Immigration was a concept that didn’t exist in my plans, even though I grew up listening to the stories of my family who moved to different cities, countries, leaving their homes behind when they were just teens. In spite of everything I listened to, it had never occurred to me that I would be following their steps in my adult years. Maybe it was because we were always together and Istanbul seemed to be our final destination.

Apparently, I was wrong.

First, one of my younger cousins who is like a brother to me left us, then my brother decided to fly away from home. By that time, I was sad to be far from them but my truth was to be in Istanbul to raise my kids with the family, providing them the life I knew. Little did I know that I would be an immigrant like my ancestors, moving to a new country to begin from scratch and to discover myself again.

It hasn’t been easy, being anyone in a place, after being someone in your own kingdom and it hasn’t been painless not knowing anyone and being far from your loved ones. I felt naked, vulnerable, and broken inside. I wasn’t sure if I had asked for this, but maybe I did in my teen years, observing friends and family visiting us from the countries they had immigrated to. Perhaps, I yearned inside to live abroad. And maybe that’s what the Universe read, not my words…

In this side of the world, I had no choice but to find strength in me to recreate life as we had mutually decided to move with my husband. I had to build a life and maybe a new me if this had come on my path.

Looking back now, I realize that my core is still the same but my perspective has shifted tremendously. I lived through some of my fears, became hopeless, shattered, and then rose up again and again. I believe I grew very strong, at least stronger than who I was before.

Once I moved out of my comfort zone, dependency on my habitat weakened but my connection to my roots strengthened. It’s interesting to realize that as I am an immigrant now, I feel like I can live in any of the cities of the world, taking my family’s legacy wherever I go.

I cherish the saying, ‘we make plans and God makes other plans for us’ and try to keep myself open to new things coming my way.