Saturday, February 19, 2011

On Beş Tatil

I just finished February vacation, which in Turkey is also my winter vacation, and the only vacation I have for the rest of the year. I don’t even think I have any long weekends before the end of the school year, but I will survive. People in Samsun tend to call it “on beş tatil” which means fifteen holiday, for the 15 days that we don’t have school. AFS knew that we were going to have this break so they also gave us a break from TÖMER. Therefore, I have had a great break from all school.
During this break I relaxed a lot, stayed up late and woke up late, met a lot of relatives, visited with family members, saw school classmates, and only saw the Americans a lot. Some of the highlights of the break though were going to a Samsun Spor soccer game, attending a traditional Turkish engagement party, having a slumber party with lots of girls, and realizing the new potential of my Turkish language skills.
The Samsun Spor soccer game was a really fun, new experience. In the US men attend sporting events, but women do as well. That is not the case in Turkey as it is 95% men. I went with my host sisters, my American friend Sam, her host sisters, and her host dad. He goes to almost all of the games and sits with the same group of men, therefore we were protected when we attended. There was a lot of screaming, cheering, and jumping around involved. Before the game all of us girls got all decked out in Samsun Spor attire, which made the game even better!
before the Samsun Spor soccer game :)
My host cousin who lives downstairs got engaged over the break. We spend evenings at his house with him and my host aunt all the time, so he isn’t a stranger to me anymore. This happens for almost all marriages in Turkey. The engagement happens at the bride’s house while the marriage happens at the groom’s, so last Thursday night we all piled into cars to go to her house. All of the women went into one apartment while the men went to the apartment above it. The reason for this festivity is for the bride and groom to meet all of the relatives. Basically think about inviting every single relative you have and all of their relatives and piling everyone into one room. It is quite overwhelming. There is a lot of kissing and hugging that goes on the whole evening. After a while the groom comes into the women’s room accompanied by his father and the bride’s father for the exchanging of rings. The rings are tied together with a red ribbon and after they say that they will get engaged the ribbon is cut. Then, both the bride and groom have an engagement ring that they wear until they get married. After that, we all got cake and cookies to eat accompanied by juice boxes. Comment: Juice boxes in the US are normally considered for children, but in Turkey people of all ages drink juice boxes all the time. My host cousin has to complete his year in the military before he turns 30 by Turkish law, and since he is 29 he will be starting in a few months. Therefore the wedding will be next fall and unfortunately I won’t be in Samsun for it.
my host family with the soon to be bride and groom
lots of pictures!

pasta = cake!!

all of the shoes outside the apartment as you can't wear them in the house :P

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