Gokdogan


Well sleep last night was a nice change: rather than awakening restlessly half an hour before my alarm, I slept for a lovely 9 hours.

Mustafa and I left to pick up Dr. Cynthia Paces from the airport. Mustafa waited in the car and I inside. However, Cynthia did not get off at 11:05 as she should have. I asked the info desk if they could tell me if Cynthia got on in Istanbul, and they told me to take my handbag to lost luggage. They didn’t understand that I had lost a person rather than a bag! Mustafa came in and we figured out that she was on the next plane! So much for making it to Turkish class today….With Mustafa’s help (he is invaluable) we got her settled in on campus and she came to see my sculpture class.

My professor invited her to see the class. Pita was on the roof again. Cynthia really likd the class and hung out with the professor for a while before going to her first meeting with METU people. I am trying to figure out how to make my sculpture lean forward, but I keep hitting the nail on the support stick when I try.

The bass section of our choir is not very good. They gut-sing everything without any sort of musical influence. I wonder if this push for pure volume without any form of musicality is a masculinity thing. Also, I keep trying to sing with the Altos. Whoops~!

Cynthia and I went to dinner at the place where you weigh the food. It was quite good! We got there at about 8PM and stayed talking and such until around 10PM… I like her a lot. =)

I accidentally dropped my phone in Mustafa’s car today, so I have to go Cankaya tomorrow to pick it up @.@;

~Hannah

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So my neighbor, who yelled at me for showering before 10AM a few weeks ago, also gave me a dirty look for trying to shower at noon today. At this point….I couldn’t care less what she thinks. I’m going to shower when I want to. I’m not the one leaving dirty, used dishes in the kitchen for a week plus at a time.

In Sculpture today, I learned I am not really allowed to use my hands to sculpt. I have to beat the clay into place with a stick. Since I’m sculpting a torso, I sometimes feel like I am spanking her!

No one else in the class is doing the torso, and I’m not particularly sure why. Everyone else is doing the man’s head. It’s rather interesting.

Kitty was on the roof again.

The professor got her down.

She’s very sweet, but yowls for attention alllll the time when on the ground as well! We are calling her PITA. I’ll let you guess why.

Whenever I am confident that I can say something in Turkish, the woman at the reception is the only one who can speak English. So when I try to struggle through pronouncing something, she switches to English, haha.

I went to Akife and Mustafa’s for the night tonight. Professor Cynthia Paces is coming tomorrow and needs help getting from the airport to campus. The man at METU that she has been in touch with just isn’t exactly the brightest crayon in the box. So she’s pretty confused.

Akife asked me some very interesting questions tonight about my experience here since I’ve been here for a month. Mustafa and I discussed differences in sociality between home and here, and how learning it makes relating to people in the future so much easier. He also mentioned that since by room is of the more expensive variety, it is likely that the girl is from a higher class and simply expects others to do whatever she wants for her. Which I totally believe.

I discovered these vaguely cheese flavored sticks today that remind me of salty-type pocky. They excite me. And are quite yummy.

I was also informed that I’ve lost weight. I’ve been eating a LOT! But….I’ve also been walking much more than I am used to. That is probably why. =)

~Han

Got up early to meet Grammy and Akife in Kizilay so we could get together for Akife’s group that raises money for the poor. The plan was for me to catch a dolmus from METU campus to Kizilay, and walk through the flower shops to the pedestrian bridge and to wait underneath that.

It started with the dolmus. >.< The first one had a list of stops, including Kizilay. Then after I got on it, I saw another one come through that was JUST Kizilay. But the doors for that one never opened. My phone battery completely died in this process. So I got on the first dolmus and asked about Kizilay. The person who answered got off before Kizilay. I didn’t know when we got there, but all I knew was the driver kicked everyone off the dolmus. I found someone and asked where Kizilay was, and he pointed to the ground. Good. Looked around, and saw NO flowers. Asked where Attaturk Blvd was, since Grammy said that’s where the pedestrian bridge was that I needed to go to. He pointed up the street, to the left.

Got up the street, saw two pedestrian bridges. Walked to the one to the left and stood there for approximately 25 minutes. No Akife or Grammy. Saw a cell phone store and showed them my battery, but they did not carry it. Walked to the bridge to the right of the dolmus, and as I crossed another street found another TWO pedestrian bridges. Stood under that bridge for about 10 minutes. No Akife or Grammy. Walked across the street to the third bridge and stood under there for another 25-30 minutes. No Akife or Grammy. I must have angered at least 30 taxi drivers who pulled over to see if I would hop in.

I was really getting upset and frustrated and nervous. I didn’t know where I was, I didn’t know where they were, I had no way of calling them, I finally saw the flowers, and thought I should have been where I was. After a while, I saw another cell phone store across the street and I thought I would try to find a new battery. As I crossed the bridge, I saw batteries that matched mine on sale in sidewalk stalls, but decided I’d be better off getting it from a real store. As I went down the steps on the other side of the street, I see a long brown coat and a fluffy white coat: Akife and Grammy. I was so, so relieved.

After all that, we went to Akife’s group of women. They

make dough, and use it to make

Gouzleme,

bread,

Mati (sp?) and they sell the food and clothing to raise money for the poor. They were all very kind, very very happy women.

Then we went shopping a little for Akife’s friend whose daughter is getting engaged tomorrow night. We drove back towards METU, and Akife called Mustafa who told me I should stay with them tonight since Grammy is going to METU in the morning with Gokcer. I told him I didn’t have anything with me for overnighting, and he told me to wear my Grammy’s clothing tomorrow. xD! I love Grammy, there is nothing wrong with her clothing, but the thought of it is a little absurd!

I need to buy vitamins soon. And an extension cord. We only get internet on our beds right now, but the power outlet is completely across the room! I need an English>Turkish dictionary, index cards, folders, a few more hangers, a command hook, and…I think that’s it. For now, hahaha. Grammy and I are getting a manicure tomorrow, whee~!

Roomies came in. “Tired?” “Very!!!” “What did you do today?” “You have to ask another way, what did we NOT do?!”

Anddd…I think I’ve run out of things to say. Hopefully noms soon.

~Han

Rahime and Grammy and I went shopping today! Well, first I moved from Yurt 1 to my permanent dorm. Fastest, easiest move I have EVER done. xD After that, we met with Rahime and went shopping.

We went to a pizari. It was so fun! I bought a lot of things I needed:

mini alarm clock

slippers (are we surprised with the pink?)

key chain

hangers (not interesting enough for a picture)

and some things I didn’t need…a tunic, and a new trendy dress (in picture), scarves, and a hair pin. Only a few things left to purchase for my school stuff, like a dictionary and index cards, but I hope to take care of that tomorrow.

Looking for a size

Trying to bargain

Definitely a unique way to showcase underwear?

Clown selling for charity we think.

We went on a car tour of Ankara, and went to METU’s lake. It was so gorgeous. ❤

Had a snack at a cafe on the lake. This is Gokcer’s family

Two tired shoppers!

Another shot over the lake.

Grammy’s old house in Turkey~

Found this picture hiding on Grammy’s camera! So sweet.

My new bed

My new closet

Our kitchen

Our lovely LARGE bathroom!

That’s all for now.

~Han

I didn’t bring a camera but I drew a picture I will upload later~!

We visited a hamam today. A hamam is a Turkish bath house basically, when people didn’t have running water, they came to the bathhouses to wash and socialize. The whole experience was a little odd…it’s really strange to conceptualize, but if you don’t think about it too much or make it awkward, it’s not too bad!

We went to a nice, 5-star hotel. When we got into the hamam area, there was a man standing down the hall. He was skinny and knobby and had straggly hair, wore his shower cap the way most boys wear baseball caps, and had an enormous, preggo belly. It was the strangest looking man I think I have ever seen in my life. And I’m fairly certain he was quite proud of himself and his physique.

You walk in the first room and it’s all wooden, like a sauna, and it has a sauna lamp you could light if you wanted. There was a closet for clothes etc, and then 2 lounging chairs, a mini bar, and a door into the other room.

The other room was all marble, and had a hot-tub type thing in the left back corner. It was full of hot spring water. REALLY HOT lol the whole room was sweating!

To the right of the room there was a chair-height block running along the whole wall, and two spigots over a bowl-thing jutting out of the wall in the middle of the seat. The hot water spigot was running water the whole time we were there, spitting and bubbling now and then, and there were 2 silver bath bowls sitting on it. And there was a toilet.

Grammy and I shared one hamam together, and Mustafa & Akife were in another. We stripped to our underoos, got in the hot tub. It got too hot after a little while, so we got out a bit and then back in so we’d be ready for the scrubber. The scrubber came in and Grammy got to go first. I wanted an idea of what to expect! The scrubber woman didn’t speak English, and we had very broken Turkish, so we mimed a bunch to communicate. She had this little glove over her hand and we laid down on the bench as she scrubbed every single inch of our skin. It felt like sand paper, and you were being sanded away! It hurt actually, but if you focused on the part she had finished, it really felt good and the blood was flowing nicely. I looked down at my stomach while she worked on my legs, and boy do I regret that.

Have you ever scratched yourself after a hot shower and seen the skin sorta roll up under your nail or something? Well that’s just dead skin coming off. Imagine that. Everywhere. Alll over your body. Times about ten. It was so gross! It was all over me and all on the bench! Grammy thought it was pine needles until I told her……nope, that’s us!  By the time she finished scrubbing us front and back, we had cooled off considerably. She took us into the bathing room again and, using the hamam bowl and the water from the spigots, dumped hot water all over us. It was SOO HOT!!! Talk about temperature shock! She took a wash cloth and lathered it up to scrub us down again and get rid of the dead skin. It mostly worked, I’ve seen a few rolls and I think I swallowed some, but generally it’s all gone. She also scrubbed our faces and washed our hair! It was a rough, harsh cleaning that didn’t feel too good until it was all done…but when it was, our skin was so soft and we felt very very clean. It was an invigorating wash, that’s for sure! Grammy said she hadn’t felt so clean in years….well, since her last hamam visit 30 years ago.

After the hamam we had dinner with Rahime & Gokcer’s family. I wasn’t feeling too hot still and wasn’t able to completely finish my meal but it was quite good. They gave me some mint tea after dinner as well, which was tasty and helped my system move a little more. Eralp showed me his room and his lion toy, and his brother’s watch. Then he got on the phone with his girlfriend. 😛 It’s time for bed now…moving into my new dorm and shopping tomorrow!

~Han

Registered for my new dorm today. Most likely going to be more comfortable than where I am now. Definitely bigger, huge plus. I’ll share one room with 2 other girls, and a kitchen and bathroom/shower with them and 1 girl who has a single. Kitchen is a little cramped, but the room itself is much roomier.

Was unaware I would need about 8 bajillion passport sized pictures here. Need 3 for the dormitory registration (so I haven’t finished it yet), 1 for the student ID card, and I think 3 or so for the residence permit. Phew! So one of the host students took me to get that done. We finished with not a whole lot of time left before meeting up for a trip to Ankara and Ulus (shopping neighborhood). On the way to the meeting place however, I started to feel very very very stomach ill again. The trip was postponed by 1 hour, and I went with Hanne to the dorm. We talked it over, and Merve came by. We came to the conclusion that most likely, I didn’t want to go if I thought I was going to be needing a bathroom. I went to my room to try to sleep some, and of course, vommed a little.  (This time I made it to the toilet) So, no trip today for Han either. =(!

Called Grammy and arranged for Gokcer to pick me up at 7. So I sat in my room and read my book for most of the afternoon. I packed up my bags so I’d be ready for Gokcer (bringing my laundry to the Gokdogan’s) and headed downstairs. I called Mom and Dad at around 7A their time, thinking Mom would be leaving in half-hour-ish. We talked for the rest of my phone card, and Dad got my Skype name. When I got online and Skyped Dad, Mom was not leaving for work. Delayed opening I suppose!

This is the candy bar I’m obsessed with. It’s wafer-y and DELICIOUS.

My new cell phone. It looks depressingly ghetto, but it’s actually pretty nice. It takes and sends pictures and lots of stufff! =)

This is Kitty. I want to bring her home.

Went to Gokdogans, had yogurt soup and I feel better now. Bed time!

~Han

Slept 13 hours. Felt lovely, could have slept til 2. Forgot my camera today, and Grammy enjoyed taking pictures with her pretty Nikon D40.

Called Gokce…or rather, Mustafa did. Met in Kızılay, the city center, and picked her up. Very sweet. Went to METU, did quick tour, found my temporary dorm.

Was handed a form to fill out to prepare for when I come tomorrow. I looked at it and stopped, a few minutes later was told to fill it out again. “I can’t read it…”

They gave me sheets, a blanket and a pillow. This room was floor to ceiling with them.

Four beds by way of two BUNK beds. Very small room. There is a separate study room and water closet. Will be here 1.5wks. Had a tough time getting up here!! There was a kitty in the lobby. Looked like Boncuk, but its markings were brown. Didn’t get a picture =(

Went to shopping center. Purchased a cell sim card so I can make calls to people in Turkey, ie Mustafa, Gokcer, Gokce, new friends at school. Mustafa has a phone I can activate it on, and I have to buy minutes tomorrow.

Do you see my eyebrows? I believe they were at my hairline by the time I left. I was not saying a thing and could not understand  a word being said.

The forest is all part of my new school’s campus. It is beautiful.

I get excited whenever someone speaks very good English. I speak too fast. I need to slow down. It’s the Jersey in me, I know. I will warn my new friends at METU to tell me when I speak too quickly.

Gokcer and Rahime came by tonight for dinner and post-dinner. I gave them gifts from America, and the boys had more fun with the ribbon than anything else.

This ribbon is SRS BUSINESS. Grammy and I were kissed by this srs gentleman too.

~Han

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