Week 6: Bacon, a Canadian, and an Earthquake
When I woke up that Monday morning (well more like afternoon), I still felt like I wasn’t done sleeping. Like I said last time, after that fun-filled trip and little sleep, I was thoroughly pooped! I chilled out at home the rest of the day and put up my pictures on Facebook. When my host mom got home, we heated up some dinner and watched TV together. All in all, not a very eventful day.
Tuesday I was back in school, although it was quite cold that morning and I would have rather stayed curled up in bed, but I got myself there anyways. The main motivation I had for going was that Michelle was starting school that day. For those who are just tuning in (or for those who have forgotten), Michelle is from Canada, British Columbia, to be exact, and arrived the night before we took off for Ephesus, making her the “youngest” of the group. At any rate, I wanted to be at school to help Michelle, and good thing I did decide to go, too, because sure enough, I was called out of class 2nd period and I met with Michelle and her host parents in the principal’s office. Susan made an appearance and said a few quick things before flying out again... that woman always has a thousand and one things on her to-do list. I helped Michelle with her uniform and with the school bus service as best I could. Then she left with her parents and I went back to class. After school, I ventured once again to Alsancak (downtown) where I met up with Maggie, Mariana (Mexico), Hannah, Diana (Mexico), and Alfonso (Mexico). We walked to a nearby pizza restaurant where they had, and I kid you not, REAL BACON pizza. We didn’t mind paying a little more for it, because for the first time in weeks, we got to taste pork again. Then, because we’re exchange students and somehow always hungry, we went and got waffles. (And when I say “waffles”, I mean the kind with all the good stuff piled on top.) We tried a new place, which served the waffles to us more as a taco than as the waffle on a plate that we were used to. There was a lot of laughter that night, so much in fact that my abs hurt as we walked out. I’d call that a good night!
Wednesday was Michelle’s first real day at school. She seemed nervous and jumpy about everything, but it was still only her first week, so it’s perfectly logical. We spent a class and a half outside in the hallway going over things she needs to know about school and some basic Turkish phrases to add to her notebook. I liked being the one to show her the ropes, it made me realize how acclimated I already was, and I just love being the “big sister” figure, so it worked out great for us both. We had photography later in the day, and for the first time, we were outside taking pictures of things in the garden (which doesn’t have all that many plants except for those surrounding the fences.) I could only take so many pictures of vines and grapes, so when Michelle said she wanted to see the sports club, I went with her. We watched a bunch of 9th grade boys shoot hoops and kick a soccer ball around, and it was only a matter of time until Michelle had kicked off her shoes and jumped in the goal to play with them. Another boy asked me to play badminton with him, and I’m not ALL that terrible at it, so I humored him for a while. I liked the relax feel of the class... maybe I’ll ditch photography and go play with them every once and a while. haha. After school, I took a different school bus that took me to Agora, the biggest shopping mall in our city. I was supposed to meet a few other exchange students there, but I got there earlier than everyone else, so I waited at the Starbucks. One call came and the students in Alsancak said they weren’t coming. Mariana called and said she missed her school bus and didn’t know exactly where the other one had taken her so she didn’t know when she’d get there. Annie and Zoe (both Americans) were trying to figure out which ferry to take to cross the water to get to Agora, so they didn’t know when they’d be coming either.... So basically, I waited alone for quite a while until Mariana finally got there. Eventually Annie and Zoe got there, so the four of us ate at the food court and walked around and shopped for a little while. My host mom, who was eating dinner there with her friends, called me to meet up with her, and after taking Mariana home, we drove home together.
Before school started on Thursday, all the kids gathered in the front of the school and got into their lines to observe a moment of silence for 24 soldiers that had died the day before. I’m not sure what the details of the incident were, but I knew they were killed by terrorists. Even though I couldn’t understand what had happened all that well, it was still very saddening. At lunch, Michelle and I had ordered our sandwiches beforehand, and when we went to get them from our friend at the sandwich counter, mine had “Halle” written on it and Michelle’s bore the name “Bery.” Apparently since they pronounce my name like “Halley,” Michelle and I have melded into one person, Halle Berry, and now whenever we walk in together, we get quite a nice greeting! Anyways, after school, I went to Alsancak again and met with Mariana, Cristina, and Alfonso. We ate at a place called Crazy David Chicken where we ate the closest thing to burritos we’re going to find here. We gathered up Emily (from NY) and went to a store called Mango: the Outlet. Hannah and Diana met us there after getting their hair done, and we all ended up walking back to Crazy David Chicken where we got kumpir, which is a baked potato with the inside carved out, mixed with cheese, put back in, and topped with any number of interesting vegetable mixes or sauces. Everyone pretty much went their own way after that, and Emily and I went home with my host mom.
Nothing of great consequence occurred at school on Friday.I spent a few hours in my neighborhood with Emily, since she lives fairly close to me, which was fun. We ended up at a Burger Kind across from my house, where I apparently charmed the employees into giving me a free order of fries... I didn’t refuse it, of course!! Later that night, I skyped with a friend from back home and called it a night.
Saturday, the exchange students had Turkish lessons again, where we learned how to order food at restaurants (which most of us already knew seeing as we’d all been here for at least a month and a half) and also how to conjugate verbs into the past tense. It seems like with every lesson we have, I am reassured how difficult it is to learn this language. Afterwards, the teacher led us to the bazaar and we all ate at a restaurant in the middle of the market, which pretty much put us on display for anyone who wanted to gape at us. I’m pretty sure there were even a few women who took pictures of us. We spent a while in the bazaar, then walked to the other side of Alsancak by means of the seaside, which is always pleasant. When I got home that night, i watched a movie with my host mom on TV before heading off to bed.
I poked around home on Sunday, watched a few episodes of a TV show on my computer, played guitar, etc etc. I met my host mother’s friend near home and had dinner with my host mom and her friend’s family. Earlier that day, I had heard something about an earthquake in Turkey, so I brought it up to my host mom to see if she knew anything about it. She hadn’t heard about it, so when we got to her friend’s house we turned on the news, and sure enough, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake had devastated Eastern Turkey. I called home (like my actual home) and told my parents I was fine and that if they wanted to talk, I would be online later. After dinner, we watched a movie on TV (see a pattern here? There’s a lot of TV-watching here) and then my host mom and I went home. It was nice talking with my parents and seeing my brother... it had been a while since I had spoken to them.
OK, So although this has nothing to do with this blog entry, I thought it was exciting and wanted to share it with all of you. Today the exchange students got a picture in the local newspaper here in Izmir, how cool is that?! This picture was taken of all the students at Ephesus in front of the library.