I was supposed to start school on Monday, but unfortunately that did not happen. The Ministry of Education lost our papers, all of us with NSLI-Y and so AFS Turkey had to resend them, but that also delayed things. Also, there were papers that AFS had to contact AFS USA for, such as our transcripts, so that delayed things even more. Right now we are trying to see if we can go for a few days before we get our residence permits, and hopefully we can go next week at the earliest!
I still have language classes even though school hasn’t started yet, and before them I normally get together with Lena, Sam, and Lucas to eat lunch and walk around Samsun. When we walk around we get stared at and are seen like animals in a zoo and people do double-takes when they hear us speaking English. When we are with our families we blend in much more, but especially now that school has started we just get weird looks. We are trying to blend in as much as we can, but when we go to restaurants and try to order it is always a difficult task at this point. Luckily it gets easier every day.
Normally I just have Turkish language class Monday-Friday, but this weekend we have language classes, 5 hrs on Saturday and 4 hrs on Sunday because we missed class for going to Ankara. We were complaining a little because who wants to go to class on weekends? But here it is completely normal. Almost all high schoolers go to extra classes Saturday and Sunday to study more. Also, many go to extra class after normal school in the same way that I am going to language class everyday. I had thought that if that was me I would be upset and frustrated that I had to go to class, but here it is normal. It would be like an SAT prep class, but for every subject every day. I have realized that pretty much only kids in elementary school participate in sports or other activities in the afternoon. High schoolers are too busy studying to do anything else.
At TÖMER (my language school) there is a class of high schoolers that is learning English at the same time that we are learning Turkish, but for 3 days a week. During our breaks we talk to them and we converse in both English and Turkish. There was a group of middle schoolers that we met on the rooftop café (where we hang out during breaks) who are taking English who we realized were following us to hear us speak and maybe speak to us. We introduced ourselves and talked a little. Since they are young they are very patient with us and with our Turkish skills, but they also laugh a lot. We are used to being laughed at at this point because it happens almost daily. A few days later there was another group of girls that came into our class to talk. It seems as though everyone wants to get to know us!
I want school to start so bad! This has been my longest summer ever, and I am ready to start! I never thought I would be this eager to go back to high school, but I also just want something to do during the day! I think it’s a little awkward that we are going a few weeks into school. The classes will have a rhythm and it will be interrupted at least a little by us. We would be the new novelty whenever we started and now I feel as though the teachers may get frustrated since we haven’t been there since the beginning. I know that a few weeks after we start we will all be thinking that we want more vacation, but at this point I want to meet more Turkish teenagers, see what school is like, make friends, and actually have something to do during my day. I love hanging out with the other Americans, but we have all concluded that we want to make Turkish friends too! Hopefully it will start soon!