This one is tough. The experience I had been looking forward to for three years is coming to a close and it's been more rich and thrilling than I could have possibly imagined. A few adjectives would be useless in describing my time in Turkey.
My daily life here has been just as exciting as any of my travel experiences. I'll miss the simits, kebabs, and pide. I'll miss the cats who will sit in your lap and the dogs who will walk you home. I don't think I'll ever find a better place to have a good night with friends than Istiklal Avenue. And I'll never forget looking at the same incredible view of the Bosphorus every day and always seeing something different.
Of course the best part about this place is the people. In general, Turks are pleased to meet foreigners and eager to share their culture. In addition to the locals, the types of people who come to Istanbul share an openness, liveliness, and wanderlust which has lead to friendships as close as ones that I've had for years.
Turks have a funny way of saying goodbye. The person who is staying at the location where two depart says "güle güle", meaning "go with a smile" to the one who is leaving. The person who is leaving says "hoşça kal", meaning "stay nicely", to the one who stays. It fits this moment well. Hoşça kal Istanbul.