My heart rhythm curiously adjusted to the ecstatic music of the local Istanbul musicians. They tickled the ivory keys ever so elegantly and danced their fingers ever so effortlessly on their golden instruments. As I strode down along the open air markets, my gait, along with my emotions, synchronized with the hundreds of elated native Turkish families. The smell of exotic spices, Turkish pastries, herbal teas, and traditional fresh fruits and vegetables wooed me. My eyes glanced on the incredible colorful array of clothing worn by the Muslim families passing by me. I admired each minute sketch hand-woven onto the diverse, dazzlingly creative clothing designs I gazed upon. Influenced by the amiable, upbeat environment, jubilant emotions completely overtook my typical attitude.
Benjamin Liu, seventh grader at Dana Middle School, CEO of uScribe
The smells of foreign produce, meats, pastries, and elixirs weren’t the only forces that influenced my happiness; the joy and friendliness that the Turkish people had toward each other was notably conspicuous. It was as if the sun had exploded. I had witnessed warmth in one single culture that I had never seen in another. Their humble attitudes and dedication to hard work and humanity considerably changed my viewpoint on life. Unknowingly, they had restored my willingness to attain friendship, humanity, and uniqueness. They were intensely satisfied with their lives as demonstrated by their caring actions and smiles as bright as the sun, even if, in the eyes of many, their lives lacked extravagance. In addition to my experiences in the open air street markets and downtown vendors, I was also greatly impacted by the religious Muslim temples of Sultan Ahmed Mosque. Here, I was in awe of the devotion the Muslims had toward their religious roots and branches; I felt as though I were part of the Turkish religion and, in essence, the Turkish people.
My experiences in the temples of Sultan Ahmed Mosque were completely unforgettable. I observed the entire span of the priest’s speeches closely and developed an understanding of the importance of Muslim religion to the people of Turkey. The luminous, enormous chandeliers, the presence of thousands of devout Muslims, the vast, yet detailed religious carpet, and finally the inconceivabley gigantic religious temple flabbergasted my expectations. The holy carpet engraved into the temple made me feel as if I was engulfed in the vastness of one of the most spectacular religious temples of the world.
To this day I remain curiously amazed and inspired by the extent to which the Turkish people value their Muslim faith. After my influential adventures in Turkey with vendors and priests, experiencing unique foods and traditions, and observing the incredible devotion people have toward the Muslim faith, I discovered something priceless. I strive to attain the value of a more diverse style of life, a dedicated, heartfelt, joyful, adventurous, and simple lifestyle that the people of Turkey live by. That day, I struck gold in Turkey, gold that nobody else would ever come to understand or be able to value as much as I do.