Life in Istanbul

Living on the Asian Side

After living in Taksim, on the “European Side” of Istanbul, I find Kadikoy to be a refreshing change of pace.  Many Turks and foreigners prefer the “Asian Side” of the city because it’s quieter, easier to get around and friendlier.  Personally, I wish I had moved years ago!  There are a lot of activities you can join in on and the quality of life is higher. 

Making Friends

The best way I’ve found to make friends is to join a club or take up a hobby.  My friends and I are involved in all sorts of activities like:

Latin dance
swing dance
Aikido and other martial arts
English/Turkish theatre
Turkish and other language courses
photography walks
documentary movie screenings
yoga and meditation
Dungeons and Dragons
Poetry readings and Open Mic Nights
Writing retreats

The best way to find such clubs is to search on facebook, and if that fails, do a google search.  If you can’t quite find what you’re looking for, then go to an event then ask around.  Some events are more private than others, so it might take some digging.

Holidays in Istanbul

While being away from home during the holidays can be difficult, there are more and more events every year that celebrate “Western” Holidays like Halloween and Christmas. 

During Christmas time, the German School has a small market where they sell gingerbread and sausages.  Also, some foreign-run groups like, International Women of Istanbul and CIRCUIT have charity bazaars. 

Exercising in Istanbul

There are many ways to get in shape while living in Istanbul!  One of the easiest ways is to spend the day walking up and down the hills of an historic neighbourhood like Fener and Kuzguncuk.  I lost 10 pounds when I first moved here just because I walked everywhere!

Gyms and personal trainers are widely available, as is yoga, Pilates, Zumba and martial arts.

Bazaars are the best place to get high-quality produce in the city.  Every neighbourhood has their own local bazaar, but some are better than others.   The Organic Bazaar in Bomonti, the Sunday Taralabaşı Bazaar, The Saturday Besiktaş Bazaar, and the Tuesday Kadikoy Bazaar are the some of the most well-known.

English Theatre in Istanbul

The English theatre scene has been growing steadily in the past few years.  Speech Bubbles produces at least two English theatre shows a year.  Auditions are open to everyone, and there are also opportunities to work as a technician and backstage. 

Improvisational Theatre is also an emerging scene in the city.  Open rehearsals are held every Monday and are led by experiences improvisors.  The improv group also writes sketch comedy which they perform in a Besiktaş Theatre once a month