Monday, June 8, 2009

Trip to Adana

So I really wanted to write this blog about a week ago but my computer was stricken with a virus so I've been unable to use it and am now using the school computer which I just discovered has unblocked blogging sites. (I use to not be able to blog here) This is the last week of school and the only kids from the 10th grade here today are myself and one other girl. So naturally we are not doing much today.

So as the title suggest I recently went on Independent travel to another Turkish city called Adana to visit some of my amazing AFS friends. I stayed there for 5 memerable days and had a great time. I did not take many pictures unfortunatly (only about 50) but I am tagged in a lot on facebook for those interested.

On my second day there we all went to the Turkish Bath (Hamam) and for those who dont know what that is it is pretty much just the most amazing bath you can take. I highly recommend to go to one if you ever find yourself in Turkey because it is very nice and also quite different. The Turkish Baths are segregated between men and women of course. The first thing you do when you get there is get completly undressed and you only wear a towl-like cloth around your waist. From there you go into this steamed room where there is a big stone in the middle and a bunch of sinks around it. You take bowls and pour the water over you. After you do that for a good 15 minutes or so you then go to this small pool in another room. The pool is filled with cold water and you jump into that and stay there for a little bit. When you first get in its quite frigid but once you get out you feel great. From there you go to the sauna. And sweat. The sauna they had there was about 140 degrees. After you boil in there for a bit you go back to the frigid pool where it now feels ever colder than before. After your done with that you pretty much switch between the various stations depending on what you want to do. From the description some might assume that this experience is unpleasent but trust me, once your done you feel amazing. Turkish Baths are also very social. At one point during the bath, we all(except for alec) got a massage. Well kinda. Massage is the best translation but really its more of someone taking a sandpaper like cloth and scraping the dead skin off of nearly your entire body. That was a little unpleasant seeing as it hurts a little but also when you are done you feel great and your skin is super smooth.

Of course we did more than just the turkish bath. It seemed every night we would all do something. On the first night we went to a Karoke bar where we guys had a great time singing a drunken "Help!" by the Beatles. Speaking of which I learned a life lesson in the alcohol area which I will not go into here but to any that are interested just send me a message or ask me about it when I get back. I'll try to spin it into a good story.

Now onto the second part of my blog.

I only have 20 days left! I'm not sure if thats a happy or sad exclamation mark. It's so strange thinking that I'll be home soon. In fact my feelings towards it are quite similar to my feelings when I was leaving for Turkey. Excited but not ready to leave. It's strange, whenever I think about being "home" it doesn't feel like home anymore. Turkey is my home now. All my friends are here, sure I have friends in America but I haven't seen any of them in 10 months and few of us are that close any more. I can't imagine that I'll be gone soon. I just can't wrap my head around that fact.

Yet everyday I do more and more to prepare for my return. I'm getting my transcripts, talking to my family and friends a lot more and just in general slowly switching lives. Just like when I was leaving for Turkey. I know when I get back I'll quickly get back into the rythm of American life but right now I don't feel American anymore, I feel Turkish. Sure I still have my accent but turkish comes so much easier now, my english is better but whenever I start to speak the first thing I do is talk in Turkish.

Well I got to get back to working on my H.I. for Speech and Debate so I will end this blog. There will probably only be one or two more, which I think I'm looking forward to but not quite sure.

See you soon,
-Erik

*By the way I had the hardest time writing this blog, I kept writing in turkish grammar. for instance in english you would say 'I want to go to the theatre' while in turkish you say 'Theatre to go to wanting I' very different, I know.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bu Yıl Nardeyse Bitti D=

So I procrastinated writing this blog entry because last week I had two other exchange students living at my house for a week. A group of fellow AFSers from all over Turkey decided to visit İstanbul over the weekend so I had no time to write.

This past week was a lot of fun, I got to skip school, learn the bus system almost perfectly, and get absolutely no sleep. As I said I had two visitors, Kevin from Costa Rica and McKinely from the USA, stay at my house. We had to wake up early everyday to be able to catch the bus because I live really far away from the city and to get to the Bospherous by bus it takes up to 2 hours. I would often get stressed out on how I would get people to where they wanted to go and get back to my house, and had more than one breakdown over the course of the week.

But when we actually got to where we wanted to go it was always fun. This was really the first week I spent as a tourist in İstanbul. For the past 8 months I've seen a lot but its always been in passing. I had gone to the Grand Bazaar but I never bought much, I've seen the Hagia Sophia plenty of times while hanging out with friends but I had never been inside. (Yes I did take pictures for those who are curious and they will be on Facebook...eventually).

I realized this week that I've changed quite a bit from when I left, or so I'm told. Everyone kept telling me I stress out way too much, something I never used to do; and that I am the rest of the time relaxed and non-crazy, also different than from when I left. But whoever reads this can decide for themselves when they see me next.

Which really won't be to far away. Only 36 more days and I'll be back in the USA. Thats no time at all. My feelings are beyond mixed now, they're explosive. The way I feel towards coming home can change in less than an hour. At one point I'll be dreading leaving Turkey and all my friends but the next I can't wait to return. In fact when I started writing this I dreaded leaving, now I'm excited. Who knows how I'll feel when I finish.

Time is flying by, it seems every time I look at a calender another day has passed. And I know time is only going to start going faster as my last month here will be packed full of activities. From 28 May-2 June I'll be in Adana doing my first İndependent travel in Turkey. I also hope to go to Çanakale and Antalya before I leave. Thats 2 of my 5 weeks right there. Of course theres the last camp too, then whatever else I end up doing.

So to those waiting for me back home, I'll see you soon and I miss you too.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Two Months Left

How the time has gone by. It seems like no time at all since I arrived in the İstanbul airport ready for my year abroad and already I'm preparing to leave. Though I still have 60 day left, I can feel my trip windering down. I now have to start thinking about what I want to get done before I leave because there isn't much time left. I need to figure out what I'll be leaving here and what to take home.

Whenever I talk to someone about my leaving (or returning depending on to whom I'm speaking) they always ask me if I'm excited to be returning home. And yes I am excited, I'm very ready to see my friends and family, to listen to American accents, and eat great American food such as Mexican food. But I also don't want to leave, I love Turkey. It's become my home over these past 8 months (can you believe its been that long?!) and there are so many things I'm going to miss. İstanbul is a great city.

Luckily though, since I'll be returnig soon then I get to stop righting this blog within the next two months! Yippee. I really dont have a clue what to write about anymore. Any ideas?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Almanya'da (In Germany)

A special thanks to Mr. William Carter the First for informing me that it has been 2 weeks and one day since my last post entitled; "Whoops". For those that were staring at your computer screen on the edge of your seat last night at 11:59 PM, waiting for a new post; I apologize.

Anyways, as many of my readers already know, I went to Germany last weekend to visit my great pal Lisa. For those that don't know, Lisa was an exchange student from Germany (duh) that lived with my family from '06-'07. Her and I were very close so it was really cool getting to see her in her hometown.

When I arrived on Friday, Lisa walked me around her village with her sister and boyfriend. Her village is really small, like 1200 people small. There are more people in my high school. After that we ate lunch, which is the main meal in that part of Germany, not dinner. Also we colored eggs for Easter.

I actually had no clue that it was Easter when I went to Germany. In Turkey no one knew because it's a Muslim country so naturally I kind of forgot about it. But now I remember and realize I don't have a spring break. D= Oh well, I'll get over it.

I realize now that the task of writing down everything we did is going to take forever and is quite daunting so I've decided halfway through to just give an over-view.

It was awesome to see Lisa again, I got to meet her family and her friends, who are all very nice. It was also a little weird though to see her in a completely different life. Different family, friends, plans. I don't really know how to describe it beyond weird. So I'll leave it at that.

I've definately gotten lazy with these, but oh well I've got other things to do so I'll stop here. Anyone who wants to know more specifics on my trip can talk to me anytime. Be sure to check back in another 2 weeks in one day for the next possible update.

İyi Akşamlar

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Whoops...

Well I'm supposed to write every two weeks but it seems that I lost track of a week somewhere. So to AFS that gave me my scholarship SORRY! çok uzgunum. gerçektin.

Anyways the past few weeks have been really great. Every weekend I have gone out with friends, I'm hardly ever bored anymore. When I'm not doing anything I'm appreciating the break now. Time is really speeding up. The return date is sneaking up on me very quickly. I almost wish I had a few more months. I don't think I'll be ready to leave by July.

This week a group of foreign visitors came to our school and on Monday I got to meet all of them. A lot of us quickly became friends. I have now met people from Estonia and Lithuania, two country's I know nothing about but now plan on Wikipedia-ing to not feel like an ignorant american. From meeting these people I figured out just how turkish I had become. I found myself talking about Turkey and teaching them our culture. What they should eat, where they should go. I even started teaching them a little turkish. It made me wonder how turkish I'll be acting when I return to the USA.

Today at school I finished one of my storys for the first time ever. I've always started storys but never finished but today I finished. This may not seem like a big deal but to me it felt like a huge acomplishment. Also when I got home I learned about the exchange student my family will (probably) be hosting next year. She is turkish so I'll be able to continue speaking my broken turkish in the US which should be fun. Beyond that not much happened today. I watched to The Truman Show, which was AMAZİNG by the way, and after that wrote this. So yay for first real blog post in a while! Woo Hoo!

-eric

Monday, March 9, 2009

Howdy!

So thing have been going pretty well over here on this side of the world. I hang out with friends outside of school consistently and I'm completely comfortable at school and home. It seems like I've been here no time at all but in only 3 more months I'll be getting ready to come home. It's ridiculous how fast the time has gone by.
Anyways, I don't really know what to blog about, I just know that I need to seeing as if I delay another day I'll be breaking my "blog every two weeks" agreement. So I guess instead of boring you with a repetitive account of how I feel being here, I'll bore you with a list of my favorite foods in Turkey.

Eric's Top Three Favorite Turkish Foods

3. Döner is hard to describe. Its meat but the way it is prepared is different than any thing I've seen in the US. It is hung on a skewer and cooked next to a flame. When it is done they take a long knife and cut thin, vertical slices off and put it in a pide, or other type of bread. It is really simple but taste amazing. Nice and greasy, just like my favorite American foods. The best part about this food is that its super cheap and can be found nearly everywhere.

2. Now technically this one is a drink but it's just to good and I'm to addicted to it for it not to be on the list, Turkish Tea. Turks drink tea all the time and they have perfected their tea to an art. Served every morning, at lunch, in the afternoon and whenever guests arrive; a tea kettle is absolutly essential in a Turkish home. Turkish Tea is always served hot. The kettle used to cook it is also unlike I've seen before. Basically what it is is two kettles, with a larger one directly on the stove and a smaller one on top of it. Tea leaves are put in the upper kettle and mixed with hot water, while the lower one only has water. When you pour the tea you put just a little bit a tea in your cup and fill the rest up with water because the tea is very strong. As I said before this stuff is amazing and I definatly plan on bringing back my own tea kettle so I can continue drinking this.

1. My absolutly favorite food is one I have already mentioned on this blog so if you have been following my adventures then you should recognize this; the waffle. Not a breakfast item but the tastiest dessert of them all. The waffle portion; in the shape of an Ego; is soft and sweet and soon covered with your choice of sweets. My personal favorite is one half white chocalate and one half milk chocalate. Then topped with kiwi, bananas, and strawberries And for the final touch a little bit of crushed pistachio and hazelnut. All folded together in a warm, messy, sweet bite of heaven. This is by far my favorite turkish food and I plan on filling up on it to last me until my next visit to Turkey after my exchange is over.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Just got back from mid-stay camp

and I had an amazing time. Seeing all (well most) the afsers again was so great, and having to leave them again I realize how close we have all become and that it will be so difficult to leave them when my year is over.

Also at camp a few things were pointed out to me. First of all, apparantly I'm taller. I hadn't noticed but I got asked that question by about the entire camp. Secondly, it seems that I have matured as I heard from both counselors and students that I am much less annoying which will no doubt come as a relief to my regular lunch table in the US.

One thing that came as a dissapointment however is my lack of efficiency in the Türk lingo. A lot of the other AFS students have become quite efficient and even carried on whole conversations in Turkish, and I just don't understand. So now I'm more determined than ever to learn this language and have been using it a lot more now.

I also realized during camp that I've been here for almost 6 months. Almost half a year! When I went I thought that I had been here for almost 5 so learning I was a month behind came as a shock. I realize now that with only 121 days left that I don't want to leave anymore, not yet anyways. Theres so much more I need to get done-make more friends, learn the language, go to a football match, and so on- but havent yet and only having 3 and a half months seems so short now. Don't get me wrong I definatly want to come home but I rather it be in like...August now. haha.

Well I think I'll wrap this blog post up. I'm working on a video blog post, so hopefully that will be up in the next two weeks or so. Oh and by the way I'm not going to England, it was a misunderstanding between the class and the teacher but oh well Turkey is a cooler country anyways.

Sonra seni konuşacağım
-Eric

Monday, February 9, 2009

Mondays are just soo much fun

especially after a 2 week holiday from school.

Today wasn't too bad though. It was actually pretty good, save the waking up early, boredom, and school food. First, today I finally got some Root Beer! One of my friends at school went to Miami for the holiday and she offered to bring me back some root beer. She brought 3 bottles, all different brands. Though as I guessed most people at my school thought it was absolutely disgusting but I thought it was perfectly tasty.

In the last class today I learned that there is going to be a school trip to England with the english class and I get to go too. I am very excited about this, it will be nice to go to a country where the main language is English but not America. I really can't be happier about this. We leave March 7th and it is until the 15th. So it will be an awesome early birthday present.

Well that's about all I got for today, I'll try writing more frequently but I'll probably end up procrastinating again. Oh well. Until next time (Whenever that may be)
-Eric Frid

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Magical Half-Way Mark of Joy and Wonder

So today marks-as the title suggest-my halfway mark through my exchange and I must say, it has come much sooner than I expected it. I've nearly been here 5 months but it hardly feels like time has gone by at all. It doesn't seem to long ago that I was arriving in the hotel for my arrival orientation.

I don't exactly know what to make of the length I've been here. I'm not sure if I'm doing a good job of being an Exchange Student. I feel like I should have more friend and be better at the language but I don't and I'm not. Don't get me wrong I certainly have friends but we hardly hang out outside of school. It's nothing compared to how social I was in the US.

Something else that struck me recently--I'm scared to go back. Recently when I think of my departure I don't look forward to it with excitement, but I don't dread it either. I'm more anxious. I'm worried of how much thing have changed and I'm not too close to my life in the US anymore. I'm so adapted here at this point that I...I don't know how to explain. And it's late so I should probably be getting ready for bed. Either way I probably won't be posting again this month unless something comes up. I just don't know what to write about anymore-all of these post seem to be getting redundant. Any suggestions of what to include in a post is very welcome. İyi Geceler
Eric Frid

Friday, January 16, 2009

Salvador Dali...again

So I wasn't planning on writing today but today was a more interesting day. My class went on a field trip to the Salvador Dali art exhibition. I had already gone with AFS so it wasn't very interesting. But I did have a lot of fun with my turkish friends. It was weird though because we kept getting in trouble for talking by the people that like observed us in there...i don't know what they would be called. Well eventually after like the 5th time they got mad at us, we figured out that they thought we were making fun of them and the art because we were speaking in English and laughing. It was weird having someone misinterpret me like that. Well that's really all I was going to write today so those expecting another epic installment will be disappointed. Until next time.

eric

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I am Bican!

So I thought I might start this off with informing my loyal followers that I got a part in a turkish play at my school. I play the part of Bican (pronounced Bee-John) a retarded boy whose mother is trying to get him into an art school. I have no speaking roll but I have to be very physical. My scene is where my mother is trying to convince the administration I'm fit to be in the school. My goal is to be terrible. "Look how he stands! So proud and dignified!" I do the opposite and look as retarded as possible. I'll also be handed a few instruments to play and I have to play them as horrible as possible. It should be pretty fun and right up my alley. I'm looking forward to it.

Anyways not much besides that has really happened since my last post. I find it difficult to keep blogging simply because I don't feel as if anything note worthy as really happened. So instead I've decided to write my top 5 Turkish pet peeves. Enjoy!

5. Obsession with fresh air
Turkish kids are obsessed with it. Everyday in school the windows in my room are wide open. No matter what the temperture outside. It has literal been snowing outside and the windows are wide open. The most shocking of this is that most of my classmates don't even appear to be cold. I don't understand this at all.

4. Movies, the perfect time to talk
Apparrantly in Turkey it is perfectly acceptable to talk during a movie. My teachers show us movies often and typically they are in english with turkish subtitles....and my classmate socialize the entire time. I think they forget that I actually have to hear the movie to understand seeing as I don't understand the Turkish subtitles. This happens in movie theatres too, thus to counter this effect cinemas turn the volumn way way up. You can feel the volumn. It is ridiculous.

3. Turn on the TV, it's time to sleep!
Every weekend my dad turns on the TV around 11 to a sports channel and lies down on the couch. He watches for about 15 minutes the falls asleep. He is now occupiying the only piece of furniture used for sitting in front of the TV. Now if I want to watch anything except what he left on I either have to sit on the floor, or wake him up so I can actually sit comfortably. This normally wouldn't be a big deal but it is a very regular occurence.

2. Lock the door! If we don't no doubt someone will take every single one of our possesions.
Not only is every house in Turkey constantly locked, there isn't even an option to unlock them. Once the door is closed you either need a key or need someone to open the door for you. For me who is quite often the first home from school and the only one home for about 3 hours it feels quite restrictive that I can't even step out side for a few minutes without being locked out. This is very very annoying.

1. The opinions of foreiners are completly wrong. If they like something it is automatically bad.
I love sharing my interest and introducing people to what I like. But that is impossible when your host family absolutly refuses to give any of your interest a shot. I watched "The Office" my first few weeks here and my host dad saw a little bit in passing and deemed it boring and bad. The entire family now pretty much refuses to try to enjoy one of my favourite TV shows. Just a few days ago my host brother and host dad were flipping through channels on the TV. Seeing this I suggested that we can watch LOST which I recently recieved as a Christmas gift. My father responded, "No thanks, you can watch that when I am not here". They then proceeded to watch darts for 3 hours. Not only is this non-sensical and annoying, its down right upsetting. Thus winning it the number 1 spot on my Top Five Turkish Pet Peeves list.



I hope you enjoyed today's installment of "Turkish Delight", tune in next week to learn more of my crazy antics in the magical land of Turkey.

Monday, January 5, 2009

2009 already

Ever since I woke up on January 1st I feel that my departure date of June 24th is much closer than it was on December 31st. Much much closer. I'm not quite halfway through but the past 4 months have gone by so fast, I think that I will probably be back in the states before I know it.

Anyways this will be a short post, i just wanted to keep on top of my blogging so I don't experience another 2 week break like before. Today I felt sick and stayed home. Unfortunately I wasn't deathly ill so i got quite bored and had to entertain myself. I eventually got so bored I played chess with myself. I won.

It was a pretty intense match though.