'smile smile'

Istanbul Travel Blog

 › entry 14 of 14 › view all entries

My last day in Istanbul: it’s unbelievable that I’ve been here for 2 1/2 months.  The time has flown by and I'll be sad to leave, but I also think it's time to go:  much longer and I think I'd start to really feel guilty about not doing anything terribly productive, and also about not putting forth more effort to learn Turkish.  I had grand plans of using my time here to learn the language, but apart from pleasantries and some other bare-bones basics, that definitely didn't happen, because pretty much any time anybody says anything to me in turkish, I still give them the blank 'huh' look, and then break out the trustiest of my handful of phrases and one of the few i've got down pat, since it gets far-and-away the most use: 'ozür dilerim, turkçe bilmiyorum' (I'm sorry, I don't speak turkish). 

I do feel a little bad that I didn’t make more of an effort to travel around Turkey.  Apart from a few days in and around Selçuk (close to ancient Ephesus) and Bodrum, I’ve been in Istanbul the whole time.  Although in many ways Istanbul is modern Turkey, in a lot of ways it’s not really Turkey at all, and I would have loved to get outside the city to places like Trabzon, Mardin, and Northern Cyprus.  Yet another reason to return in the future (as if the people, and the food, and the rakı weren’t enough)…

But for now, it’s Güle Güle (informal goodbye that literally translates as ‘smile smile’) to Istanbul and all of my Turkish friends, with the promise that I’ll be back someday, inşallah (God willing).

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photo by: Memo