"Some cities you go to because you want to; some cities you go to because they want you to." - Elif Shafak
I got the idea for this post from the lovely Sarina. If you ask me where 'home' is I couldn't really tell you. Unless I'm up for a huge debate about the definition of 'home' and 'identity' I would usually say Malaysia. However, the first thing that pops into my mind when I think of my 'happy place' is Turkey. And then, the beach :) Honestly, just thinking about Turkey is my 'happy place' in my mind.
There is something about Istanbul and Cappadocia that really speaks to my heart and soul. It's the perfect blend of tradition and modernity, Asia and Europe, and tranquility and brokenness. I had never experienced love at first sight until I stepped foot in these cities last year. I said to myself, "This is it. There are no words just 'feels'. I'm done. My heart feels at home." It's not because I have a romanticised idea of Turkey. Not at all. I just love it despite its downfalls (every country has its ups and downs). And Turkish food, oh my. No offence to any Arabs but it's ten times better than Arabic food which is one of my favourite types of cuisines.
A year later and I still feel the same way about Turkey. Just thinking about it and looking at the photos from our trip puts the biggest smile on my face. It's funny how we were actually meant to go to Spain but due to a last minute change of plans we ended up in Turkey. This experience taught me that His plans are always better than ours. I had no idea I would be this smitten. What can I say? It was simply meant to be and I couldn't be more grateful (الحَمْد لله).
"Spiritual experiences are almost always surprises so that the slaves do not lay claim to them due to their own preparations." - Ibn Ata'illah al-Iskandari (r.a.)
Check out my Turkish holiday blog series to understand why I'm completely enamoured:Unforgettable Turkey: Sultanahmet, Istanbul
Unforgettable Turkey: Dolmabahçe Palace and Bosphorus Cruise, Istanbul
Unforgettable Turkey: Of Cave Hotels and Cave Churches, Cappadocia
Unforgettable Turkey: Dancing Dervishes and Ihlara Valley, Cappadocia
This blog post series was inspired by Mark Gonzales (@ideasbygonzales) of wagebeauty.com who started his 40th birthday countdown by sharing a photo blog of reflections on his Instagram account last week. I view Gonzales as a kindred spirit and my brother in faith whose work not only compels me to be myself but to be the best version of myself.