Last week I had some visitors come from my hometown in Wyoming. The night before they arrived I was so excited I could barely sleep. Its not very often that I get guests from Wyoming, as Istanbul is so far away and not yet on the traveling radar for many people. However, Casper College organizes a yearly trip lead by my dear friend and former professor, and this year the peak interest with everyone was Turkey.
Ever since I moved away from Wyoming, and especially since I have been in Turkey, I have felt overwhelming support from the Casper community. Though I am far away, I am constantly offered shows and opportunities where I grew up, and it keeps me coming back several times a year. I am always happy to visit my home town, but last week I got to share my new home with a group of very special people…and I think we will all remember it for years to come.
After 6 days of exploring exquisite mosques, byzantine wonders, busy bazaars, taking a trip to Asia for dinner, having an amazing yoga class lead by Ozgur, dancing to gypsy music in Beyoğlu, and taking a peek into the Istanbul art scene…we were ready to collapse by the weekend, though still full of joy and excitement. The greatest pleasure for me was especially seeing how this city, which has been so immensely transformative for me, has an impact on each traveler in a different way.
A big thank you to Casper College and Valerie Maiers for allowing me to lead your group through Istanbul, introduce you to my favorite place and favorite people, and for the opportunity to teach my first Istanbul plain air workshops. Thank you to everyone who joined the trip, for your patience and kindness, and your willingness to trust me. Thank you to little 1 year old Ari for being so sweet and attracting the love and attention of everyone, including strangers on the street. I hope to see you all this summer!