Personality is a phenomenon which describes the way people behave in everyday life. It’s an essential concept in order to understand and predict our own behavior and each other’s behaviors. But, does this concept describe only human beings? What if places could have personalities? From a psychologist’s perspective, I like to attribute characteristics to inanimate things around us and I believe that neighborhoods in Istanbul do have their own personalities. In these characterizations, one might be able to find guidance on the neighborhoods themselves.
Beyoğlu is a copywriter who works in an advertising agency. He works six days a week and lives in Cihangir. He’s generally the last one in the office and always goes home late. That’s why he sleeps in and goes to work around 11 AM. He knows that he will spend his entire day at work. Therefore, he doesn’t have to hurry. The president of the agency lets his tardiness slide since he always works overtime despite not getting paid for it. He has many projects on the back-burner, but he doesn’t care much. He has brief relationships in life. He lives for vacation and going to the club on weekends. He is a spontaneous and creative party-animal who doesn’t care even a little bit about tomorrow.
Şişli is an English teacher who works in a language school and lives in Osmanbey, near the metro station. She likes to go to Yoga and Pilates classes in the evenings. She prefers to travel around hidden parts of the world rather than the popular ones. She has a strong interest in spirituality. She will continue to be a nomad until she finds true love. After she finds “the one”, she wants to move to a Latin American country and teach English to kids with her sweetheart.
Kadıköy is an actress who lives and works in Moda. Her theater company is based there and her house is walking distance to the office where she has rehearsals and plays. She is passionate and enthusiastic about life. She wants to immigrate to one of the English-speaking countries, sometime in the distant future. She dreams of becoming a part of a theater community there. She loves dancing, drinking coffee, and discovering new places. She is a big chocolate addict. Having longterm relationships goes against her general life philosophy. However, deep inside her heart, she seeks a sense of belonging.
Beşiktaş is an older, respected architect who works for corporations which support artistic events. In his professional life, he prefers to blend the traditions of the past and the innovations of current mainstream choices. He lives in Levent with his wife who is an academic in a well-known university. Their daughters study in Canada, after having finished their education in a French high school. He designs compelling works in the city ranging from university buildings to plazas, from stadiums to art galleries. He enjoys sophisticated food and gourmet wine.
Üsküdar is an elder writer who has been influenced by old Anatolian literature. He claims that getting back to our roots is the only way to understand today and reshape the future. Speaking of these roots, he is divorced and has lived alone in Kuzguncuk for many years. He likes to get some fresh pastries accompanied with Turkish black tea near the seaside in his local park, under the shade of tall, plain trees. Every day, he takes a deep puff from his pipe and stares at the glamorous landscape of the Bosphorus and asks himself, “What is the meaning of this universe?”
Sarıyer is a psychologist who has spent much time working in central parts of the city. She prefers to maintain her life where she grew up. Walking on the seaside and enjoying some drinks with fish and chips is an irreplaceable experience for her. She lives with her husband and two kids in a house that was left to them by her father. She has degrees from multiple reputable universities. After graduating from a well-known American university, she couldn’t stay away from home and left a great career in the USA behind, because family is the biggest priority in her life.
All in all, your choices in life always depend on your expectations. Who are you? A copywriter who parties all night and rushes all day for project deadlines? A nomadic English teacher who seeks stability in life? An architect who dedicates his life to sophistication? A passionate actress who dreams about being applauded in a world-famous theater? A melancholic writer who constantly asks about the meaning of life? A psychologist whose life is based on balance and stability? All personalities are authentic and unique. As Socrates says, “Know thyself”. Good luck with your Istanbul experience!