Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Turkish life in an American body- an update of the past 3 weeks.

After I posted my last blog, my school, determined to make adapting as hard as possible, moved me into a different class than the one I had been attending for the first week. It was like the first day all over again- extreme amounts of attention I didnt want. But now, I have been going to school for three weeks. Hard to believe I know. Ive adapted to my class and I am now thankful for that miserable attention in the beggining, because now I know many people, from all different classes and grades. I go out with a different group of kids every weekend, to cafes or movies or the sea.
As far as class goes- I have maths (advanced algerbra and geometry) as well as Turkish lit., Turkish language, Otoman history, German, English, Art, Religion, Health, National security, and a whole 7 hours of geograghy. Because I cant understand the teachers lectures though, I generally study turkish. Right now I am reading chidrens books. One of my teachers gave me homework to write an essay on Turk-America and Nato and why its important. Im lucky he gave me three months to complete it!
School culture note- At the begining of class when the teacher walks in we all stand. Like a lioness, proud and powerful, they say good morning no matter the time of day. We then all together say thank you. When speaking to the teacher during class you stand unless the teacher says you may sit. But, even with these formalities the atmosphere is a friendly one-much more friendly than schools in the US. The teachers call us 'friends' instead of students and sometimes they come sit next to you on the small wooden benches.

At home, I have reached the home sweet home phase. Although sometimes school is still new and strange, at home I couldnt be happier.I look forward to coming home every night and enjoying a family dinner and then tea time. Sometimes we get a little off task- one night ended in a sing and dance a-thon. Birsen and Ali were singing traditional and gypsy songs from different regions in Turkey- real music. The sounds of people and generations- music that is never recorded or downloaded onto an ipod. Other times we begin talking discussing Turkish or American politics over some delicious Turkish delight. Other times religion. Its facinating to learn the simularity of beliefs between us although we come from two different worlds.

There are some things about Turkey I am falling in love with. The old man with a small radio on top of his cart of simits every morning, trying to make a living. The steep, narrow cobble stone streets and the way they flood when it rains. A kiss on each cheek and a hug on each side when saying hello or departing. The exhilirating feeling of having a conversation completely in Turkish, the words just coming out of your mouth without thought,feeling like they arent your own words, but something completely new. It all feels a little like a dream. The surrealness of being here has yet to leave me. I dont think I will ever be able to travel to a country, and be just a visitor again. You cant see the country until you see it from its peoples balconys, from their dinner tables, in their language.
During one of the past weeks we also took a spontaneous day trip tp Ephesus. Ephesus is an accient city, its history mixed and confussed in Greek myths, which biblical charchters such as Paul taught at, and many wars have changed its owners over and over. The cream colored buildings against the blue blue sky was stunning. I could almost see its long gone people, walking through the streets, on their way to the temples, the library, or the hamam. When I found ancient Greek writing carved into the walls,I think my hand may have begun to shake.The history of that place was alive, and the stories those words tell, I can only imagine. Later, we went to the final home of the Virgin Mary.

Life continues in Turkey.
Yes- Life. I learn a little more Turkish each day, figure out how to get to a new place by myself, make friends, I am even picking up Turkish body language and a Çanakkale accent- plainly, Im adapting. Im working through each days problems,and maybe one day, Ill even be able to function like a normal person. A life is begining to form, and along with it a person. The Amber that lived in America is a completely different from this half developed person who lives in Turkey. Its weird to think these two people, citizens of two different worlds, inhabited\inhabit the same body.

Lots of love,

Culture note-
İve been noticing the amount of consumption of products in America. An example- I have a package of hair elastics that I bought in America. Last night Sude would not stop questioning me on why I had so many, why I would need so many etc. Here I think you buy them individually. Another example is when I bought three pens at the store, Sude had the same reaction.


  1. Amber, I smiled when I read that you have maths. It made me think of the day you said you had homeworks. You may never speak English the same again!
    Also, your comments about consumption are so right on. We are such a use and throw away society. We love you!

  2. You're learning great things. Love and miss you tons!

    JJ, Heather, Lucy, and Garrett

  3. That is amazing. Really. Im not saying that just to say it. This experience will change you forever(lol...hopefully for the better)
    when you come home, the first thing we're going to do together(after we smother each other with our loving hugs) we will go to the albertson's and gawk at how much we have in this overly-wealthy, spoiled country. Don't get me wrong, i love america. But every country has more than a few problems, right?
    I miss you so much. Dont change too much, it'll make me sound stupid around you! JK. Lol
    i love you!
    enjoy it as if your life depends on it!
    (haha i got a little carried away..)

  4. oh, and i cant believe you're taking two math classes. i can barely survive one...:)

  5. Wow! Im so glad you are having such a great expirience! That was beautiful. I loved the part about expiriencing a country over poeples balconies, dinner tables, and language.
    I miss you bushles and bushles. I always think of these things that i want to tell you and talk to you about...and then i remember that you're a million miles away. Im so glad you're having such a good time though! Sounds like the amber who no way in hell is going to waste her time there is in full swing!:)
    p.s. Last time we talked you said turkish delight was disgusting?!

  6. Hi,

    These are really nice stories. I am trying to put up a website about Turkey. ( It is about people's experiences in Turkey.
    I just wanted to ask if you would be interested in publishing some of your articles on my website with referral links to your website.
    Let me know what you think via