Saturday, May 28, 2011


Two weekends ago I went on my school trip to Izmir with most of my classmates, and a lot of friends from other classes. It was a fun-filled weekend with very little sleep.

On Thursday May 12th, I boarded a bus from my school with 48 other AALers and 5 teachers, for a 16 hour bus ride through the night to Izmir. All week, while I was complaining about how the bus ride was going to be terrible after about 5 hours, my friends told me differently and said that the bus was going to be the best part! I can say that the first 5-7 hours were really fun, but after that we all got tired and had troubles sleeping. I sat with my friend who ended up being a great pillow, and from past experiences this year with busses, I slept pretty well compared to everyone else. We made lots of stops to go to the restroom, no worries there.
on the bus with some of my girls :)
In the morning we got out at a restaurant to have breakfast and then continued on to Izmir. We toured the city on the bus and took pictures out the windows. We stopped and had free time to go shopping a little and eat lunch. I know that most of you will be surprised, as I was, to hear that I ate at KFC for lunch. As there is no KFC in Samsun, my classmates wanted to take full advantage of the opportunity, and while I refuse to eat American fast food while in Turkey, I made an exception to stay with my friends.
in Izmir
KFC lunch :P
After lunch we got back on the bus and rode about an hour and a half to Kuşadası, a touristy town where we would be staying. We got some time to rest, take showers and relax before we walked to a castle down town. Dinner at the hotel followed and then free time around town. During free time of the trip I spent time mostly with 7 of my girl friends as we all liked to go shopping and walk around. Therefore that evening was spent with my girls walking around and singing karaoke. If you ask almost any student that went on the trip, the best part was back at the hotel after check-in when we hung out in the rooms with our friends. The teachers made no restrictions so girls and guys hung out in the same room until they went to bed.
walking around :)
The next morning we went to the House of Virgin Mary. We walked through, lit candles and prayed, drank holy water, and made wishes with paper :).
most of the group :)
After that we went to Efes (Ephesus) which was amazing! It is an area of old ruins. The only bad part was that it was really hot and I got a little sunburnt :/.
a library
my classmates who went on the trip... 11E <3 
After a great buffet lunch we went to Saint John’s Aniti and an old mosque. Then we drove back to Kuşadası, the town where our hotel was, and went on a boat ride around the Aegean Sea.
We went back to our hotel to have dinner and rest. Then we went our to tour the town again, sang more karaoke, and visited starbucks! After checking in that night I watched Eurovision with a large group of my friends.
The next morning, after checking out of the hotel and driving about an hour, we had almost 4 hours of shopping time at a very large shopping center. I got some new clothes and took advantage of the sales :). Around 3:30 we got back on the bus and started our drive to Samsun. That night I actually slept a good amount compared to a lot of other people. I got off the bus at 5:30am, walked home, fell asleep in the clothes I was wearing, and slept until TÖMER.

It was a fantastic weekend, and I had a blast spending time with my friends. It turns out that the 16 hour bus ride wasn’t as bad as I expected. I slept more than anyone else on the trip. How fortunate for me! I had never been on a school trip before and this was a great first one!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Summary of April

April was probably my host hectic month in Samsun so far. There was so much going on that I had no time to update my blog. Therefore please accept my apologies
On the night of April 1st I took the night bus to Ankara with my American Samsunites. We spent the morning of my 19th birthday planning trees wth the US Embassy in Ankara. We met the ambassador and got to do community service. It was great giving back to the earth on my birthday. In the afternoon we walked around a little before dinner. As I am here in Turkey on a scholarship from the US State Department, we have some special requirements as well as many benefits, one of them being having diplomat mentors to talk to about working in the foreign service. The woman who is in charge of us while we are in Turkey, Stefanie, invited us to her house for a potluck of American food to meet all of our mentors. It was great having foods that we have been longing for so long such as chilli, lasagna, garlic bread, cucpakes, girl scout thin mint ice cream, and root beer. It truly felt as if we had traveled back to the US for the evening, which was very culturally confusing, but very enjoyable. All 4 of us realized to a small extent what we will go through when we return back to the US in June. The next day walked around the city, went to a Chinese restaurant for lunch (which made me realize that I will never have Chinese food in Turkey again :P) and then returned back to Samsun later that evening.
cupcakes for my 19th birthday!
Lena and Cemre planting trees!

With the Abassador

On Friday April 15th my family came to visit me from the US over my brother’s April vacation. It was amazing to see them after so long, especially in Samsun. We spent our time in Samsun wakling around, touring, meeting my friends and family, and spending time together. We also went to Ankara for 2 days and they went to Capadoccia for 2 days, without me as I had school, to tour and see the sites. I took my brother to school one day with me and then we had lunch with my class, which was great. All of my classmates wanted to meet my family so it was great to finally introduce them.
My class with Greg

One of the best experiences was dinner at my house one Saturday night. It was a confusing at first since my family doesn’t know Turkish and my host family doesn’t know English, but as time went on things got more relaxed. It was truly enjoyable because my family got to experience traditional Turkish culture and see what I encounter all the time while being with people that are so special to me.

Family and Host Family
Family, Host Family, Sam's Host family and relatives
In the month of April all scattered around I also went to neighbor’s and relatives’ houses multiple times a week. My host mom wants to introduce me to her friends since she talks about me too them, so I went along with her and my host sisters quite often. I also rolled a lot of dolmas (stuffed grape leaves) which you can see pictures below

I participated in a TÖMER knowledge competition against other non-Turks. And went on a picnic with the language school.

The last weekend of April I went to another SamsunSpor soccer game
All of us at the game :)
Sam's host sister