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Friday, February 17, 2012

The sixth week is coming to an end.

It's funny how life has settled into such a routine. Where I'm not freaked out over the fact that I'm hearing Turkish constantly. That in fact I can understand some of it. That I can communicate with people in a language I didn't know six weeks ago. That single realization has pulled me into a ton of other realizations about how far I have come on this trip.

That I have seen the sunny streets of the old city of Antalya and snow covered Cappadocia.
That I have stood in awe of the Aya Sofya.
That I have experienced snow. A lot of snow.
That I understand how to use public transportation, from a ferry to the metro to the inner-city trams.
That I can now finally locate which side of Istanbul is Asian, and which is European.
That I no longer have jet lag. Which is a grand accomplishment.
That I have a newfound love for salep, portakal suyu, and elma cay.
The phrase "We are Turkish airlines, we are GLOBALLY YOURS" has a lot more meaning.
That I have new friends, in this trip and down the hall.
That laundry man and I in the dorms are now friends.

And so much more.

Four day approaches next week (although my friends at Westmont get to celebrate this weekend) which officially marks the halfway point of this trip. It seems so long ago that I woke up on New Year's Day with a headache and a sad realization that my time at home was coming to an end. That I was going to have to start packing and I was so sad about it all. And then the nerves began. So intense that I couldn't pull myself to eat - a full loss of apetite anda fear for the unknown that was to come as January 6th quickly approached. My heart beating out of my chest as my parents and I took the airport shuttle to LAX. The last hugs, the final photograph, boarding the plane, and then leaving the states.

And then, I hit a turning point during the 10 hour flight to Frankfurt. Finally, the nerves subsided and then excitement flooded in. Things began looking up. Arrival into Istanbul, settling into the apartments, learning Turkish, exploring the city and then exploring the southwest of Turkey, and getting back into Istanbul and realizing that I'm almost halfway through the semester and I have never more happy than I have in my life.

This has been an amazing experience. I literally don't have words for it.

I have loved every moment. I love everything I am learning, everything I am experiencing, and everything I am taking in every single moment of the day. I knew this semester would change me, but I wasn't expecting to be feeling that change already at the halfway point.

In recent news, we have finished two weeks of courses at Yeditepe, have settled into our dorm rooms (despite the lack of carpet) and have finally gotten a hold on the public transportation into town. We are in our routine, and I love it. Next weekend with four day, a few friends and I have booked a small hotel in the old city to spend our vacation being tourists, something we kind of skipped over since we have been in Turkey. A chance to stay in a nice hotel, a chance to see the sights we haven't seen yet, and a chance to explore on our own. I'm super excited to have a break, and some adventure time on my own.

Here are a few photos from our time at Yeditepe so far.

New friends at the Armenian Girl's Home we are volunteering at

A beautiful shot of the campus on a sunny day. 

Tavla and tea. A classic sabbath at a local cafe.

Quite possibly the world's largest pomegranate 

The gateway home.

Annie's extensive blue collection, in the blue room!

a little pre-lecture movie time with Lord of the Rings

wonderful Valentine's day gifts :)

classic study day in the library!

"It's like I'm breakdancing!" - Shea

Typical dinner set-up when I am too lazy to go the dinning commons

snowy campus!

Annie and a new friend. Which happens daily.

Life here is turning out splendidly.

Respectfully submitted,