July 20, 2010
Today was a great day. This morning our group headed to the hospital (a short walk from our hotel) and hung out with several families in the sitting area outside their rooms. We were able to give Leah's mom a little break from her, but Chro still refuses to leave her mother's side. She's 2, so I spent some time painting her fingernails and toenails. She allowed me to do it, but she is still a long way from warming up. That's OK... I can be patient!!
After lunch, Jess wanted to make a trip into Istanbul to buy something for Leah. Sarah and I went with her on the long journey. We started off in a hospital shuttle, then caught the dolmus (a group taxi), then took about a 20 minute walk. The commute was hot, the taxi was crowded and lots of people were stinky, but.... I loved every minute of it. I don't know why, but I just love Istanbul. Doesn't make any sense, really... It reminds me a lot of New York City, which I absolutely despise. It's incredibly noisy, and I typically prefer quiet. It's bustling with people, and I tend toward solitude. It's extremely huge (over 14 million people), and I like quaint. It stinks, it's hot and it's polluted, but I love it. I love it's amazing history, I love the fact that it spans two continents, I love it's beautiful horizon at sunset, I love the outdoor cafes, and the shop owners who spray down the walkways outside their doorsteps, I love that you can buy anything from phone cards to fishing gear while waiting to cross the street. I love it's different smells and sounds and scenery. But most of all, I love the Turks themselves... their culture (what little of it I understand), their hospitality and their helpfulness.
We ended up not being able to find what we were looking for for Leah, but that's OK... sometimes the journey itself is the most important part.
Hot, tired and happy...