Selam, everyone. It's the end of a beautiful hot day, and I'm packing right now.
AFS has very strict rules about what you can bring, and I have to keep my luggage under 44 pounds. I'm culling my clothing selections to make room for the America and Maine-themed things I'm bringing my family.
On Saturday night, I went with my family to dinner with some friends who used to live in Turkey. They put on a wonderful evening, and we watched a slideshow of photographs projected on a sail outside. It kept billowing back and forth in the wind, and we made a lot of jokes about all the earthquakes in Turkey. We ate the most delicious turkish food - grilled meat, aubergine, and feta cheese wrapped in phyllo and deep fried. I made baklava for the first time, and was very pleased with the way it came out.
I spent yesterday with two lovely friends from the AFS orientation. One of them, Silvia, is from Indonesia and going home next weekend after a whole year in Augusta. The other, Danielle, lives here in Maine and is going to Turkey on NSLI-Y as well, for a semester.
We cooked Indonesian fried rice, which was absolutely delicious, and a lovely syrupy middle-eastern dessert. Silvia stayed the night, and only just left. I went to work babysitting for a couple hours while she hung out with my mum and some other mothers and kids at my house, and when I got back we went to the beach. We waded, caught hermit crabs, and drew maps in the sand of the US, Indonesia and Turkey.
We also wrote our names in the sand. She did hers in Arabic, and I wrote my hebrew name, לאה (Leah). I think Arabic is far more güzel than Hebrew.
Some guys from my school showed up at the beach, and I introduced her, and when we left we put flowers on their various cars (identifiable by the college bumper stickers they sport. Notable is the Harvard convertible) for them to find. Then we went kayaking, which Silvia had never tried before. She got quite good at it, and we were very happy and tired by the end.
I am SO excited about going to Turkey. I fly to New York the day after tomorrow for the orientation, and on Friday to İstanbul! I've found my host mother and sister, Didem and Alkım, on facebook and we've added each another as family. They seem so nice, I just can't wait to meet them. My host father is a chemical engineer, my anne studied psychology and works as a sales manager, and Alkım loves rock and plays the piano. They've been to London, too, which is really great since I lived there for the first nine years of my life.
These rocks are just some pictures I took at the beach, but I am so enamored of the sharpness achieved by the Lumix that I couldn't help it - even if I kind of am echoing Ian's posts. Whatever, he does it better. In any case, I implore you to click on these to enlarge them and marvel.
And with that, my dears (sevgilim in Türkçe), I must away to my suitcase and figure out how to make it all weigh something that I am capable of lugging around Türkiye on my own (I'll have you know that I lugged some pretty damn heavy kayaks today, through the stickiest mud thusfar traversed by womankind). I'll try to fit in another post before I leave, and then I'll be writing from Ankara! I imagine that I'll be quite a mess when I first get there, so you must bear with me. And just because this is a post with a ridiculous number of pictures, I'll throw in just one more: