Gizem with fellow housemates celebrating her birthday, and Gizem with housemates at our annual Garden Party (2015)
We agreed that I should talk with Jen, the Resident Manager. I believed my home for the last two years would not leave me alone in my darkest hour. So I dialed Jen and explained the situation. I could not even talk straight from crying at that point. She talked to me calmly and like the pro-problem solver that she always is. She said 'Get your luggage, come back home. You can stay as long as you need in this emergency'.
Without having a country to land at that moment, at least I was not homeless. A tiny bit of hope knowing that my parents were also safe in a smaller city, I grabbed my luggage and headed back downtown, which I had just arrived from with a big smile on my face and filled with hope only a couple of hours ago. Arriving back at International Student House, everyone welcomed me at the door, helped me resettle and gave me much needed emotional support. I was so grateful and love all of them.
Turkey did not have a coup that night. Lots of people died but soldiers who attempted to take over the government failed and the government restored the order a week later. Life turned back to normal at a shocking speed and I left the House a week later, as well, to visit. It was maybe still dangerous, but I needed to see and be with my family. The wedding was postponed to the next week and I could not go back to California for that new job, so I missed that opportunity, however, a better one came just a week later and I got a great offer from a Wall Street Capital Market firm in NYC and I moved to the International House in New York two weeks later.
Just like that, my entire life changed in a couple of hours. Thanks to International Student House and great people working there, I received help when I needed it most. That's what it means to have a family. That was the story of how International Student House became International Student Home to me.