Saturday, November 24, 2018

My Home Away from Home in Istanbul

Hello dear friends.  It's been awhile since I wrote so I thought I'd give up an update of what's been happening.  I was in Turkey for a month and returned back home a little over a week ago.

A few years ago, two different acquaintances told my  husband and me about this beautiful country of Turkey.  At that time, we thought there not a chance we would ever go there.  Fast forward a few years and it's our favorite place to be!  I think the reason why we love it is because it's a huge country, with a modern society and yet retains the charms of it's past.

(Turkish lunch of pide and borek along with tea = $3.25 for two)
We purchased a new high rise apartment on the Asian side of Istanbul in an area called Maltepe.  We had viewed this development over four years ago when they were building it.  Do you recall when the Turkish Lira crashed back in August?  It was bad for Turkey for good for investors.  Hence, the new place.

That's our place in the middle of the photo in the high rise with the pillars. Those who regularly follow my blog, know that my husband is a Copt.  For many years when the children were growing up we'd go to Egypt for vacations.  It was fun back then but everything changed with the revolution back in 2011.  Our last visit there was in 2010 and the city had become so overcrowded that it was almost impossible to get around.  And, it was a chore to get anything accomplished.  

Fast forward to 2014 when we discovered Turkey.  First of all, geographically, it's a huge country.  President Erdogan has continued the modernization of this country by building on it's infrastructure.  There are major highways, tunnels, public transportation and other amenities to name a few.  For example, while Greece is the neighboring EU country, Turkey is far more developed. And, the people are welcoming and never stare at you if you're a foreigner. (believe me, this is something that irritates me to no end)

Along with all the modernization, there still is the old ways like the weekly public markets.  I loved going to the market each week and finding amazing foods at a fraction of the prices we pay here.  And, best of all, there were no tourists.

Turkish are very accomplished builders.  We bought this place after only seeing it one time.  A fast decision but one that turned out OK.  Above is the kitchen. Since this photo was taken we have added a large island cabinet to the side of the cooktop area.

My son and his fiance' decorated the interior.  They had custom made furniture made for very little money.

Since this photo was taken, an area rug has been added.  Sorry for the poor photos but the first week we were there, we had overcast weather.

The unit is roomy with an upstairs that has three bedrooms and two more baths.

My husband loves to sit in the wingback chair and watch the sea in front of him.

There's still some work to be done but it should be enjoyable in the summertime to sit outside on the deck.

Those are the Prince's islands you are seeing in the distance.  My husband and I love to travel but we're now at a stage in life where we want conveniences.  At the same time, I want to stay in a country where I can feel I can blend in and be part of the culture.  Turkey is a place where I can accomplish that.  Yes, the language is a bit of a barrier. But, when Ataturk took over, he changed the Turkish alphabet into Latin letters.  It's very easy to pick up words that you can actually read vs it being in Osmanli alphabet.  A new metro/subway was built in 2012 and it's just a few minutes walk down the street from where we are.  It's easy to get around in this huge city.  And, Turkish love using their credit cards and debit cards.  Also, items are priced with bar codes just like here.  You can see why I love shopping there as it's so easy.  I hate being in a place where you get ripped off because you're not one of the locals.

There was plenty of time for my knitting too, when I wasn't busy helping with the home. I don't mean for this post to be political in any way.  But, Turkey is a very organized country that has embraced the modern world and yet retains the charms of the Ottoman Empire.  I love organization and I don't do well with chaos.  Something must be going OK with Turkey as the people have disposable income. I've never seen so many restaurants/tea shops as in Istanbul.  As for the language, they are willing to have patience with you. I felt bad on my part that I only know a few Turkish words.  My plan is to attend language school next time I go there.  For an American who is used to big spaces, big cars, all kinds of consumer goods, Turkey has all of these things.  And, best of all, Turkish produces most of it's consumer goods themselves.  Excellent quality and beautiful designs.  And, the people are polite and welcoming.

I hope you have enjoyed this little glimpse of my Turkish life. Wishing you all the best,

PS - My children say I have gone down the rabbit hole as I signed up for Instagram!  You can find me there if you wish.