Thanksgiving Resurrection

November 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

I’m mixing two holidays here, but go with it for a minute.

When most people are having difficulties or major life changes, they write to describe, analyze, and organize their thoughts and emotions. Me? I turn inward.

It’s been a combination of looking inward, being beyond busy, and lack of Internet that’s kept me away from this blog. But fear not, devoted readers! As long as the wireless connection in my office works for at least 15 minutes a day, there will be updates. Oh yes, there will be updates—hopefully with photos.

Many of you think I must lead an extremely exciting life here in Turkey. Well, you’re right and you’re wrong, to varying degrees. Working abroad is, well, working. Here’s my schedule:
Monday: 6 classes between 8:45 and 4
Tuesday: 5 classes between 9:40 and 5
Wednesday: 4 classes between 11:30 and 5
Thursday: 6 classes between 8:45 and 5
Early mornings, long hours on my feet, and alternately chatty/disengaged students mean that my days are pretty draining. Lesson planning and, well, life (cooking, shopping, trying to keep in touch) fill my weekday nights. Add in a Wednesday night Turkish folk dance class and gym sessions(on hiatus due to a bad back), occasional nighttime Turkish lessons, and attempting to jack Internet while standing on one leg with a finger on my nose (our home connection can be pretty temperamental/nonexistent), and there you have it: everyday life, albeit in another country.

Here are some Namik Kemal photos

Sunset over the campus

We're pretty well-protected here

The Hazirlik classroom building

The student and faculty cafeteria and gym. I need to go the latter more often than the former.

But Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays are mine, all mine! Weekly funds and travel opportunities dictate where I go; some weekends I stay in Tekirdag, drinking tea by the Sea of Marmara and wandering the streets. But more often I’m affected by the travel bug; I’ve graced Istanbul with my presence every other weekend and I’ve made additional trips to Karabuk, Safranbolu, and Thessaloniki. I usually travel on a whim—coach service is so plentiful and relatively inexpensive that I can hop a bus to the ‘bul and head anywhere in the country without much advance notice. My dream come true! I do have all the bus travel to blame for my achy-breaky back right now (sleeping horizontally is so underrated) so this upcoming weekend I’m Tekirdag-focused.

As you may remember (and as I’ve mentioned in most places in my life and this blog), the main reason I chose to come to Turkey was my interest in Ladino. To that end, I’ve hopefully worked out a weekly internship at the Ottoman-Turkish Sephardic Cultural Research Center in Istanbul. I’ve offered myself for whatever projects may need assistance—as is usual for research centers, they’re short-staffed and welcome volunteers. Just call me His Gal Viernes.

Thanksgiving is this Thursday, and Alex and I are hosting and cooking a dinner for our Tekirdag friends on Saturday night. Get past all your “Turkey in Turkey” jokes now—provided we do actually find a turkey, it’ll be gracing our table along with cranberry sauce, matzah ball soup, mashed potatoes, and whatever else looks good at the Thursday bazaar. We’re inviting our NKU colleagues and anyone we’ve ever met in Tekirdag—dolmus drivers, water delivery men, guitarists, Internet café proprietors. We’re looking forward to expressing our gratitude to our new friends. Their support and generosity get us through each day and we want—nay, need—to express our love through food. L’chaim!

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