Tuesday, March 26, 2013

It's Been a While

So I haven’t updated in a while. Things have been complicated and I forgot about the blog. Since the last post, some things have happened.
The biggest thing was my Antalya camp, which was soon after my last post. All of the AFS Turkey students went to Antalya for about five days and stayed in a nice hotel. Antalya is known for its beaches and I was a bit disappointed that our hotel wasn’t even close to the beach. Not much happened at the camp, it was mostly workshops to figure out what to do with the rest of our year. I didn't much care for that part, but it was nice to see all of my friends again.
On the last day of the camp, we got to visit places around the Antalya area. We first went to an ancient Roman (I think) theater, and that was pretty cool. Another cool thing there was that there was a camel festival or something and there were a lot of camels. We didn’t get to ride them or anything, but watching them was fun. After that, we went to Antalya’s old town, where there were a lot of old streets and minarets.
After the camp, I had to change families again because the last one didn’t like me and wanted me to talk more. I changed my family a couple of weeks after the camp. I moved to a family in Beşiktaş, on the European side. In my new family, there is a mother named Ebru, a father named Ali, a son named Arda, and a housekeeper from Russia named Nergiz. They are all very nice, and we often go places together. I feel very confident that this family will be good to the end.
After that, not much has happened. I got a unicycle the Monday after I moved, and a week or so after that I hung out with my friend and we rode it and I got a haircut. I also met up with my counsilor and we made a ‘Support Agreement’ which is a paper with a few tips on how to improve my experience. Next month, a couple of my friends from YES will come to Istanbul, and we will ang out and see the sights. Also, there are only three months left! I don’t think it will be that hard.

Monday, February 4, 2013


The biggest news recently is that I have passed the half-way point for my exchange! It is really strange how long it has been since I have left America. It feels like it has only been a couple of months. It is also weird thinking about how in less than five moths I will be in the US again. Every month I’ve been becoming more attached to Turkey and I feel like when it is time to leave it will be really difficult.

Other than that, not much has been happening recently. I am currently on a school break, since at the end of the first semester we get two weeks off (although I didn’t go to school the week before the break started because there weren’t any classes, so I will have three weeks). And next week I will be off to Antalya for another AFS camp.

I have also been trying to improve my Turkish more, which has been difficult. Turkish is so different from English, and it has been hard trying to learn it. I have mainly been practicing vocabulary online, but I also try to speak it with my friends and family.

Monday, January 14, 2013

New Years!

Mutlu yıllar!
Happy New Years!

I figure this time I should write about how the holidays were here in Turkey.
Since Turkey is a Muslim country, most Turks do not celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah or really anything but New Years in December and January. I was excited to see how a year without Christmas would be, especially since the American Christmas can be a bit too commercial and in your face sometimes. The Sunday before Christmas, the AFS students from Istanbul and the (relatively) nearby cities of Bursa and Sakarya threw a Christmas party in one of the Istanbul AFS offices. It was really nice seeing my friends from Bursa and Sakarya, especially because I don’t see them often. Our families came to the party and so did many AFS volunteers. Many of the kids made Christmas food from their countries, and it was nice to try the different foods :)
On Christmas, I had to go to school. This was interesting, because in the US we usually have a lot of vacations at this time of year and my last one was back at Bayram. Not much happened at school, which was pretty much what I thought would happen. I found out later that most of my exchange friends stayed home that day, but I didn’t regret going to school. I think when I am back in the US I will appreciate Christmas a lot more :)
New Years was a few days later (obviously) and we still had school on December 31st. I went to school and found out when I got there that what they meant by saying we had school was that it was optional and I was maybe one of 50 kids there. So I slept for a bit and then hung out with friends. That night, I Skyped with my mother and sister when 2013 arrived at Turkey and showed them the “glory” of the New Year. The next day I didn’t have school (finally) and I can’t remember what I did…
Last week, we had two snow days. Two in a row. All because it snowed for two days. In Turkey, it seems like when they have a snow day they have it after the fact. It snowed on Monday, but we had school. The next day was a snow day, which made sense because it was snowing like crazy. Wednesday we had another snow day, but there were only a few inches of snow on the ground and none on the road, so I have no idea why we had one.