Greetings from Istanbul! Some of you may be wondering why you haven’t heard from me in a while. The quick summary is that my father died in January, I became depressed, and decided to shake myself out of it by moving to Turkey. So, I have been busy getting settled, trying to learn Turkish, and developing business here. YES, I AM STILL COACHING CLIENTS IN THE U.S. I do most of my work by phone, and my phone numbers haven’t changed. Don’t hesitate to call. (Turkey is seven hours ahead of Eastern time, ten hours ahead of Pacific time. Call anytime, though. I work odd hours and turn off my phone at night.) Staying in touch and doing business from abroad is unbelievably easy nowadays. In contrast, I lived in Japan for three years right after college, and during the first year I was still sending handwritten letters (not email)!
You may be asking, "Why Turkey?" The simplest answer is whim. It just felt like the right thing to do. Of course, I could come up with a bunch of reasons not to—blah blah blah, practical stuff, blah blah blah, my business, blah blah blah, I don’t speak Turkish… You can always come up with reasons NOT to do something. I knew that I wanted to live abroad again at some point since living in Japan and Thailand had both been wonderful experiences. When I came to Turkey on vacation in April, I just kept thinking,“I could totally live here. Why shouldn’t I just move?” So, I decided to take the leap. Istanbul happens to meet all my major criteria. First of all, it is a fascinating place culturally. The religious/secular dynamic is so wacky that in some places they actually require that you drink alcohol at work functions (presumably to prove that you are not a radical Muslim). Also, Turkey fits what I am looking for socially: (1) Istanbul has a really good social dance scene—specifically Tango, believe it or not; (2) people are very friendly and like foreigners; and (3) dating is NOT a problem for foreign women—unlike in Japan.
I love living abroad because it is just so interesting. You find yourself in strange situations that you would never experience at home. I’ve found myself going down a dark alley in China in the pouring rain with complete strangers to attend a goat roast. I’ve been at the front of an elementary school assembly in Japan singing (to the tune of Michael Row Your Boat Ashore) “Anna-sensei has come to teach us English. Hallelujah. Isn’t it great? We’re going to learn about America. Hallelujah.” These things just wouldn’t happen living in DC. I’ll keep you posted on my adventures!