I hadn’t told them that a sepia-toned print of the Galata Bridge stretching over the Bosphorus had been hanging in my house since 2006, the very year I began planning art tours to Istanbul while still working for Art Quest. Each time I looked at the print, the bridge invited me to cross it.

A contact at the Four Seasons Hotel had sent me the print just as our relationship began and as I was immediately seduced by this exotic place that until then, I’d only seen in photos. Istanbul imprinted itself on me from afar, and yet my path diverted me elsewhere. I landed in Portugal for a few years and, despite being physically closer to Turkey, the opportunity to travel never arose. I knew the moment had to be right, the type where I’d say, “ah, this is the moment I’ve been waiting for.” And so I waited.

And so not until last summer-some six years later-when socializing after a program at the library did that right moment come. Two guests at the program, Nick and Nora, introduced themselves to me and I soon learned they were American writers teaching at Koç University in Istanbul. After a few more moments of conversation with these new friends, I promised them I’d come visit in the coming year-and that they should take me seriously. A friendship formed over the remainder of their summer break in Los Angeles, and we began planning my trip together over the following months.

My date was set and before I knew it, Nick and Nora were greeting me in Taksim Square. Our first night we dined on their rooftop in Çukurcuma over melon and feta, hummus and fresh baguettes, sweet cherries, California wine and rich conversation. During the ensuing days, they lent me their living room to lay my head at night, and introduced me to their favorite spots in Istanbul by day: the ferry to the Princes Islands, the fancy brunch place in Cihangir, the sunset spot atop an old hotel’s rooftop in Pera. It just so happened that Nick and Nora were completing their third and final year of teaching in Turkey and this was their final week before they had to pack up their life and return home- their other home. And although their departure was met with my arrival- time allowed us to delight and savor the same things-my first tastes, their last.

We all departed Istanbul that tumultuous day of June 3rd-revolt or revolution underway-only time would tell. They were westward bound to start building their new life in the U.S., and I was headed to the interior to discover more of the country that had already received me with such warm hospitality.

The best part of the Nick and Nora story is that it doesn’t end in Istanbul. It continues on in Los Angeles, as they’ve just begun to set up life here in time for the start of the fall teaching semester. I can’t wait to reunite over California wine and sweet cherries, where this time I get to introduce them to all of my favorite spots.

Day 21 of 30; Postcards from Turkey


~ by maureenmoore on July 29, 2013.

2 Responses to “Beginnings”

  1. Serendipty . . . love it!

  2. That should be “serendipity.” No glasses on the first time around . . .

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