Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Taste of Fall in Istanbul

Hello from Istanbul, friends! 

I'm writing this from our hotel rooftop with the most wonderful view. Seriously breathtaking. I seem to have a knack for finding rooftops where I can enjoy some quiet time. Il humdillallah! I wish every one of you could enjoy it with me. 

I've been in Istanbul a week already and it has flown by before I even realized what was happening. It's been strange to spend time in a big city and feel so...European. More than anything in the past week I've been asked if I'm German. I've also very much enjoyed the abundance of Starbucks in the city. How I've missed my iced coffee! 

I'm sure a lot of you know that I'm th kind of girl who lives for summertime (and if you didn't, now you do!), so spending so much time in the desert heat and sunshine has left me with no complaints. But I've very much enjoyed the fall like weather in Istanbul this week. The first morning I woke up in Istanbul to a gloomy view of the sea and it was beautiful! I was so excited to spend the day wandering the streets in the dreary, damp air. Thankfully it didn't continue to rain all day and we were able to enjoy a sunny boat tour on the Bosphorus. It's been great to take in so many historic sights this week. I've spent most I the semester vision places I've only read about in textbooks, but the grandeur of the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque brought it to a whole new level. It was all incredible. 

I think my favorite part of this week was going to see whirling dervishes. Talk about an experience! One of the greatest lessons I have learned so far is how I communicate with God. I don't think I've been going about worship in a way that truly allows me to experience the fullness of God that He has created me to be capable of. Experiencing worship with people of other religions has showed me just how big God is. I'm still figuring out how this is going to translate into my life back in the States, but when I get a better grasp on it I'll be sure to let you all know. All I can say right now is that God is bigger than I realized and I'm not talking to Him as well as I could. 

On a different note, I was hit with my first real wave of homesickness this week. Exhaustion seems to be getting the best of me. I'm loving every second of this trip, but it's hard to not be in your own bed. I'm excited to be back with all my family and friends in just a few more weeks. That being said, I'm already realizing how hard it will be for me to leave the new home I've created in Jerusalem. It's crazy to think that in only a few months I feel so intimately connected to the people and the place. I'm already preparing for a tearful goodbye. But that's still not for a couple weeks so I'm trying not to think about it too much. 

What a delicious taste of fall this week has been! But now it's off to the desert for this traveler. Our flight for Jordan leaves in a few hours. We'll be spending the next week in Amman before heading back to Jerusalem for our last weeks together. I'll update you all soon! All my love! 

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