Wednesday, September 23, 2009


We've been house-hunting unsuccessfully for a few years now, and every time I visit Istanbul, I'm painfully reminded of what the problem is: the city where we currently live is lacking both the architectural history and a sufficient element of urban culture I want to balance the provincial charms of our Mediterranean home. I'm fully aware of Istanbul's faults, most notably the traffic and the high cost of living. I'm likewise aware of the advantages our 1.5-million-population city, most notably the lack of traffic and the inexpensive cost of living. Jokes aside, our little city is safe, life is simpler, and the sun shines 360 days a year.

Nevertheless, every visit to Istanbul pulls on my heartstrings in a way I can almost physically feel. I am at once overwhelmed by all it has to offer, and left hungering for more. More of the beautiful architecture, so much of it badly wanting restoration, its potential teasing me; more of the modern art, seemingly proliferating by the minute; more of the Ottoman culture, which I hope to tastefully integrate into our modern dream home, when we do finally find it.

My reason dissipates as I find myself thinking of how fit I'll be, carrying baby, stroller, and groceries up several flights of stairs a few times each day. I will have boundless energy, just like all those New Yorkers who live in Brownstone walkups and don't own cars. I imagine our romantic evenings at Leb-i Derya or 5. Kat, sipping 20-Lira Whisky Sours and watching the sunset over the Bosphorus, the Hagia Sophia in the distance. Of course we'll be able to afford the babysitter in a city where we have no family; of course my husband will have more energy after work than he does now, pre-traffic, pre-baby.

Each time I board the one-hour flight back east, I feel the visit to Istanbul was too short, I accomplished so little. Yet I am restored, as if the photography exhibit at the Istanbul Modern, the Thai food I had for dinner one night in Beyoğlu, and the new ceramic serving dish I'm bringing home to add to my kitchen have given me a good dose of art and culture to tie me over for a little while.

No comments:

Post a Comment