I first came to Turkey when I was just 22 years old. During my time at university, I never had the chance to study abroad and so during my last semester, I decided that I would take classes to get certified in teaching English as a second language. My plan was to get a job abroad after I graduated.
While I was looking for teaching jobs abroad, I saw that Turkey offered many opportunities. At the time I didn’t know much about Turkish culture— at that point, I hand’t even heard the Turkish language or tried Turkish food! But I as a history lover, I knew that Turkey had a rich and beautiful history and decided to try and find a job in Istanbul. I also had the desire to go somewhere that was different from the places that Americans usually travel to. I felt Istanbul would be perfect place!
It didn’t take long for me to find a job and soon after I graduated, I was on my way to Istanbul. Though this was my first time living in another country and I was nervous about what life would be like for me, I quickly learned to love what Istanbul and Turkey had to offer. There was so much to see and do and the people there always treated me with so much kindness. Eventually, I had to come home due to a family emergency, but Istanbul left a lasting impression on me.
I was able to visit two years later in 2015 and that trip confirmed for me how much I loved the city of Istanbul and Turkish culture. Since then, I’ve taken to watching lots of Turkish TV dramas, reading Turkish literature, and most recently taking Turkish language classes.
When I started taking the language classes, I figured a fun way to learn food vocabulary would be to cook Turkish food! I decided that I would take pictures and share my Turkish culinary adventures on Instagram and that’s how For the Love of Turkey was started.
Every week, I cook one or two Turkish recipes that I’ve either found online, other Instagram pages, or in one of the many Turkish cookbooks that I now own! Since I’m currently live in New York City and I am not immersed in the Turkish language, it has been a fun way of building a community of Turkish speakers as most of my followers are Turkish people living in Turkey.
This Fall, I’ll be returning to Turkey for about two weeks and I hope to reconnect with old friends, continue to learn more about Turkish food, practice my language skills, and maybe even meet a few of my followers! Until then, I’ll continue to share my share my weekly recipes on @fortheloveofturkey