When I was a kid, I was as free as a bird. I remember. Probably because I didn’t grow up between four walls, I was raised by the sea, among the trees in the middle of the city. I played outside with my friends, I could go to buy an ice-cream cone alone on a summer day, I had a park I was a regular at, I took tennis lessons in the hood. I was happy but I didn’t know how lucky I was.
Bağdat Street and around it, where I grew up, is one of the central points of Kadıköy and the city, which is still green, quiet, and civilised. The place where you hear pipes, walk for miles by the sea, eat the best éclair and cakes in the city, watch a new independent movie in a clean and comfortable movie theatre, drink the best cocktails, shop for and find whatever you want. Except for a club for a rave.
Anyway, when you are a kid, you don’t need to rave, playing is enough movement. Yet, after a fun and peaceful childhood, my friends and I get bored. It was not enough anymore. We needed something else, you know, we need what was missing: ‘a real city experience’. When you're a teenager, you need a bit of chaos like you don’t already have enough of it in your head.
So, we crossed the bridge to go to ‘karşı’ (the other side of the Bosphorus). Now, we were kids of Cihangir, Bebek, Etiler and Asmalı. It was constantly changing. We hung out wherever we wanted. Then we became adults. We started working and living in ‘karşı’, in the middle of the chaos. The chaos turned into a home. The best concert halls, clubs, theatres, museums and restaurants were around. Later on, again, we thought it was not enough anymore. We needed something else, you know, we need the missing part: ‘a greener, peaceful and civilised city experience’. When you’re an adult, you need a bit of quiet sometimes. You want to run for miles without any barriers like a kid, as free as a bird.
Nowadays, when people ask me about where ‘karşı’ is, my answer changes. You know, as an Istanbulite, I need both sides of the Bosphorus, and I accept this. Now, I know how lucky I am. Sometimes I am from Kadıköy, sometimes I am from Beyoğlu. Just like sometimes I am a cheerful kid, sometimes a melancholy woman.
To all the kids of ‘karşı’,