Friday, September 20, 2013

No Smoking in the Boy's Room

Well, today has been the most boring day yet, so I thought I’d take some time and blog! (Also, I did plan on blogging more often, but the terrible internet here keeps me from doing so more often)

On Monday I went to the school with Banu to set up my schedule, meal card, and all that jazz.  I met the people in charge of the school and they were so friendly.  Dide hanim (Hanim is miss) was telling me how having a good exchange is up to me, it’s my job and the school can only do so much.  She later went on to say “But with that smile, I do not think you will have a problem!” Which I took as a nice compliment!  That night Kemal and I took a little walk around the neighborhood.  I was planning on taking pictures, but ended up only taking approximately 5 out of the 112 taken that night because of how enamored Kemal was with my camera.  We walked to Atilla’s sister’s house (she lives nearby) because Kemal wanted to see their dogs.  They invited me inside and I had some kahve with them.  Atilla’s sister was living with a girl named Mary from Georgia (the country) who, like me, was trying to learn Turkish.  It was really nice because we both knew different things in Turkish so we were teaching each other, and when we couldn’t understand Atilla’s sister Ayshen would translate for us.  The dog’s names were Maggie and Boscoe, and it was nice to finally be in a house with animals again.
Pictures I took:

 Kemal :)
I thought this was kind of cute.

(A glimpse of) Pictures Kemal took:

He said the houses "inspired him"

Almost lost this baby!

A Turkish rock...

This is Maggie, Boscoe wasn't energetic enough to get his picture taken.

My uniform! (I couldn't figure out how to turn it)
I’ve attended my first few days of school and I’m really enjoying them!  All my teachers are great and the students here are very friendly.  I do have a uniform, but compared to many it’s not bad!  The only consistent thing is the skirt, and beside that we can wear white, gray, or dark blue shirts of any kind with socks those colors and black or gray sneakers.  (The first day I was the only girl wearing black flats so I soon made an investment in black shoes) I am going to the American Collegiate Institute which (without being modest) is the nicest school in Izmir.  It’s also either the top or one of the top schools in all of Turkey.  The unfortunate thing in Turkey is that if your family doesn’t have enough money to afford a private education, you’re not going to get a good education and are way less likely to get into a good college.

My worst experience in Izmir yet has been with the Service bus system at our school.  On the first day, I got slightly lost and couldn’t find my way to the busses.  (The school is absolutely huge. There are 6 educational buildings, an amphitheater, a cafeteria, a gymnasium, and an auditorium) I found one of Eda’s friends and asked her if the busses left already and they had.  She luckily had Banu’s number and told me that Banu had to come to a parent teacher conference for Kemal anyway, so I was very lucky.  When Banu came she was not upset and on her way out double checked my number and said it was 21.

The second day I got onto bus 21 after school, but it didn’t seem right.  It didn’t look the same as the bus in the morning and there were no familiar faces.  I saw Eda’s cousin get on (almost half the school is Baysak family members) and asked if this was the bus to Karsiyaka, and again, it wasn’t.  She helped me try to find the right bus, but we weren’t able to because there are 2 busses to Karsiyaka.  The problem ended up being that they mixed up my bus number with that of another Baysak so they told Banu the wrong number.  They put me on a bus that dropped me off at Ege Park and when Banu came to get me she was quite upset.  I understand her being so, and I felt so dumb after that, but I really don’t know what I could’ve done differently.  She said I should’ve checked the number and remembered people’s faces.  I did remember people’s faces, but they were all on the bus by the time I knew I was on the wrong one, and I should’ve checked the number, but I thought I knew it.  The next day everything went smoothly though, so hopefully none of that drama will happen again!

Today I didn’t go to school because there was an IB orientation in Foca, a very pretty tourist area on the outside of Izmir, from Friday to Sunday.  I really wanted to go, and the teachers wanted me to go to, but because I came late and the ministry of education was slow, it wasn’t a possibility.  There wasn’t much a point of me going to classes if nobody else would be in them.  So during the school day I did some reading, checked email, did Rosetta stone, and took a shower.  I felt like the worst exchange student ever just sitting in my room all day, but I really didn’t have a choice.  At about two Banu asked if I wanted to go to the mall with her because she had to go to the bank.  I was so glad to finally get out of the house!  We walked to Ege Park (It’s literally less than 5 minutes away), got Starbucks, split a little cake, then went to the bank.  I sat in and tried to understand as much of the conversation as possible (I’m getting better!) and then we went to the grocery store.  This lady offered me a sample while saying lots of Turkish and then said “Cok Guzel” which means very pretty.  I hated the food but thought it was so nice she called me pretty!  During dinner that night, I learned that Cok Guzel is another way to say “The food is very good” so that was kind of a downer, but hey!  At least I’m learning the language!