It’s incredible to think that one year ago this week, The Working Dad (my husband, Mark) and I were preparing to take off for Istanbul to celebrate our ten-year wedding anniversary. I’m amazed that: a) time has flown by so quickly, and b) that Mark and I made it another year! Seriously, though, in the year since we were in Istanbul, I think I’ve fallen in love with the city more than I did while I was there.
Shortly after we returned from our nine-day trip, I wrote about how I’d felt so completely overwhelmed the first few days we were in Istanbul. It was also during those first few days that we visited the most popular and significant sites, Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque. I had read countless blog posts and tweets from so many people about how Hagia Sophia is their favorite place in the world, and how completely stunning Blue Mosque is. Possibly because I was so overwhelmed, uncomfortable, and anxious, and therefore not in my right frame of mind, I didn’t feel any of that while at Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque. In a way, I kind of feel like I was ripped off. I wanted to feel that same kind of connection to those places but it just didn’t happen. That’s not to say that I wasn’t in complete awe of other attractions or spots in the city, for I was quite captivated by Basilica Cistern and Süleymaniye Mosque.
In the year since our trip, I have read heaps of accounts of other peoples’ experiences in Istanbul. With each blog post, story, or article I read, I get this slight feeling of longing – longing to return to Istanbul to give the city, and myself, a second chance. No one is more surprised by this development than I am. When Mark and I returned home from Istanbul last year, we told everyone who asked that yes, we had a wonderful time, but we do not feel the need to go back. Well, now I do feel the need to go back to establish a connection with places like Hagia Sophia; to again absorb the colors and the smells of the Spice Bazaar; to drink fresh-squeezed pomegranate juice bought from a street vendor; and to mingle some more with the locals in Üsküdar, my favorite Istanbul neighborhood.
Maybe the old saying is true, that absence – or, in my case, time and distance – does make the heart grow fonder. It might take some convincing, but I’m thinking Mark and I should return to Istanbul for our fifteen-year anniversary.