Saturday, May 25, 2013


This year, the 2440 Rotary District Conference was held in Fethiye, a city along the Mediterranean.  On Thursday the 9th, Riad and I took the bus to Izmir, then on Friday all the exchange students got together to go to Fethiye.  The bus ride was about four or five hours, but we spent the time leaning a Turkish song, then all the girls talked about our future weddings and kids' names.  Once we were in Fethiye, we were all amazed by how beautiful the sea and the resort we'd be staying in were. Everything was really nice, and we spent some time preparing for the conference, then we had dinner and Riad and I worked on our speech some more.


On Saturday, we were all up bright and early for the conference. Riad and I gave a speech in Turkish to all of the Rotarians about our experience as exchange students, and how we've changed over this year.  The speech went alright, I'm not very good at speaking in English, so Turkish was a little bit scary, but I didn't mess anything up too badly.  After we did our speech, a video with all of the exchange students' experiences was shown, and then the kids in Manisa and Izmir did a traditional Turkish dance.  The video was so nice.  It was amazing to look back on all the things I've seen this year, but also really sad to know that it's almost all over.  Everything for the conference went really well, then we were off for the rest of the day to explore our resort.

Riad and I speaking

Saturday was mostly spent on the beach.  For some reason, Rotary keeps sending me on exchanges to these Mediterranean countries, and I'm definitely not a big beach person.  I mean, I think nice beaches are really beautiful, but I really don't like swimming (beaches are salty, pools are chemical-y), and the beach in Fethiye was a rocky beach rather than a sandy beach, so my feet were definitely killing me after walking along the beach.  Anyways, after spending a few hours at the beach, all of the North American girls got together and went to the sauna.  We wanted to go to the hamam (Turkish bath), but it was 60 Euro, so we didn't do it. There were so many tourists in the resort, it's funny the way exchange students view tourists.  Even though I'm not Turkish, I see tourists and call them "foreigners" when, I am in fact a foreigner.

Monica and I on a boat

On Saturday evening all of the exchange students got all dressed up and went to a fancy Rotary dinner. There was three or four courses, and live music.  We all sat in a table in the corner, but we had a good time nonetheless.  My friend Emre and  I had a staring contest throughout the night, and when people wanted to take my picture, I'd frown and say "THIS IS ME SMILING!" 

It was a good night and once it was finished we all retired to our rooms and got a lot of rest because Sunday morning we were back on our way to Izmir.  We stopped at an old Greek village called Kayakoy, and we climbed up a giant hill to see an old Greek Church, and the view of the entire village.  Although all the exchange students felt terrible after climbing the huge hill, it was really beautiful, and I was glad we were able to go to the village. It was a really nice weekend spent with all the exchange students.  Thanks Rotary for giving us this trip!

A few of the exchange students making "silly faces"
The church was on top of that hill, and I'm taking this picture on top of another hill.  It was a long walk!

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