Hello readers. It’s Sunday night and I’m trying with little avail to schedule my classes for this coming semester. The site is down and registration opens at 10 a.m. tomorrow for all students attending Bogazici, which again will most likely cause a crash. So I thought if I can’t figure out what mind-bending courses I’ll be taking this year I might as well update you with what I’ve been doing since arriving in Istanbul.
I’ve been here for almost a week and so far it’s been amazing. Istanbul is exactly what I imagined and more. My neighborhood sits just above the bosphorus with an amazing view of the waterway and Asian side of the city. Campus is equally as beautiful with picturesque views, green courtyards, old buildings, and a disturbing amount of cats (I’m allergic). I have another week before classes start so I still have some time to explore but I’ll let you in on what I’ve been doing so far.
The first week has felt a little like freshmen welcome week. I’m meeting (and immediately forgetting) tons of people. My program seems to attract the particular attention of Americans and Germans, as most of the people I’ve met come from one of those two places, myself included. Each person is as excited and wide-eyed as the next and everyone seems to be anxious for classes to start.
My second day here I decided to venture out into the city alone as I had some very important errands to run i.e. buy myself a blanket and pillow. The biggest dilemma I faced during this excursion was learning the rules of the road. In the U.S. if you walk without a walk sign or crosswalk you are liable to be hit. Here, however, drivers and pedestrians do pretty much whatever they want at their own peril. I, on the other hand, took my sweet time crossing roads, making sure there was a wide berth between oncoming traffic and me. Safe, responsible, and tedious this method did not stick for long. I am now a seasoned pedestrian and treat the roads and sidewalks as if they were made for me to walk on. You can barely tell I’m a foreigner (insert sarcasm here).
On Friday we had orientation, which was confusing and frustrating to say the least. Our registration system opens at the same time for every single student. This means that immediately upon opening the system will crash and all Bogazici students will be thrown into panic mode as each of us aggressively refreshes our computers and contemplates our existence should we fail to get into our required classes. It’s the type of problem that I’ve filed under the “I’ll worry about that later” tab.
Friday night there was a Pub Crawl organized for all international students in Taksim square. Taksim is an area of Istanbul known for it’s shopping, eateries, bars, and clubs. Trendy, exciting, and very expensive it is the prime place to be on a Friday night. I and several other students took the bus from our dorm to Taksim to join the rest of our international group. Upon entering the first bar my roommate and I immediately got separated from the group and ended up meeting some other international kids. The night went on and the entire pub-crawl crew eventually congregated at a bar/night club right off the square. We were there until about 3:00 a.m. then my roommate and I decided to go home. Getting a taxi was dramatic and draining as the drivers were trying to rip us off, eventually we settled on a price and off we jetted into the night towards sweet sleep.
The next morning at 11 a.m. there was a tour scheduled for anyone to go. I showed up right on time along with about 16 other troopers. We took the bus to an area of Istanbul known as the Sultanahmet district where we toured the Topkapi Palace and the Blue Mosque. Both were beautiful and evoked a sense of longing for another time.
The day ended with shisha at a local bar with friends and a burger with fries in it. Yes, it was amazing.
Please keep me in your thoughts as I face course registration and try with all my might to avoid the many cats on campus.
Dahaki sefere kadar,