Sunday, January 5, 2014

Home for the Holidays

Hello fellow readers!

I'm sorry about the wait I've been putting you through in the way of blog posts.  In the first two weeks of December my computer stopped working, and then by the time it did start working again, I thought it'd be easiest to do just one big holiday post.

It's been quite odd going through the holiday's with nowhere near the amount of festivities as back home, but it's been quite an enjoyable holiday season.  I'm also sad to say that this blog post will be lacking in pictures because for some reason my computer won't let me add pictures and while I'm hoping to fix it in the near future I think my mother will murder me if I put off this post for any longer.  

So now it's time to present;
(no drum roll is necessary, but it might add more dramatic effect)

My week of Christmas!

December 22nd

In the morning all the exchange students went to have breakfast at one of the exchange student's (Quinn) friend's (Kaan's) apartment.  We were able to have waffles, pancakes, and fruit with the roquettes Christmas Album playing in the background.  During the breakfast the Canadians and I had a bit of a maple syrup war.  We did a blind test with Canadian maple syrup and Wisconsin maple syrup.  So far it's a tie, but we only had two participants, so that contest will be continued later.. After breakfast we had a bit of a game day including BS, Egyptian Ratscrew, and then we taught everyone how to play spoons. We're hoping to have more game days in the future.

December 23rd

All of the exchange students were invited to a rotary event in Alsancak.  We had absolutely no idea what this event would be like, but when we entered and saw how much food there was, we knew it would be ok.  I also ran into a girl from school who I met at my hiking club. We were snacking and talking and then an hour later they started playing some music and opened up the dance floor.  For the rest of the night all of us were dancing and having an awesome time.  It was our first chance to actually dance in Turkey so I enjoyed it very much.  Because of how late the even went I was able to have Mallory sleepover and it was nice to have my first sleepover in Turkey as well!  (All photos in this post are thanks to other people's facebook accounts.)

Us trying to do a Turkish dance (that's my schoolfriend on the left and Mallory on the right)

December 24th

In the morning I was allowed to stay home and Mallory and I went to meet Benjamin (he came from Bodrum for Christmas) at Ege Park.  We were able to talk which was nice since we never get to see him, and then met up with Elizabeth who came back to my house to get ready for our Christmas dinner.  We went out to Guzelbahce which is an area in the far outskirts of Izmir where I'll be staying next semester.  We were all invited to a Rotarian's house and we were able to have a very nice dinner with Turkey and everything!  We met a lot of nice people that we'll hopefully get to see again.  My voice was absolutely awful as well, (that morning I had to write notes to Banu to try and talk to her) but I took comfort in the fact that when you sound like a dying donkey people are much more likely to laugh at your jokes.

December 25th

Banu told me I should invite some of my friends over for a Christmas Brunch.  They came over at around 11 and we had Christmas music playing in the background.  Throughout the dinner, we made a little video for Emily, the only exchange student who wasn't in Izmir for Christmas, and decided that we'll be doing an exchange version of the Dundees.  It was a very nice and relaxing meal, and after we were done and relaxing on the patio Banu gave us all little gifts, which was so sweet.  We all got New Year's socks and underwear (yes dad, I got my Christmas underwear!) and little accessories.  She gave me a nice gray shirt as well.  We then made a video for Eda (my host sister currently in Portland) taken by Elizabeth who's from Portland, and gave all our advice and talked about what to expect if you're coming to Turkey.  It was really nice to just let out everything we've been thinking.  I really hope those who watch it enjoy it.

December 26th

After school my class had a dinner at a restaurant in Konak.  It was nice to have a dinner as a class and in the middle my teacher said "Sarah, give a speech!"  I must've looked surprised, then she added "All you do is sit in class you can at least give a little speech!"  the accuracy of this statement made me laugh and then I got up to the head of the room and gave a surprisingly successful impromptu.  After I sat down a girl in my class named Berfin stood up and gave a little speech saying how she how there have been many exchange students in the past but by far she thought I was one of the nicest.  This was followed by unanimous "yes" by the rest of the class.  She then went on to say many more nice things and I was simply so grateful and happy to be put in a class with such amazing people.  

One of the hardest things about going to a new school is the fact that you're literally going somewhere where everybody has had the same friends for years and here you are just getting thrown in the middle of all of it, and yet somehow they're willing to open up their groups and make you feel like you've always been a part of them.  I've met people here that I hope I'll be able to stay in contact with long after I leave and I couldn't be more thankful.

December 27th

After school I went home with Egemen (my second host sister) and made Christmas cookies.

Aren't they beautiful?
December 28th

We went to language courses as usual and then afterwards we did an audition for a dance they want the exchange students to do.  The Rotarians wished that all the students could be part of it, but apparently it'd be way too expensive.  We didn't actually realize that these were auditions until the end when they called eight of us up and said "You are the qualified ones" (and yes that is how they said it.)  I was very happy I got in.  When it comes to dancing to actual dance/party music, I'm still one of the most awkward ones you can get, but if you tell me exactly what you want me to do and on what beat, I'm alright!  

The dancers!
After we were all aware that there was a concert we were supposed to go to, but where it was, how we were getting there, when it started, was unknown amongst all of us.  So we had a bit of a frantic experience trying to figure that all out, but in the end all was well and it was a very nice piano performance.

In conclusion,

Even though this wasn't one of my most festive Christmas experiences, it was honestly one of my best weeks of exchange yet.  The longer I stay here the more and more I feel like this is home, and already I'm dreading that day when I'll have to leave, but I try not to think about it too much.

I'll try and be better about blogging more often, and as soon as I can figure out the issue with pictures I'll make sure to put a post with some of my pictures from the past month. Hope you all had a lovely holiday and a happy new year!  

May you be one of the 8% who actually continue with their resolutions.

Until next time!