Farewell Turkey..

Bismillah,

I started writing this post a long time ago but it stayed unfinished because my procrastinator nature took over :p I’m back on track and this is only the first post of the many to come 馃檪

It’s been a long time since I’ve written on here and the reason for that is that there weren’t many things I wanted to write about and I had limited access to internet. I’m writing at Trabzon airport (Trabzon is the next province after Giresun on the east side). I will try to write as much as I can but obviously I’ve forgotten a lot already, oops..

We stayed at our house in the village for most of the days and only left it twice to visit yayla and Trabzon. I will talk about in more detail but my main thoughts on my stay at Giresun… it was as always very relaxing, living in the mountains with nothing to worry about, only hearing the sound of adhan and jackals and super healthy food freshly plucked from our own garden. Besides that, it was also a big eye opener. You suddenly realise how many opportunities you have back home to improve yourself and do something meaningful for others. Too many blessings we take for granted: internet, public transport, being around people, lessons and what not.. this is exactly what I needed to be motivated and energised for a busy last year at uni and giving to others. You realise that there’s no rest except after struggle and no happiness except after sadness. Another lesson I learned is that letting go of things is very important to be happy. For me personally this had to do with filling my time with useful things. For me, a day not planned is a day I didn’t live. This brings a lot of ease as well as a lot of stress in my life. When I don’t get everything done that I wanted to do or I have to change my planning for some reason this can extremely annoy me. This is not the life style of ANY of these people. I even spent a day with the imam and his wife and I saw how relaxed they were and didn’t get stressed out by anything.

(ps I’m in the air by now – literally)

I don’t think I will ever be able to live like that, just see what you can do at the moment and not plan for what comes next. But it did teach me to be less obsessed with trying to control everything an stress out once it doesn’t work, after all I can only plan but never can I have power on what Allah has already planned. I would like to experience living in a place without internet and all other comforts we know in the west for at least a year, the result will either be a crazy yearning for my old way of life or a totally transformed view of life from my side.

Now about the trips that we made. The first one was to yayla. Yayla is what we call the highlands, they are located some 60 kms away from the sea and consist of huge mountains with mostly grass but not as many trees as in k枚y (village in the lower mountains that are closer to the sea and the city). There aren’t many people living there and those who do only come during summer because in winter it is really impossible to survive there. It’s extremely cold and there’s very little oxygen which makes it very hard to breathe, but in the long term gives you very healthy lungs.
There’s not much that I can say about it except that it’s really beautiful.. a treasure hidden far away. And the meat is amazing too 馃檪

The next trip was to Trabzon. It takes about an hour or two to get there from Giresun. We visited a place called S眉mela manastiri, a monastry located inside a high mountain,  a very secluded place, “perfect for worship” thought some Christians from Trabzon many centuries ago. And amazing it was.. just imagine all the rooms (= caves) up in the mountains, with an amazing view. It felt so weird to walk there and imagine that there were actually people living there and worshiping – wow.

At this point I stopped writing and it’s been a week since I returned to Holland..

Leaving Giresun wasn’t that difficult for me, because although I find it a very beautiful place it doesn’t and will never satisfy my soul. Istanbul is much nearer to that, probably because its historical richness is still reflected in everything that the city has to offer and is felt very strongly..

It were the last days of Ramadan when we were in Istanbul and it was much hotter there so whenever we went a day out we had to take another day to just rest at home. One of the days that we went out was truly the most beautiful day that I ever had in Istanbul, and one of the most beautiful days of my life..

We went to the “other side” (European side) by ferry with my mother, sister and friend, a journey of its own. From there I parted from them (it was hard to convince them that I’m old enough to discover Istanbul on my own but I did it 馃檪 ) since they wanted to visit touristic places and I just wanted to go to the yearly book fair that I discovered two years ago thanks to my brother. It was very exciting to go there by myself, and difficult too! I took the bus instead of the metro and therefore I had to walk quite a bit. I thought I was in some Arab country because the streets where I walked were filled with shops directed to Arab tourists. While I was walking salatul jumu’ah was being prayed, and for the first time in my life I saw men praying outside because the masjid was too full. That made me soooo happy! But as soon as the prayer ended I suddenly saw a HUGE crowd of men walking in all directions!! And I got in panic, it felt so awkward.. it was like I was the only women on the face of the earth :p

I walked hastily and finally found the place where the book fair is located, Beyazit Meydani (Beyazit Square). The Istanbul University and Beyazit mosque are also found here. As I hadn’t prayed dhuhr yet I went inside the mosque………….. and I heard something magical…. a hafidh reciting the Qur’an beautifully.. it had me mesmerised.. I stayed there until the recitation ended and then made my entrance into the fair 馃檪 book fair’s are so nice, there are only nice people and the books are so so so cheap! I wanted to buy almost everything :p but I had been warned too often to dare to buy more than two books…. I ended up buying 13 books and I was gifted 4 other books haha. Let me explain.. I actually bought only two books for myself. One has a title that I just can’t translate but the writer has went to many places and interviewed people who have opposed the oppressors.. it sounds like a real eye-opener. The other one is called the aqeedah of the salaf, by Guraba publishers, which is one of the few publishers that only publish authentic books in Turkish. I bought 11 pocket books of hisnul muslim there which shouldn’t actually be counted as books! It was also there that I was gifted four (little) books. The brother who was selling the books of the publishing house was in a deep conversation with one of the visitors, who was a brother who just started seeking knowledge and was quite confused about what to read. It was so touching to listen to them, it reminded me of my first steps and the confusion that comes with it. So the brother gave the visitor 4 little books about ahlul bayt and since I had been listening to them for like half an hour he also gave the same books to me 馃榾

Since it felt awkward to walk past all the stands for the so manieth time I went back to Emin枚n眉, where the ferry leaves to the Asian side. This time I took the metro and arrived in like 5 minutes :p. I had another hour before my mother etc. would come so I went to the mosque by the Bosphorus (Yeni Cami – New Mosque – not that new anymore..). And what did I hear again…. another beautiful recitation of the Qur’an… I was sooo happy, I just sat down with my Qur’an translation and followed the recitation. I don’t know who was more amazed, the many tourists sitting in the front or me hiding in the back of the mosque at the women’s section. It was very emotional, especially after all the days full of distraction. I had finally found myself, there was no one to disturb me, just me and this beautiful voice. At some point there was another sister sitting next to me and making a heartfelt dua, followed by tears of hope and fear. I felt a very strong connection with her, something that I can’t explain but I felt it right in my heart. I had to leave sooner than I wanted.. I had a strong urge to walk up to one of the tourists and ask them what they felt when they heard this, but next time in sha Allah.

That was Turkey 2013, it took longer and ended sooner than I had expected. It was different than other years and yet the same places that I went to. Leaving Istanbul was much harder than leaving Giresun. Perhaps because it meant that I was leaving Turkey for real now, and only Allah knows when I will return again – if I ever will. Both my body and soul got sick when I came back home, it felt soo cold, both literally and figuratively. I really miss it.. fajr adhan in Istanbul, the weather, the sun, the roads, the food and I can go on and on.. But this is my home right now, and I know that it will soon change so I have patience and I’m happy to be here for a little longer. I’m ready for the next challenge, my last year at uni in sha Allah. An exciting year is ahead of me..

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Ramadan 2013!!

Bismillah,

Yesterday was the first day of Ramadan in Turkey, and the second time I’m here during Ramadan. I’m very grateful that I’m here because there’s so much more spirituality in the air, waking up with the trumpet and having suhoor until you hear the adhaan, and having iftaar when you hear the adhaan again. Everybody is fasting, even those who are not very practising, and people around you are reciting the Quran.. the whole country is simply in another mood.
On the other hand I do feel guilty for not spending enough time on ibadah, as we go out and meet other family, although that’s also a good deed. This is my last day in Istanbul, I will be spending the next 2,5 weeks in our village in Giresun, perfect place for Ramadan.

On saturday the rest of my family arrived in Turkey, alhamdulillah it was really good to be reunited again. Along with them my Dutch/Indonesian friend came to visit Turkey. It’s the first time that I brought a non-Turkish friend with me to Turkey. As I expected everybody welcomed her and she feels accepted too, although communication is not very effective 馃榾

On monday we went to the European side of Istanbul, where most of the beautiful places are located (my family mostly lives on the Asian side). We visited several mosques (Fatih mosque, Suleymaniye mosque, Sultan Ahmet/Blue mosque, Yavuz Selim mosque) and the Topkapi Palace. I’ve been to these places many times, except for the Topkapi Palace, so it wasn’t anything new for me. But in the Sultan Ahmet mosque I became very emotional. I prayed dhuhr there and looked at the mosque and the people in front of me. The view was simply amazing, the enormous building and beauty everywhere. But the visitors… I would have much more preferred to see people in islamic attire, reciting Qur’an, praying and remembering Allah. Instead of people having fun and taking thousands of pictures. The primary purpose of this building was not to facilitate the worship of the Creator but to serve as a tourist attraction. This made me very sad, especially as I thought about the great people who built it and put so much effort in it. But at the end only Allah knows their intention. And it’s a great way of showing what Islam is about to people who have maybe never even met one muslim in their lives, and now they can see muslims praying in such a beautiful places with their own eyes.

The Topkapi Palace also stirred up many emotions inside me. We had less than an hour to explore the place because we had to meet my brother at a certain place, and so we had to hurry a lot. I would suggest to spend a whole day at this palace as it’s huge and almost endless. It is very strange to see objects from a different time, centuries old things right there in front of you, while now we can only read about those times and try to imagine how it must have been. There were several collections but the one that caught my attention was the collection of armour. It was SO beautiful! It’s obviously not necessary to make such beautiful things to use in war, but wow if I were to be the enemy I would be amazed by the splendour of these materials and get scared. It was a very strange thought that my forefathers used these materials to conquer and protect the places where my family now lives, the place I come from. And how strong must they have been to carry such big things and also fight using them. How strange is it that they are now gone and we display their stuff in a museum.. indeed every nation has an appointed time when they have to leave this temporary world. And alhamdulillah as much as the thought of dying causes fear inside us it is a comfort to know that we will not live here forever, there will not always be imperfection, this place is not endless. But until that time we will might have to wait for such a long time in our graves.. we should be wise and make it a good wait while we still can.

At around 7 pm we took the ferry back to the Asian side (after the SCARIEST taxi-drive ever, I seriously thought the driver would kill someone accidentally). At this point the sun was very low in the sky. And the view was… beyond any words.. I will show the pictures, but seriously everybody should see this once. Yesterday after iftar my cousin brought us to the Bosphorus again. This time it was dark outside and subhanAllah! So so so so so beautiful.. I just don’t know what to say about it. The water, mountains, lights, bridges… I fell in love with it.
After that we also went to a hill called Camlica, from where you can see both the Asian and European side of Istanbul, and the Bosphorus.. It’s almost magical haha 馃檪

I will try to finally upload some pictures!

Day eight – eleven

6 June 2013
Bismillah
Yesterday we left Karasu in the morning. We headed towards a nearby village called Elmalisu (water with apple :p) and on the way we passed by a place called Acarlar Longozu, google image it and you will see beautiful pictures of nature. I didn’t really enjoy it that much as I was very thirsty and the midday sun and long walk on a wooden bridge through the forest made it even worse. But alhamdulillah it’s always good to be in nature and the place reminded me of Holland, just a lot of water and trees in abundance. It didn’t cause me to feel that kind of desperation that I felt when I was in the village. But too soon things changed :p for the good or the bad.. you judge.
So we made our way through the typical villages of Turkey… long, curvy and mountainous roads. I just sat in the car enjoying the beautiful scenery and hoping that my uncle’s crazy driving wouldn’t give this journey a bad ending. Then we safely arrived in the village and found our acquiantances from Holland. They showed us around in the village and this by now all too familiar feeling got control over me again.
I watched the huge and endless fields and mountains of the village, that reached as far as my eyes could behold. I felt so much awe for the one who had created it. After two years I could witness the vastness of the earth, which we often seem to forget with our walls and laptops being our most common view. It’s such an eye opener.. to think that I’m looking at a mountain or watching the waves of the blacksea, while if you were to show me on a map on the world I wouldn’t even be the size of a black dot. Such a crazy and scary thought. I simple can’t comprehend the vastness of this earth, let alone the universe or what is beyond the heavens… subhanAllah! We our minisculous beings, hardly anything at all. The only thing that gives us worth is our ability to carry tawheed in our hearts.
One thing I learned in the past days is that nobody will care about your happiness but you should. And even less people will care about your hereafter, but you definitely should. On the day of judgment everyone will forget about their love or hate for you in this world, you will be left all alone with your deeds and body to testify for or against you.
Another thing I reminded myself of is that those who truly believe will not have fear or sadness. But this is when you fear the hereafter and become sad about your misdeeds. Then Allah will reward you by giving you hope and peace with His remembrance. As a muslimah I shouldn’t just have these feelings of fear when I think about how big and scary everything is but I should use this fear to remind me of the hereafter and strive to be a better person.
We arrived at maghrib yesterday in Istanbul, and it was as always welcoming me with warmth and love. Here I don’t have those feelings as I do outside the city, because Istanbul really feels like a home to me. But still it’s not the same as in Holland where I feel safest as there’s nothing as huge as there is here. It’s funny how none of the locals has these thoughts (I guess..). For them they are so used to this place that they can’t imagine anything different, if they but knew what kind of place they’re living in..!
Tomorrow my dad, sisters and friend are coming in sha Allah. I just can’t wait to see people who are like me!! And my beloved family and friend..
One day we will part forever, from all those whom we know and from this worldy life.. next comes the hereafter with its vastness..

Day five – seven

30 June 2013
Bismillah
I’m actually writing this on the first of July and I’m so happy that time has passed because the end of this test is near.. today was a special day for me.
I left the home early today so that I would be gone before the music started. I took the bus again and their was a really funny kid but I don’t want to backbite 馃榾 the kids here are so funny they just scream in the streets and more crazy stuff. I bought something called pide, bread filled with meat, for less than 50 cents and wanted to find a place outside to sit. But there was only one mini park where lots of men and families were sitting together so I didn’t want to go there. I started walking uphill towards the villages in the mountains, no idea why I did it but although it was really tiring and I was sweating all over I just didn’t want to return to the city centre. I walked tirelessly for half an hour or so and it felt as if I was in my own village in Giresun. People were staring at me thinking who is this strange woman, and the sound and smell of animals, clothes hanging outside to dry etc etc. There was also an old woman who asked me who I was and where I come from. It turned out that she’s also from Giresun, and she said it doesn’t matter where you’re from we are all kardesh (one word that means both brother and sister). I thought that was so cute and I was happy that someone like her talked to me because villagers do not always welcome strangers.. especially if they look as weird as I do 馃檪
Then I finally turned around and went downhill, there were young men on bicycles and I wished I could have one too and get down that hill in one minute while it took me half an hour to get to the top.
I prayed dhuhr at the masjid and not surprisingly someone talked to me again. This time it was an aunty who wore khimar and she came from Istanbul to visit someone. She asked me whether I had swum in the sea and I said no. She said she hadn’t either and that it’s not something for US to do. Man was I happy to hear that word. Finally someone who doesn’t think I’m weird or that I was raised in a cave! I was so happy that Allah gave me the chance to speak to someone who understands me.
But that wasn’t all 馃檪 I went home after buying some oils from a herbal store (my favourite place to shop….. :D) and getting discount without even asking for it..
In the evening my uncle’s sister in law and her friend came to visit us. And she’s a very conscious person whom I have always loved even as a child. We talked about islam and it felt so good.
It feels like Allah sent these people so that I feel less lonely and more motivated, alhamdulillah. The other visitor is going to send her child to me tomorrow so that we can read Qur’an, finally it feels like I can do something useful. Just gotta make the best of it before it’s time to go back to my oh so beloved country :p no seriously, I’m so happy that my parents gave me an islamic upbringing in a non muslim country. I wanted to make it a nice ending but I’m too sleepy……………………
2 June 2013
Yesterday wasn’t such a special day or maybe I was too lazy to write :p anyways, I just wanted to write a bit about today and something I forgot to mention about the village. For the rest it was quite normal and the music was much less alhamdulillah.
When I was in the village I felt something that I feel whenever I’m in any village. And I must say that it’s quite scary. It’s this feeling of total emptiness, quiet, boredom, nothingness. The thought that your every single day consists of doing exact the same things, nothing new happens, no new experiences or lessons.. subhanAllah that’s just so scary..
I guess it’s because I’m so used to living in stress and a very dynamic life. I don’t know if this has to do with village life or villages in Turkey, because I’ve always dreamt of living in a poor place with a very islamic environment..
My uncle says that I will never be able to survive in a poor country because I can’t even stand some things in Turkey. I think it depends on how much you love a country.. because if your determination to stay is strong enough you can conquer any problem and my biggest problem is that I get sick of dirty things but you can create your own clean environment.
The last few days the weather wasn’t very good, the sea was extremely wild and nobody went to the sea. So what did I do…. I went to a walk on the beach and wet my feet. But soon my legs got wet too so I thought I might as well go deeper into the sea. It was more than 6 years ago when I went swimming in the sea. Well I couldn’t really swim because the waves were so big but it felt so good to just let myself go with the flow 馃榾
Alhamdulillah I feel much more energetic and healthy. Ready to go back to Istanbul in two days in sha Allah.

Day four…

29 June 2013
Bismillah
Today was the worst day so far.. it was so bad that it made me cry. Let me explain..
I didn’t leave the house until after ‘asr because I wanted to stay inside and listen to a lecture. After ‘asr we went to have a look in some of the nearby villages. The rest of the time was just wasted with eating and talking.
So I was feeling very guilty for wasting my time and wanted to make up for it after maghrib. But I wasn’t determined enough. My family asked me if I wanted to go to the trampolines on the beach and I said I didn’t but they convinced me. Once I was there all I thought was how am I going to justify this to Allah. Loud music being played, naked girls and people thinking that they are happy. I felt so miserable. And I felt weak. Then I remembered the hadith.. ittaqullaha haythu ma kunt wa atbi’i s-sayyiata hasanah tamhuha..
I then left the place but this feeling of unrest hasn’t left me. There’s a black spot on my heart causing it to feel pain and sorrow.
I have had enough of these sins and sinful people. I thought Holland had a bad effect on my iman now it seems like paradise and I miss my friends who would help me to come nearer to Allah. But I need to be patient and fight against my nafs and others. I came here with the intention to work on my iman and make the most of ramadhan.. but as my sister said this time I’m not strengthening my iman through reading books and listening to lectures but by struggling against the shaytaan.
It’s hard, I feel alone in my struggle as nobody is supporting me. But I have Allah and I will have to answer to Him alone and on the day of judgment nobody will have anyone to help them. And I have my best friend.. one I neglected, the Qur’an.
Surah Ibrahim, Verse 22:
“And the Shaitan shall say after the affair is decided: Surely Allah promised you the promise of truth, and I gave you promises, then failed to keep them to you, and I had no authority over you, except that I called you and you obeyed me, therefore do not blame me but blame yourselves: I cannot be your aider (now) nor can you be my aiders; surely I disbelieved in your associating me with Allah before; surely it is the unjust that shall have the painful punishment.”

Day three

29 June 2013
Bismillah
I’m going to try to keep it short today because I’m really sleepy.
Today I woke up without music and this continued until 2 minutes after the adhan for jumuah was called. Hmmm…
I just prayed and cooked and quickly left the house in search for peace.
I took the bus again although I was scared because I thought it might be the same driver as yesterday and I felt very embarassed about it (I left the bus way too early and the driver even looked at me to make sure that I didn’t want to return to the bus haha). But alhamdulillah it wasn’t, it was an old man who looked very kind and wise. And he has placed a card in his bus that read: “Sen benim yasadiklarimi hayal bile edemezsin”, it means “you can’t even imagine what I went through”. Deep.
I found a beautiful masjid and did something I’ve wanted to do or a really long time. I always wanted to just enter a masjid and stay there for hours reading and doing other things. But in Holland I could never do this because the women’s side is always locked except during lessons or friday prayer. I loved it and felt peace after such a long time. There were also children who had made the masjid their playground. People were getting annoyed at them but I thought it was so beautiful.. what other place would you like your children to be than in the masjid?? I hope I can see them again and give them sweets.
I prayed ‘asr (though constantly worrying I wouldn’t be able to hear the imam because of the noise outside) with another old woman. After the prayer she started talking to me (I hadn’t expected otherwise) and asking me questions which I answered in my broken Turkish :p it turned out that she’s from Trabzon which is a province next to Giresun my place of origin and also part of the black sea region. She also asked me if I would consider getting married in Turkey. I told her that I’m not thinking about it and that I thought it would be very hard (she had told me that she has two single sons :p). She said Allah makes things easy. And of course that’s true. But I think that it’s best to marry someone who has been raised in a similar society as there will be more similarities in your expectations, experiences in live and most importantly your view on life and your deen. Anyways I don’t want to think about these things but my mum thinks I need a man who will keep me under controle. Difficult 馃榾
Then I just went outside to find something to eat before I went back home. But I was too shy to go somewhere and get food for myself hahaha. So I decided to buy something to drink from the supermarket.
The bus drive back was quite dangerous as the driver was a crazy young man. Besides there was no place for me to sit in the beginning so I had to stand and pass people’s money to a boy who gave it to the bus driver. But it was so much that I forgot who gave what :O I’m just too pro at embarassing myself 馃檪
Today I told myself that I should stop considering other’s thoughts about me and just do my own thing as everybody does here. I don’t need to be ashamed of myself but istead try to be an example for others.. take what’s good about the people here and bring in some fresh positivity from where I come from!

Day two

28 June 2013
Bismillah
Today was…. different. We came to a place called Karasu with my uncle and his family and rented a house by the sea. My plan was to stay at home all day and study and walk on the beach in the evenings, perfect! But no it didn’t work out. The nieghbours play music very loudly ALL DAY LONG! It’s driving me crazy and even as I’m writing now (12:07 am) it’s as loud as it was during the day. People play music everywhere here in Turkey and they love to share it with others. 馃槮
So I decided to explore the city on my own, I loved it alhamdulillah.
I tried to be a bit more courageous too :p I walked for an hour to the city centre and kept on looking for a bank but couldn’t find one. Then I pushed myself to ask someone 馃榾
When I got my money there was an old woman who asked me if I could help her to check how much money she has on her account which I did too 馃檪
Then I went to the shop and bought me some organic drink and chocolate. I never knew that there were so many organic products here and even an organic supermarket! I also saw peanut butter of the Dutch brand calv茅, something from back home 馃榾
On my way back I decided to take the bus. They call it “dolmus” here which means “it’s full”. It’s almost always full or otherwise packed. I was really scared to go on my own because I didn’t know how much I would have to pay and I would have to tell the bus driver when I wanted to leave as there are almost no busstops and people get in an our anywhere. Alhamdulillah though I did it.. I just asked how much it would cost to a certain place. Then some people stood up on the avenue where I needed to be so the bust stopped and I left with them. I had to walk another fifteen minutes because I left the bust way too early but it was my first time so I forgive myself :p I was just too scared to say “could you please stop at an appropriate place” because I can’t talk very loudly and I’m too shy to talk to strangers haha. Next time I might do it…
I saw many interesting things and if I wasn’t ashamed of randomly taking pictures of everything I would’ve done so!
The marketing branche is really funny here, on the roads you see posters of all kinds of brands (but mostly of window brand :p). But the funny thing is that they just put the logo of the brand on a poster and nothing else with it. Not like “macdonalds – I’m lovin’ it” but simply “istikbal” or “primapen” etc. etc. As if that will persuade someone to buy from them! Weird people :p

Something beautiful was the big writing “ya malikilmulk” on a big building. I think it was done by the owner to remind himself that Allah is the owner of everything and that his building is nothing compared to what Allah possesses, everything in the heavens and the earth.
I saw a turtle and people cycling on the highway. There are also many wild dogs walking around and they often sit on the roads. One of them couldn’t get away from the road either because it was so thirsty/hungry or because it was wounded. So one man stopped by the highway (something that no one would ever do in the west to save a wild dog, just because we abide by the rules) and saved the dog! It was such a beautiful scene, may Allah reward the man.
I don’t remember much more from today.. we drove for two hours and adventurous they were 馃槈 crazy uncle and crazy traffic says enough. It’s just too funny how little people are bothered by traffic rules. Yes they exist and people get fined for breaking them but still!
I saw that a place is called “kurudil” which means dry tongue. Haha that’s so random and weird. And this is only one of the weird things that Turkish people do. Just tooo funny.
One last thing.. I noticed that nobody looks at their phone while walking, nor do they take pictures or everything like we do. Instragram hasn’t really made it’s way to Turkey 馃檪 this is soo good.. people are much more social and open here.
I’m done writing although I probably forgot to mention many things. The music is still on (12:42 am). I don’t know what I should do. I’m going to ask my brother if he can pick me up and take me anywhere where I don’t have to hear music. It’s really distracting and makes me feel so bad.. I hope I can sleep.. it’s so crazy that once I fall asleep I forget everything about where I am.. when I woke up yesterday it took me a few seconds to remember that I’m in Turkey not Holland. Ok byeee

Turkey 2013 – first day

26 June 2013
Bismillah,
Yesterday evening my dad finally bought tickets for me, my mum and my brother to Turkey. So today I prayed fajr at home and dhuhr in Istanbul. Simply amazing and unbelievable. It’s such a crazy experience to decide that you will go to another country one day and the next day you find yourself actually in that country.
The night before we bought the tickets I saw a dream in which I stepped on a wooden boat in Amsterdam to take pictures of the water. The boat suddenly started to move and after half an hour I reached the shore of a village with indigenous people. I was quite scared at the beginning of the journey but calmed down as time went by. And this morning I had the same feeling, I just couldn’t believe that after two years I would go back to Turkey and be in ISTANBUL! And then we arrived and the dream came true… alhamdulillah!
It was really overwhelming. I noticed I was in a really emotional mood when the plane just left the airport and the personnel said while giving safety instructions that in case of emergency one should first save themselves and then their children. I could totally imagine a mother trying to save her children and dying herself. And then I saw Istanbul and the tears washed my tired eyes. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and yet it was true!
So many things I forgot about before I came here.. to list a few:
路 how different people are here compared to the west.. the way strangers interact with each other is just wow! You can talk to anyone as if you have known them for years, the strict social norms that I’m used to don’t apply here. I must say that it’s quite difficult for me to adapt to this because I’m really an introvert and I also feel unsecure about my Turkish.
路 the adhaan.. probably the best thing about my stay here is that although it’s not an islamically perfect state there’s a lot of islam here. More examples are sadaqah boxes at the cash desks of all shops, islamic signs (I read one today that said “on the day of judgment your sins may be shown to the ones you would least want to see them”), majority of women wearing hijab and some also khimar and men with beards and sunnah clothes and much more. I’m so grateful that I will be spending my summer and ramadhan here alhamdulillah.
路 the food!!! Although we eat Turkish food every day at home the food here really tastes like food! It’s so much more fulfilling and feels healthy. I think it’s because everything’s so fresh.. I’m not a huge fan of tomatoes but in Turkey i loveeeeee them!
路 all the imperfections. And that’s what makes it such a great place to be. No perfect streets with sidewalks, mess lying around at random places, dirty water.. hmm the list goes on 馃榾 but you finally come to a place where everything is fine even if it’s not perfect as long as it’s working, and believe me things do run so smoothly! They have a whole different mentally to what we have in the west, it’s important that we consider the implactions of this perfectionist attitudes that we grew up with. Although I must say that these people are obsessed with perfect grades at school and you aren’t a good student if you don’t get straight A’s. People are also quite obsessed with their appearance, but I guess this is a common trait of mankind..
路 people’s characters and use of language. This is kind of a repeat of my first point. But I’m just fascinated by the fact that all the Turks that I know in Holland are sooooo different to the ones here even though they come from the same country. This shows how much of a an effect our environment has on us.
路 family, those who have relatives nearby may have failed to notice this, but family is such a big blessing subhanAllah. People accept you in their house and care for you and love you no matter how you look or behave because you are their family member. Alhamdulillah a great feeling indeed!
Ohh this country is so beautiful! Everybody should come and see it, and experience being in Istanbul especially..
I keep thinking how would it be if I were to live here? I have different thoughts about it. On the one hand it would be beautiful because as long as I’m here I feel at peace and happy.. everything about this place amazes me. On the other hand I think that I would have to become a whole different person if I want to survive in this society. The truth is, I don’t think I want to become a Turkish woman from Turkey. Even more true is that I’m a Turkish muslimah from Holland, and I have been this all my life. In my country (I consider this to be Holland) I’m quite a normal person despite my strangeness. But here I’m a weird person and I stand out despite me being of the same nationality and religion as anyone else. SubhanAllah. Now I understand why hijrah is such a hard thing, it’s so much more than getting used to a different climate, food and language. It’s about adopting a whole different way of life and mentality.
So the conclusion is.. I think I would have a hard time living in Turkey. The hardest thing would be that I would have to learn to be assertive which I’m really not!! Also, I’m afraid of becoming a different person, but I know that I have to change in order to be a better muslim. So I would rather choose to live in a place where people are more islamic in their manners and mentality. I wouldn’t like my children to be like the children here, they are lovely but no.. not quite what I imagined..
That was it for today.. its actually the next day already and I can’t sleep as always happens on the first night that I’m sleeping over at someone else’s house. I’m also mentally drained out because I spent the whole day with my cousin who loves talking. I get really tired of talking a lot and yearn to be alone. So I finally get the time during night ahh!! Tomorrow will be really different though in sha Allah. Today was just getting used to it all and staying at my uncles house. I hope I can find wifi somewhere and post this and read my messagesss!!!