Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Kappadokian Christmas

Christmas was absolutely amazing this year. The Rotary organization put together a tour for us exchange students that was absolutely amazing.
I went to Ankara on December 22nd and was able to go to an early New Year's Eve party. I met many Rotarians and had a wonderful time. On the 23rd I met up with my exhchange family(:
When we were all on the bus traveling to Kappadokia I felt at home for the first time in weeks. These kids are truly amazing.
On our tour we got to see many different and mind blowing things. We had lunch at a Turkish restuarant where they served us Turkish Kebab and rice. We went to a museum that was a city built into rock. The architecture was amazing. There was an old church we saw that was absolutely stunning. What is even more amazing is that even though the museum was about to close for the day, they let us in anyways. Being a Rotary exchange student brings about many experiences others miss out on everyday.
While traveling we stopped at many different roadside shops where they sold traditional Turkish clothing and trinkets. At one of these stops, a friend and I were so engrossed in what we were doing that we didn't notice the bus leaving until it was already moving. Luckily the people in the back seat saw us waving goodbye and they stopped. (:
Another place we saw was a castle. It was a fairly long and steep walk up to the top, I can't even imagine being an army and trying to attack it. The view from the top of the castle (carved from the rock wall/cliff) was absolutely stunning. And there was also snow at the top. I was hoping to go a whole year without touching snow...but....we win some we lose some.
My friends and I celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve. We all had a nice dinner at the hotel we were occupying (literally. occupying. not just staying.) then we went to a traditional Turkish entertainment night. The entertainers went through the different steps of a proposal, bachelor/bachelorette party, and the wedding itself. There was also a belly dancer that was phenomal (so all the boys thought.) xD
The owners then played some songs and let our group of exchange students take the floor. We all got partners and started doing the Salsa, the Tango, regualar Ballroom dancing stuff. It was really a lot of fun.
while packing all of our stuff into our bus on Christmas Day, the Brasilians (who had never touched/seen snow) started an epic snowball fight. The waiting staff of the hotel even joined in our little battle. After 30 minutes of constant snowballs we all got on the bus. Soaking wet and happy as could be.
It has been less than a week and I already miss my exchange family. But luckily I only have 21 more days until I get to see them again. And this time its for 17 days instead of only 3. (:

Thursday, December 1, 2011


So much has happened since my last blog post, I dont even know where to start.
Let me first say, that I apologise for any spelling/grammar errors. My English has gotten quite bad but it seems to come in fits and starts.
Well. I have been pretty busy the last couple of weeks. I keep telling myself that I am going to skip school just because I can, but I love it to much. Skipping school doesnt seem like a rebelious act to me because I love it so much. My classmates and teachers are absolutely amazing. My conversation teacher has been making us write 1 essay a week much to the disgruntled remarks of my classmates. I absolutely love it. I am able to write an essay, but am asked by classmates to help them with their essays. I love being able to teach them things about my language.
I have also been studying my SAT alot. I am going to Ankara tomorrow to take the SAT AGAIN. I am actually quite excited to take it because its American in a way, and I kind of miss America.
I found out 2 weeks ago that there is an AFS exchange student here in Antalya. He's Belgian and his name is Robbe. He is a super nice kid, but has to return back to Belgium in a week or two. We were only able to hang out once because of our busy schedules but it is nice knowing that I am not the only exchanger in Antalya. For now at least.
Exams have started again in my school. My classmates are studying more than normal but we have fun anyways. They are slowly loosening up and realizing studying isnt the only thing in life. My Irish-Turkish friend Yasemin took me to see the new Twilight movie. I didnt know that there was going to be 2 parts to the last movie until the end of the movie when the credits started rolling. But, as you all know, that isnt surprising.
Even though there are many good things, the bad follow as well. I am feeling conflicted about moving host families. I want to stay with my current family longer because I absolutely love my host mom and host dad. My host mom is amazing. And even though my host dad has a bad habit of sneaking food on my plate when im not looking, he's pretty awesome too. The bad thing is my host brother. Every night my 13 year old host brother picks a fight with both of my host parents. He calls them names and treats them like they are his servants. A lot of times I am woken up at midnight from my host brother shouting. We aren't very close. At first he wanted to be an only child and resented the fact that he had to share his parents when his sister was gone, and now he complains to his cousins (my best friends) that he feels like an only child because we never talk or really interact. Im not really sure how to deal with it, but I am moving host families soon enough so it won't be a problem much longer.
The only other bad thing that happened was when 2 girls in my school decided to read my journal. I have been writing in cursive, because they can all semi-read English. Turns out they can semi-understand cursive to. The only thing they read was about how unhappy I was one day, but that was a really bad day. I absolutely love Turkey. Through all the ups and downs.
The weather is getting colder and winter has arrived in the form of t-shirt and jeans weather for me, and multiple layers of clothes and coats for everyone else in Antalya. My host dad always points to my feet indicating that I need to put socks on or I will get sick. It's quite entertaining(:
My Turkish improves every day but I am very frustrated with my slow progress. After I get back to Antalya from taking the SAT I am going to get a Turkish tudor.
I am also gearing up for the Rotary Christmas trip to Kappadokya. Im really excited to see my other exchangers(: it has been far to long.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

To the Soldiers

This post was going to be happy and amazing things that make me want to cry, but my heart and my country are now filled with a sadness and hatred. Today there was a terrorist attack by the PKK on the East part of Turkey. 24 soldiers lost their lives.
Soldiers, you will be forever remembered.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Well folks, I just arrived back from my inbound orientation in Ankara. When I stepped out of the airport I realized that it was so cold I could see my breath. Home sweet home. (: The weather in Ankara is so cold and so wonderful! I was usually the only one wearing shorts. It felt so nice to be able to wear long pants though, i've been deprived of wearing long pants for almost 2 months.
Anyways, the inbound exchangers of D2430 are absolutely amazing. Even though we only got to see each other for 3 days, and most of us had never met before, I left feeling loved and cared about. I enjoyed adding 23 new people to my family.
Our countries consist of Brazil, Canada, Mexico, America, Germany, Columbia, and Japan. Everyone one of the exchangers is a beautiful and amazing person. I can't express how happy I am but also sad because I don't get to see them until christmas D: I miss them so much already and it hasn't even been 24 hours. Even though we don't all talk and hang out in the same groups, just everyone's presence is enough to make someone feel homesick for a home they never had. <3
While in Ankara we were in meetings 90% of the time. Rotarians went over the 4 d's which we exchangers all know by heart. No Drinking, No Driving, No Drugs, No Dating. And they talked about the chain of command, and how careful we need to be in every situation. Correctly assessing situations will be one of the biggest things most exchangers bring home. Not always noticeable, but it is definitely there.
On the second day we had Turkish lessons almost non stop. It was very helpful but some of it was very comfusing. I loved it. All of it.
We also got to see Ataturk's masoleum. In case you are wondering, Ataturk was the president of Turkey who founded turkey's independence. Muy importante. Also very cool.
I got tears in my eyes as I left my group, sad that we only had 3 days together. We arrived out of our comfort zone and left with knowing that wherever our group is, is home.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Absolute fantasticness=rain

Random fact for this post: I have not yet met one Turk who shuffles cards like we do in America. They just lay the cards on the table and mix them.

I made a vow to myself (and partially on Facebook, although it's put lightly) to start mainly speaking in Turkish. I know quite a few words and sentences but I have a nasty habit of getting away with shaking my head most of the time. I need to get rid of that habit and this is the week I am going to start! :D
There hasn't been very many exciting things going on. Apart from the fact that I am living in a friggen harika foreign country! School is great, my teachers are great, and my classmates are crazy. I found out last week that I have had the wonderful pleasure of being placed in the "trouble making" class of the 11 grade. Needless to suits me just fine. ;) We are always blasting Turkish/American pop songs out the windows for students passing by, we have a water kettle in our room, we laugh pretty much constantly, and are told to be quiet pretty much constantly. Its wonderful.
School actually got canceled today because it rained so much yesterday! My yard is still a lake, and the some of the roads have 2 meters of water on them. It is amazing! RAINY DAYS AND MONDAYS!!
I'm getting to bake some Turkish foods....well, I mostly watch because I tend to overdue some things apparently. Like getting to much egg mix on a tortilla. Or, 5 tortillas. NOT THE POINT. The food is super duper uber good here! I am so excited to be able to make some different things when I get home.
By the way....can you get fruit poisining? Orrrr yogurt poisoning? I eat so much fruit and yogurt that I feel I am going to get sick any day. It's way to good to be true. My host dad brought bananas back from the market on Sunday, and by the rapturous expression on my face while eating a banana in the middle of our kitchen, i'm pretty sure my host mom thinks i'm bonkers. That or she's just gonna start buying a truckload of bananas each week ;D
I told my host mom that I make banana bread and cinnamon rolls back home, i'm pretty sure the look on her face was that of interest, but I was pretty tired so it might have been one of pure fear of being poisoned by these weird foods. Hard to tell.
I have my inbound orientation camp this weekend in Ankara! I am so excited to meet all the people in my district. Just from talking on Facebook and Skype I can tell we are going to be a close knit group. I'll be gone for 3 days and am super excited that I finally get to travel to Ankara! Istanbul is next on my list!!

By the way, my Facebook randomly changes from English to Turkish and vice that weird? O.o

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lack of internet

Sorry I have been out of contact! I was staying at a host relatives house for a while and their internet wasn't easily accessible so I just went without! Turkey is still absolutely amazing! Any doubts I have about choosing this country vanish as soon as I step out my front door. I could see every part of Antalya 10 times and be just as happy to see it the 11th time. This country is truly amazing.
I am almost finished with my second week of school here. I am happy to say that school is better than I could have ever hoped! My classmates are great! We get along very well and were pretty good friends on the first day. There are 10 girls and 2 boys in my class and I have about 17 different subjects. It is very nice because the teachers rotate classrooms instead of the students. We have 9 classes on Monday and Tuesday then 8 classes Wednesday through Friday. My teachers are very supportive and interested in my life even if they don't speak English! They all make me feel welcome and have told me that if I ever need to talk I can come to them. My classmates introduce me to new people every day and people are starting to recognize me as "the American",
I am picking up the language very quickly according to the native Turks. All of my teachers thought I was Turkish. Then they started talking to me. So far I have been asked about who Martin Luther is and why we dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and have been able to share even more of USA's history. I am helping my cousins, classmates, and teachers with their English and love it! Being able to help others learn my native language is very fun, and we always end up having interesting conversations.
I'm not sure if you're interested or not but here is the list of my classes:
English Grammar
Turkish Grammar
English Literature
Turkish Literature

Friday, September 16, 2011

turkish kina(:

I got to see the coolest thing last night at my Rotary meeting! It turns out there was a Turkish bachelorette party, or a kina, in the ballroom next to our conference room! For the main ceremony the bride sits down in a chair in the middle of the women attending and a veil is put over her face. (her traditional turkish wedding dress was beautiful by the way). Then her mom and aunt (pretty sure thats who it was) go around her chair waving candles on a platter back and forth over her head. The platter is the same color as her veil (a beautiful red). The two women then put a sort of paste on each of the bride's palms. The paste is covered with tissues and then red pockets matching the veil are put over her hands. This is to keep the paste on until it dries. The climax song is used specifically for this ceremony and is absolutely beautiful. The main point of this ceremony is to make the bride cry because she is leaving her family. Weird, but cool in its own way. And the rest of the kina is just dancing all day and all night and eating!

One of my friends' moms went in and found the paste. I now have an orange circle on my hand :D so do 2 of my friends. It was an amazing night!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

If I had any preconceived notions about Turkey, it was that it would be completely different from the U.S. Believe me, it is COMPLETELY different, but after being here for almost 3 weeks, i've started seeing some very American things. For instance, the films over here are in English with Turkish subtitles. The only films not in English are other foreign films which are played in their native tongue with Turkish subtitles. It is odd but Turkish in its own way I suppose. The Turkish cinemas have 10 minute intermissions during the movies. :D it gives for a nice reprieve.
Some things i've noticed are:
1: First of all, don't kid yourself into thinking that something is a certain way until you see it done or said multiple times by multiple people. Soooo if someone says something different about the things I am going to share with you, they might be right and I might be right. Most likely they are right if they are Turkish. Anywayssss.
2: Bread and tomatos are eaten at EVERY meal. Whether they are fresh tomatos put on bread, or squashed tomatos in soup that you mop up with bread. These two food items can be relied on at every meal. (: And they are quite tasty.
3: When visiting family, the hosts give the guests shoes for inside or outside, depending on where the tea/meal is being served.
4: There are two separate greetings. for the younger adults it is a kiss on each cheek. For the older adults (the grandmotherly and grandfatherly old), you kiss their hand, bring their hand to your forehead, and then kiss on both cheeks. These are both to be accompanied by merhaba which means "hello."
5: Ladies and gentlemen smoking has become a food group. Mostly for women though.
6: Never fear. Food is near.
7: When children visit family with their family on the Turkish holiday Ramadan, the children are given money by the hosts.
8: The younger women usually serve by themselves only when older relatives live in the house. With visiting family such as brothers and sisters everyone sort of helps out.
9: At first i figured the men would be served first while the women waited, then when the men were done the women got to eat. Yeah. Not true. After a couple of days I saw from my host dad that men are very helpful as far as heating up dinner, toasting buttloads of bread, and making tea. pretty much only those three things. I'm quite sure they are allergic to dishes. (:
10: You haven't seen or step foot in a nice, huge, comfortable living room until you have been in a Turkish living room. Turkish living rooms are by FAR the nicest rooms in houses. The rugs are luscious and huge. the couches are very numerous too. (: and of course big screen T.V.s larger than my bedroom ornately decorate the living rooms. Never has a living room been so refined yet so comfy.
11: Turkish people's fingernails are impeccable. I never really noticed American fingernails but Turkish fingernails are ridiculously clean. Especially the mens. weird, I know.
12: Not a lot of Turkish people keep pets. Most of the pets they do keep are dogs. They feed strays though :D for me, feeding strays is probably one of the best parts of Turkey. The compassion they have for animals is absolutely wonderful! My host dad throws out breakfast leftovers for the birds in the morning. He goes out and whistles to them while spreading the grub. It is absolutely hilarious.
13: White is a very popular color over here. My mom thinks it's because of the weather, and it very well could be. I think it's more of a fashion statement though. Men in white jeans, women in white dresses, and both in white shoes. I thought it was odd, then I realized that I had just painted my fingernails white.
14: Black people are very scarce here. And the use of the word "nigger" is used. Turks don't realize how offensive it is because they aren't around African-Americans. My host brother visited Chicago, IL two summers ago and said that was where he saw his first African-American. I've been here almost three weeks and have seen three African-Americans. Two of them were on T.V. playing in a soccer game though so it doesnt really count.
15: When visiting family or at my Rotary meetings, the people squinch their eyes at me. It's like a gesture of welcome, also letting me know that they are pleased with my presence. This gesture immediately puts me at ease.(:

This jumbo load of information is all for now. I certainly hope I didn't bore you! Oh, one more thing. Coca-Cola is universal. And I still don't like it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I'm getting better at this blog thing.

I am starting on my third week in this beautiful country and I love it more everyday. Just the other day my host family and I went to dinner at a little restuarant on the Sea. It was so picturesque! I didn't take pictures of it, but sometimes memories should be kept to yourself(: I have made a few friends that are going to the same school as I. Two of them are host cousins that live not far from me.
School starts on Monday and I am very excited! A lot of the exchange kids here in Turkey seem to be a little apprehensive about school because of the uniforms and strict rules but I am very excited! Nobody seems to be able to tell me all the rules or stipulations of Antalya Koleji (my school) and if I can't find them on the net I will get to learn from experience! :D

Saturday, September 3, 2011

delayed blog post...

I have arrived in the beautiful turkiye. Actually I arrived a week ago, but I couldn't remember my blog name. haha. Tukey is amazing! When I was flying in I was able to see the Mediterranean Sea and the beautiful city of Antalya. Upon my landing I was greeted by my host mom, another one of my host moms, my host brother, and one of his friends. (: they were all holding wonderful signs that were welcoming me to this beautiful country. It was very hot when I arrived but after about 3 days I acclimated and got used to the heat. It hardly bothers me any more. The night I got in, Cem (host brother) and Bahutan (friend) took me for a small tour of the mall near my house. We ate Manti, which is pasta with yogurt. Turns out they use yogurt in everything! I've even had a yogurt soup! :D
So far I have been to two different beaches, both of which were absolutely stunning, the water was amazingly blue, and I went white water rafting! The water in the river was also amazingly blue and clear! I have had so much fun so far, and am learning the language well. It isn't considered quick by American standards, but by Turkish standards it is better than they could have hoped for. My host mom has been very patient with me and is pointing out different things and helping me learn the turkish words for them. Although I am excited to be here and as amazing as the food is here, I cannot help but have cravings for my local food back in Driggs, Idaho....and my starbursts are running out! (:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Contact soon to be other world(:

I was just contacted by one of my future host brothers. I'm also kind of freaking out because i'm really excited but thats to be expected! He is 16 and currently on exchange in the beautiful Brazil. He will probably be home when during my exchange. I have a 23 year old sister who lives in Istanbul, she is a chemical engineer. This is all I know so far but it is enough to get me more than excited for my adventure to come!

Saturday, May 21, 2011


I found out that I am going to be in Antalya, Turkey! I am so excited!
Antalya is a port city on the beautiful coast of South West Turkey. It has a population of 1,000,000 people so
it is going to be a lot bigger than what I am used to which is the whole point of this exchange!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Getting Started

Hi guys! I haven't yet been contacted by my host families or even know what town I am going to in Turkey but I decided to start a blog anyway. I know that I am going to spend an amazing year in Turkey on the Mediterranean Coast. I'm really excited to keep you guys informed about my trip!