I realised recently that I spend a lot of time moaning about my adopted homeland, and that these moans are ridiculously really, given that I choose to live and raise my family here! The Brit in me finds it easy to complain and moan about things, not so much to talk about the good things. So, to reset the karma wheel, here’s the top ten things I love about this chaotic, crazy, irrational, humid, developing city I call home:
1) The beauty of the city found in its eclectic mix of old with new, Ottoman with Turk.
2) The buzz I get from living in the only city in the world where you can eat breakfast in Europe, pop to Asia for lunch and stroll back to Europe for afternoon tea.
3) The way one city feels like a hundred more all rolled into one. Istanbul’s districts are so distinctive and diverse from one another, that no matter what you wake up feeling like doing, eating or seeing, there’s an area you can find it.
4)The food; freshness of produce, purity of ingredients in a dish, richness of the deserts and the traditions decorating the plates.
5)The hospitality of Turks. YES, it’s a cliché, but still it’s true: Turks are genuinely warm, friendly, welcoming people.
6) The way my son is welcomed and celebrated everywhere we go. Cafes, restaurants, shops, mosques, parks – anywhere there are people are arms reaching out to welcome him.
7) The refreshing blend of city, with seashore, with forest – I’m so thankful for the space.
8 The transport links. Life without a car is only possible because the transport links are so good – albeit totally inaccessible if baby is in a pram…Thank God for babywearing!
9) Fishing: anywhere and everywhere there’s water, there’s a fish to be caught and someone catching it!