Merhaba means “hello” in Turkish. Unfortunately I didn’t have the chance to learn any Turkish before I got here so it’s been difficult to get around. There aren’t any English signs anywhere, but interestingly enough many menus have an English translation underneath. I’ve been lucky about getting around though, every time I stop to ask for directions someone who speaks English has been nearby and walks over to help me.
I took too long to start this blog up and now there’s too much to say! My host family lives near Rumeli Hisarı (Rumeli Fortress), where all the well-to-do families live near Boğiziçi (Bosphorus) University. Think: Audi in the garage, a driver and cleaning lady who live in the house, 5 stories with an elevator, gated entrance with a security guard and you get the picture. I hardly know what to do with myself when we eat at fancy restaurants at night – try not to embarrass my host family I guess.
We live about a 5 minute (steep downhill) walk from the Bosphorus and coming back up is a bitch, pardon my French. But this way I can walk off all the DELICIOUS FOOD available here. I drink about 5 cups of çay (tea) a day and Mehmet (my host dad) owns olive farms… somewhere… so there’s lot’s of olive oil and olives at meals. There’s a lot of yogurt and meat with meals too. Not cut like a steak but in smaller pieces.
The cleaning lady, I thought, only spoke Turkish but much to our pleasant surprise we can converse in German. Her German is better than mine since she studied there when she was young but we get by. Turns out the driver speaks German too so I’m saved! I can communicate with everyone in the house!
I live on the European side of Istanbul and it’s really something to be able to look across the Bosphorus at Asia. There are mosques all over too and their minarets are poking up all across the skyline. A few pictures to whet your whistle and I promise to update more frequently!