Sunday, March 17, 2013
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Today, as we were driving (all of the exchange students together in a mini bus) we came across some rain. Rain is rain. Later, as we were driving higher up the mountain, the rain turned into sleet. We continue driving, talking to the Brazilian kids about how they'll be able to come to Bursa and see snow on Uludag, where there is two meters of snow. Then, all of a sudden, the sleet turned to snow. Everyone was so excited, only Riad and I have seen snow this year, and all of the North Americans were excited to be seeing snow again, then the Brazilians were excited to be seeing snow for the first time. I realized how strange it is that these kids are 17 and 18 years old, and they're just now seeing snow for the first time. I've been seeing snow my whole life, and at this point, it's just cold and wet, but luckily it sometimes gets us out of school. This experience just opened my eyes once again to the world around me, and showed me that even though my fellow exchangers and I are great friends, we come from different parts of the world, with completely different cultures, but when we're together we can forget our differences, and just learn more about the world together.
Friday, March 15, 2013
Okay, so I wrote this post last night, but then my internet went out at my house, so I'm just now posting my blog from yesterday....
Happy Pi Day everyone! Today we had a little Pi Day celebration, so we didn't have any lessons, which was obviously nice. Only two of my classmates showed up to school, so the three of us hung out and bought matching pi t-shirts then took a ton of pictures together with them. Also, the 9th graders had a bake sale, so we were able to hang out and eat yummy foods together. It was a nice and easy day. After school I went to the book fair with my host mom and Riad, then we went out to dinner. Tomorrow I'm headed to Izmir and then on Saturday I'll go to Pamukkale with all the exchange students! I'm really looking forward to our trip. :) Goodnight everyone
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Today while I was on Facebook, I realized once again how life is continuing to go on back home without me. All of my friends have now been accepted to college, and are looking forward to prom and graduation, and then finally going off to college and starting their lives as young adults. I'm proud of all my friends, especially because some of them got into really nice programs, but it's just really hard for me to realize that this is all happening without me. I wish I could be sharing these happy times with my friends, but the time zones and miles between us make that rather difficult.
I have absolutely no regrets of coming to Turkey, but some days I go on Facebook, see how happy everyone is back home, and just wonder what my life would be like if I didn't go on exchange. I think my life would be pretty similar to how my friends' are going; happily looking forward to graduation and college, and trying to make the best out of my senior year. Although I can guess what my life would be like now, I think that my life 10 years from now will be completely different than the life I would have had if I never became an exchange student.
I guess I'm just trying to say is that being an exchange student isn't always easy. The hard part is over; I sort of have a social life, and I can pretty much get by in the language, butI know saying goodbye will probably be the hardest thing I do all year. It's hard now knowing that life is going on without me back home, but it's even harder knowing that when I return home, nothing will have changed about the home I left, whereas my life will have been changed forever.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Having this conversation made me remember how much I missed ice cream and now I have been craving it since I talked to my friend. Turks aren't big ice cream eaters, and I come from America where I can freely sit in front of the TV and eat a pint of ice cream all by myself. I think that'd be rather frowned upon here... and probably lots of other places... but, anyways, it's my new craving. I haven't had America cravings in awhile, but right now I could really go for some Cuzzins. Mmmm :)
I just realized I keep blogging about food... you guys are going to think I'm a fat exchange student or something. ;) Night all!
I'm just about a third way into the book now, but I'm really interested in it. Having lived in two different cultures now, it's pretty challenging to read this book. I obviously haven't experienced Hmong culture, but the American inside of me trusts the doctors, while the exchange student inside of me understands the feeling of being different and not understanding everything around her; not wanting to consent to everything asked without fully understanding why something has to be a certain way.
I really enjoy learning about new cultures and my exchange has really opened my eyes to all the different types of people around me. I've learned that if you really look and try to compare a group of people, and you look past their physical appearance, and their nationality, religion and language, we're all pretty much the same. In this book, the Hmong's and the doctors have the same exact goal- they just want this little girl to be healthy as quickly and as comfortably as possible. Their colliding cultures prevent them from reaching this goal.
One of my main goals for my exchange is to learn a new culture, while also deepening my understanding of my own culture. After I went to Spain, I came home with a deeper appreciation for my home, and a deeper feeling of patriotism towards my country. Now that I've been in Turkey for so long, and have done my best to assimilate into the culture here, I'm curious of what I'll think about American culture when I return to the States. I know that I will always have a home in Ohio, but I hope that at least one slice of my life will always remain here in Turkey.
Monday, March 11, 2013
Sana lived in my house as an exchange student during the year 2010-2011 and we became good friends the first day we met. I have so many wonderful memories during that year, and today I was looking through photos of us, and I remembered how great it's been having her in my life. We would get up in the middle of the night to make mac and cheese or s'mores, and line the stairwell with air mattresses and slide down them (that one wasn't so much of a great idea after all...). We had countless dance parties, and sleepovers in the living room. We would stay up for hours, talking and laughing about the most random things, not worried about the fact that she would have to go home at some point.
I really, really miss our giggles and hanging out together, but even though we're separated by thousands of miles, our friendship has continued as if we're still sisters living in the same house, and we can still talk about anything. Whether it's boys, or a girl who said something mean but she's the one who's actually crazy, or the hilarious story about what happened last Friday night, I know we will always have each other to talk to. No matter where we are in this world, Sana will always be my greatest confidant and nothing will ever stop our friendship.
I really have no idea where I'd be in this world if Sana was never apart of my life. Not just with my exchange, but also mentally and emotionally. Helping shape me into the person I am today. I don't think I'll ever be able to let her know how glad I am to be able to be friends with her, and how much I appreciate our friendship. Even if I'm having the worst day in the world, she is always determined to find out the problem and also find a solution (I hate her sometimes for it, but it's normally for the best). She is a funny, and beautiful young woman whom I am proud to call my sister and friend.
I really hope you had an amazing birthday, Sana, and I look forward to seeing you soon! I love you!
|The picture in the top left is Sana and I on one of her first days in America, then the bottom right is the day she left to return to India. The pictures in between are just over the year (beach, IKEA, 17th birthday, Disney World).|
Sunday, March 10, 2013
This morning my host mom and I got up bright and early to go to the mountain near Bursa. We took a taxi to the top of the mountain, and then I ended up falling asleep on the couch in the lobby of the hotel for two hours while we waited for our room to be prepared. (Exchange students can literally sleep anywhere...) Anyways, it was nice being with my host mom and a few of her friends for the day. We got to chat and eat, then we went on a walk in the evening. We all had dinner together, which (not surprisingly) included music and dancing. It was a lot of fun, then we got to go watch some live music. It was a nice and relaxing day to spend with my host mom and her friends.
|My host mom and I|
Saturday, March 9, 2013
So.... it's 2AM. I'm awake and need to be up in about 4 and a half hours. I'm not sleeping, so I decided to blog some. Remember, its 2AM, I'm awake, and attempting to write. This may be a bumpy ride... get ready!
First of all, today is Women's Day. So, happy Women's Day to all the wonderful women in my life, and to all the women around the world. Seriously, you guys (more like gals) are the best. Today to celebrate I went out for dinner with my host mom and all of her gal friends. I was so tired, but it was still fun. I got to dance all Turkish like. Tomorrow I'll be going to the mountain with my host mom and her friends to celebrate some more!
I haven't said this on my blog... but I think I've fallen in love with this country and my exchange. And the awesome teenage high schooler kind at that. I don't know what it is, but lately I've been really happy and the idea of returning home is scary. The next four months of my life are going to be awesome.
This is like blog inception. I usually make Turkey Tidbits their own blogs, but right now I'm blogging from my phone and just want to make one post. Blog within a blog. Mind. Blown.
Maybe this next part shouldn't even be called a Turkey Tidbit. I mean, its more like a "English Second Language Speakers' Tidbit." Turkey Tidbit sounds better. Let's just pretend this next part is something cool and clever about Turkey...
My name is Annie. Few people can correctly pronounce my name here, and even fewer can differentiate between my name and the word "any." The harsh American A sound isn't existant in Turkish, and I think its fun trying to teach people how to say my name. My name is most fun when I go to Starbucks... Usually they don't even attempt to spell my name correctly, but on this occassion they asked how it should be spelled. Also, this guy's handwriting is like my dad's. Weird. (Picture should be below somewhere.)
I'm ready to try to hit the hay again.... Goodnight internet :')
PS. I've lately been told my accent is "cute." Only when I speak Turkish though. . .
PPS. How many blogposts have I started with, "So..."? I think a lot.
Okay. Goodnight for real this time. (Gah. I hate goodnight time!)
Besitos :) (Sorry, Turkish...)
So, as I said in my earlier posts, I've been hanging out with university students and the foreign students who have been giving presentations at my high school. Today after school, I went down to the university, and was able to meet the friends of my friends. I got thirsty, and asked one of my friend to show me where to buy a water, and he kindly walked me to a store, showed me where the water could be found, then I bought it and was overjoyed with the idea of finally being able to quench my thirst! Then.... along comes another of my friends, who just happened to also be thirsty. I was opening the bottle, when he said to me, "Hey! I'm thirsty!" And I immediately went into Insane Thirsty Person mode, mainly because he'd already stolen two of my water bottles previously in the day, and I began making a scene in English. "I'M SICK OF YOU--" I stopped mid sentence because "sick" translates to something bad in Turkish... like, really bad, and as people turned to look at me I restarted my sentence, and said, "I'm tired of you stealing all my water today! I'm so thirsty!" He then proceeded to spray the water all over my face, causing me to inhale part of it and end up making people stare and wonder what the heck the two foreign kids were up to. Anyways, he remained angry for a little while, and I remained confused about the whole situation. A few minutes later, as he was telling someone else what happened, I realized that he thought I told him I was sick of him. I mean, yeah, I did say that, but I didn't mean it like that. He didn't know that I dropped the F-bomb in Turkish, so he didn't know that I just stopped mid sentence to restart my initial thought. I then explained to him what happened and that I was by no means sick of him, and then he said to me, "Well... that got a bit lost in translation. Okay, we're cool now." And yeah, we're cool now.
It's funny how these little miscommunications can make for awkward situations. And it's also funny how awkward situations can make for funny stories. I'm happy to have lots of funny stories to keep with me about this year.
Thursday, March 7, 2013
So, I was thinking for a little bit about what I wanted to slice about today, and I really couldn't think of anything really exciting today that happened to me that would be worth slicing about. I took a little trip to the link on the Two Writing Teacher's blog that gave some ideas about what to write, and I came across "current reads" and I remembered I finished a book today!
So, before I start my little story, I should let you know that I read a lot here. I finally have time to actually read for me, and read what I want. Last year I took two literature classes at once to be able to graduate early, and never really got to read for me, and now, here I am in Turkey, about to start book 20ish.
Today I finished Water For Elephants, by Sara Gruen. It was a nice story about secret loves and the crazy things life sometimes hands us (leaving the final college exams and joining a circus crew). I liked it, but the whole time I was picturing Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon, who I believe to be a terrible couple, so it was really hard for me to really get into the narrator's head and get into the book completely. You'd think I'd have learned by now to always read the book first, but I still constantly find myself watching the movie first, then regretting it when I finally find time to sit down with the book. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and I'm looking forward to my new book I'll be starting tomorrow. It's a cultural anthropology book my sister sent me. Its different from my past readings, but I'm interested in cultures and I'm interested in finding something that interests me enough to study and later pursue a career in. I just want to travel, learn, and eat delicious food for the rest of my life... but there's not too many jobs in that area...
Today at my school there were three foreign kids! One from China, one from Egypt and a third from Italy, all accompanies by a Turkish university student. I hung out with the students a litte bit during school, then afterwards I went to a cafe to hang out with them for a few hours with more people from their organization. We sipped tea and talked about the most random things. I was shocked that I'd only known a few of them for a few hours, because everyone seemed so friendly and welcoming. There were Turkish people and people from all over the world, everyone just laughing and I heard least 4 different languages being spoken. It was so nice to be with a mix of foreigners and Turkish people who are similar to me. I had a really great night, and I know I've made some really good friends in this group. I look forward to the next few months I have with these guys. :)
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Monday, March 4, 2013
Today I had tea three times. Twice at breakfast, and then another at a little lake side cafe my host family took me to. I've come so accustomed to having tea so often that tea is one of the top things on my "Things I Will Miss About Turkey When I Return to America" list. This list is only in my head, but, also over the past 6 months, my thoughts have shifted from "I miss..." to "I will miss..." It's really quite strange. But, nonetheless, I love Turkish tea. I'll be sure to bring a bunch of it home with me for everyone to try!
|Me and my Turkish tea|
Sunday, March 3, 2013
Now for day two!
It's day two of the SOLC and... I don't know what to write about. Five minutes ago I Googled "I don't know what to blog about." Well, honestly, I Googled, "ii dont konw what to blog about" I had a few typos in there.. Oops. Anyways, after reading a few blogs about what to blog about when you don't know what to blog about, I read about writing about your life NOW. Not yesterday, or tomorrow, but now. Well, right now I'm sitting on the couch, watching "O Ses Turkiye" (The Voice- Turkey) and I'm exhausted!!!
Today, I went to the cinema to see Gangster Squad. The only English movies at the theater were Gangster Squad and Les Miserables, and because Les Mis is about ten hours long, I went with the action packed gangster movie! It had Ryan Gossling... so I liked it. (Jeesh, I'm TOO tired right now...) So, I was on the other side of Bursa to see the movie, and I had to take the metro home. I was riding the metro with my other foreign friend, and we were speaking English, and I ended up singing quietly to him. On the metro. At that point the 14 year old boys sitting a few feet away from us started saying (in Turkish) "Oh, look! They're foreign!" Then his brilliant friend asked, "Are they speaking Spanish?" It made me laugh. I then got off the metro because I had to switch trains and I didn't like other people talking about me right in front of my face. I then returned home and now I'm ready for bed! Tomorrow I'm going to a nearby city with my host family, so hopefully I'll have something to Slice of Life about. Also, I'll start writing before 12:30AM and I won't be exhausted before I even start writing. Now... it's bed time (finally)! Iyi geceler ve tatlı rüyalar herkese.
Friday, March 1, 2013
The man guessed Octoberfest.
To our surprise, my host dad is sitting on the couch, and we were like, "Where were you? Didn't you hear us ringing the bell? We were making funny noises!" He was very confused, he had no idea what we were talking about, and then he realized something.
We accidentally rang the neighbor's bell. And not just any neighbor's bell. The neighbor that we're not particularly friendly with and don't talk to...
We then all laughed about the situation for about two minutes straight, nearly all of us in tears.