Sat in the shadow

Posted by Dan
Istanbul, Turkey

Sat in the shadow of the British consulate I realise that I have recently climbed out of my own shadow – the first real bout of homesickness. Seeking the ominous experience of a global coffee chain – a place I can sit for an hour or two without being encouraged by way of pestering to either move on or buy another cup of 40 pence tea Turkish tea. And so use their wireless internet for an hour or three!

When we cycle we are usually focused and charged with adrenalin, excitement or amusement at the turn of every corner, seeing what we didn’t expect (or what we did) and I am usually presented with something to think about whether it pleases me or not. There is something to take up the space and thoughts during the times that I have felt a longing to be amongst the familiar, comfortable or with friends and family. Lacking the chance to ride my bike, to cycle the energy and thoughts around my body, to generally exercise has lead me to feel intense frustration for a great deal of the four months we’ve spent in Istanbul.

Finally, we have become comfortable in a small studio flat, learned how to do our English teaching jobs and realised that we have indeed got a very easy life. That one reason for being here is to wait for our families to visit, and that that lack of exercise and frustration is a small sacrifice to pay in order to see the people we love. Additionally, that while we wait out the next month, which we so offered to the sky above to bring the winter to an end and return us a warm spring temperature to cycle on with, we have made a lot of friends who bring us warmth, inspiration, fun and energy.

Content again, I watch the street while enduring the insipid and globally non-offensive music that this coffee chain plays. The men scrub the street outside their shops, pouring steaming hot water and bleach onto the pavement, scrubbing ferociously the water and mess into the drain, which more than likely runs directly into the nearby Marmara Sea!

And I wonder, as I see the Union Jack flag high above the consulate – hanging limp and still against the crisp blue sky, just how life is at home?

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