Tag Archives: Expat life

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Dearest Readers,

2013 has proven to be a year of exciting transitions and new beginnings. Istanbul was my home, my stomping grounds and adventure-base for almost 4 years. The city’s dynamic energy was thrilling and overwhelming, inspiring and exhausting. It is certainly one of my favorite places in the world and will always be somewhere I call ‘home’.

I miss the accordion man that walked through our street every Sunday morning. I miss the lemon cart and the old grandmothers who  yelled, chatted, smiled and strolled as they passed through the web of city streets. I miss the cats at every turn. I miss passing four grocery stores on my way home. I miss knowing I can jump on the bus or metro in a matter of minutes and get almost anywhere in the city. I miss the music pouring out of the Taksim bars. I miss when the streets are so full you can hardly walk. I miss the sparkling Bosphorus, where boats of all sizes travel in all directions. I miss constantly being exposed to new words, flavors, music and experiences. And, of course I miss my Istanbul friends and family.

Where am I now?! I am currently on Bainbridge Island, outside of Seattle, back on American soil. It is a place where you can hear the birds chirping, walk along the beach without seeing another soul and occasionally, if you are really lucky, you will see beautiful Mount Rainier. It is a place where everyone wants to know your story (and most people already do). Everyone makes eye contact with one another and it is expected for you to say hello (with a smile) to every stranger you pass. Small town life is charming in its quirks and serenity.

There has been significant culture shock. It  took me 3 weeks to muster the courage to enter a grocery store. It boggles my mind that there can be entire aisles of salad dressing and cereal. I still stand on the right side of an escalator. I am learning to tip 20 percent after every meal. I cannot hear (or see) my neighbors. The streets of Seattle seem so empty, even at the height of commuter hours.

In some ways life seems to have slowed down. We sleep in every day. The stress of work is absent from my life. I am surrounded by the comfort, love and support of family. However, I am constantly reminded that time never stops. Everyone I know has big, busy and full lives that have changed so much since my original departure. It is fun to get to know my closest friends in new ways and see how everyone has grown-up and started their own unique path towards the life they want to live.

What am I doing?! Exploring my options, networking, dreaming big and daydreaming about my next adventures (and blog). I am toying with the idea of careers in international education, public relations, public affairs, higher education and even writing. I am currently working on a book to ensure my adventures and experiences outlive the blur of my memories. I am considering my options for a blog about the social, economic, cultural realities of the Millennial generation I find myself to be a member of. I am trying to tame my wanderlust to imagine myself staying in one place long enough to establish real roots. I miss Istanbul and the exciting world I left behind, but I am also thrilled to imagine all the possibilities that await me.

Stay tuned for future posts and updates!

From Seattle with love…

Adrian

From Istanbul to Seattle

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I Voted: How I Became an Overseas Voter

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This is one of my favorite times of year! Halloween, Election Day and Thanksgiving all in one perfect Fall package. Somehow, I was able to incorporate elements of each of these important days into my life in Istanbul. (Thanksgiving planning began last month as we brainstormed all of the special pumpkin products we craved before my friend returned to the US in October)

To be honest, voting abroad does not  provide the same excitement and ease as voting at home on Election Day. However, I will be the first to admit that I am lucky in some ways. I have been free from horrible and antagonistic campaign advertisements, and I only seek out election news when I desire it. 

To account for mailing time and ensure my vote was counted, my voting efforts began in October. I discovered a fantastic website for American military personnel and citizens living abroad called the Federal Voting Assistance Program. If you enter your zip code, it will confirm you are registered for the election and connect you directly with the election division of your respective count. To my sheer delight, Kitsap County allows voters to vote online and print their final ballot as a PDF. With the ballot in front of me, and a handy Progressive Voters Guide one tab away, I voted and saved my finished ballot. I sent my ballot to be printed. That night, my wonderful hubby came home with the printed version (we do not have a printer, so things like this require an extra step). I signed it, and prepared for it to be scanned and emailed to the Kitsap County Auditor the following day. Read the rest of this entry

Expat Life: Glamorous or Exhausting?

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I am here to demystify the glamour and intrigue of expat life. Yes, it is awesome. Yes, every day is different. However, nothing in life is perfect. Here are some of the setbacks:

1.) We experience water cuts 2-3 times a month

2.) A trip to the grocery store is an adventure that often results in longing for recognizable ingredients, bottled sauces and familiar products from home. I once spent an hour in the grocery store in search of bleach.

3.) You cannot talk in shared or public spaces without stares, warnings and disapproval.

4.) There are no clear rules or procedures for any activity. Consistency is a foreign concept. It always depends on who you talk to and what they are feeling at the time.

Read the rest of this entry