Turkey now…

    I’m glad its helping you spiritually, I think school takes us away from that closeness to Allah because we are so busy all the time…I’m glad life slowed down a bit for you there and you’re learning a lot about yourself =)

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