I smell fish grilling on the streets. I feel the damp, drizzly winter seeping through my clothes and into my skin. I see thousands of cats roaming my university campus as if it was created for them. I feel the weight and motion of large ferry boats bobbing in the waves of the channel. I remember the fear and excitement of a new language tripping over my tongue, and the simple joy of being understood. I remember the frothing emotion of the Gezi Park protesters- excitement, anger, fear, and joy shaken up into youthful bodies and youthful voices. I taste countless cig kofte wraps and potato bureks. I feel the satisfaction of making it up one of those winding, never ending hills on my bicycle. I feel the fear and joy of slipping down the other side, my hands hovering nervously over the brakes. I feel the morning rhythm of the ride into school, along the water, seeing shops open and the occasional car slip by. I remember the feel of my feet on the concrete as I ran up and up, to the very northern edge of the endless city, to watch the boats wait for passage.
A year later, my frustrations have faded. I no longer think about my time there and immediately feel vulnerable. I no longer feel angry that so many people tried to take advantage of us. Instead, I just feel the moments, and there were plenty of good moments. Plenty.