A big part of why I joined the Peace Corps is to fulfill that cliché dream of “seeing the world.” I have this fear that after my Close of Service trip, reality will set in, I’ll step into my dream job with a street level non-profit in the city, and I’ll never be able to afford to leave the country ever again. I realize that if it’s a passion, I’ll make it happen, but I also have to be realistic! I’m not exactly every going to be in the money-making business…
My goal for by the time I Close my Service (COS) as a Peace Corps volunteer is to see all five bordering countries around Bulgaria: Macedonia (next month with Jamie!), Serbia, Romania, Greece (check! But I still haven’t seen Athens…), and Turkey! That last one got crossed off last week, as you can see by the Istanbul pictures below.
It was my first trip as a PCV (excluding the dramatic and adventurous big one that involved a couple broken bones last year, of course), and I loved every single minute. Not only did I get to spend a solid week with one of my favorite people on the planet (fellow PCV Abby C - miss you tons!), but I got to meet a bunch of really awesome people from around the world (Turkey of course, but also Austria, Canada, Croatia, Germany, Iran, Spain, France…), see some amazing culture and history (see below), and eat delicious food (I’m always willing to eat my weight in Baklava ;)).
I can’t wait to go back and spend more time in Istanbul. The city is divided into the Asian side, and the European side. We only made it to a small portion within half of the European side (the old city with the Blue Mosque, Aya Sophya, the sultan’s palace, etc), and there is obviously so much more to see.
Abby and I were pretty much on the same wave-length about how to spend our time, so each morning we would get up, exhaust a major site, then scrounge around back streets trying to find “legit” food among the locals. We would wander a bit more, then go back to the hostel and rest for a bit before dinner. Then we would find some dinner, then head out to enjoy some time getting to know other travelers in the backpacker’s district. So fun!
I hated seeing Abby go on Sunday morning, but we promised that we’ll never let another two years go by without seeing each other. That is just TOO long! And so many people out there were worried that after only meeting once two years ago, that we wouldn’t like each other any more. ;)
Miss you, girl! I had a blast, and I thank God every day for you and our friendship. Keep fighting the good fight!