Drumroll, please…

Well, first, I’m celebrating my year anniversary in Istanbul (May 12th) – can you believe it?  Time, at times, has flown. Other times, it’s stood so still I thought it might be frozen.  But, I’ve survived, and can almost say that I’m thriving!  I still can’t  believe some days that I live here.

But, I’m going to be able to believe it a bit more, because I’ve decided to stay another year.  I miss my American family and friends terribly, but I’m going to plead for your patience with me while I continue my Turkish adventure.

I weighed this decision very heavily.  And I’ve fluctuated.  In fact, after my Houston Christmas visit, I was determined to come home.  I was ready for an easier life, was missing home acutely, and wanted a better selection of restaurants!  I was at my friend Joe’s party, and was talking about expat life with my friend Melody.  I told her that I would almost definitely return to Houston, saying that I thought life here would have been easier by then.  At that point, I had been in Istanbul for 9 months.  She looked at me shocked, and said that expat life doesn’t get easier until at least a year in.  And she should know.  She was in Japan before she was in Turkey.

And you know what?  The last couple of months have been significantly easier.  I can’t say it’s one thing or another, but I think it’s a

A minaret of the Blue Mosque on a beautiful day in Istanbul.

combination.  I’m learning more Turkish.  Even if I can’t speak it well, I understand more.  I moved into a new neighborhood in January, where I feel like I belong.  I have some good friends, and for the past couple of months, a wonderful boyfriend.  I’m more confident in most situations.  And I can find my way around a bit better.

I certainly have bad days.  Or hard days.  I cry a bit easier over some things.  About a month ago, I was having a really good day, and was walking home thinking about how much my life here was improving.  I turned the corner to my street, and the local florist was selling yellow roses.  Oh, my heart hurt!  I immediately was so homesick for Texas, and everything and everyone I love there.  And recently, I had to miss the wedding of my dear friends April and Jason.  I was heartsick about that.  So, as I made my decision to stay here longer, I had to consider those things.

But I’m excited about my decision to stay.  I have (another!) new job that I’ll start in mid-August.  I’ll be teaching English to middle-schoolers at one of the top private schools in Istanbul.  I really like the people I’ll be working with and for, and the campus is beautiful, and much, much closer to my house than my current school.  I’ve always liked middle school aged kids, and hope that this opportunity works out well.  I’m also looking for an new apartment (in the same neighborhood) now, so I’m excited about that.

It looks like I’ll be home for a couple weeks in August, and I’ll definitely be home for a week and a half at Thanksgiving.  I can’t wait to visit.  And, everyone, you realize now that I’m here another year, you have another year to visit!  You have a place to stay and a free tour guide!

I’ve also made a renewed vow to write more on this blog.  And not all my posts will be this long, I promise!

Friends, thank you so much for your support and love.

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16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. B Zontini
    May 25, 2012 @ 05:32:55

    I agree with your friend in that now you are more comfortable with yourself, making decisions, in where you want to live, etc. Also since you are understanding more of the language you feel more that you belong there. 2 years is not a large part of your whole life but this experience can help shape your life and how you want to live it. I say “Bravo Jessica” in following through with a life goal. Best, Barb

    Reply

  2. Sunny Bogden
    May 25, 2012 @ 06:19:57

    Oh good you’re gonna be home for my birthday-ish. Wait this is supposed to be about you. I’m so proud of you! Thank you for being an inspiration to us all and I can’t wait to read more about your continued adventures.

    Reply

  3. Sunny Bogden
    May 25, 2012 @ 06:20:27

    P.S this post was WAY too short.

    Reply

  4. Adelina Espat
    May 25, 2012 @ 06:24:01

    I love your blog! Please continue writing… you inspire me with each post. What a wonderful adventure! xxoo

    Reply

  5. groovehouse
    May 25, 2012 @ 06:27:11

    The yellow roses comment brought a happy tear to my eye.

    Seriously, how can you claim expat status if you’re only gone one year? Live it up girl! Have a great time, we’ll be here for you, on the internet.

    Much luck,
    Eric

    Reply

  6. Melanie
    May 25, 2012 @ 06:37:44

    Take one day at a time and enjoy it all. Just be safe. I hope I can come visit one day. Right now, I am busy getting settled in Miami. Talk about culture shock!!!

    Reply

  7. Andrea
    May 25, 2012 @ 06:50:55

    That’s a great decision! It’ll all still be here, so don’t even worry. I’m so proud of you for this whole adventure, and really excited that you’ll keep it going.

    Reply

  8. favouritethings
    May 25, 2012 @ 07:01:50

    I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who got teary at the yellow rose comment. Keep shining. And I’ll hold you too more blog posts. I love reading your adventures. I guess this is a great excuse to renew my passport.

    Reply

  9. annagrassini
    May 25, 2012 @ 07:40:56

    Jessica, congratulations! I learned from our recent move to Houston that there is a moment when the new city becomes home…and it takes way more than 12 months! So it is wonderful that you are giving yourself a chance to continue this adventure!

    Reply

  10. Sam
    May 25, 2012 @ 08:10:24

    Good luck in Year 2!! Sorry for not staying in touch as frequently as I would have liked. I’ve enjoyed following your first year adventures, but now you should be on firmer ground. Glad to hear you’ve established a network of friends there. Enjoy!!

    Reply

  11. thewhether
    May 25, 2012 @ 09:15:18

    What great news! You all were such amazing hosts while I was there, I can only hope that your stay lasts long enough for me to have another visit. You live in an amazing place. I’m glad you’re cherishing it. Congratulations on the job! Be well!

    Reply

  12. Bonnie New
    May 25, 2012 @ 09:36:14

    So good to hear such a good report. I so admire your adventurousness and initiative on this journey!

    Reply

  13. Jessica Hampson (@JessHampson)
    May 25, 2012 @ 09:54:46

    Jess! That is exciting news! I love following you and your adventure in Turkey. Don’t worry, we will all be here when you get back…and if not here than on the interwebs. It’s a beautiful thing!

    Have fun and keep in touch!
    Jessica

    Reply

  14. Ashley Hutchinson
    May 25, 2012 @ 10:38:28

    More blogs please! I absolutely love reading about your adventure!

    Reply

  15. Cindy Quinn
    May 25, 2012 @ 12:48:12

    Jessica – I really hope you enjoy your second year in Turkey – that takes a lot of courage and a strong person to implant themselves into a totally different culture. I am sincerely happy that it is working out for you and wish you love and luck in your immediate future adventures! Love – Cindy

    Reply

  16. Anneliese
    May 26, 2012 @ 07:54:16

    David and I promised ourselves that if you stayed another year, we would make the trip to visit since Beatrix will be old enough to stay with her grandparents for a week. Hope to see you in Houston soon and in Istanbul in 2013! We love you!

    Reply

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