Everyone was talking on their cell phones while walking around Oslo, taking photos of the shattered glass panes outside shoe and clothing stores downtown. Though the explosion had taken place only forty minutes earlier, the only signs that something was wrong were the long lines of police tape around the parliament building and the sound of sirens and burglar alarms. Everyone was strangely calm just after the accident. No one knew enough to be worried. At four in the afternoon, news online was hard to come by. The official report was that some kind of explosion, maybe a bomb though maybe not, had gone off downtown.


I come from a family of dreamers. My dad was always chasing some harebrained idea or another. One week he’d be talking about starting his own business, and the next he’d be obsessed with buying a motor home to travel cross-country. My mother spent many a weekend humoring my father as he dragged her from mobile home lot to mobile home lot looking for the perfect vehicle for this crazy adventure that has yet to materialize – twenty years later. At some point my mom took to saying, “I’ll believe it when I see it, Grant,” to just about every idea my father came up with.

Granted, my father made these things all sound wondrous and doable, but when it came to the logistics of trying to do any of the things he wanted to do, it just wasn’t going to happen with nine children in tow. In more recent years he has been far more productive in following through – like when he convinced my mom to get her truck driving license and the two of them drove big rigs across the country for a year or two. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the two of them happier and more close than when they were living out that life. Unfortunately, family drama made them have to quit that and my dad went back to his old dreamer self. I don’t talk to them much these days so I have no idea what he’s dreaming up these days, but I’m sure it’s something big.

The thing I’ve always admired about my dad’s big ideas is the enthusiasm with which he first approaches anything. In fact, I’m fairly certain I’ve inherited his big dreaming, as well as the enthusiasm that only lasts until the idea gets put down on paper. Somehow once I’ve thought something all the way through I no longer have the energy to actually put the pieces in motion. This is why I try very hard not to tell people I’m going to do something until I’ve actually got everything in place to make it happen. Many times I’ve heard the advice that you should tell people you’re going to do something because then you’ll feel obligated to follow through with it, but that’s just not the case with me or the people in my family. It seems that once we let our secret desires out into the ether, they escape never to be seen again. And so it is that I have been planning a move to Istanbul for the past six months but have not put it down in writing until now.

I’ve wanted to write about it here a million times over, but I would hate to become one of those people who sees everyone’s eyes roll every time she mentions another crazy adventure. I want to say, “I’m moving to Istanbul,” and have people actually believe it, rather than them saying, “I’ll believe it when it happens,” you know? I want to be a doer, not just a dreamer. So, now that the plane tickets are bought, my storage is beginning to fill up, and the funding has been secured, I feel it’s safe to come out to you all about my plans.

The most common question from people when I tell them I’m moving to Istanbul is: Why Turkey? The answer seems simple to me. I’m going to Turkey on a study abroad trip. My only other option for my major (MA TESOL) was Germany, which I felt was far too safe of a decision, considering I’ve already lived in Western Europe, have been learning German, and have been to Germany a couple of times. I wanted to explore someplace completely new and foreign to me. And, really, why not Turkey?

My friends and family also want to know why I’m going anywhere at all. Why not just stay in the states and finish up my MA quickly so I can move on with my life? Well, the easy answer is that I’m going because I can. If you had an opportunity to move to Istanbul, would you not take it? But the more true answer is that I applied in haste after having my heart shattered. All I wanted was to escape all of the memories of me and him. There isn’t a bar or restaurant in this town that doesn’t have some memory of us. And this apartment – it’s overflowing with promises not kept and things left unsaid. I think it’s safe to say that we’ve both had trouble letting go and I truly think a forced separation will allow us to move on in ways that we haven’t been able to over the past six months.

Also, it will give me the chance to be alone with myself and my thoughts while I get lost in the beauty and history of such a wonderful city. It’s only going to be for six months, but I’m hoping it will be enough time to explore Istanbul and some of the lesser traveled parts of Europe.

Already, I’ve been discovering the vast amount of history that has taken place in Turkey. Did you know Troy is in Turkey? I feel so ignorant for having thought it was in Greece all this time. I’m reading a huge travel guide on the country in the hopes of not seeming completely clueless upon arrival, but there’s so much to learn and so little time. It’s seriously unbelievable the layers and layers of history there – even just in Istanbul itself. I hope to send more regular updates from Istanbul with plenty of pictures for you all. Hopefully we’ll both learn something from the experience.

Any advice, suggestions, must-sees, or phone numbers of hot guys are more than welcome. Well, contact information for just about anyone living in Turkey (aside from creepy stalkers and serial killers), is welcomed.

So now, how many of you have that They Might Be Giants song stuck in your head?