Today we went to Ankara Kalesi and the Anatolian Museum of history. I looked up the names of these places in Turkish so I could get around alright, and we departed for our adventure at about noon. We took a dolmus to Ulus and taxi’d to the Castle.

We wandered and explored the castle some.

Much of the stone used to build these walls were taken from other buildings. Somewhere around this place, there’s a toilet in the wall xD

Amazing views of Ankara from here.

We went to the market right outside, where we ran into Ali, Keka, Merve and an architechture class on tour! That was so random. We hung out in the area so Cynthia could see some of how the professor taught.

We spoke with Ali some, and his friend from England (who is Turkish, and had a veeery interesting English/Turkish accent).

After, we walked to the museum and explored. It was so cool–the main building was an old bazaar! I got a Muze Kart, or Museum Card, which is a 10TL card that I can use to get into any museum in Ankara for 1 year pretty much for free. I only had to pay the cost of the card. They scanned my ODTU ID and put that picture on my card, so there’s a Study Abroad stamp across my face, hahaha.

No idea what these pots are do.

We walked back to the taxis and hopped one to Kizilay because I wasn’t quite sure how to get to Kizilay from where we were. We walked some and found the Ankara mosque, it was so amazing and impressive.

On the way to get the dolmus back to ODTU, I saw this store. The name made me laugh so hard. xD We went back, took a rest, and then went for dinner in the Carsi. Then we walked next door for some cay/coffee, since she had to stay up until around 3 to board her plane. After that, we wandered to Arkabace for a final baklava, and so Cynthia could grab some food for on the plane. We talked a lot about study abroad requirements and such, and we decided that days like today, where I had to get us around based on what I’ve learned, language barriers and such, should be worth credit as well.

I made sure she had my number in case she got in trouble, since her plane was leaving at 4 and she would have to get there via mostly public transpo. I didn’t hear from her, so I assume she got home safe. =)

~Hannah

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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

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

Bought a phone card. Two kinds here: “insert card” with a chip, or the kind with pin numbers. No clue how to use the PIN ones, the directions are in Turkish…does not help when I can’t even use the ones in English. Insert cards are more expensive but much simpler. Called Dad yesterday. Was nice. Want to call Mom. Will have to wait.

Roommate most def did not stay in the room last night. Host roommate decided to skip all the stuff today. Avea clock is off by about 10 mins so I missed meeting w/ people to walk to class this morning. Tried on my own, got lost, but helped a dog out of a building. I was very upset when I did not know where I was going. Managed to get to study abroad office, who helped me.

Not used to so many older students, and the mixing of graduate & undergraduate interaction. Turks encourage a few years working before going to school, which is partially why.

Hung around after the lecture on Turkey & the EU got out early. Got some ekmek b/c I didn’t have enough Turkish Lira for a meal, and got my internet password. Hooked my netbook to the internet finally.

Went to Attaturk’s Mausoleum on a guided tour. Was AMAZING.

Some sort of special ceremony today.

Guards switching sides.

Mini sculpture of museum.

Walkway.

HUGE COURTYARD.

Flag & pole.

Gonna rain? (Actually, it hailed.)

4 reps of branches of Turkish military.

Ankara skyline.

Touristy picture!

Ankara from the back of the courtyard.

ERRP KTHNX

Mausoleum.

Rock garden.

Made a new friend, girl from Australia, Claire. Very sweet. I like her. =) Vegan.

Went to the mall. Fixed Avea card, had dinner. Donur! Came back to dorm, signed up about 10 people’s MAC addresses so they could access wireless. I have about 10 new buddies now =)

ooVoo wouldn’t work for me & Jamie. Cramps & a headache…srsly not going tonight. =(

~Han