What I Have Left in Turkey

Deborah Kristina
4 min readApr 6, 2018
Photo Credit: Matador News (The historic Grand Bazaar)

I left Istanbul, Turkey last Sunday, April 1st, after four years of teaching there.

I not only left a country but I have left an always smiling sixteen-year-old girl

whose Turkish name meant ‘nature. I will always remember her long, thin, and straight chestnut brown hair and the Hary Potter-style glasses that she wore sometimes in teal, and our morning conversations at the canteen of her high school (her high school and the language school where I worked shared the same canteen for snacks, Turkish tea and water). My last conversation with her took place at a KFC nearby during her lunch break. We sat by a window in that crowded KFC for about an hour and I admit that it was one precious time for me.

I have left the canteen workers who fulfilled my request for two cups of Turkish tea every morning. The accounting office was located right across from those workers’ counter and when I picked up my last salary, they wondered if I would like my usual tea, and I didn’t have time to stop and drink so I only felt sorry and exited the canteen. They were nice young workers. I will always remember how I used to smile at them to make their day (there was a high turnover of canteen staff due to unpleasant management).

I have left groups of housewives and retired middle-aged ladies whom I used to give conversation lessons to at a cafe local to their area. They were wonderful women and I hope that they are okay at the moment. Our lessons used to consist of coffee, water and tea and occasionally some homemade snacks. I remember one woman, in particular, named Nuray, who gave me two notebooks because she noticed that I loved writing. I still have them and will definitely use them.

I have left four private students behind, not being to finish all of their lessons because I had to go: two girls who had degrees in architecture and hoped to study for a Master’s abroad, preparing for their IELTS exams, a teenage boy with a brown, curly Afro who loved basketball and had a high English level due to his growing up playing computer games, and a man a year younger than me who worked as a software developer, and would bring cups of Americano coffee to me and, one time, brought a double chocolate muffin with Nutella filling inside. I wish them well and hope that they finish the rest of their lessons with…

Deborah Kristina

Author of ‘A Girl All Alone Somewhere in the World’, ‘Confessions and Thoughts of a Girl in Turkey’, ‘From Just a Girl Grown Up in America’. (Amazon.com)