The silhouette of a girl sitting on a camping chair in front of the setting sun over a lake.

Journey with Water: From Marmara Waves to Toronto Shores by Perihan Kucukosman

Journey with Water: From Marmara Waves to Toronto Shores

By Perihan Kucukosman

In the 1970s, during my childhood in Bursa, Turkey, I was surrounded by a tight-knit community of Bulgarian immigrants. It was marked by an extraordinary Sunday that began with my father’s wake-up call: “Get up; we are going to the sea.” An hour-long journey in the back of a pickup truck unfolded, leading me to the calm waves of the Sea of Marmara. Thus, a story commenced in my life, a narrative that sprouted from the innocent embrace of water.

Bursa became the backdrop of my upbringing, punctuated by ferry rides to Istanbul, where encounters with wild waves and the playful dolphins in serene waters left indelible memories. The dream of befriending those dolphins lingered in my mind, intertwined with cinematic Sundays and the enchantment of the water.

My affinity for water deepened during my vacation on the southern coast of England, where the ocean assumed a wholly distinct character. Returning to Istanbul, my life continued its aquatic exploration along the shores of the Marmara Sea for over two decades. Eventually, I found myself drawn to the Black Sea, my husband’s hometown and discovered a vibrant existence akin to that of the lively anchovy fish native to those waters.

The silhouette of a girl sitting on a camping chair in front of the setting sun over a lake.


From İstanbul to Tekirdağ and onward to the Aegean Sea, each locale brought a unique flavour to my water experiences, unfolding as a diverse tapestry of adventures. Yet, the call for global exploration, a lifelong dream, beckoned me to Canada. In Toronto’s waters, the fairytales of my childhood began to materialize.
Wandering the great lakes, I became acutely aware of water’s pervasive presence, each wave adding a new chapter to the evolving narrative of my life. The echoes of water rekindled the serenity of bird-watching, evoking childhood memories and imbuing my life with a sense of peace.
Sailing in Toronto, I fulfilled my childhood dream, revelling and immersing myself in the beauty of Canada’s nature. Toronto’s ponds and rivers served as conduits to my past, reconnecting me with the days of the Marmara Sea and reinforcing my enduring bonds with water.
I realized that water is not merely an element; it is a way of life and a journey of discovery. The uncertainty of where water might lead me enhances the excitement and meaning of my existence. Exploring the world along the trail of water has become my passion, transforming dreams into reality.
The waters surrounding Toronto have become realms of discovery and learning, deepening my connection to nature and fostering a profound understanding of the ties between people. The childhood story that began with water now evolves into a tale of love and respect, where I, a Toronto mermaid at heart, continue to embrace the uncertainties of life, eager to discover the waters and continents that await me. Perhaps the Philippines will be the next enchanting chapter in this aquatic journey.
Yet, amidst the enchantment of my aquatic journey, a pang of sorrow tinges on my reflections. The waters that once cradled my childhood dreams are now marred by pollution, a stark reminder of our world’s environmental challenges. I lament the degradation of the seas, missing the pristine waves of the Sea of Marmara that once held the innocence and purity of my early years. The impact of human activity on these waters weighs heavily on my heart, urging a collective responsibility to preserve and restore the oceans for future generations. The juxtaposition of my cherished memories with the present-day reality evokes a longing for the untarnished beauty that water, in its purest form, once bestowed upon my youthful adventures.
Story by Perihan Kucukosman
Centennial College

"My favorite body of water is the enchanting Aegean Sea. Its shimmering turquoise waters, framed by picturesque coastlines, captivate my soul. The Aegean's timeless allure evokes a sense of serenity and adventure, inspiring my artistic journey and igniting a deep appreciation for the beauty of nature."

Stories of Water and Change

In honor of World Water Day 2024, this online feature is dedicated to celebrating the profound connection between individuals and water, while shedding light on pressing global water issues. This diverse collection of personal narratives and photographs serves as a testament to the multifaceted relationships we share with this vital resource. As we immerse ourselves in these accounts, we are not only inspired by the depth of individual experiences but also reminded of the urgent need for collective action to safeguard our planet’s most precious resource.