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

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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

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

Arrived at Ankara. New airport. Very pretty.

Man who checked my visa read it for a long time. I was very nervous he would say no. I got through.

Luggage got through alright. Did not have a matching set so I could not clip them together but I MacGyver’d something that worked.

People think Turkey is flat. It is not flat. Hills everywhere. Snow too. Very cold.

Used to be the ghettos. Mustafa, family friend, picked us up from his airport. Gave small tour through town center. Turkish drivers are scary. Will try to take video.

In Germany, everything was in German and English. In Turkey, everything is just in Turkish. So many people are fluent in multiple languages. On the plane, the stewardesses all spoke 3+ languages. This terrifies me. If the US wants to stay on the forefront as an influential nation, we really need to jump that bandwagon.

Had dinner. Was chided for not eating enough. Will serve myself next time. Saw Gokcer tonight and had many good discussions with him and Grammy. Was also chided for not serving tea. They are trying to make a proper Turkish girl out of me. We’ll see what happens. 😉

~Han

PS: By chided, I may or may not mean teased. I believe they tease me, but they may also be serious. I will get back to you on this.

Cake and Cube came with me.

Kitty has been my travel partner.

“I Gotta Feelin'” makes me really happy.

Met Grammy in Munich, Germany. 7:15AM landing time. Had the wrong gate, H25 when it was H40. Very clean airport. Got mochaciato in a bowl for Grammy, and latte in a tall glass for me. We saw a store called “Private” here. At the airport. In the terminals. It’s sketchy, and you have to be over 18 to go in.

Haven’t slept since 7:30 yesterday (today?) and am now punchy and jittery. Have to use an adapter to the plug to charge my computer. Glad the box is 110V-240V. Thanks to Dad for checking that. Got 1 hour of Internet for ~$11. Talked to Rauren McFfffffff when I landed.

German and English are very similar. All the signs here are in German, then again in English. The flight was the same too, since Lufthansa is a German company.

The temperature at one point of the flight was -80F. I can’t begin to fathom how cold that is. Finished my book on the way to Germany.

~Hannah