When was the last time you felt you were in love?
For me, it wasn’t that long ago. As a matter of fact, it was just a few weeks back. I fell in love with the winter when I first stepped into Istanbul in the last hours of a long, cold night. I fell in love with the warmth and hospitality of locals and tourists alike. I fell in love with the nature that made such serene views. The sight of majestic buildings that hold such a historic significance. The way those beautiful mosques engrave belief within oneself. With the witnessing of the first snowfall of my life.
I fell in love with the fact that how easy it was to communicate with people around despite the language barrier. With the daily commute for which I waited in long queues. With the way people expressed their thoughts and feelings through music on the lively streets. With the way people danced their hearts out to the tunes. I fell in love with the man who walked in haste but stopped by to feed the stray cat. With the woman who offered me a bite as I sat next to her in the freezing cold. With the group of elderly men who played chess by the roadside, offering me some homemade pomegranate tea. With the young boy who struggled to direct me to a route through sign-language when I felt lost.
With the street food people sold on small wooden carts early in the mornings. With the man who gave coffee and cigarettes to the homeless. With the sound of the tram passing across the street every now and then. With the cruise rides and the sea. With the night life where youngsters got together for fun. With the cozy little cafes I took refuge in to get away from the cold.
I fell in love with the feeling of liberty that aroused within me as I explored a new side of myself. With the new culture, the difference in mindsets and the language. I fell in love with the world of travel and the fact that I gave myself a chance. With the courage to do it. With what I have become.
And I knew it’s love when it broke my heart to leave the city.
Love doesn’t confine to mere people. You fall in love with anything that takes your breath away. That makes your heart skip a beat. That makes you feel alive.
I fell in love with a city and left a piece of my heart in Istanbul forever.
And just like in classic romance novels where protagonists give up everything to meet the love of their lives, I too will be longing to be in Istanbul again. To roam around those lively alleys once more. To feel a different kind of happiness again. Very soon.