week four.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Having a weekend off has never felt so good.
After being in a bus/traveling nonstop/seeing a multitude of ancient cities/sleeping less and less everyday...a couple days off is just what I needed.

Our team is currently situated in Antalya, Turkey - staying within the old city walls, in a local hostel (which we basically fill up with all 26 of us), within walking distance of the Mediterranean, and is the location where we are spending our free weekend in between our two weeks of intense travel.

I'm sitting in a local coffee shop, aptly named "Paul's Place" which is connected to the church we worshipped at yesterday morning, St. Paul's Union Church. With a cup of tea, and a really good wifi connection, I am spending my afternoon with a bit of homework, reading, updating various blogs and photography sites, and relaxing before we take off tomorrow morning to Konya.

Life is beginning to settle in. I mean, it is week four after all, and it should make sense that I am beginning to get a handle on speaking Turkish, the local food, public transportation, and immediately being seen as foreign where ever I go. I find myself missing my family and home a lot, but I've been told time and time again that is natural. It's an odd emotion though, I have a spastic moment where I really miss my house. Or my car. Or what has seemed to be the most consistent: pancakes. What I wouldn't do for a plate of pancakes right now.

Among the rest of things, I'm feeling good. Being abroad and being away from life back home (even though I miss it) has proved to be very healthy for me right now. I am forced to focus on life in this moment, where I am, and not where I would be had I not done this semester. Situations I had struggled with at home prior to this trip have been put on the back burner and left to lightly simmer while I go off and explore Turkey till May. Perhaps I won't stir them back up when I return, of course after being away for four months, I hopefully won't have to deal with them anymore.

That's not to say I haven't been thinking about a lot of it while I am here. The long bus rides have definitely given me some time to process a lot of various situations I've gone through this past semester. Fumbling my way through awkward friendships, sorting out stuff from the summer, thinking about my future and what that holds for me - I sit in a seat on our tour bus, go through these moments in mind, stare out my window to what could either be a local city we are driving through or a beautiful snow covered mountain pass, and then scribble down in my notebook what realizations I am coming to. It's proved really, really, helpful so far. I am going to realizations I should have came to long ago, and getting them out of my head and onto paper are exactly what I need.

It clears up my mind so I can focus on what amazing archeological site I am going to today, instead of replaying moments from back home over and over again in my head. It gives me freedom to live in the moment, and not in the past. It is a great thing I have discovered, and I know I will probably be putting it into good use for the rest of this trip. And by the end of it, I will have a neat little notebook full of realizations and decisions I have come to on this trip.

There is still half of the day left, and I'm not sure what it holds for me. Besides a meeting tonight with our team and a short lecture, I may spend a lot of time reading, walking, grabbing some food, and maybe backgammon if I can find someone to play with. Tomorrow we are on the road again, in what I believe may be our longest ride of the trip: five hours to Konya.

More bus time, more stunning views, more thinking and possibly more realizations.
Not a half bad plan if you ask me.

Respectfully submitted,


  1. Leah,
    This is so awsome to see through your eyes. The pics are incredible. And to be able to stand in the very places that we read of in the Bible...indescribable.
    Mr. Dutra