November 13, 2011
By Teddy Stanescu BRONZE, Poughkeepsie, New York
Teddy Stanescu BRONZE, Poughkeepsie, New York
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

It’s a late summer afternoon in Istanbul, and I am aboard a ferry crossing the Bosphorus. This is where the Eastern and Western worlds meet, where the world’s ethnicities come together and blend into a cosmopolitan mass. Here, business men and politicians, sultans and kings alike have striven to conquer. This is where I consider the center of the world to be.
A deep orange sun sets, sending pink ribbons shooting across the sky while the water dances playfully around golden slivers. A rich, salty breeze blows from the Black Sea, rushing past me, powerfully pushing against every inch of my body. I’ve been here many times before, but this time it’s different. The colors and smells are more vivid. The streets, images, and people come to life. I understand more about their background every time I return, and I learn to recognize and appreciate variety between the places I’ve visited and the cultures I’ve witnessed. The more I acknowledge this variety, the more I yearn for it. It’s something that is a part of me, this wanting not only to know of new things, but to understand them.
As I sit here rocking with the tide, my mind wanders, inspired by everything it sees: from the Kurdish couple in front of me, to the Topkapi Palace in the distance, from the roaring azure waters beneath me to the continent-coupling Bosphorus bridge above, from Asia on my right, to Europe on my left. Like mentors, these experiences challenge my standards of thinking and take my mind to places it has never seen before. They bring me through journeys that start in the bare physical realm and end up in the intricate gardens of my deep thought. I hear the strange harmonies of mysterious melodies, I smell the zesty fragrances of exotic foods, and already my mind races to erect thoughts where none were before.
This world is a classroom. The experiences are infinite, but it’s important to seek only those that teach us something new. My curiosity attracts me to the dark unknowns, to the undiscovered realms of life. I overcome innate fear of the unfamiliar and begin gradually illuminating my world, archiving what I’ve learned and using it for future discovery.
When I consider how a ride on the Bosphorus compels me to think about life in such a profound way, I realize that my mind thirsts for experiences that transcend my understanding. I am a crucible of influences, with foundations set in different worlds, and character bridging the cultures of my life. As I go on in life, I will come across new sources of inspiration that will expand my horizons and provide me with novel ideas, but I will always carry with me images and sensations of the Bosphorus that will forever teach me the wisdom of diversity.
Diversification enriches life. Without variety, understanding of the world is narrow and life is recognized only to the limits of our experience. These limits are difficult to overcome without diversity, and so they confine us.

The author's comments:
This piece embodies what diversity means to me.

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