Making a new network of friends is always challenging.  Meeting them in a foreign country in a different language doesn’t make it any easier.  I definitely have had this problem, but with some time and continuous experience, I realized that whether I was in a foreign country or the US, there were people I bonded with no matter what language barrier existed.  How we choose our friends and social network can be truly unexplainable, but when you gain them, it’s priceless.  Coming to Turkey, this is one of the many benefits I’ve gained in a short amount of time living here.

One might ask why in the world would someone take such a step as to leave their home country and set up a life abroad, but there is no real answer for that.  It’s just something you do.  A point came in my life when I wanted to stop saying the things I wanted to do, and started doing them.  For me, it was the dream and goal to live in the Aegean.  Although my original choice was Greece, it soon changed to Turkey due to establishing a life with my fiancé.

With every goal nonetheless, comes a series of struggles, with each struggle having its pros and cons.  Certainly, the biggest con is that when leaving to a foreign country, you leave back the people you’ve shared your entire life with.  Maybe they’re people you love, maybe you never want to see them again.  For me it was the former.  Luckily, we do live in the 21st century with instant access to online video chatting and round-the-clock airline travel.  The emotional distance is far from what it was 10 or 20 years ago.  It was a time that you depended on a home phone or letters in the mail.  Today, the moment you land and get to your home or hotel room, you can maintain a visual connection with your departed loved ones and friends through programs like Skype.  Soon, that visual connection will be available on mobile phones I’m sure.  Maybe my feelings would be different if the technological advancements weren’t so, but that’s the world today, so I’m taking advantage of it.

Now, the aspect of making friends from scratch presents itself.  It’s never a simple thing.  The struggle of establishing a new life, leaving old things behind, and trying to build new positive aspects on life is a huge task.  The one thing that is never easy is that I often feel no one will understand the risk I took in coming here.  To the ones I left behind, I may be crazy.  To the ones I meet today in Turkey, they don’t see the issue of such a move.  To them, why wouldn’t I want to live in Izmir?  For me, I’m caught in between, but hopefully with time, people will understand.

Looking to the future, I hope to have family and friends visit me in Turkey, as well as make annual trips to the US.  Some of the funniest moments that have happened repeatedly are when people ask, with a cringe “Turkey? Why?”  Take a look at some of my photos, and maybe you’ll understand.  Or meet some of the people, the families, and open yourself to the customs, and you’ll understand further.

I knew from a young age that there was another world out there.  I found it in Izmir.  Where will you find yours?

posts by Valantis