Friday, September 24, 2010

Ankara - AFS/NSLI Trip #1

I just returned from Ankara (a second time). The purpose of the trip was for us NSLI-Y students to have a security briefing, sightsee, and go over some orientation we missed due to our mishaps in traveling on the way here. It was really exciting because I hadn't seen the four other NSLI-Y students living in Samsun since we had arrived in Turkey. We went to the top of Ankara Castle  and took a bunch of awesome pictures of Ankara. After that, we went to the archaeological museum which I didn't know we were going to. I was soooooooo excited/happy to see it. My love for archaeology grew even more and it's just so fascinating. We also went to Ankara's biggest mall. The girls and I shopped around, but because it was so big I didn't really get anything. We had about two hours, yet it flew by and I ummm sort of got lost.. :( I found this really interesting French store (they had a sweatshirt that had sushi on it!) but the other girls wanted to go somewhere else. So I said I'd meet them at the entrance...well, I went to the wrong entrance. But it was okay cause I was right near the correct entrance and I found them/they found me. I was a little scared, that was a BIG mall. Anyway, we have fun. The next day we went to the U.S. Embassy and had our security briefing by foreign service officers from the U.S. It was really interesting - Turkey's level of terrorist threat is: HIGH. However, as long as we use common sense we will be fine. We went to memorial of where Atatürk is buried. It was really beautiful and incredibly interesting to see. Gosh, we did so much in a short amount of time! We also visited the head of TOMER language school, and got t-shirts and bags! Later that night we got caught in a thunder storm. It was the most intense one I had ever seen/heard. We ran in the rain for a little while which was super fun, and then settled down at this cafe. And fun stuff occurred :) The last day we were there, we had orientation at the AFS office and chilled. It was really sad saying good-bye to the Samsun students when we were in the airport. We are all super close, and the next time I'll see them is in November I think :/ Here are some photos from the trip. Also, I included photos of the school uniform. Yes, I went to school for one day and it was really funny. I'll tell more details later :)
First day of school :)

Epic photo taking of my fellow NSLI-yers <3

View of Ankara


Atatürk's Memorial


Sunday, September 19, 2010


Today we went to the Sumela Monestary which is located in the mountain region of Trabzon. It was SOOOO beautiful, it really was. It's incredible because it was built into the rocks of the mountain, which seemed impossible during the time period when it was built considering their lack of technology. It was obvious that many people died while trying to build it, but it was their service to God and if they died, it was for a good reason. Very sad - they were so dedicated to their religion. Before we walked the pathway up to the Monestary, we had some çay and talked in a small cafe. My host families cousins, aunt, and their uncle joined us. It was really nice to get some fresh air too since I've been in the city. It reminded me of Maine a lot! I told my host family that I wanted to build a house up there. They just laughed. I think that might be kind of difficult, but its worth dreaming. It was very misty/cloudy which they were disappointed about, but I still thought it was beautiful. Perhaps we will go back again on a nicer day. Tomorrow is the first day of school; however, I am unable to attend classes. Apparently my registration forms are running late. I will still go with my sisters and watch their opening "assembly" thing, and perhaps still wear my uniform for fun :) I have language class at four that day and I need time to pack anyway. Yes, pack...becauseeeeeeeee I am going back to ANKARA! So this is another reason why I'm missing school all week. All the AFS-Turkey students are meeting in Ankara for a security debriefing and some touring around. I'm really excited to see my buddies who have been in Samsun! We leave early Tuesday morning and I'll return sometime Friday. I think it will be a lot of fun, and it will also give my sisters some time to adjust into their school schedule. As for me, I'll be anxiously awaiting for the following Monday. I will be focusing on Science and Math (oh noooo!) even though I wanted to focus on Literature. At least I will be in my sister (Ecren's) class - so she can help me :) I will post again either tomorrow or when I return from my trip! (I know everyone is dying to see a picture of me in my;)) hosçakal! 


Monday, September 13, 2010


I just returned from my tour in Cappadocia, and it was absolutely amazing. Although everyone on the tour was Turkish, and spoke only Turkish (except for my host family), I was the interesting "American" haha. We all had to introduce ourselves since we would be getting very close over the course of the trip. I was able to introduce myself in Turkish, which was funny! But yeah, it was a good start to a 12 hour bus ride to Ankara. We visited many different sites, all with historical value or religious meaning. It was really interesting and beautiful, the countryside was breathtaking. Despite how much I wanted to sleep, I couldn't stop looking out the window. Once we arrived in Cappadocia, I was beyond amazed! People lived in the caves and had schools, churches, dining rooms, living quarters, etc. It was weird to think those people did that. We also visited the underground city which was really cool. Although the tour was entirely in Turkish, and they all kept cracking jokes because I couldn't understand anything, one of my tour guides knew some English and was able to translate some things for me! My sisters also helped too which I was very grateful for :) I got to see how turkish carpets are made, dishware, jewlery, and so forth. On the last night we went to "Turkish Night" which was a bunch of cultural dancing such as Whirling Dervishes, Folk Dance - Horon, etc. A bellydancer, haha, and various other things. It was soooooooo fun to watch!! At the end, everyone went out on the dance floor, including myself, and had a dance party to some sweet tunes. It was awesome, really. Then we continued the dancing on the bus and stopped on the side of the road and began to dance. I danced Kolbasti and that was really fun :) They also made me sing for them on the bus, and at the end of the trip when we said what we enjoyed, I spoke in English while my sister translated. Apparently they all "loved" me and I was really glad to have left a good "American" impression, especially since the USA beat Turkey in the basketball world cup that same night (it's a big deal here) :P So much happened and I wish I could explain more, but I would be talking forever. I guess I can just say that everyone should come to Turkey. Period.

turkiye rocks...literally

i love my sisters!


turkish, english, german, spanish, french, and japanese!

turkish night!

Monday, September 6, 2010


I love it here. I mean, I really love it. Today I met with Şerofettin (my liason/afs guide) and the other AFS-Turkey semester students to go over some orientation we missed due to our delayed travels. It was pretty funny, he taught us some swear words (Şero, I hope you’re reading this ;) haha) but yeah, it was good. Then after my sisters and the other AFS students (Victor & Slyvan) and their host siblings went to the Trabzon city centre for pizza! Everyone knows my love for tuna fish…well, they make pizza here with tuna! Yeah, my dreams came true haha. It was SO good! I also enjoyed my orange fanta :) My sisters tried to have me order the pizza myself, and, well, hah, that was interesting. Turkish is sooooooooo hard, but I will have language class everyday for three hours so I should get much better. After lunch we went “shopping”. Let’s just say I love all the stores/clothing. It’s going to be hard trying to save my money here…I want everything! It was really great and we went to my host father’s cosmetics shop and then his new restaurant across the street! I was so amazed. We will go back again I think sometime soon which will be nice because now I have lots of Turkish Lira :) After that we took the dolmuş (small little bus that is basically a taxi but for multiple people) back to our home, except we accidently got on the wrong one hehe. So we ended up walking for a bit, but that was okay because I love the city! We ate dinner again at my host father’s restaurant and then went for a walk. At the playground we swung on these cool swing thingys and talked a lot! I love my sisters!!! I’m so glad they know English too or else I’d be in big trouble ;) okay well...güle güle!

Awww Slyvan! 

Pizza..with Tuna! :)
She is so cute! ecesu - çok tatlı :)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

This has been quite the journey...

NOTE: so I wrote all of this before I got to Trabzon. Now I’m happily there with my amazing host family and I’m soooo soooo happy and I love it here so much, but I’ve had quite the journey trying to get there…

Sometimes I love traveling. I love the “getting there” part - the “in-between”; not so much. After arriving in New York for orientation (which was very exciting!) I felt like the long journey was off to a good start…however, it has ended up to be quite a disaster.

Orientation lasted from Tuesday afternoon till Thursday evening. The NSLI-Y kids had orientation for an extra day compared to the Spain, France, Austria, South Africa, and Switzerland AFS students who arrived the next. As for NSLI-Y participants, it was Turkey and Egypt. We all bonded and had a lot of fun! By the end though, my group going to Turkey (10 students all together from the entire USA) was the last group to head to the airport…which was somewhat frustrating, but hey, it was fine. Or so I thought.

Our first flight from New York to Washington, D.C. went fine - but once we landed in D.C., we had a delay that kept continuing to get put off more and more. Our connecting flight from D.C. to Germany was very tight but we all figured we would be fine and make it. Well, once we landed we had probably 5-10 mins to get to our gate. We all SPRINTED about a mile and a half, carrying heavy bags and all, to find out we had missed our flight to Germany by four minutes. Yes, four minutes. Despite us all being incredibly sweaty, tired, and pissed off (or at least I was) - there was nothing we could do. We ended up staying the night at a hotel and planned to tour D.C. the next day, considering the only available flight next to Germany was at 10pm the following evening.

Touring D.C. was not fun. It was hot, and we were all still very tired - but excited to know we would be on our way to Turkey soon. The flight to Germany went very well, and much faster than I thought. We had our flight to Turkey about an hour after we landed. I was so excited...SO know that we would finally arrive in Turkey within three hours and start on the orientation we missed there. Well, come to find out, the flight we were SUPPOSE to be on is entirely booked. So here I am, stuck in Frankfurt, Germany, pre-writing this blog considering I can’t connect to internet and our flight to Turkey isn’t until 10pm tonight. And hopefully nothing goes wrong with that. But to top it all off, all our luggage isn’t even here. So it’s probably lost somewhere in Europe…who knows. I can’t believe airlines do this to people. Honestly, I know worse things can happen, but this is the most frustrating thing for me right now. All I want to do is be in Turkey, happily. Also, I’m assuming we have flights tomorrow (Sunday) to our host families. But considering we’ve missed all our orientation in Istanbul and now won’t be getting there until 2am, are we even having orientation? Or are we delayed getting to our host families? I have no clue. Despite all the negative aspects of getting to Turkey so far, I love my group. We are all very close and trying to make the best of the situation - but all I can think about is the other AFS groups already in their host countries, and how we are the only group who hasn’t made it yet. WHY!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Gosh, really, my love for Turkey is just killing me. Things should have just gone smoothly. Turkey better be as kick-ass as I expect it to be or else I’m going to flip shit..just kidding, I know it will be incredible. I guess all this shitty, stupid miserable stuff happens for a reason. So this post is really long, and during a lot of it I have been venting. But I assure you the next post shall be much more positive (I hope!). Other than that, I’m attempting to listen to Turkish people speak in the airport and figuring out what I’m going to do for the next 9 hours of waiting. Wonderful. At least I’d rather be in Europe than anywhere else…

Stuck in Germany.. :(

Our added detour/adventure