travel: sariyer + istanbul, turkey

August 13, 2013 – Merhaba! I know you all have been wondering where I’ve been and why I haven’t been posting. Well, for part of my summer, I spent time in Istanbul, Turkey. I fell in love with the culture and also discovered my passion for ESL – and a newfound maternal side of me that I hadn’t known existed!

Before we get into pictures and thoughts, though, I have to answer the few questions that I’ve gotten every time I tell someone I was there:

“Did you like it?” YES. I loved everything about Istanbul, from the weather to the food to the style of life there. I would go back in a heartbeat!
“Why were you there?” I spent three weeks teaching and speaking English with children at a summer program hosted at Koç University.
“Did you have to dress differently?” Not really. I wore more conservative clothing just out of respect for the people observing Ramadan, but otherwise, the country is very modern and Westernized, so there was no need for me to cover myself from head to toe.

With my time being slightly strapped between working with my lovely group of 9-year-olds in the morning to the afternoon, then attempting to keep up with my online classes, and also trying to have a normal social life with the other mentors, I didn’t have the opportunity to do a whole lot of sightseeing. However, I was able to make a few days of quick-fire tourism, which suited me just fine. I saw all the stereotypical things, like the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and the Basilica Cistern. I also spent more money than I should have at the Grand Bazaar and ate my weight in Turkish food.

I don’t think I can compare Istanbul to anything in America. Life there is slow and easygoing, time and money are more relative, and every so often, you feel like you’ve been transported back to the Byzantine empire. It’s magical and beautiful. But I could just be saying that because of the hammam.

XO,
Em

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