Today I had to pick up my residence permit after class. I hopped a dolmus out there and picked it up no problem. It looks like a little passport, kinda really adorable! xD Just as I left, an ODTU dolmus pulled up to the stop a little bit away from the police place, the Ankamall stop. I flat out ran the thirty feet to get there, which kind of felt good, and when seated realized I was on the same dolmus that I took to get out there!

At Cati, the best place to get food on the academic side of the campus, you can eat outside. You don’ t have to do anything with your trays though, you just leave them out and the workers (plentiful as they are) come around and pick them up. Sometimes though, the birds get to it before the workers do!

This is the view of Ankara from the walkway from the campus gate to Yuz.yil as I was going to meet up with Claire.

We decided to make stir fry.

It was quite delicious. I also tried raki, as my sculpture professor had encouraged me to do. I don’t think it’s quite for me though, too much of a black licorice taste to it.

Boring days yay!

~Han

Daylight savings time started here today. Woooo, haha.

The weather today was absolutely amazing, so Hanne and I decided to go to Ulus to study in the park. We unfortunately got kicked off the grass, so we studied on a bench and then walked around the fair.

All the rides were 3TL per ride, which we thought was a little steep, so we just wandered. Some of the images were kind of graphic, and it was weird.

I walked around and saw SO many gorgeous flowers. You can click this to see it larger.

And I’m not sure if I just like this patch because it’s purple and white…….

Men kept stopping us to talk to us in English (or French) and invite us for cay and ask if we needed a guide. Only, they most certainly did not come across as friendly, but as very creepy. Hanne’s blonde hair I’m sure gave her away, but unfortunately made us both “targets.” At about 5:20 I wanted to go back to campus, but Hanne had some more to do in Ulus for her photography class. I was tired, so I went to the Ulus dolmus terminal. I sat. And waited.

And sat.
And waited.
And asked if the ODTU dolmus was coming.
And sat.
And waited.

After about 2 and a half hours, I started getting really upset. The guy in charge made several phone calls about the dolmus, but it still never came. One of the dolmus drivers who had seen me there for so long tried to help. It was starting to get dark and I was blubbering non-sensical Turkish words and phrases. I was upset and nervous. I had spent the last 2 and a half hours sitting by myself, being eyed at, cat called at, appraised, rubber necked and I’m positive people who walked by me were talking about me to the people they were with. It was uncomfortable to say the least.

The poor dolmus driver didn’t understand me, I didn’t understand him, someone shoved cay in my hands (I don’t think I’ve ever drank cay so fast) and a student with a small amount of English was found. I didn’t know where Kizilay was from where I was, or the metro, and I don’t have the bus tickets so I couldn’t use the buses. I was led to the guy who was in charge again, who put me on a dolmus to Yuz.Yil. Unfortunately I don’t know the stops in Yuz.Yil, but as they were metioning places, they mentioned a mall I knew of, and I KNEW there was a Kizilay>ODTU dolmus from there. The driver didn’t charge me for the first leg of the trip…I’m grateful. I was also very frazzled.

Anyway, I got home at about 8:40, exhausted and aggravated and swearing to never wear a skirt to that part of the city ever again.

Or to go there with another girl.

Or actually, to bother going there at all.

In the end, Hanne walked to Kizilay and took a dolmus from there. She and Nina came over, and we made pasta and ate strawberries with Nutella for dessert. I haven’t quite decided if that made the entire thing worthwhile P:

~Han

I love having adventures!

Okay, so Sunday, nothing happened. Literallyyy. So, onto today’s adventures!

I thought today was going to be dull, but it was actually fun. First off, got a good mark in Turkish. yay! Then, Claire had to pick up her residence permit, and I had yet to turn in the paperwork for mine. It’s basically a teensy passport-type-thing that just says that you do live in the country at the moment, and should you have to leave, you’ll be able to get back in. (I also stil lhave to pay for my student ID; the one I have expires soon but I need a new photo. whoops x 2)

We adventured out via the Ulus dolmus. We had to go to the polis station basically, but it’s a huge building, haha. It was also fairly cold out. First we went to the Polis kantin to purchase a very extra super specific pink folder. It was very odd! Then I turned in the paperwork with no problems. I simply have to pick up my permit in 2 weeks. Yay!

Then we took the metro. That was actually fun. The whole thing was so clean, open, fresh. So different from what I’m used to!

When we got off at Kizilay, we found some fake converse being sold for SUPERCHEAPS, so I nabbed a pair in burgundy. I’ll share a picture later. We found DOST, a bookstore, so Claire could buy her ticket for a film festival movie. There seem to be a lot of those here. We were running out of steam, so we got some cay (and I got sahlep of course). When she asked the waiter for lemon, he just laughed in her face. o.O It was strange. I bought a great fuzzy-hooded Engrish sweatshirt with a huge ? and a saying “Do you like any girlfriends?” We also tried these street-food fried potatoe-chips-on-a-stick which were quite wonderful. A guy heard us talking in English, and came over and started talking to us. It was a little awkward, but he wanted to practice his English which I can understand. But then he started following us some, so we told him we had to get back to class and kind of ditched him a bit.

On the way back to campus, we got invited to have dinner with Hanne and Charlotte, so we had potatoes, eggs and onions. It was fun. =)

After dinner I had them over to my room for cay and dessert. Very enjoyable. Next time though, I’d like to make dinner for them. ………..I just don’t know what!!! D:

~Han

Rather than attempting to snowboard in the wind that bowls me over when I am merely standing, let along attempting to slide, I went to Bursa, the city at the bottom of the mountain. We had a wonderful time!!! There were 7 of us on this mini trip: 5 girls, Kristin, Nina, Beth, Veronica, Fiona and myself, and one ESN Turkish guy, Gokhan. He was “touristing” with us, but was also our tour guide, translator and navigator. It was really nice to spend time with them, because I didn’t know most of them all too well, and now I have a bunch of new friends here. ❤ (from left: Kristin, Beth, Gokhan, Veronica, Fiona, Nina)

We got off the dolmus right next to a castle, which was way cool.

Our first stop was a mosque, which had a gorgeous fountain. It was really soothing and calming!!

The artwork around the mosque was really pretty, and the whole place seemed really well taken care of.

This is most of our group here =)

From there, we went to the bazzar. I love bazzars! I love the fake cheap stuff, hearing the merchants hawk and try so hard to get you in their shops…it’s such a fun atmosphere.

A really cool little flower-shaped garden under a bridge we walked over =)

After that, we had lunch and headed to the sultans’ tombs. We were aiming for the first two sultans of the Ottoman empire. We got distracted along the way by a wonderful, FREE museum of Turkish Islamic Art. The garden within the walls was an amazing oasis from the city you could barely hear just outside.

Then we found the tomb of the 6th sultan and his family. His 3 sons are on either side of him, and his 5 daughters are behind him. I didn’t find any wives, but I couldn’t read one or two of the signs. (Though, interestingly, the daughters’ tombs are actually larger than those of the sons….)

We wandered to a sweets shop, then walked about 2 kilometers back to meet up with the bus of folks who stayed on Uludag to ski. Before we left, we stopped at a restroom–doesn’t this sign look like Lucille Ball?! We started the trip back to Ankara at around 4PM, and arrived by about 10:30PM.

Grammy left this morning really early to head back to Colorado. Her plane took off shortly after 6AM. I’m kind of really sad to see her go, because I so thoroughly enjoyed spending time with her and haven’t had the chance to do so before now for a few years. When she called last night, she asked if I was going to be okay over the next four months on my own. I don’t really have a choice though, do I? =) I’ll make it because I have to.

I’m one of the lucky ones here though. I have people I can go to, who can help me should I run into any problems. A lot of people don’t have that at all. I hope all will be well for us all though.

~Han

We walked and ran and rode what feels like all over Ankara today, and had a wonderful time!!

We started on campus, where we got breakfast and read through some menus in the kantins. Grammy got her first traditional Turkish coffee and was very happy, haha. We got breakfast in Cati, where I got to sit in an ENORMOUS CHAIR. I could’ve laid down in it! It was huge!

The bathroom signs were HILARIOUS.

And just inside the door were these xD

We wandered around campus and went to the archeology museum which was really cool. We also happened to meet a professor from a school in the US who wanted to set up a program with METU. The museum was really cool! This is a huge cast iron pot.

Some gold bowls

A set of tiny toy animals

a grave site (creepy, do you see the bone wearing a bracelet?)

and an ENORMOUS key! Very cool!

We took a dolmus to Kizilay to make sure I understand better how they work. On the way we saw a SLEW of news vans, and took a picture of the hullabaloo. Still don’t know what it was about, lol.

Found an enormous statue of very impressive men, who were unimpressively covered with pigeons.

We wandered around Kizilay and into Gold Alley for a little while to look around. There was a bamboo plant with two koi fish living in the vase! So cool, hahaha.

After that, we caught another dolmus to a VERY large mall just a short way away from ODTU to do some shopping for dorm necessities. We found a CHOCOLATE CAFE. It was like a coffee shop, but with TONS OF CHOCOLATE. I got a chocolate spoon with my milk. xD

Grammy got another coffee and a dark chocolate square.

And we both got chocolate souffle for lunch. Yum yum! After our chocolatey meal, we went and got a manicure. It felt wonderful. My nail beds are lovely and my nails feel good and my skin looks healthy finally lol.

After shopping, we were exhausted so we went back to my dorm to relax for a little while. Then we went out to Cepa by taxi. We got dinner (donur sandwich <3) and did some more shopping. The one thing I can’t seem to find anywhere is a simple, one plug extension cord!!!!

Well, I have to be up super early tomorrow morning for the trip to Uludag. Hurray for road trips! Lol. Grammy goes home on Saturday, so I was kind of sad to see her go, but I’m so glad she was here with me these last two weeks. =)

~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