Jim. Brad and I are American. vve all vvent to the same university in New York City. Two days ago, vve all arrived in İstanbul to do our master’s degrees. Coming here was Jim’s idea, of course. vve both wanted to study Anatolian civilizations. Jim said: ‘‘if vve want to do that, the best place is İstanbul.’’ I didn’t like the idea at first. ‘‘Firstly, vve’ve never been there and vve don’t know what it’s like,’’ I said:‘’Secondly, where are vve going to live? İs it easy to find an apartment? vve just don’t know. And thirdly, vve don’t speak Turkish’’ But Jim thought differently. He talked to our professor in New York and this professor at İstanbul University. ‘‘I think it’ll be OK’’he said. İt was. Brad’s subject at university was the history of architecture. He wanted to come with us because he wanted to study Seljuk architecture in İstanbul. So that was easy - vve all had a good reason to be there. After that, everything happened very quickly. İn a few vveeks- I found myself in İstanbul - a stranger in a foreign city. This place makes me nervous. I have a bad feeling about it - something tells me things aren’t going to go vvell form e here. My İndian grandmother always told me: ‘‘You have a Wisdom Bird. İt’s blue. Always look for it and it will heIp you.’’ Before vve came here, I didn’t see my Wisdom Bird for a long time. Then, this morning, I looked out the window… and there it was. But its colours vveren’t the same as before - it wasn’t so blue. Jim isn’t worried. Nothing ever worries him, anyway. Being in a strange country is exciting for him. He loves seeing new heaven! And Brad - vvell, he’s worried, but not as worried as I am. Anyway, vve have one friend here - mary. She’s my friend Eric’s cousin and she lives in İstanbul. She’s been here for a year now. vve’re staying in her apartment for the moment – until vve find our own place to live. Mary is a nice, friendly person and she will be our guide in İstanbul. On our first day here, vve vvent to the university. Mary shovved us around. İt took us a long time to find our department in the Faculty of Archaeology. Long corridors, wide staircases, more long corridors… but in the end vve found it, and Brad met his professor in the Faculty of Architecture. The university is always full of people, but I like the place. And vve aren’t the only fereigners here: there are quite a lot of students from other countries. Jim never takes anything seriously. He’s always laughing and joking, so he makes friends easily. At the university, vve met two American guys called Mike and Tony. They’ve been here for two years and they speak very good Turkish. They invited us to visit them. ‘‘Come and meet some of your fellow students’’ they said. When vve left the university that day, vve all ate some strange things called ‘lahmacun’. They looked a little like pizzas. With them vve drank a drink made from youghurt mixed with water and salt. They called it ‘ayran’. Today was our second day in İstanbul. Mary took us to the local markets and then to the Grand Bazaar. İt was tiring walking round all those narrow, crowded streets, but it was fun. People shouted out to us in english, German, Russian, Spanish, French – those guys spoke a lot of languages! Brad didn’t look ay any of the shops, hovvever: he was only interested in the girls. I may be wrong, but I think he likes Mary. This evening, when vve got back to the apartment, Jim cooked a meal for everyone. He turned the kitchen upside down – vve spent hours cleaning up after him. There vvere pans, plates, cartons, bits of food and rubbish everywhere. ‘‘For heaven’s sake, Jim’’ I said. ‘‘ Can’t you do anything without making a mess?’’ He didn’t take any notice, of course. ‘‘Don’t worry’’ said Mary. ‘‘Leave him alone. vve’ll clean up later.’’ But she doesn’t know him – he’s hopeless. One day Jim will drive her crazy! One day in our apartment in New York, Jim lost his socks. vve all looked for them. As always, he turned the whole place upside down. vve looked for them for hours but vve didn’t find them. Another time, he lost a book. İn the end vve found it in one of the kitchen cupboards. I stil don’t know how it got There. Jim, Brad and I lived in the same apartment all the time vve vvere at university – four long years! İt seemed more like forty. How are vve going to live with Jim in İstanbul for two years, I wonder? Will I go crazy? vve’ll see… ‘‘Good morning, getlemen! İt’s nine o’clock. Time to get up!’’ ‘‘Oh, it’s you, Mary. Good morning.’’ ‘‘Breakfast is ready. İt’s waiting for you.’’ ‘‘Thanks, Mary. vve won’t be long.’’ Mary left the room. ‘‘Can’t vve have a little more sleep?’’ said Jim. ‘‘Just another half hour.’’ ‘‘Stop complaining and get up!’’I said. ‘‘Just another ten minutes, then.’’ ‘‘No way!’’ ‘‘Skyhawk’s right’’ said Brad. ‘‘Stop complaining.’’ ‘‘ This is like army – why does she wake us up so early?’’ A few minutes later vve vvere all in the kitchen having breakfast. Everyone was in a good mood: Jim made us laugh. After breakfast, Mary said: ‘‘All right, you guys. Are vve going to look for an apartment Today, or do you want to Leave that till tomorrow?’’ ‘‘Let’s not do it today’’ said Jim. ‘‘Let’s spend today having a look round the city.’’ Brad didn’t agree. ‘‘No, let’s go and look for a place now. There’ll be time to explore later’’ he said. ‘‘OK’’ said Mary. ‘‘I know a realtor near here. He’s got some nice ready to go. Outside the door, I saw the blue bird again. ‘‘İt doesn’t want us to go’’ I thought. I didn’t say anything about it to the others, but I stil felt nervous. ‘‘What’s wrong with you today, Skyhawk?’’ asked Mary. ‘‘There’s no need to be scared. This is taksim, not Texas. No – one’s going to shoot you.’’ I tried to lough, of course, but I stil had an uneasy feeling in my stomach… vve walked along the street where Mary’s apartment was. Then vve turned a corner and vve vvere in the street behind it. ‘‘Wow! Look at that!’’ said Brad. At the end of this street, there Was a strange old building. ‘‘İt’s falling down’’ said Mary. ‘‘They say it’s been empty for years.’’ ‘‘That looks like British architecture’’ Brad vvent on. ‘‘İn fact, it looks like a Scottish castle.’’ ‘‘Shall vve go in and have a look?’’ said Jim. ‘‘Not now’’ said Brad. ‘‘İt’ll take too long.’’ ‘‘Look at that door – it’s broken’’ I said. ‘‘vve can go in and have a look any time vve like.’’ ‘‘Do you know anything about this place, Mary?’’ Brad asked. ‘‘No, not really’’ Mary replied. ‘‘I’ve always wanted to go in, but I just haven’t had time. And it’s a bit scary, isn’t it? I don’t want to go in on my own.’’ ‘‘Oh, I see’’ said Brad. ‘‘You’re in a foreign city, right?’’ ‘‘Yes, but this place feels like New York now.’’ ‘‘Really? vvell, it’s certainly as crowded as New York, anyway!’’ When vve got to the realtor’s Office, vve found that he spoke some English – not very good English, perhaps, but at least vve understood him. He said he didn’t have any apartments for us – vve wanted a really big place. Then he phoned a few people. They didn’t have anything for us, either. Just as vve vvere going, he said: ‘‘Oh – wait a minute. I’ve thought of something. There’s a new realtor’s near here – ı think they have an apartment or two. I’ll send someone over there with you.’’ He said something to the young man who worked with him. This young man’s name was Serdar came to the other realtor’s with us and translated everything. This second realtor said he had just the place for us – a nice, big, fully – furnished apartment with a television, a fridge and begs. The rent was cheap, too. But when vve vvent to see the place, vve had another unpleasant sarprise. İt was in terrible shape and there was nothing in it except three beds, a TV and a broken stove. ‘‘İf you don’t like this one’’ said the realtor. ‘‘You’ll love it – it has a beautiful view of the Bosphorus.’’ So vve vvent to see it. İt was a basement. At the front it was nearly two floors below ground level because the building was on a slope. This second apartment wasn’t much beter than the first. İt was a little cleaner, hovvever and there was a wardrobe in it. ‘‘So where’s the view?’’ I asked. Serdar translated my question to the realtor. He took us into the bathroom and shovved us a small, high window. ‘‘Here it is’’ he said. vve all looked at each other. Serdar was very embarrassed. ‘‘I’m really sorry about that’’he said. ‘‘I’d no idea it was so bad. Let’s leave. Then vve can start looking for somewhere beter.’’ Serdar took us back to the realtor’s where he worked, and his boss said‘‘I’m sorry’’ about fifteen times. ‘‘I’ll ring some other places for you’’ he said. ‘‘Have a rest and a cup of tea. Don’t worry – vve’ll soon solve the problem.’’ After ringing a few places, he said: ‘‘I think vve’ve found an apartment for you. Serdar will go with you.’’ This place was bigger than the other two. İt was a nice apartment – fully furnished and not too expensive. İt had three bedrooms and a living room. ‘‘OK, Skyhawk’’ said Jim. ‘‘I’m having that room at the back – the one with the view of the sea. Sorry, but you must keep away from water.’’ He laughed. ‘‘Very funny, Jim. Bur OK, if that’s what you want. vve’ve found a place to live. I’m not complaining.’’ So vve vvent to the realtor’s Office and gave him some Money. Then vve vvent back with Serdar to his boss’s office. His boss was pleased to hear vve liked the new place. ‘‘Moving in today, are you?’’ he asked. ‘‘Yes, vve are’’ said Brad. ‘‘Serdar will heIp you’’ he said. ‘‘Tell him not to bother. vve’ll do everything ourselves.’’ ‘‘It’s no trouble’’ said Serdar. ‘‘That’s nice of you’’ said Brad. ‘‘All right, let’s go back to Mary’s and get our stuff.’’ vve vvent back to Mary’s and took our stuff round to the new place. Of course, Jim made the place look like a battlefield, but this time i didn’t mind at all – I just laughed. Serdar took us to the local market to buy some food and some other things for the kitchen. Then he vvent back to his Office. vve vvere all tired when vve got home. vve put our things in cupboards and Brad started cooking our evening meal. Then vve rang Serdar to invite him to diner. But in the end vve didn’t just have one guest for diner: vve had three. One was Serdar, another was Mary and the third was Ebru ‘‘Which university are you at?’’ asked Ebru. ‘‘İstanbul’’ I replied. ‘‘Oh, really?’’ said Ebru. ‘‘I’m studying Journalism there, actually.’’ ‘‘Oh, are you? That’s an interesting coincidence, then’’ I said. ‘‘Let me know if you have ant problems’’said Ebru. ‘‘Thanks, I will’’ I replied. She seems a nice girl. That evening vve all had a really good time together. I think – or I hope, anyway – that Serdar and Ebru will be good friends. And Brad – vvell, he kept looking at Mary the whole evening. I’m sure Brad likes Mary a lot! So here vve are in our new apartment in İstanbul. İn the end vve’ve found a nice place to live and I’m very glad about that. I think Jim and Brad like it too, thought they aren’t saying much. This evening before I vvent to bed, I vvent onto the balcony to look at the view – and there was my blue bird again. This time it didn’t look so worried but its colours stil vveren’t very bright. Or maybe I couldn’t see it very vvell because it was dark. So what will our life be like in this strange city, I wonder? Then I vvent into Brad’s room. He was on his bed, looking up at the ceiling. ‘‘Hi, Brad. Tell me what you’re thinking.’’ ‘‘İt’s Mary you’re thinking about, isn’t it?’’ I said. He looked at me, surprised. ‘‘Mary? What’s she got to do with it?’’ ‘‘*vvell, you vvere looking at her all evening. İn fact, you didn’t take your eyes off her.’’ ‘‘No, that’s not true.’’ ‘‘Come on, Brad. Admit it. You like her, don’t you?’’ ‘‘vvell… she’s a nice girl, I suppose.’’ ‘‘A nice girl. İs that all?’’ ‘‘vvell, all right. I won’t lie to you. Yes, I like her.’’ ‘‘Thanks, Brad. vvell, now vve know. Anyway, what did you think about that old house you know, the one vve saw in the street behind Mary’s apartment?’’ ‘‘Hmm, yes. Wasn’t it amazing? I must say I’ve never seen anything like it. I haven’t seen anything like that in any of my architecture b0ks, either’’ Brad replied. ‘‘I’d really like to explore it. I wonder what it’s like inside. İt must be really beautiful.’’ ‘‘All right, then, shall vve go and have a look at it tomorrow?’’ I suggested. ‘‘But don’t vve have to go to the university?’’ ‘‘Yes, I suppose you’re right. Another day, perhaps. Er… by the way, Brad, I’ve just seen my blue bird again.’’ ‘‘Oh yeah? And where was it this time?’’ ‘‘On the balcony. İt didn’t look very worried. But its colours vveren’t as bright as they vvere before. İt makes me uneasy.’’ ‘‘Don’t start that again, Skyhawk, for heaven’s sake! You and your blue bird! Ok, I admit I believe in all this much. Tell me, why has no – one else ever seen it? I’m sorry, but I think it’s all nonsense it’s just in your imagination.’’ ‘‘All right, so you stil don’t believe me. Just wait. One day you’ll see it, too.’’ ‘‘OK, that’s fine with me. But let’s agree not to talk about it any more ıntil I have seen it. Anyway, it’s bedtime. Go and get some sleep without your blue bied. Goodnight, Skyhawk.’’ ‘‘Goodnight, then.’’ So I vvent to my new bedroom to sleep in it for the first time. Lying in bed, I thought about the events of the day. I thought about the realtor’s office, meeting Serdar, seeing that strange old building, going to those first two apartments, then finding this one. I remembered going to the market, the diner party in the evening and Serdar’s girlfriend, Ebru. Finally, I thought about Brad and Mary. Them my blue bird came and took me to the land of dreams.