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

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My choir’s concert was today. It took place in the “Architecture Amphitheater,” which I was expecting to just be an auditorium. No, this was a legit amphitheatre. So cool! It reminded me a little of the Little Theatre in HCRHS…but so much cooler.

The American choir came and practiced with us on the 2 songs we would sing together, then on their own. Then they went to get food. I hung around to try to talk to them some. But they were completely disinterested in anyone except the people they came with. There were 2 or 3 METU students who were accompanying them around, acting as translators and such. They were the only non-US people that the students really cared to talk to. Only one spoke with me…to ask me how she could buy water from the kantin. I was really disappointed. I kept trying to tell myself that they were just tired but…couldn’t really bring myself to fully believe it, you know? It was beyond just being tired but reacting to things around you. They wouldn’t talk to me when I tried to start conversation, and would only sit with and talk to the people they came with. =\

Claire, Charlotte and Nina came to see my concert though! 😀 They took pictures for me, lucky you! ❤ Gokce Gokdogan also came, and it was so wonderful to see her! I didn’t get to talk to her for but a few moments, since she had to get back to campus before her curfew.

There was a really huge crowd here actually! It was awesome. I’m still trying to figure it out. =) Two composers were here, one that composed a song we sang with the other choir and one that did a song that the other choir sang on their own.

So this is the American choir in their performance-gear. They had some really lovely songs with great harmonies and melodies and sounded fairly good overall.

And this is our choir, in all our loveliness…and I still think we sounded better 😉

I found out that our director, Haser Tek, is actually a famous Turkish tenor in the opera. He doesn’t have a falsetto, and has a really lovely voice. I do enjoy listening to him, and I’m usually not a tenor-type of person!

And this is all of us together.

After all that was over, I still had to get my second series of the rabies vaccine. But it was like 9:30 by that point, and I hadn’t heard from Gokcer about it all day (I had texted him in the AM). So Claire offered to go with me. I went back to my room and found my hospital papers, changed into pants (that skirt was cowld!) and went to the lady by the desk. Since it was 10:15 by this point and I wasn’t sure how long it would take, I wanted to let her know where I would be so I wouldn’t have to sign in on the tardy paperwork. And I actually told her in Turkish that I was going to the hospital and she understood and I was so happy!!! So proud of me. So I went and met Claire outside the gate by a bar called “Drunk.” It was pretty funny xD I hear it’s actually a decent place? Will check it out some time.

We caught a taxi outside the bar and I gave him the paper with the name of the hospital. He didn’t quite know where, so he took us in the cab and drove around calling and texting people to find out, hahaha. He pulls up to a hospital that isn’t the one we needed, and asks for directions. So we get to the right one, and when I go to pay, he told me (in Turkish) that he would wait. Claire and I got out and went to the security guy to let him know where we were going, who gave us directions. I was so happy (again) that I was able to say “Biliyorum” for the first time, which means “I know”! So proud of me, hahahaha. Went and got the shot, which was really easy. I think I’m beginning to not be phased by them, so long as I don’t look at it, haha. Either that or the nurses here are really good. It’s funny though, two shots are in my arm with 3 moles, each right next to one of the moles. I hope the third is next to the last mole, because that would just make me laugh.

We hopped the cab back to ODTU (seriously just wrote TCNJ) and I decided to go with the girls to Beypazari tomorrow. Very exciting, should be an ultra fun time.

~Han

Apparently I’ve woken somebody up by showering in the morning. I’m attempting to find a compromise that we can all shower/pee/do bathroom stuff and still get to class on time…and getting up earlier to shower doesn’t help anybody 😦

Also, I can’t read the washer and dryers here at school. It’s a slight problem xD; Mustafa offered to let me use their washer when I visit them this weekend, which is very kind and helps a lot.

Got kicked out of my first class today because the prof wants to teach in Turkish. Was pretty upsetting, but then I went to math. The professor speaks English. He went to UMass for his masters and Ph.D. I was so relieved to hear English that I didn’t care that I didn’t completely understand what the topic was xD;;; The desks in this class are really tiny though, and they’re all crammed in there and filled up. About 50 or so students per class, in a room the size that TCNJ uses for 25. @__@

Went to sculpture. This neat guy was hanging out right by the door, kind of startling. The professor had little one-on-one sessions with people to find out if they knew much/anything about art and to explain the schedule and class expectations…kind of like an interview to see if you were allowed in the class! The class requires 10 hours per week in the studio…I think it’ll kind of be relaxing when I get into it. He told me that he wanted me in the course, and I’m one of 18 that are in the course now. Besides the one major sculpture for the class, I’ll need to write a paper and do a presentation on some form of art. I’m thinking fiber art ❤

Afterwards, I found Manali and we decided to go to the University Choir’s first meeting tonight. It was at 5:40. When we arrived, we discovered that it was an auditioned group, and this meeting was an audition!! Talk about not being prepared! Then Manali, Claire and I found out….he was only taking 6 girls! Phwhat?! So I resigned myself to just auditioning for fun because I’d already signed up. I did really well in the audition actually, and he liked my voice a lot. He also decided that I’m a high soprano, and told me to come back on Thursday. When the class starts. To be a part of the class. AHHH 😀 I’m SO PROUD OF ME!!! Seriously. xD He complimented my voice several times and I seriously did so well I’m ridiculously happy! Claire says I sang 3 octaves. I’m amazed at myself. I can’t believe I did it. =D

So my observation of the day today….students are really disrespectful here. I thought maybe it was just during the orientation week, they didn’t really care too much for the class, or they didn’t care overall, or it was “just an orientation class.” But even in my math class today, they talk when the professor is speaking, they argue with him, nitpicked over his grammar use of “and” and “or” in a sentence, etc. Students would ask questions in Turkish that the professor answers in English…it seems that METU’s “requirements” and “standards” don’t actually apply to everything that goes on here. Rather frustrating.

Studying for an exam in Turkish tomorrow….cha!

~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

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Slightly more than I had bargained for.

Late breakfast, spent most of today relaxing w/ Grammy and playing around on the computer. Can’t read the SIM card pamphlet. Mustafa is lending me a phone, I should buy a used one tomorrow.

Tea party at around 4PM. Tea parties rather replace lunch here often. Turks speak quickly and loudly, as though in argument many times. I believe they were discussing the building service person. It may or may not have been a heated discussion…I am not sure.

Gokcer called and offered to bring me to campus. He gave us a driven tour. The campus is two circles that touch on one side…there is a phrase for this in Geometry, but I do not remember it.

When we arrived to the dorm, someone else had taken my bed in my previous room. Another room was located for me. That was stressful. I could not interact or communicate, because all dorm workers speak only Turkish.

I believe this is someone else’s dorm during the year, and they had to pack up everything to make room for us temporarily.

Four people to a room, with one sleeping room and one study room. Two “rooms” to a dorm. So, 8 people sharing one space.

The key to the study room given to you on exchange for an ID…which you can trade back for the ID. You cannot lock anything but the study room.

Piggy piggy protection for here too. Look familiar?

I am glad this is temporary.

I do not have internet access in here. Updates/availability will be staggered. I will go stir crazy until I can get me some ‘net.

It is rather lonely in here. I think 2 other people have brought their stuff here, but they have left. I do not know where they are. I believe I will visit the girls down the hall to hang out. I hope I can speak slowly enough for them.

~Han

PS: Speaking slowly in English makes one realize how many unnecessary words one uses. It is difficult to shorten what I am trying to say, especially when attempting to explain something about America. This is something to work on.

Four people to a room, with one sleeping room and one study room.
The key is given to you on exchange for an ID…which you can trade back for the ID.