Hello from Turkey! After a 6 hour transatlantic flight, a 30 minute layover in Paris (most stressful 30 minutes), a 4 hour flight to Istanbul, and an hour long bus ride with too many people and pieces of luggage to fit in the van, I finally made it to the hotel where we’re staying for this part of the program.
We spent today in “bureaucracy mode” at the police station getting our visas updated. This was a 5 hour process, which involved getting photos taken and having some forms signed. Obviously, when I tried to get my picture taken there was all sorts of drama – the machine was out of paper, it refused to take my money, I smiled the first time, I looked down the second, I slouched the third, and I “was moving too fast” the fourth. Finally, the guy at the photo booth was pleased with my face (moving too much, really?) and the rest of the group quickly had their pictures taken.
Every moment is an opportunity for language learning – today we learned brief introductions (Ben Colleen), the catch-all phrase for “okay” (tamam), and how to count to five (bir, kiki, üç, dört, beş). At the cafe, I also learned the word for soup (çorba), and my wonderful friend who speaks Turkish helped me to order some lentil soup and grilled cheese all by myself.
Even though I’m very sleepy and my brain has not entirely accustomed to the idea that I’m living in this amazing country for several months, I’m already having an amazing time and can’t wait to actually start learning the language and taking OFFICIAL Turkish classes. And I’m confident my Russian won’t get rusty, as today a woman spontaneously asked me in Russian whether there was a line for the toilet – my first reaction was to wonder whether the word for “line” and “lightswitch” were the same in Turkish and Russian, but I’m thinking no.
Alright, dinnertime! Can you say döner????