So, by now you may think that if I were smart, I wouldn’t jump into a random persons car and go to their home…desperate situations call for desperate measures; so I got into that car and went home with Songul and her husband. What else was I supposed to do?
When I got to their home, Songul immediately tried to make me feel comfortable, she gave me a bowl of cherries, turned on the TV for me, and began hugging me, telling me everything would be okay (in Turkish, of course). Her daughter, who is about 12 years old, came in the home about 30 minutes later from school. She immediately took to calling me “Abla,” which means sister, its a term of endearment. That girl decided she must show me off at her school, and the next day, that is where I went. At the school, there was a sea of dark hair, olive skin, and Hijabs, and here I was, very light colored skin, and blond hair, I definitely looked foreign.
I grew pretty attached to the family in the short time I was with them, and they seemed attached as well. The mother wanted to set me up with one of her sons, and the daughter was always all over me. I knew though, at some point, I needed work, sooner rather than later. I had about 30 days left on my Turkish visa, and practically knew there would be no way in which to get enough money in one month to get back to the U.S….that is if I actually wanted to go back.
At night I began to panic about my situation, I couldn’t live off of these people who had very little, and I needed money to get out of the country in 30 days or less. My savior was a website called “CouchSurfing.” I posted in the Istanbul section a bit of my problem, and asked for help on solutions, if anyone knew of any work, or place to stay for a bit. Many responses were very cruel, however some where helpful. One in particular told me to try Harmony Hostel in Sultanahmet.
I told the family about the hostel and told them I might have work and a bed there waiting, but they didn’t seem too thrilled. I explained to them (through Kazim) that I needed work, and that taking me to this hostel would be the best help for my situation. They called the hostel themselves to see that it was legitimate, so they could protect me from further harm, as well as Googled it, and found it to be real. The next day, Kazim had his driver take me from Istinye, Istanbul to Sultanahmet, the old town.