In three days I’m leaving Istanbul after having lived here for almost 2 years. Despite the city’s incomprehensible urban planning, tragic lack of green spaces, and least amount of bike friendliness of any place I’ve ever been, I love this city so much it hurts my soul to think of leaving it. Of course, more than anything I’ll miss the friends I’ve made here, but I’ve left close friends before: both my childhood friends when I moved east for college, and my friends from my college years when I moved to Istanbul. And actually several of my closest friends here, both Turkish and foreign, have preceded me in moving from here, which makes it just a little bit easier to follow their lead. But nevertheless my sadness over leaving Istanbul is multifaceted.
I’m going to miss the impossibly deep blue of the Bosphorus. I’m going to miss being able to walk a block in any direction from my apartment and getting some delicious pilav or midye dolma from a street vendor. I’m going to miss late night games of backgammon with Turkish coffee, gallery hopping in Beyoğlu, running along the Bosphorus, learning a language by immersion, getting my clothes mended by the tailor on my street, going to Beşiktaş J.K. matches in İnönü Stadyumu, drinking a glass of çay after every meal, and a million other things I probably won’t realize until they’re gone.
It’s hard leaving Istanbul, but it’s be even harder staying away. I hope that one day soon my path will end up here again. My Turkish friends would add an “Inşallah” here- it seems all together appropriate.