It's been over 5 years since I studied abroad in Istanbul, Turkey. There are days where I miss it terribly. Now I've never been one to keep a journal - I've tried many times and just cannot do it. Most of the time it doesn't matter because my life is tracked pretty well by Facebook, but that part of my life - studying abroad - is becoming more faint in my memory.
As I said in my last blog post, my new project is organizing my photos. Like I also said in that post, I always find another project and don't finish what I started. My project now is to at least start to rebuild that trip in my mind. To write the journal I never did at the time.
I think the obvious place to start is when I left for Istanbul and when I returned. I can fill things in from there. I left the United States on Sunday, February 3rd (two days after my 21st birthday) and returned Saturday, June 21st. I had a layover in London, where I met two other students from my college that were also studying abroad in Istanbul. I did not know these other students very well. The flight there was the first one that I had ever taken alone and it was about 6 hours long.
We arrived in Istanbul the next morning. By my internal clock it was 24 hours later, although the flights just took a total of about 12 hours. We were met at the airport by a Turkish student of the university we would be attending. She was part of a buddy program for international students. She took us to the campus where we met up with the fourth student from our college that would be studying abroad with us.
That first drive through Istanbul was significant for me. The city had a very hilly landscape and was separated by the Bosphorus. The mosques with their minarets shot up from the ground into the sky. The buildings and homes looked different from what I was used to back home - obviously. I wasn't expecting things to be the same. I knew things would be different and that open mind helped me succeed abroad.
Upon arriving at the Marmara Üniversitesi campus I remember trying to nap (even though I couldn't sleep much). Later we met back up with the Turkish student and she introduced us to her friends (also students at the University). We made a lot of memories and friends that first night.