A lot of people were pretty surprised when I announced that I was selling my cafe and moving to the U.S. (inshallah, waiting for my green card). And of course many have asked why. So here are some of my reasons.
First, I want to be close to my kids again. They live in the U.S., one in Texas and one in Oregon. I want to live in Portland Oregon, as I don’t have to have a car there and I still have friends there. Plus the climate is good and Oregon is a beautiful state.
Another reason is that I am tired. I have been working seven days a week 12 hours a day for most of the past five years. I have done most of the baking, cooking, planning, keeping track, dealing with the bureaucracy. And you know the Byzantine bureaucracy was invented here in Byzantium!
However, I love the people part of the cafe. I have really enjoyed meeting and talking to the people who have come in. They come from everywhere and they are very interesting. Some live here and find their way here. Some stumble upon it. Some read my blog or look at TripAdvisor. Some even persevere after not finding it at the old Google maps location and ask till they get here. Their professions include diplomats, aid workers in other countries, bankers, journalists, photographers, teachers. There was a couple who had a bed and breakfast in their own country. There were a couple of Chinese who wrote about my cafe in the Chinese version of Travel and Leisure. In fact, my very first customers were from Cirque de Soleil. My cafe has had good coverage and I am grateful to all the people who have given their support.
Another part of the reason is the difficulties with the government. I think ultimately it would not affect my business in the long run, as the cafe does not rely solely on tourists. However, I am worried about where Turkey is going. I was here in 1998, when there was a ‘soft coup’, but I did not really know what was going on and it was well before google and internet newspapers. Plus I was buried in work. Now I do know what is going on and I have my own opinion of it (not a fan of the p.m., though I supported him in his first few years). I think now he is driving the place into the ground, filling his and his cronies’ pockets at the expense of the people.
Part of it that does affect me is that recently the residence permit system has changed. It is a perfect example of a system that was not broken and in fact had been greatly improved, to a system that the government broke. The decision to take the issuance of residence permits from the police to a government agency has caused a great deal of confusion and grief and I just did not want to go through it. My permit expires July 2, so I am leaving before that.
I have had a wonderful life in Istanbul. This year was good for me because it was indeed the hair of the dog that I wanted to have. I am ready to leave now. I know I will never have a cafe again but I am glad I did it. I may never come back to this wonderful city, but it has been a great adventure to live here. However, it is time to go. I will still write about it here as I get inspired, but Molly’s Cafe has had its final chapter.
The End, my friends