So as you may be able to tell from the title, I have some good news.
To quote myself from the post I made on March 14, 2014 - a day I will never forget - upon hearing of my finalist status for NSLI-Y when I knew I would be going to Turkey for the first time, I'm not one to randomly type in all caps with a boatload of exclamation points, buuut…
I'M GOING BACK TO TURKEY NEXT MONTH TO ISTANBUL, BURSA, AND IZMIR AND I'M SO FREAKING EXCITED AND AHHHHHHH SOGFDOIGJFGJOIFJDFIOJGD!!!!!!!!!!
Some things just warrant that sort of excitement, I suppose.
This upcoming trip is an idea I've had in mind for quite a long time, pretty much ever since I knew that Gianna and Krista were going to be in Izmir for this year with their NSLI-Y year program. It was always a goal and a dream I've been aspiring towards, whether that was by scrupulously squirreling away a good large chunk of my graduation checks, getting my job here at the Beloit Phonathon, or obsessively safeguarding every single bit of spare change I can find.
And it's finally going to happen. Just typing that, just saying that, just looking at the itinerary from Turkish Airlines in my email, fills me with the purest joy and jittery excitement that I can barely begin to contain.
Though I would be lying in the extreme if I claimed to not have a lot of finalizing left to do in my plans, the rough idea is this: On December 30, after having been home in Ann Arbor for about two weeks for Christmas, I have a (thankfully) direct flight from Chicago to Istanbul. I plan to stay in Istanbul for about three days to do a bit more sightseeing there than I got to the first time around, and spend some time with some AFS connections of mine in that lovely city. Around the 2nd or so of January, I will probably take a ferry from Istanbul to Bursa, that beautiful host city, my third home away from home, where I will be for about a week, visiting my Turkish host family. Around the 10th or so of January, I will head down to Izmir, likely by train or bus, and stay there for about a week to visit Gianna and Krista primarily, but also hopefully meet up with a few Turkish friends I made at the YES end of stay orientation who live in that area. On the 17th of January, I fly back to the States, with only a brief connection in the Istanbul Ataturk Airport to contend with, and will head straight from there back to Beloit to have but a night of rest before I begin the second semester of my freshman year.
Lately, reflecting on how much I was thrown for a loop on the Spain and France trip last summer by not being used to such a touristy type of trip, I've come to realize the diversity of kinds of trips that exist. The kind of being a tourist in the extreme is certainly one - one that I had not yet experienced before last July. The kind of trip that is not even really a trip at all, the kind of actively immersing oneself in a local culture and language as much as possible, exchange, is one. The kind that is returning home, or to an ancestral place, somewhere that may have been home in the past but is not anymore, or has always been a home away from home - the kind that I usually take to Italy - is one. And I think returning to a host country for an exchange or otherwise longterm immersive experience is definitely one. This will be the first time I experience that kind of trip; to date, I have not returned to either of my host countries; in fact, the only country that I have been to more than once, aside from Italy, is Mexico, where I've been on vacation twice with my family. Therefore I'm sure that this trip is sure to be an interesting experience in that regard.
Just some thoughts I wanted to share.
A more general update on life and what I've been up to will be forthcoming, likely in a few weeks' time once I'll be back home, done with my finals, and hopefully a little surer of the various plans regarding my trip to Turkey.
For now, I thought I'd just share this beautiful news to the world, and the crazy happiness and anticipation I feel associated with it. :)
Kendinize iyi bak! / Take good care, everyone!
|Now a few of my favorite places from the first time around - this is the view of Bursa from the Teleferik ride up Uludağ.|
|And this is the inside of Bursa's beautiful Ulu Cami.|