I've now lived in Istanbul for almost eight months, long enough to feel like a local in many ways, especially as a foreigner. This is a remarkable city in many ways. It is constantly moving; there is always something happening, even in the earliest hours of the morning. It is one of the most beautifully situated cities in the world, rolling over the hills to the shores of the Bosphorus and Marmara. The city's long history stares you in the face; everywhere you look you turn the page on another chapter, another footnote. It is artistic, energetic, challenging, noisy, surprising...I love it here, however, some things are missing and some things just don't feel right. Therefore, I've decided to return to the Middle East later this year. I just feel that, for several reasons, that's where I'm meant to be. The Jordan trip started all this. In talking with people, speaking Arabic again, I realized I miss the language, the culture, the people. There are other things, about me, Turkey, the Middle East. But for now, just know a choice has been made.
So, where to now? At the moment I am gearing up to lead photo tours of the city for a gallery and school on Istiklal. Hopefully we'll get the word out and people will sign up. I'll spend the summer working on that and laying plans. Ramadan falls in September this year, which could put a kink in travel plans, or maybe not. I would like to travel a bit after summer: to take the train from Istanbul to Tehran to visit friends there, to see the contenders for the title of "home". Friends have suggested the obvious: Cairo, Ramallah and Beirut. I'd also like to revisit Amman. It'll have to be someplace where I might have the possibility of working in one of my fields: journalism, photography, teaching and NGOs and nonprofits. So, if anyone out there wants to help a sister out, let me know. I am looking for a place I can be of service, deepen my spirituality, support myself, enjoy the things I do and grow.