October 06, 2008

It's Been Two Weeks, but what are you gonna do?

  • Hey Everyone, sorry it’s been so long since my last written blog, about two weeks. I was on vacation and didn’t take my laptop.
  • A lot has happened in the last week – most importantly the month anniversary of my departure – Tuesday, September 30. Also, we had the week of from school for Şeker Bayram (Sweet Feast), the end of Ramazan (it’s not Ramadan)
  • What did I do in this last week? What did I feel? What happened? Let’s start—a four hour drive on Saturday morning to Ankara, where we met Nuray’s brother, sister-in-law, their kid; sister and her sister’s husband and son (Ercan, Sevde, Berke; Gulay, I forget, and Egeman, respectively). I only really remember some family members name, especially since I think I met the entire family over Bayram (or else it felt like it). As is the tradition during Bayram, we visited all the family, especially since we traveled 10 hours total and wouldn’t see them again for months.
  • So, back to Ankara—kinda boring, not very attractive and very developed. I wanted to get out of there a.s.a.p, although everyone was very nice and we only stayed a night. Sunday morning, on the road to Tokat, don’t remember anything seeing as I slept 5 out of the 6 hours, in the last hour we all played a game where someone says a word in English: Apple, the next person has to say another word that begins with the ending of the previous word: Eagle. We also played in Turkish.
  • The first impression of Tokat—hmmm. I liked Nuray’s mother’s apartment, but there was 12 of us total in the apartment, including Nuray’s grandmother, my host great-grandmother. She was very old and only got out of bed to eat and go to the bathroom, she never talked and stared blankly into space a lot. At least her family was taking care of her, the retirement homes here are really bad and far away from everything, you are a very bad son or daughter to put your parents in a retirement home. The city was small, very beautiful, but pretty small and rural. Mostly there was farmland around.
  • Nuray and Cemil aren’t actually from Tokat, their village, Ice Village (sorry, don’t remember the name in Turkish, but this is it translated!) is about 30 km away (about a 30 or 45 minute drive). Before we visited the village, we stayed at Cemil’s parents’ house, which was 5 minutes away from Nuray’s mother’s. This was Monday, the last day of fasting.
  • Tuesday – let the visiting begin! Allah Hallah (My God!) you’d think people would get tired of visiting, but for two days straight all we did was visit, visit, visit, eat candy, Pepsi (or Coke) and eat lots of meals. I was glad to have this over...
  • Except that, on Thursday I woke up feeling like crap. My stomach was in knots and I felt like throwing up. I went back to bed and took lots of stomach medicines and slept for three hours, feeling a little better. We drove to Ballıca Cave, near Tokat, because the weather was finally sunny and warm after rain and cold (it got to 12 C, 53.6 F, which is FREEZING for LA, although it can get a little colder). Despite those few cold days here and there, the weather in Istanbul is still pretty warm, although it rains a lot. I’m ready to get colder, though.
  • Ok, back to my sickness. I was fine in the cave and when we picked wild blackberries of the side of the road and ate them (yummy!) but on the bumpy mountain drive home, I started having chills and was kind of moaning pathetically. My stomach hurt again and when it got really bad, Cemil pulled off the road and I threw up some bright red stuff- probably from berries and jam, the only food besides bread I’d had . Felt a little better, until I got home. I had a fever and now my head hurt. I told Nuray how bad I felt, so she took me to the hospital to check I was ok, which I was (there was gas in my stomach and a throat infection, which I got antibiotics for). There were some firsts- blood taken, visit to a hospital as a patient (not counting when I was born) and shot in the butt!
  • After the hospital, I slept twelve hours and felt fine for the trip to Cankiri (I’m too lazy to use the tail and un-dotted I’s, typing in Turkish is HARD). Speaking of typing—it’s starting to take longer for me to type in English! Ahhh, noticeably so, although I’m still pretty fast, but I make a lot more type-o’s
  • We left Tokat on Friday, to go to Cankiri. Cankiri, where Gulay and co. live was a tiny tiny city, smaller than Tokat, about 4 hours from Istanbul, was not much of a site. Finally, there was a computer, so I caught up on some shows (America’s Next Top Model and Gossip Girl, heck yeah!) and went to sleep at three in the morning! I wasn’t tired then, but I sure was Saturday. Saturday’s trip home was longggg. The highways in the rural areas are two lane, so if you get stuck behind a truck, it can be very hard to go around them (although we did) and there were a bunch of accidents, especially near Istanbul. But we got there, after 6 hours of leg-bending and not many stops.
  • Glad to be back in Istanbul, with my laptop. Sadly, vacation ends tomorrow, and school starts again. Well, I need to find a library soon because I have one book in English which I’m almost done with and it’s getting very boring to sit in class only studying Turkish and trying to understand class, which I sometimes do, but usually I don’t.
  • But I think I will start helping cooking for my family, today I made dinner for them. I made my risotto, which most people like it when I make it for them. Well, NOT my host family (Nuray liked it, though!). I was a little offended when they said they didn’t like it, maybe here people will tell you if they don’t like your food and it’s not rude, but I was a little hurt. My brother ate like two bites and said “he got full” didn’t know if he was making that up. Cemil tried a little harder before going towards the salad. I have no idea what Selin thought, but I know she didn’t finish. They all said that it was weird in Turkish food to mix onion and garlic with rice, which I believe, but it tasted GOOD (I’m not being conceited- it tastes like all the other times I make risotto, which people like). It made me miss everyone eating their food whether or not they liked it, whether or not they lie about liking it. Maybe they’ll like other things??? I'll convince them. Plus, we're planning Thanksgiving (I'll be really sad if they don't like that, seeing as it's a day or more of cooking!)
  • Ok, I’m done until next time. Oh, there’s pictures coming too! I just need to caption them.
  • Goruşuruz (until we see again), gabe
  • p.s. I think about you all a lot and miss you guys! There will be more posts
  • p.p.s Sorry about the bullets, seeing as theres no way I know of to format the post, it all comes out as unbroken word diarrhea.