Day 25 – Istanbul

I woke up at 6AM.  I couldn’t believe today I had to be at the airport.  WHY!??!!  I need just one more day to say good-bye properly.  As I plotted ways to miss my plane, to figure out a way to wash dishes and afford an apartment, I said my goodbye’s to the lucky remaining students bound for Greece and Italy, and boarded the shuttle to the airport.

Luckily, I had company on the bus to talk to to keep my eyes from wandering off to look out the window at the Bosphorus, Mosques, Palaces, Businesses, and people.  I think now in hindsight, I would have teared and went into a mad frenzy in order to be deemed un fit to fly so that I could have another day or two there.  :-p

At the airport, I checked my bags.  It was official, I was leaving and had no other way out.  I hugged our tour guide Deniz, telling her not necessarily goodbye….

Somehow, I know I’ll be back…

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Day 24 – Istanbul

Our final full day in Istanbul!  NOOOO!!!

The morning was filled with me organizing my photos and videos, posting for the site.  (So bummed I lost my netbook).  Afterwards, we decided that a final trip to the Bazaar or to Taksim was in order.  We opted for the Bazaar as Taksim’s crowded streets could make it impossible to return in time for the Calligraphy workshops.

I made a final trip to the Grand Bazaar with Kipenzi and Yaneva in order to pick up a birthday gift for my friend.  The girls didn’t mind because they had shopping on their minds too.  We each had an idea of what we wanted and quickly went for it.  The shop owners are very aggressive when they know you’re on the fence about buying.  One even cornered me in his shop until I agreed to look at another color in a handbag.  When he went to get the other color, I took it as my opportunity to run!  His brother was standing by, pleading for me to wait.  Wow!  I felt bad for ducking out like that, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer.  Not all the shop owners are this way, so overall, the Grand Bazaar is like a shopping wonderland.  Time escaped me and I missed the Calligraphy workshop.  (I think I secretly began doing things on purpose so I’d have an excuse to come back).

Afterwards, we walked around Sultanhamet one final time to make sure we didn’t miss any unique businesses or entities.  Any last minute opportunities for interviews were on our mind.  I spoke briefly to a shop owner whose family owns a restaurant outside of downtown LA, but quickly found that answering business questions was not on his mind, but more flirting than anything.  *Sigh*

Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel to pack and prepare for the evening’s Farewell dinner.  Once we got close to the hour, Kipenzi had spoken with Professor Koc who invited us out for a farewell meal and opportunity to meet with other business owners in Turkey.  I weighed the pro’s and cons of missing out on the farewell dinner and decided that the meal with Professor Koc would be the best thing to do for me as pretty soon I’ll be relocating to Istanbul. :-p

So, we headed out to Set Balik, an AMAZING seafood restaurant off the Bosphorus.  I’m sure before eating there I had a favorite restaurant, but the delicious and savory bites from this restaurant had erased my memory of any competitors.  I seriously have a new favorite restaurant.  After dinner, we headed to Anjelique where we had an after dinner drink. The view and the warm evening air beckoned me to stay, to want to call this place home.  How could anyone not love Istanbul?

We had an early flight so we couldn’t stay long and network as much as I hoped.  We came back to the hotel and finished packing, I got the little sleep that I could before having to officially say goodbye tomorrow….

Day 22 – Istanbul

Today would be our presentations, but also a rare opportunity to survey Turkish University students and find out the answers to burning questions about Business culture and practices.  So, we missed out on visiting a Mosque (Cammi) in order to prepare the survey.   We spent the morning compiling questions for the Professor we be-friended and a survey for his students.  We had a limited time span to get the questions over to him as school would be out today!

The time flew by.  When we finished the questions, I headed down from the terrace restaurant at the Golden Horn and got dressed for this afternoon’s presentations.  By bus, at 2:30 we headed to Taksim to meet with the Turkish Cultural Foundation.  We arrived at 3pm and were greeted hospitably with the offer of beverages and cookies.  If I didn’t know any better, I’d say the Turkish people were trying to make me fall in love with them.

Shortly after, we were treated to 2 presentations.  One by a representative at Armaggon who educated us on the textile patterns currently in use and the natural dye techniques.  Then, by a top Professor and famous expert in the area of Ottoman textiles and art history.  She gave us an indepth presentation on life in 1582 and if I didn’t know any better, she’s a reincarnation of a person who lived during these times.  The past 3 weeks exposed us heavily to textiles, motifs, and art that links to the Islamic and Ottoman traditions of Turkey.  So by the time we sat down to her presentation, we had a nice background to really appreciate her lecture.

We then had dinner.  It was peda time!  Yum!  After a short dinner break, we all started our presentations.  There were 14 of us that were supposed to speak for 5-10 minutes each.  But sometimes, nerves get the best of you and that time is shortened or extended.  🙂  Watching the presentations made me quite sentimental.  I had memory replay’s through the other students presentations.  The tulip motif’s, the water systems, the domes all brought me back to the cave pottery store, Ephesus, and the first time we entered the Hagia Sophia.

Wow!

This had been an amazing trip and I felt like my presentation on Intellectual property was random against the background of so much art, history, and culture.

Luckily, my presentation went well enough that I was recommended to go to law school afterwards.  I don’t know if that was because it was long and boring or if I showed my passion for IP.  :-p  It’s quite funny as I have been debating becoming a lawyer over the past couple years…

Regardless of the next step for me, I know that my time in Turkey is greatly appreciated.  Around 9:40pm, it was time to head back to the hotel.  The pressure of presentations was off our shoulders and the reality of leaving was upon me.  But we needed to celebrate in dance for the presentation being over and a drink of sorrow to say goodbye to the country that’s been so amazing for us to visit…

We went to a nearby bar where the Aussie’s were determined to out dance us.  We held our own, but were out numbered.  Oh well, we have a couple days left to leave a positive American stamp in Istanbul…