Welcome to Istanbul
Time flies. It has been one month in Turkey now. All I can say is that I had so much fun navigating Istanbul. It is truly a 24-hour non-sleep city. Though I am not a night person anymore, I enjoy how active it is. I had opportunities to go to a few concerts and meet new people. During 2020 and 2021, I traveled back and forth to Istanbul to escape Izmir, but the pandemic made Istanbul a sleepy city. Now is the time I am truly exploring it.
No more big city? well, never say never
Ten years ago, I was 23, escaping the big city. After three years of grinding in Shanghai, I was physically and mentally exhausted from living there. My life was mostly about work there; I was like one out of a million so-called white-collar working in an accounting firm as a financial auditor; I was sleep-deprived due to overwork during the busy season. 24 hours a day is not enough for a city like Shanghai. After three years, I felt lost and could not see my future. My crazy working life and the skyrocketing housing price shattered my dreams and killed all my passion for Shanghai, which eventually I did not feel could be a home for me, and I was seeking a way out. Therefore, 24 was the age that I left shanghai and moved to Israel without expecting anything about my future. It was an utter adventure. I am from a rural place in China, and for many years this motto of "having nothing to lose" motivated me to leave my comfort zone and opt for the unknown and new.
I never looked back and never moved back to China. Still, I'm not too fond of the big city's notorious traffic, but I found myself in Istanbul ten years later. Istanbul has a lot to offer, and I can finally afford it without breaking my wallet. Most importantly, I am experiencing it with a different kind of adulthood. I liked my life when I was in my 20s, but I adore my life even more as I now embrace more maturity, assertiveness, and freedom, which are precious gifts that time gave me.
One highlight I enjoy here is hopping on the intercontinental ferry; 25 mins later, I find myself on another continent. I find the idea of being on two continents in one hour very romantic. Every time I take the ferry, I am amazed at how beautiful and colorful the skyline is.
Apartment hunting is about serendipity
2 weeks ago, I signed my rental contract. I now live in a three-bedroom, 165sqm apartment in the best part of the Anatolian side. I love it so much that I don't feel the need to work in any cafe anymore; I am happy staying at home for the most part. I paid quite a lot of rent in local standard, but for the same price that I paid for this place, I would only be able to afford one room in central Tel Aviv in a shared apartment.
The whole apartment searching process itself was quite some ups and downs. I was looking for a secular and convenient area where I could walk to most places. Moda was the area that eventually won my heart. I first agreed with an agent about a fully furnished two-bedroom apartment. 2 days before I was supposed to sign the contract, I received a call from the agent that the landlord wanted to increase the rent by another 1000 lira a month. I refused politely as I didn't want a landlord who changed minds within one week. I went to see another flat instead and immediately fell in love with it. I decided to sign the contract and offered to pay for six months' rent in total. The same day, I moved in. My landlord got a bakery on the way to the sea, and I occasionally pass there to say hello.
Explore the music scene, hobbies, and other new things
June is a month for music, dance, and art. Thanks to the invitation from my local friends, I went to a few live concerts in entirely different genres, and I truly enjoyed them despite the language barrier. I am excited to see so many talented people in this city. Another surprise is that I found a super affordable windsurfing place nearby, and this week, I went for my first try. I had some problems sailing back as the wind died in the end, but the wind condition was better than I thought. Besides that, I bought more painting materials and am ready to explore some new painting styles.
My problematic legal status here
Everything seemed to proceed in my favor until the day I was concluded negative for the residency permit. That really set me back. I did everything possible and pulled through all the required documents, if not extra. I hate the notion that I will be illegal in this country again, and eventually, I will have to face the music someday when I leave the country. I am still perplexed why I would not get accepted because I have a very good profile including a local bank account.
Final thoughts about the financial crisis in Turkey
It is known to the world that Turkey is experiencing terrible hyperinflation. In May, there is an official inflation rate of 73.5% and a much higher rate from the private research sector. Everything is super expensive in Lira terms. I am fully aware that I am privileged as I am not earning in Lira. The economy kills the dream of young people here, and I have met many people who want to move to another country. Friends also told me something might happen in the future and wreck the current stability as the new election is approaching next year. Despite the terrible situations, I have witnessed many people striving hard to make their life better, and that is something truly inspiring and admiring.