We just returned from visiting Istanbul, Turkey. Great time with friends, lot’s of walking, lot’s of great food, and lot’s of history lessons. This was our first time in Turkey and to be honest we didn’t know what to expect, yet we were excited to see this new and different culture.
Beauty in the Details: I loved the sounds of the city and the colors. We stayed in the older part of the city, so were definitely among a multitude of tourists, but even so, the movement of people was welcoming and invigorating. One thing I love to do anywhere we go….take photo’s. Istanbul is a photographers paradise. So many opportunities to capture culture and beautiful details.
Beauty through Faces: Beautiful architecture, mosaics, and colorful pottery are more than enough to captures one’s eye. Yet, my favorite is people. I love taking pictures of people to tell the story of a culture. They are the ones’ that capture my eye and my heart….they are the shot’s I remember the most.
There are so many things that I come away with from our 1st visit to Istanbul. Just thinking about how Istanbul was the center of the Roman Empire under Constantine who made Christianity the religion of the empire. And now it is where Islam meets the west. And how these Mosques that were once Christian churches, are now places of worship for the Islamic religion – it is a lot to process being a person of the Christian faith.
So I started this blog posting off with the title…”Facing my own….(fill in the blank)”. Why? You see, the things that hit me the most in going to Turkey, is how, again….being in another culture I am faced with my own.
#1: Facing my own Fears: I realize I am a product of my own American culture. I will admit that going to an Islamic culture brought out some fear. I think…in my opinion…we are a fearful culture due to past events in American. Being in Istanbul, helped me work through this – I’m always thankful for having an opportunity to see things with new eyes.
#2: Facing my own Judgements: Even though I have seen women in their burka before…my thoughts kept focusing on these women. As I watched one woman – in her full burka, sitting among tourists and among many other women with just their heads covered….I wondered what she was thinking. Does she look out on other women, with condemnation or is she looking on with a desire to be more “free”? Just this comment alone shows my own judgement and conception of what being “free” means. To me, I see a form of oppression – my eyes can only look on the outside and form an opinion. I admit, I know so little of this religion and it’s people. As I walk away from our visit to Istanbul, it has reminded me again how important our stories are. How important it is to be in relationship with others, to learn from each other. I may never fully understand these women’s lives and I may never even agree with it. Yet to have an opportunity to sit with them and learn from them would be a true gift.
I have so much to still learn and experience. Today I am thankful for the opportunity to be exposed to so many different cultures!