Since returning from Australia, I have been able to reflect a lot on my experiences and myself as well. When I first arrived at Trinity college I was incredibly overwhelmed and confused. We arrived before the other students and no one was available to let us into our rooms for over an hour. This being my first day there, I feared that this would be only the beginning of my problems, but thankfully Trinity turned out to be one of the only things that kept me sane. The facilities were beautiful and the people were very kind and helpful. Contrastingly, I found the university to be very difficult and unhelpful. I will admit that it is likely in part my own fault for taking difficult courses, but I felt that the atmosphere and teaching styles were not only confusing and disorganized but were also difficult to adjust to after attending Willamette. Additionally, the culture of the campus as well as the town in general was extremely different. Never have I experienced the amount of sexual harassment as I did in Australia. Even while walking down the street to class in sweatpants and a sweater, I was honked at, whistled at or other wise made to feel self conscious. Additionally, it was very difficult to understand and cope with the incredible amount of racism that I overheard and observed. I fear that I sound ungrateful from this post, though I hope that you understand that is not the case. I am eternally grateful for the support Willamette offered me while I was abroad, the support from my family and friends, as well as the memories and great friends that I made abroad. I apologize for my inability to eloquently state my experiences and emotions, but I have found that it is impossible to fully describe what happened while I was abroad and how it has changed me today.
So it is time to talk about the language barrier. It is actually not that bad, I can mime almost anything now! I have also learned a few words like hello and thank you and sorry/excuse me. But I have noticed a few things
1) Tone here is not as important as it is in english. For example, when we say sure, it can mean several things depending on the location and the tone used. If you are a midwest person, it will mean ok sounds good, but if you are from the best coast, it could be used sarcastically like, sure whatever you say. Here in Turkish, tone of what you are saying is not that important, it is the tense you use.
2) HOLY SHIT THIS LANGUAGE IS BEAUTIFUL!!! it has a very lyrical way about it, where english is more forceful.
3) More letters= more confusion. Enough said.
And now for the things I have crossed off my bucket list
Number 19 is done! I was out until 4am, and promptly slept at 6am to 10am. It was a delirious day, but sooo worth it for that night. We went to a party specifically for exchange students and in essence, “we danced, we cried and had a really really real good time”
Number 3 is also done! I have never eaten so much yogurt, meatballs, pasta and bread in my life. And it is good! Except there is no bacon, so I am slowly dying inside. very very slowly.
And for some more things I have figured out I like
Hookah is so fun! mint and apple is the best one I have had so far and I am even buying one and bringing one back. Oh did I mention that the price is equivalent to about 30USD? Ya I am pretty stoked.
Also I miss good beer. Beer here is about the equal to expensive PBR. It is so sad, but it gets the job done I guess.
But on a happier note! I am learning to cook so next year, fast food will not be my best friend. Just a munchies buddy
And Now for some of my travels!!!
This is the inside of the Hagia Sophia, it was a church, a mosque, and is now a museum. It was so beautiful and I will have to go again. Also Professor Nicgorski, I watched out for the falling dome!
This was a cat rolling around outside the Hagia Sophia. I love that there are SO MANY CATS here! I even was able to hold and pet one outside the Archaeology Museum.
This is in Topkapi Palace. It was the Royal palace for the Sultan. So were were were walking around where the members of the high court and the royals chilled out!
This was in the Archaeology Museum. I just thought that it was cool.
On one of the hikes I took
The Bosporus Sea!! The hike was on a steep hill, but as you can see…
Well worth the result!
During my time in Sweden I traveled to Norway to see some extended family. I stayed for 10 days in Oslo with my third cousins once removed, Marianne and Nils, and their kids (my third cousins) Henrik and Cecilie, who were about my age. I got to go to Holmenkollen and explore downtown, but by far the best part of the trip was going to their cabin in the mountains and going skiing. This picture was taken before heading back to the car on our first cross country ski trip (my first ever) we stopped after the first 10 Km for lunch at a scenic outlook and made a bench in the snow. We had prepacked sandwiches and hot drinks. It was such a simple but incredible experience sitting with my relatives in the Norwegian mountains and having lunch.
The view was just like this picture for almost 360 degrees around me.
At the top of the mountain on our second day at the cabin we went downhill skiing, something I haven’t done since I was 13. The sky was totally clear, and I could see for miles around.
Here we all are on our last day at the cabin, back on cross country skis. despite how sore i was from the last two days, I didn’t complain, and it was totally worth it.
For lunch on the last day, we took some fresh pine branches, lay them out on the snow and build a fire to roast hotdogs over. After hotdogs we had Lefse S’mores. Lefse is a traditional Norwegian food made from potato flatbread, butter and cinnamon sugar. Needless to say, it was delicious.
I had such a great time, and I reconnected with distant relatives who had visited the U.S. once before. It was so great to see them again and keep the connection between the state side and home country families alive.
Honestly moving abroad is a big shock. I definitely wasn’t entirely aware of it at the time, because internally everything seems fine, but it really was a crazy time. Luckily, you can prepare yourself for some of the challenges that you are going to face. For me there was one thing that perhaps served as the best preparation. Living in Denmark was the first time that I would be entirely responsible for feeding myself. As such I spent much of the summer with my parents in the kitchen learning how to fend off starvation. Although there are many different foods internationally and I didn’t have all of the resources I was used to, having basic cooking skills came in handy countless times. Not to mention that inviting people over for a homemade ‘American’ meal cooked by the guy from the ‘U.S.A.’ was consistently a great way to make friends. Making sure that I was able to cook food, and good food, was a key preparation I made to stay happy and healthy while abroad. It’ll also save you a lot of money on eating out! Although it’s pretty hard to avoid spending money anyway!
During my stay abroad in Aalborg, Denmark I lived with two french students also studying abroad, however, for longer periods of time. One of them, Jeremy, was the source of many difficulties throughout my stay in northern Europe. It all culminated late on one Tuesday night. It was his birthday, and the two of us along with some other friends were heading out towards the bars to celebrate. Along the way I mentioned to Jeremy that someone had said something negative about his friend from school, Matthieu. For whatever reason this set Jeremy off. He became angrier than anyone I’ve ever seen before, and the almost comedic attempts at angry English did not make it any easier for me to appropriately react. After suffering taking the full force of his wrath for close to an hour I finally attempted to leave him. He followed me and attempted to grab me to stop me from leaving. This is the story of the first and only fight I’ve ever been in. Four in the morning in the middle of a Danish street on a Tuesday, and I was in a brawl with one of my roommates. By the end he apologized and not much was hurt more than egos. However, when people talk about difficulties abroad, it is always Jeremy that comes to mind.