#Fail #reboot #restart

The idea that this blog would follow my stay in Istanbul faithfully step-by-step and day-by-day failed as I was so busy in the week I spent there that there just was no time. Our schedule was quite full and add to that the difficulty of coordinating 17 adults with their own ideas what to do and where to go and you have a sometimes frustrating experiences where the majority is waiting for two or three individuals. I’m not complaining as I was in both situations. I guess this is normal.

But! But! Before anyone gets the idea that I didn’t like it I have to disabuse them of this notion. Istanbul is the most exciting and beautiful city I’ve been to. I fell in love with the city! And I will be back. I’m serious. I even started to learn Turkish as soon as I arrived in Berlin. If you have to learn Turkish anywhere outside of Turkey Berlin is probably the best choice. So twice a week now I’m going to classes so that next time which will hopefully be soon – I’m aiming for March or so next year – I will be able to at least communicate a little bit, read street signs and the like. It’s a really interesting language as you (you being a person only speaking indo-european languages) have to forget all your preconceived concepts on how a language is structured. So, a bit of a challenge but very welcome.

As the project we are working towards – why I actually went to Istanbul with a group – is continuing during the next few months, there is still time and opportunity to use this blog. So slowly I’m going to put some photos on this site and add some texts I’ve written here and in Istanbul, trace my steps, share research and the like. Maybe the next thing should be a explanation what kind of project this is, who is involved and what we plan to do.

Preparations

Klaus, the tutor of the workshop, sent us a link to this great page with old photos of Kadıköy. It’s funny how at the moment I’m building an image, an conception of this place only out of photos and texts. But I guess that is why I wanted to start this blog so that I can follow this process and when I’m there compare it with what I actually see.

As I have no idea about Istanbul and Turkey except hearing about stuff on the news (Kurdish question or the headscarf debate) or reading in the history books (Otoman empire and its influence on Serbia) or the very few things I learned from living in Kreuzberg and Berlin with it being the biggest Turkish settlement outside of Turkey (at least that is what people say), I thought I should read some books beforehand, get informed. It is scary how little I really know what with living in Germany and having this big Turkish community here – and I’m not an exception.

So I read two books in the last few days that were helpful. One is “Türkei. Ein Land jenseits der Klischees” by Jürgen Gottschlich which is a perfect introduction if you have no idea like me. It gives an overview about the history, politics, everyday culture, mentions some films and books, so that I now feel that I have a basis where I can dig deeper. Of course it would be great if I could speak some Turkish but I guess I won’t manage to learn more than evet, lütfen and merhaba in the month that is left until the trip. Continue reading “Preparations”