With the whirlwind of getting settled in here, I seem to have neglected this blog! Instead of trying to cram two weeks into one post, I’ll just give you the highlights! (Broken up into people and places)
People: Just Peachy, Lost in Translation
- The first day of orientation at our hotel in Ankara, I came downstairs to breakfast and asked for “Peach Juice” from the waiter who immediately started cracking up. Apparently the word “peach” is a swear word in Turkish. My first day living in another country, I’ve insulted someone. Instead of offending him though, my blunder earned me a friend. The next day I sat down to eat, he walks over and puts a glass of peach juice down on the table, smirked and walked away. For the next week, every time I went down for breakfast, I found a glass of juice waiting for me!
- Last week I was on the bus with my roomie Lejla coming home from the beach, an older woman sitting in front of us on the bus kept turning around and looking at me and staring. I just went along with it, and smiled back. About the fourth time that she turned around to look at me she starts saying a bunch of things in Turkish which I didn’t understand whatsoever and gesturing with her hands like, “tall, tall.” I thought she was just trying to tell me that I’m very tall, which happens a lot in the US too. All of a sudden, though, she grabs my hand and presses it to her heart. She keeps gesturing, “tall, tall” and brings my hand to her heart again and again. My roommate, laughing at me, says that from what she gathered the woman wanted to take me home, maybe because I’m tall or perhaps for her tall son or because she used to be tall, we couldn’t tell, but what was clear, she wanted to keep me! Funniest bus ride of my life.
- When we sit on our porch (which looks over the Hellespont, with views of Europe on one side, the sea, and the terracotta rooftops of the town) the smell of woodsmoke drifts up to us. We figured out that the smell is coming from this Pide shop (see previous pide posts) across the street. My roommate Bethany and I went over to the shop to explore one of our first nights in Canakkale. The owner/cook, Osman came out to smoke a cigarette, and we got to talking about where we’re from, what we’re doing in Canakkale (which is the extent of my Turkish at the moment). When he found out my name was Samantha, he mockingly jumped out of his seat and pointed at me asking if I was the Samantha from the show, Bewitched. Now whenever we walk by the store, he wiggles his nose at me and waves yelling out in his sing-song voice, “Samantha, hello!”
Places: An Aegean Island and the Mountains of the Gods
Bozcaada: Last weekend we to Bozcaada which is a wine island on the Aegean. We rented mopeds and zoomed around the island, and went to a beach which was warmer than 80% of the lakes I’ve swum in back home in Maine. Got lamb kebabs for lunch and drank white wine from one of the vineyards on the island. One of my favorite places I’ve visited thus far for sure.
Mount Ida: This weekend we went on a hike up Mount Ida, which is the mountain that Homer writes about in the Iliad. The view was incredible, so instead of trying to describe it I’ll put up some pictures. We went with the hiking club at our University, it was about a 2 hour ride, broken up by mandatory chai tea breaks. We stopped in one little village for chai on the way home where I ventured off to find a bathroom. Instead of going to a public restroom, one of my Turkish friends and I ended up at someone’s house, who invited us in. These three little boys who I think belonged to the man who owned the house teasingly told me that they were 50 years old (I know enough Turkish to know they were pulling my leg) so I told them I was 100 years old and they cracked up and then ran after me calling me ‘America, America!’ Their father told me how much he liked Obama and asked me if I would stay and drink with him (this is what I gathered from broken translations from my Turkish friends and miming). We had to get back on the bus, but they gave me a walnut, grapes and an apple from their yard.