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We will send regular newsletters to our members who have signed up for receiving it during the registration. In 'mymerhaba' newsletter, our editorial staff provides updates, with regard to any information related to places worth visiting, viewing, or otherwise worth knowing, for those who care to know more....

Leela from Nisantasi

Thanks to Leela for sharing her experiences in Turkey with us. 

Tell us about yourself
My husband and I got married July 4th in California, and from there embarked on the 9-month journey (honeymoon) traveling and living all around the world (India, Vietnam, Turkey, to name a few).  I am a food/travel writer and photographer, eating and telling the story all along the way.  We're originally from Portland, Oregon.  

What made you come to Turkey?
Ever since I was a little girl, I have wanted to come to Istanbul, Turkey.  Studying the architecture in art history furthered my desire and curiosity about this place... I have always believed in this magical intersection between East and West, and the city has far exceeded my expectations.  I think it's one of the most dynamic cities I've ever visited.

What do you do in your daily life?

I'm a licensed middle and high school teacher in the subjects of art and special education.  I also write and photograph food/travel articles.  I upkeep my blog, which is the home of most of these musings and imagery, at LeelaCyd.com (click "blog")

Family?
My husband is a painter, his work is at DavidKilpatrick.net and a lover of pastries.  He's the ultimate travel partner, as we leave no treat untasted and walk endlessly till our feet feel as though they will fall off.  My parents are remarkable teachers, writers and artists in their own right.  My brother, Nick, is my best pal and lives in Portland, teaching Spanish-speaking students and advocating for them within the public school system.  He's in pursuit of the perfect cup of tea, with loads of milk and sugar, and is a great basketball player (they call him "white chocolate" on the courts in Venice Beach, California!)

Can you compare your first days here with today?
After 6 weeks of living in Istanbul, I am happy to have more of an understanding of the city.  On a limited budget, I was most surprised by Istanbul's cost of public transportation... Coming from Asia, and spending .50 lira/tut tut ride to get around town, it was at first a bummer to spend what i thought was quite a bit of money on transport.  We've since figured out the bus system and that has saved a lot.  I love feeling as though I can get anywhere in the city by bus/metro/tram/my feet.  Each neighborhood has so much to ooh and aawh at, and, most importantly, taste!  Having our favorite soup guy, on Rumelli Caddessi near our apartment, is also a wonderful feeling.  2.5 Lira for the best lentil tomato soup and tons of fresh bread -- fantastic!

Has living in Turkey influenced your approach to life?
I have observed a lot of the interactions and behavior of the people in Istanbul and I love the warm-hearted way most everyone has tried to help me... Be it at a bus stand, a grocery store or at a market, eventhough I speak 0 Turkish, 9 out of 10 people were ready to lend me a hand with what I was looking for, even if they spoke no English.  This attitude and generosity was very special and I greatly appreciated it.  I'd like to be more helpful to foreigners when I return to the US.

Turkish language?
Sadly, none.  I find it very difficult to follow.  I should have made more of an effort.

Let's talk about the region you are living in?
We lived in the Nisantasi neighborhood in Istanbul -- right up the street from Orhan Pamuk's family apartment.  This was a great spot, as it is so accessible to metro/bus and walking distance to several mosques, shops, great restaurants, etc.

Have you traveled in Turkey? Tell us your discoveries
We only had time and money to travel to Ephesus.  It was a spectacular site -- i've traveled a lot and never seen a Roman ruin so intact.  It was worth the long bus ride, but I'd recommend taking the flight from IST to Izmir, the bus was pretty awful -- the seats didn't recline at all, so bad for sleeping.

What is your preferred characteristic trait of Turks?
The zest and passion for delicious foods --from the perfect cheese pide to the halvah bun, to rich dolmas and eggplant dishes and lastly, the humble lentil soup -- this is some of the best food I've ever eaten.  Chefs, cooks, market vendors, simit guys, pide ustas -- there is so much pride in the cuisine, with good reason! 

What was the annoying one?
Istanbul taxi drivers drive like maniacs!

Turkish Cuisine?
See above -- DIVINE!  best pastry/breaded items I think I've ever eaten.  Great food, and as a vegetarian, many many options.  

Any suggestion to new comers to Turkey?
pick your own simit, get a really dark/crusty one.  Get an akbil for IST and learn the bus system.  Make sure to visit all the historical sites as well as relax with a great cappuccino in Cihangir . . . Take good walkingn shoes and get very lost!

Any suggestion to people planning to visit your region?
There is so much to see and experience in Istanbul, allow at least a week to soak it all in.  And come hungry!  If you can, take a cooking class at the Istanbul Culinary Institute, a fabulous experience and great insight into local life and eats.




Lisa from Kadıköy
Aaron from Çekmeköy
Adrian from Istanbul
Agnes from Gümüşlük
Aida from Nisantaşı
Aisha from Istanbul
Amanda from Bursa
Andy from Izmir
Anke from Kemerburgaz
Antonina from Bulgaria
Arlene's Secret Paradise
Ashley from Kadıköy
Borahan from Taksim
Bruno from Datça
Brandts from Holland
Carmel from Bursa
Carole from Kalkan
Caroline from Kuzguncuk
Claire from Izmir
Claudia from Fenerbahce
Cornelia from Florya
Cumali from Adana
Cyrus from Istanbul
Dace from Ankara
David from Van
Dmitri from Beşiktaş
Filiz from Beyoğlu
Fred from Adana
Frederic from Ankara
Hana from Istanbul
Harry from Antalya
Iben from Alanya
Ingrid from Tesvikiye
Isa from Istanbul
Jan from Kuşadası
Jane from Manavgat
Janine from Izmir
Jennifer from Istanbul
Jennifer from Sultanahmet
John from the Bosphorus
Kathy from Izmit
Kayla from Bostancı
Kenya from Beyoğlu
Leela from Nisantasi
Lisa from Sydney
Marc from Kosuyolu
Maria from Moda
Maya from Izmir
Michelle from Göztepe
Molly from Galata
Nilgün from Suadiye
Omar from Ankara
Omar from Umraniye
Paolo from Beşiktaş
Pat from Göreme
Pat from Yaniklar
Patricia from Kartal
Patrick from Bodrum
Paul from Antalya
Pennie from Çengelköy
René from Izmit
Robbi from Dalyan
Rosalind from Alanya
Russ from Gebze
Ruth from Cappadocia
Sarah from Gundogan
Sarah from Sarıyer
Sarah from Sisli
Sophie from Istanbul
Susanne from Fethiye
Steve from Tarabya
Tara from Cengelköy
Trevor from Side
Winter from Australia
Birsen's Horizons
Fred's Trip Logs
Bahar's Views on...
Business World
From Members' Pen
Interviews with Members
Moms & Kids Corner
Pets with Dr. Demirel
The archives of The Guide
The Archives of Turkishtime
Teen's world

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Interviews with Members
Lisa from Kadıköy
Aaron from Çekmeköy
Adrian from Istanbul
Agnes from Gümüşlük
Aida from Nisantaşı
Aisha from Istanbul
Amanda from Bursa
Andy from Izmir
Anke from Kemerburgaz
Antonina from Bulgaria
Arlene's Secret Paradise
Ashley from Kadıköy
Borahan from Taksim
Bruno from Datça
Brandts from Holland
Carmel from Bursa
Carole from Kalkan
Caroline from Kuzguncuk
Claire from Izmir
Claudia from Fenerbahce
Cornelia from Florya
Cumali from Adana
Cyrus from Istanbul
Dace from Ankara
David from Van
Dmitri from Beşiktaş
Filiz from Beyoğlu
Fred from Adana
Frederic from Ankara
Hana from Istanbul
Harry from Antalya
Iben from Alanya
Ingrid from Tesvikiye
Isa from Istanbul
Jan from Kuşadası
Jane from Manavgat
Janine from Izmir
Jennifer from Istanbul
Jennifer from Sultanahmet
John from the Bosphorus
Kathy from Izmit
Kayla from Bostancı
Kenya from Beyoğlu
Leela from Nisantasi
Lisa from Sydney
Marc from Kosuyolu
Maria from Moda
Maya from Izmir
Michelle from Göztepe
Molly from Galata
Nilgün from Suadiye
Omar from Ankara
Omar from Umraniye
Paolo from Beşiktaş
Pat from Göreme
Pat from Yaniklar
Patricia from Kartal
Patrick from Bodrum
Paul from Antalya
Pennie from Çengelköy
René from Izmit
Robbi from Dalyan
Rosalind from Alanya
Russ from Gebze
Ruth from Cappadocia
Sarah from Gundogan
Sarah from Sarıyer
Sarah from Sisli
Sophie from Istanbul
Susanne from Fethiye
Steve from Tarabya
Tara from Cengelköy
Trevor from Side
Winter from Australia

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