I’ve been here for about a week now and I’m still processing the fact that I’m in a different country. Whatsapp and Viber are the most used apps on my phone at the moment, along with Instagram (because how will anyone know I travelled abroad if I didn’t snap a pic?) and the homesickness hasn’t really set in yet. That might be because it’s only been two days but, it could also be because there are aspects of Turkey that remind me of being in the US and, parts that remind me of being in Ethiopia.
For example, the faint smell of rose incense or itan as we call it in Amharic, or the smell of still, turgid, water reminds me of the brief time I spent in Ethiopia. And every time I walk past a Little Caesers, I’m reminded of the mediocrity of American fast food (seriously, why Little Caesars? Why not Chipotle?). These are the only parts that remind me of home.
Otherwise, Istanbul is unlike any city I’ve ever been to before. From the language, to the sometimes seemingly impossible architecture, Istanbul is vastly different from DC. Despite this difference, and the seemingly insurmountable language barrier, I am hopeful that Istanbul will be a challenging yet positive change.