Today, friends, was what I could call a success. I spent about 8 hours wandering the city and though it is now 8pm and I am exhausted and about ready to pass out, it is the most glorious kind of exhaustion ever. I had 2 goals for today – get a cell phone and find the health food store in Takism. I succeeded with the phone.

Oh yeahhh. That’s what’s up.

While I never found my foodie store, I made it through the city for several hours with no real destination or clue where each turn would take me. And it was incredible.

I had started the day with some running around South Campus followed by Jillian yoga and then some chocolate Vega and fresh figs.

My Vega shakes and I have a love-hate relationship. Some days, I love nothing more after a run. Others, like today, I can’t even finish the whole thing before I am sick of the taste.

After getting myself cleaned up, I was off! I walked down the street from campus for about an hour before hitting a Metro stop and decided to hop on post apple. Oh my god do I love all the fresh fruit all over the place here.

When I got off at the square, I had my first simit. There are literally carts selling these every few feet through-out the city.

Think of a sesame bagel. And then make it way chewier and add a billion more seeds. Yum.

Not long after, I got my phone pretty quickly and with little explanation…I’m gonna have to Google the rules with this one.

In true Cass fashion, I saw some side streets and decided to wander down them. It was barely 1pm so I figured I couldn’t get into too many sticky shenanigans. I may be a major sketchball, but I’m no fool.

Even though I know to expect this, it still amazes me that in minutes, I can go from being surrounded by fancy cars and hoards of people in designer clothes walking past this

and then find myself wandering down tiny streets filled with barefoot children running in and out of run down apartments.

And there are tons of strays EVERYWHERE! On campus, in fancy areas, everywhere! I want them all. Especially the litter of 5 puppies I ran past yesterday all napping in a pile.

After taking a ton of turns and losing sight of the main road, even I freaked myself out and started making my way out of the area. It took a little while, but I just got to see more so I was fine with it. I ended up getting out on a completely different part than I entered and was pretty disoriented.

BUT, I stumbled upon a giant book fair!

Too bad I can’t read Turkish. Yet.

And then a snazzy outdoor shopping district with these:

And then there were these guys playing My Heart Will Go On. No joke. Neeear faaar whhhhhereeeever youuuu arrrre…

At this point, I had resigned myself to not finding the store today and was ready to head back home…if only I’d known where that was. I had my maps, but they’ve proven pretty useless. So I got on the Metro, got off an was more confused, took a Starbucks (shame) break and moment to freak out and use a clean WC. (By the way, I know I need to use a sketchy underground WC at least once to get the cultural experience and to be able to say I have literally popped a squat but that day was not today. Plus, the Bux has been my only source of soya milk so far.)

I eventually did get back to Taksim again, had my second simit of the day and got on the right bus towards campus after a nice man helped me in the ticket line. People here are so kind and willing to help, it amazes me every day. In the US, I saw airport security getting testy with a woman who didn’t speak English or know what to do. Here, I’m completely ignorant and in this country not knowing a word of Turkish and people are still so patient. By the way, after meeting some of the other exchange students, I realized that America fails epically at languages. They all speak like 5 perfectly and their English is to the point where they can have grown up in Belgium or Holland or Germany and still be dropping slang and expressions like, “Woah, my bad,” completely naturally. We need to GET ON THEIR LEVEL.


I finally hit up a little food mart near campus and got some fruit and cereal to tide me over until I undertake tomorrow’s mission – finding a legit grocery store! I’m trying to read labels as best I can, but my phrase book only gets me so far.

And now, to do what I do best – be 80 years old and rest my weary little feetsies.

Coming soon: impending trip to Butterfly Valley?!? Keep your fingers crossed for me that it all works out!



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