Merhaba!

Category: , , , , , By freshouttatime
Merhaba!

benim adim işrak!

all right that's the extent of my Turkish... for now. So its been one week since i stepped foot into a country so very rich and full of history, people, and food.
My delay in blogging was caused by the lack of internet/adapter in my room, things we expect to be automatic in the good ol US are as easy to come by.

As the plane descended into Ankara, you could see the hills and hills of Ankara, making you think that you landed in the middle of no where. Actually Ankara is in the middle of nowhere, landlocked, arid and scorching, yet with a population of 4 or 5 million. Krazy.

I was welcomed with a hushed silence in the airport, all the passengers minding their own business and not even rushed, the people were scant; the only sense of urgency was whether or not i knew what i was doing.

i was met at the gate by one of the host students, a grad student who had been waiting for me roughly 40 minutes. 3 other students had arrived and they had been waiting in the parking garage.
In the van we introduced ourselves, there was me the lousy american, Gergö from Hungary, Lennert from Holland and Loa from Denmark. The ride to campus was an awkward silence mixed with awe at the new sights. Also the blistering heat made it feel like an overdrawn intro to some movie, where the characters are heading into the biggest adventure of their lives. We touched down to campus and unpacked.

My room was separated from the rest and i was alone. But nonetheless it was good, i washed up a little, unpacked my things and met up with the group. Our host student Orça took us out to eat, offering me my first but certainly not last cup of turkish tea. We sat at the Sunshine Cafe, the hangout spot for METU students. Dinner that night was at the student center overlooking some edge of campus. Campus was full of trees but the brutal heat just sucked the fun out of it. I had döner all the while being overly paranoid of getting sick... my experience in bangladesh isn't one easy to forget. (another story...but not worth telling)

Since its been a week, i'm just going to paraphrase doing all this in intricate detail with a retrograde memory is kinda whack.

So the next day, the 4 of us plus our host plus 2 other host students alef and aesha all went down to Kizalay aka red crescent aka downtown aka city center. There i had my first taste of Turkish life/culture/people whatever. The city was not as crowded as i had expected, i figured it to be something like Dhaka where literally people are running the streets like ants on sugar, here it was busy but not congested. Kind of like North End or downtown Manhattan, crowded but tolerable.
We ate Simit, more tea, and chatted. everyone tryin to get to know each other, askin random questions. Maan i can tell you right now, i was thinking i'd never get the hang of this place, the street system which is actually really simple had me so confused at first.
We headed over to what is turning out to be my favorite place the Biggest Mosque in Ankara. I have some pics uploaded but the interior shots were kinda poor quality.

Hmm next day, we started orientation, my host student bengisu took us out to kizilay again and i felt like i got a better grip of the city. again it was the same deal we eat we look around and we head back to campus.

Ataturks masoleum whoo, that was something else. that's gotta be a separate entry. My thoughts on Turkey developed from that, a discussion with two grad students over a pickup game, and my sociology class today.

that leads up somehow to the weekend, one of the host students (mind you all these kids are 18-19) are takin us 20-23 year olds out to their haunts... Otku takes us to his neighborhood which was a very peaceful, suburban upper class area and brought us to the best restaurant in town. The place was pricey for turkish standards, but nonetheless a good experience. I've learned that Turkish attitudes and hospitality is most generous, starting with language and going with behavior.

Somewhere in all of this i stumbled to the near by masjid outside of the campus, the Pazar (which btw sells food, clothes, utensils and everything you can ever need, for the cheapest price) and other foreign Muslim kids. I have an early day tomorrow so i'm heading out. hope yall enjoy some of the pics on facebook.

güle güle