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The sun looked like it was only 2 kilometers from the ground. It was my first time traveling alone and surprisingly I didn’t feel lonely. I kept stopping to check and see if I did but no, not at all. Then I thought, how could I possibly be when I’m enriching my life with travels?

The start of the highway from SAW airport welcomed me looking wide, bright and clean; as if a new beginning is opening up to me. When many taxi drivers approach you, of course pick the most handsome one. Mine looked like he just walked out of a UNIQLO monthly newsletter with a RayBan on his head. Maybe that’s why he figured he should charge me more.

#TurkeyTravelTip:

The best way to get to Istanbul from the airport is to take a bus to Taksim, before changing to a taxi to your hotel. It should cost you about 20 lira.

P.S. Be careful, because many of us got cheated. I paid 80 lira, which was 4 times more!

The entire drive to the city was illuminated with mosques that looked alike in different sizes. I was to stay at a hotel located very strategically at Sekeci, a 2 kilometers walk to Sultanahmet where the main tourist attractions live, while the grand bazaar is only a couple of stops away by metro.

On the way in search of my hotel (since my supermodel taxi driver didn’t want to stop me right in front of it), I found myself in a quaint shop to get my local SIM card fixed, found the cutest bright yellow bookmark with Anasofya on it, then continued ploughing the cobbled stones with my very torn yet well-lived luggage.

The moment I entered the hotel lobby I was greeted by a sight of relief. I saw my best friend, Ai Rene, walking out of the lift with her then fiancé, looking worried if I made it alive.

Between the compact space between us I felt so much, had too much to say, and when we exchanged hugs it all melted away like childhood candies that comfort us well. She is my best friend, my soul sister, my audio diary, my family from a different family; and I had come to attend her wedding.

After almost a decade of friendship, we’ve seen each other walked in and out of the most romantic and hilarious love stories, shared one too many laughters that no man could understand.

Today I see her with the kindest gentleman I’ve ever known by her side, caring for her and everyone she loves just like they were his own family. There are no words that can exactly describe the overflowing happiness that brims in my heart.

There and then without words she taught me that when someone’s happiness is yours too, it is called love.

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