Sunday, November 30, 2008

This Should be a long post....we'll see how much of an attention spand I have =D


Huh, that was a long title...anyways I havent posted in a while and honestly nothing notable happened until Thursday, and I have simply been procrasinating ever since...even this post will probably be done over the course of this entire day because I really want to get everything in and not forget anything becuase I've got lots of stories to tell. So I hope that you either:

A) Have some time
B) Are a fast reader
C) Enjoy reading these enough to consider it worth it
D) have superhuman abilities to gain knowledge on an entire subject just from reading the title
E) all of or any combination of the above

So this past week has gone fairly well, my Turkish is still improving (of course) and i defiantly feel comfortable at school. bored but comfortable. So as I stated nothing really happened until Thursday which would have been Thanksgiving for all you USers.

3 other exchange students and I decided to skip school and go around İstanbul sight seeing. Skipping wasn't a big deal because 1) none of us do much at school anyways, 2) we got permission from our families and 3) It was Gabe's last week here. Yes unfortunately Gabe has decided to go back home. Gabe is another AFSer from the US and we will all miss him. But we did have a lot of fun thursday.

I got there about 2 and half hours early because my parents had to go to work, so I walked around the city, listening to music, from 7:30 to about 10:00. That was very boring but I got to know the the area I was in fairly well so it worked out. When they arrived we all went to McDonald's to eat because it was close. The group consisted of Gabe, Morgan (girl from Alaska), and Nampom (Thailand). After we ate we went to starbucks and got coffee. While in line a group of girls behind us were all speaking English. That made my day. It felt so good to here English in the background that wasn't being spoken to me. Afterwards we got on the tram and proceeded to Sultan Ahmet. This is a large mosque and I got pictures! Don't worry I'll post them.

After checking out Sultan Ahmet a little Gabe went to a souvenier shop nearby to buy gifts for his friends and family back home. I got bored quickly but Gabe insisted we spend about an hour there. But I did find a hilarious bracelet that I bought for 1 YTL.

For those who can't read whats on the bracelet. It says "I <3 Iraq". I thought this was funny and look forward to showing it in the USA. hehe. Okay after that we got a taxi and went to the grand bazaar. This place is insane. It is soooo crowded and there are tourist everywhere. For those who don't know what a bazaar is, it is pretty much a shopping mall without rules. People set up shops and sell pretty much anything they want. You can and should bargain for prices. If you so much as look at a person selling something he will try to pull you into his shop and cell you stuff. It's ridiculous. There is nothing like it in the USA. I'll post pictures don't worry.

At the bazaar, Gabe had a large list of things to buy, and we all ended up buying things for friends and family. I bought a key chain for my friend Will because he collects them and I promised him I would get him one and i bought a present for someone and I'm obviously not going to say what that is here because the person may read this.

While at the Bazaar I accidentally dropped my cellphone and by doing so it had turned off for the first time. When I turned it back on I learned that I needed a pin # to turn it on...crap. I didn't know the pin number. And now I don't know my parents number to find it out because their numbers on the phone. And now I cant contact them to tell them where to pick me up. Naturally this stressed me out. Luckily I had my afs contact card so I borrowed a phone and called my counselors...no answer. I then called the AFS office and got my dads number from them. Problem solved.

Unfortunately this wasn't the only unintelligent action I preformed that day. You see at the bazaar i bought a cell phone card so I could get more counters. My cell phone is a pay as you go so you need to buy the cards, scratch off the thing on the back to reveal the number your supposed to call. Unfortunatly I scratched a little two hard and scratched about six of the numbers off. Way to go eric. Luckily though a friendly man helped me out and brought us into his shop and called a number and was able to get my counters. I'm not going to lie though, despite the kindness it was a little creepy. You see he approached us, looked at the phone, grabbed it and beckoned for us to follow him. Well now i certainly didn't have a choice, so the four of us went into his shop where he told us to sit and be quiet. He was on the phone for 10 minutes. 10 awkward minutes. But I got my counters so it worked out.

After we were finished shopping we decided to head back to Sultan Ahmet and eat. So we got in a taxi and headed down. Unfortunately the driver was a complete butt head and tried to cheat us. First of all he charged us 20ytl when our drive there cost 10ytl. second when we handed him the twenty he slickly switched it with a 1ytl bill and puts on a sham of getting mad at us for trying to cheat him. This was very stressful but eventually he figured out that we knew he was trying to cheat us and accepted his money.

That's pretty much the end of Thursday, I didn't get to eat with them because I got picked up earlier and went home. Okay so now onto Saturday.

Saturday, we had our weekly language class but this lesson would be Gabe's last. Our teachers were an hour late because they had exams so all of us just enjoyed each others company. When we had the lesson, me and gabe talked pretty much the entire time and didn't pay attention. What can I say, I'm studious.

We all wanted to do something after the lesson but the plans didn't come together so we all just ended up going home.

Today has been a fairly boring day. The day has pretty much consisted of slowly writing this blog, eating, and listening to stand up comedy. I suppose I should just post this already because my mom is hinting at me to finish already.

-eric

PS: only one more week of school until the holiday then i get a week of =D

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

AFS does oh so much for us

I figured I should post a new blog for those worried that I was possibly in danger because of my lack of posting. In fact there just simply has not been that much to tell, I've just been settled in here so it feel redundant to post a lot (birçok). Pretty much I go to school and slowly pick up on turkish. I'm getting better and can speak simply and do things like describe my life in the states of what i did on the weekend in turkish. I also understand simple sentences as long as they are not spoken to quickly. So I think that I will be conversational by the end of my 10 months (aylar). I think at this point I'm probably almost as good at turkish as I am in spanish (I can speak more turkish but I can understand more spanish) .

Well anyways sunday was a pretty cool day and I would have blogged about it then but İlbars recently got PES 09 and has been playing that for the past week non stop on the computer. For those who dont know that is a immensly popular football game but since the US doesnt really like football most people probably have never heard of the game. When I say football I mean soccer for you americans. Football comes more naturally for me now. Any ways I was talking about sunday.

On Sunday AFS took us to on of the Islands around İstanbul and we spent the day there and biked. The island was absolutly beautiful and I really wish I had my camera. Luckily I think Gabe (another AFSer) took some pictures so perhaps when he post them I'll steal them and post them here. hehe. Biking through the island was very relaxing and calming. I dont often stop and take in my surroundings but I'm glad I did here. Also I got to try an amazing turkish waffle. A turkish waffle is very different than in the states. It is not a breakfast item it is a very sweet snack. It starts as a soft piece of dough that looks like a ego but a lot sweeter and tastier. Then you pick you toppings. I picked to put white chocolate on one half and a hazelnut cream on the other half then topped with bananas and kiwi. It was then folded and taadaa a turkish waffle. For those curious (KYLE!) there are about 20 different toppings to choose from. for you to further understand kyle think The Office episode with Pretzel day when the vendor names all the different toppings to micheal. but better! yea it was that good.

Today at school there was a play put on. It was actually really well produced with great props, lighting, acting, and sound. It blew anything that HPC has ever done recently out of the water. sorry drama kids but your budget is just not that good. Anyways just seeing that really reminded me that i was attending a private school, which im not used to. I realized just how many cool things a school can do with money. I think that if I have time im going to try to get into whatever club tries to raise money for the school when i get home. anyways İlbars is waiting for me to be done so that we can play PES.

iyi akşamlar
eric

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Long day

Would you look at that. I'm actually writing another blog the day after I wrote one. Crazy right. I'm going to try to write more often. they may get to be shorter post but oh well. (my English is soooo declining)

I woke up this morning at 545 because my host dad was taking me into the city and needed to drop my brother off at his school. Today I would receive my resident permit. Around 830 my host father dropped me of at a mall and told me that I needed to be in Taksim by 130 to meet afs. I would have to navigate the metro on my own because he had to go to work. So for the next 5 hours I needed to find a way to entertain myself in the mall. Now unfortunately none of the stores opened until 10 so I killed an hour and a half my doing laps around the mall and getting a coffee at star bucks (they are everywhere!) . When the stores finally opened I found a book store that actually sold English books. FİNALLY! So I bought 3 books (don't worry mom none were on my Christmas list). Unfortunately I figured out that English books are very expensive. 53 lira. ahhh. But it was too late so I bought them I just need to hold back for the next month and not buy any more cds on itunes. At around 11 I went into the movie theater and saw bangkok dangerous (the Nicholas cage flick) to kill the next 2 hours. the film was surprisingly entertaining. I don't usually like Nicholas cage.

After that I made it to Taksim without a problem. It actually didn't take to long to receive the permit and I was outta there. My family picked me up and we ate then went grocery shopping. Afterwards we saw a new Turkish film about Atatürk called Mustafa. It was all in Turkish and I was very bored but you know...it happens. Apparently the film wasn't very good and my parents ended up rambling about the film the entire way home.

Now I am very tired and think I will check facebook once more before hitting the hay.

iyi geceler
eric

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

fighting procrastination

So I was really really tempted to wait till later tonight to blog. But I think that if I do that I'll end up not blogging today because that happens every time I follow through on that though. It occurs quite often. Anyways this is supposed to be about my experience not my work ethic sooo onward to the previous week. Which reminds me I need to figure out how much replacing my camera will cost, don't know why I got reminded from that however.

So last week passed fairly normally. Thursday evening I went to Taksim Square where I met most of the other exchange students and some volunteers. We were to eat then head over to one of the volunteers house for the night so that we could wake up bright and early the next morning to go receive our residents permits. Which are apparently important. I had a good time and met a few knew people. It was defiantly better than being stuck at home. When we went to the persons house we watched a popular Turkish film but the subtitles were poorly translated so no one really enjoyed the movie. We vowed to try the movie again when we learned the language.

In the morning we went to the Police Station which acts in Turkey like the DMV does in the US. Coincidentally its just as fun, friendly, enjoyable, brief, and stress free as the DMV. It was a veryy long day. When we arrived we were given our numbers. mine was 242. after about 30 minutes of waiting I inquired what number they were on. the reply i received was baffling. 50.

50! Like, half of 100! i replied dismayed.

So we ended up waiting about 5 or 6 hours.

On Saturday I went out with some friends. Yes I actually went out with friends. It was a lot of fun even though I didnt have much time and it seems like plans may become more consistent for now on. which is good because I've been awfully bored.

Now I have fallen out of a writing mood and just want to be done so I will. If anyone has any questions just post them as a comment and I'll see about answering them in my next post.

-eric

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pictures of AFS camp

A few of the AFS's posing for the camera
Not quite sure what Lisanne is doing
The AFSers forming AFS on the steps ( I'm on the top of the F)
Me learning the National Anthem of the Malikulas
My tree group

Monday, November 3, 2008

Falling into place

Things have been going fairly well for the past few days. I'm not homesick anymore and I don't really miss people anymore. I mean I do but I'm not sad about it. I've actually been surprised because this past week I actually have missed my family the most. Once again I'm not sad but I can still miss people. Anyways things have gotten better. I went to the open bazaar on saturday, that was pretty crazy. It was sooo crowded. Afterward my brother, one of his friends, and I went to go see Saw 5, which I thought was pretty amazing.

Sunday I stayed at home and chilled on the computer, becuase most of the family was out. At lunch a family friend, who is also my counselor at school, came over and we had a long, late lunch. It was pretty enjoyable. I also found out that day that the reason Ekin doesn't talk to me much is that she doesn't feel comfortable with her english. So its nice to know that it wasnt anything about me. So I'm going to start speaking to her in Turkish, whether I know how to or not.

School was pretty good today. I felt like I was making friends and I got invited to hang out with multiple people soon so maybe now I won't be as bored, which should be nice. Hmm this has actually been a fairly short post. I'm pretty anxious about the election tomorrow and will definatly be up watching as the results come in. For those wondering, I'm supporting Obama with the rest of my international community. Well I'm going to try to blog more frequently this month becuase the computer is now fixed so I should have more opportunities to get on.

-eric

oh fun fact: today marks the 2 month point since I left...wow the time is going by quickly