Travel: Turkey, Izmir & Istanbul, August 2015
Posted on 30 August 2015
Day 15 Travel Journal:
Today we fly back to the country of cheese and bikes and leave behind the country of baklava and overly crowded streets.
I am leaving behind a country that I could see as a new home. And above that, this trip gave me the motivation to start writing. Something I wanted to do for a while already. Therefore I also want to thank you for following up on these journals. It's a privilege for me to be able to share my thoughts and experiences with you.
Stay tuned on Nesci! There is much going on with a lot of surprises and new designs! Get ready for the new season with Nesci!
Görüsürüz Turkey & hallo Holland!
Day 10 Travel Journal:
We traveled back from Izmir to Istanbul, which was a hectic endeavor and led me to miss a days journal. However this trip back has shown me how different one single country can be. While the two cities are only an hour flight away from each other.
The city life in Istanbul is much more intense. People are less chit-chatty, and want to move faster. Continuously. After over a week in Izmir it seems like an overload of signals, too much is going on here to feel comfortable. Yet, it is a must to keep coping with this unease to get back in the pattern of this new place. There simply is no time for a mini culture shock.
Travel is a miraculous thing. The more you travel, the more you realize the beauty of the world. The different cultures, the different people. The more you have to deal with them, the more you learn, the wiser you become. Travel often, immerse yourself in the culture, and enjoy.
Day 8 Travel Journal:
They say that behind every great man there is a great woman. I would like to add that behind every great woman, there is also a greater woman. A mother to be exact.
My mom joined me on this trip, and I could not have imagined a better partner. She is knowledgeable in this industry. Knows quality and helps me decide. She is hands-down a great designer and seamstress, while that is not my thing, at all.
But more importantly, I see so much resemblance in her. Her perseverance, eye for detail, negotiation skills, hard working attitude, and care for people. I am a new and improved version of her, my mom 2.0.
I would not be doing what I am doing right now if it wasn't for her giving me the space to, if it wasn't for her raising me as a bright, independent woman, if it wasn't for her teaching me the lessons life taught her. And I am grateful I take after her.
Thank you mama, I love you.
Day 7 Travel Journal:
Time flies when you are having fun. And it flies even more when things get done. With the end of this trip in sight, final meetings are being held. Follow up appointments are being made, patterns are being drawn and fabric is being chosen: a winter collection is being created.
This is a male dominated industry. When u look at the owners and managers at least. It surprises me to see them being surprised by us: young women, in a new city, but still knowing exactly what they want and are not willing to compromise. Before we sit around the table, we make sure they show us where all the work happens. We say hi to the people working & we talk with them. We ask them about their working hours, labor conditions & whether they like the work. If all that is in place we talk about the rest with their bosses. If it isn't, we talk about the things that need to change for us to consider them.
This has been a rewarding experience. We have been able to bring over our philosophy to another part of the world. We have been able to create more awareness to what is possible if work is done together. Great things are ahead. And we cannot wait to start building.
Day 6 Travel Journal:
I met a Syrian girl, my age, who boards the boat tonight with her family and a few hundred other Syrians. This girl has been on my mind ever since we said goodbye. And will be until I hear from her again.
"With the boat first and then through the woods." That is how they describe it. The dangers of this journey are no strangers to them. Discussing what to do with their belongings if the boat is too full. Whether the charge on their external battery for their phones will last the long journey so that they can remain reachable. Discussing matters relevant for survival.
All for a better life, education, work, and some much desired peace.
Day 5 Travel Journal:
Since the day we first got here, my mind has been consumed by a feeling of "what if". What if I do not find here what I spent so much finances, time and energy to find? What if this whole trip is a failure? What if I disappoint?However, with every step we have taken, opportunities have unfolded. One by one. From the receptionist at the hotel, whose brother works in textile, to a random Syrian women who moved here yesterday to work as a seamstress, and shows me around and takes me to her boss.
Puzzle pieces are put on our path continuously, and it's our duty to put them together and have a little faith. This is not to say that the feeling of fear is not justified. No. It is essential. But like all signs from the heart, listen to them and use them to your benefit.
Day 4 Travel Journal:
There are certain things you do not realize you are blessed with until they are taken away from you. Then you say: I am gonna be much more grateful for it once I have it back. But truth is, you will be conscious about it for another 3-10 days after you have it back, and you fall back into old habits. I am definitely guilty of that myself.
One of the most important things that is subject to this phenomenon is our health. This day I woke up sick. Everything you can imagine in terms of pain, I felt. Fever, headache, stomachache. My body felt like it wasn't mine.
And this makes you think. It makes you think of all those days that you are not appreciative of your health, your sight, your hearing ability.
If you look around, then our blessings are limitless. We should keep count of them day-in day-out. Perhaps then, and only then, we will be able to count them all.
Day 3 Travel Journal:
What is going on over here? One ear you hear Turkish being spoken, the other it's Arabic. It's almost like I am in the wrong country. The more you move to the centre of the city the more Arabs you hear. The more Syrian arabic you hear.
For somebody who does not speak the language and has Arabic as their mother tongue, it is perfect. Every store you go in, you will find a Syrian working. But digging deeper, you see that these people come from wrecked homes. They come here because they have no other way. Some show warm hospitality, but others are acting opportunistic because they know these refugees are facing the wall. An Arabic saying mentions that "one folk's disaster, is another folk's benefit". This definitely applies to this situation.
Opportunities are here to be taken. But in all that, humanity has to be priority number one. Not pure seeking of money. I do want to thank this amazing country for opening their borders for these people. There are plenty of countries that don't. But let's always strive for a better living standard for all. If we start thinking in a more collective manner, we will all thrive.
Day 2 Travel Journal:
It pains me to see how we Muslims and people in general treat each other. It is not worth it to lose your integrity and honesty over something so small. And yet it happens all the time as soon as they see an opportunity. As a "stranger" in a country you are even more of a target.
When discovering new places, your senses go into overdrive. Your internal gut feeling sees that survival is of the essence. Without it, you would be eaten by sharks disguised as humans. Nothing is familiar: not the people, not the streets, not the language. Without this internal survival kit, we would have been overcharged for every taxi ride we made. We ask the hotel receptionist or a local to ask for the "normal" Izmir price. Finding solutions for every possible pitfall.
It's a blessing to have a critical mind, but don't let it bring fear into your heart. Embrace it and embark on the world. It's your backyard.
Day 1 Travel Journal:
Prepare to your best ability, and let the rest go. This day teaches me this lesson once again at the start of our business trip!
I honestly still cannot believe what happened this morning. A lot of running and stressing were at play. And as we are Arabs definitely a "bit" of yelling cannot be missed. But this never happened before and never expected it would. So we see, that all unexpected is usually bound to happen, no matter how well you prepare. If I have learnt something from this past year setting up Nesci, it is this.
Zineb ended up missing her flight to Istanbul by 2 minutes... 2 times 60 seconds literally... And nobody could help us, at all. Thank you KLM! The group has split. Half arrived at Istanbul safely and is departing to Izmir tomorrow. The other half booked a flight tomorrow to Istanbul and will be staying here.