Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Whole New World

I arrived in Izmir late Friday night.  I was met by my first and second host family.  I was so happy to finally meet them!
Note* The mom is my current host mom and everybody else is part of my second host family.  I just couldn't find the picture with my current host dad in it.

After a few pictures we left and went to my new home!
or not.

My parents explained to me during the drive that their house was currently undergoing a renovation and I would be staying with Banu's (my host mom) mom.  They kept apologizing, but I really didn't mind.  We went to her house, and at 12:30 in the morning she made me a meal as a welcoming.  It was these fish like strips with some bread and my first glass of Ayran.  Ayran is a drink indigenous to Turkey with a yogurt like texture.

The next day in the morning I took a shower then got to meet Kemal!  He's quite adorable. During breakfast we were teaching each other how to say random words in the other's language.  It was really nice for me actually.  One of the best tools for learning a language is to talk to children, cause they absolutely love feeling like they're smarter than someone more than twice their age.  We spent most of the day playing Uno, other games, and watching Turkish television.  Even though I barely understood anything I got quite sucked into this show that seemed incredibly dramatic.

The interactions I had with my grandma were quite comical.  She knew absolutely no English and I still knew very little Turkish.  I realized how amazingly far you can get with just a smile and a nod!  We used a mixture of Turkish and lots of hand signals to try and get our points across. 

That night when my parents were done with work we went out to dinner together.  We went to this famous local restaurant called midpoint with delicious food.  It was our first time sitting together as a family, and it was nice to finally see how they interact with one another.  They're quite a loving family, and my host parents are hilarious.  They know English quite well, but my father is significantly better than my mother. 

The next day was quite similar to the previous.  I realize watching TV and playing Uno with your younger brother aren't the exciting things you expect to hear about from exchange, but it's the little things that make it a more real experience.  Real people don't go out on wild crazy adventures every day of their life.  Sometimes they just like to sit at home and play Uno, which I am perfectly ok with. 

Our grandma would bring in snacks like nuts, ayran, even peaches at random parts of the day, which I appreciated very much.  I find it incredible that in the whole time I've been here I haven't had a single unhealthy thing yet.  Now that I think of it, I actually had 2 chocolate squares, but those were mine, so it doesn't even count. 

My grandma's living room.

That night we moved into our permanent home.  My grandma gave me 2 bracelets as gifts before I left, which was very sweet.  My new house is wonderful!  Banu is an architecture that specializes in interior, so her whole house looks wonderful.  I wish I had that sort of eye for things like she does.  My room has a lot of pink, which is different for me.  I'm not your usual pink girl, but it still has a cozy feel to it.

The bracelets my grandmother gave me.