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! (: