I am starting to learn that as an exchange student, there will always be somethings that I will not fully comprehend.  Whether that is the language itself,  or simple things like which goal I am supposed to shoot on (although I've always had a problem with that), or the blatantly obvious like that bottle that looks like lemonade that I just drank out of is actually salad dressing - chances are 99.9% of the time I have no idea what the hell is going on.  It's kind of like follow the leader.  24-7. 
  But the other part of this is that I am learning to be okay with that. I have always know that a lot of communication is non-verbal, but here, in this place I've become completely dependent on it.  For example: attempting to smile in the morning,  wincing as you stand up because your legs hurt from a hard practice that day, slapping your friend on the butt, and sharing sleepless nights together because of the stupid wedding singer next door that never shuts up until 4 am.  And the reward for these simple moments is amazing.  Because now, whenever I attempt to speak Turkish everybody claps and I am never really alone.
  But of course there are already these moments when I feel alone.  There are those moments I want nothing more than to get on a plane and go home.  There are moments I kind of want to say, "Okay, everybody.  Joke's off.  I know you all speak English - let's just stop with this whole Turkish thing now."  
  But there are also moments when I am able to open my eyes and really see what I'm looking at and where I am.  And it's amazing.  What other middle-class 18-year-old white girl from the little town of Midland, Michigan is burning her tongue on      çay every morning, being taught Turkish swear words and tongue-twisters, having people ask her what Cheez-It's are, and traveling at the speed of light through the most congested round-abouts on earth with a bus-load of hockey players? 
   So I guess in the end, I may be thousands of miles from home, but at least I'm starting to make another one here.  

9/15/2011 07:17:36 am

Yer doing good girl... very proud of you.


9/15/2011 07:36:32 am

This is awesome. Keep writing - it makes me laugh and cry at the same time.

9/15/2011 10:56:47 am

Me likey!!!!!!!

Love you lots!!!

Crazy Cousins Mama
9/20/2011 09:34:38 am

Gaia~ I find you quite amazing!!
Love the pics on FB. Thanks for keeping everyone updated! I love your positivity. (Is that a word? I don't know, but I like it) You are truly inspiring.

9/21/2011 01:35:00 am

Hello! I am from NH and have been living in Ankara for about 2.5 years. When I moved here I had no Turkish, and now, while my Turkish is not pretty it works. Let me know if you ever have any questions.

9/21/2011 07:44:25 am

Hey you. Don't stress, you're doing wonderfully. We're all so proud of you for just having the courage to get on that goshdarn plane. (I'm getting really good at my "concerned mom" impression, aren't I?) I love you, keep going, and don't come home because we don't want you for another eleven months. Seriously. Just stay PUT.

So much love it just might hurt,
Yo' Gurl Gracie

Jen (or fake "aunt")
10/1/2011 02:16:15 am

Don't you just love not knowing what's going on! I do, it certainly makes traveling much more exciting. The best thing about traveling and immersion into a new culture is just going with the flow and not letting much of anything stir you up.

If you feel the need for another travel partner just say the word-I'm always up for an adventure!

Love you tons! Keep on truckin'


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