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April 14, 2011

There is this amazing aspect about exchange I don´t think I have stressed enough throughout all my past posts.  That is that exchange is not made up of one person.  Yeah, at times I feel alone or like I have no friends, but that is beside the point.  The point is there are a lot of people involved in my exchange that aren´t me.  Therefore I want to leave just a little space in my blog just of these people.  I have broken them down into groups for easier understanding. 🙂  And in no particular order:

(S)ALL

SALL is the acronym we use to refer to ourselves, the four AFS exchangers in Samsun this year.  Sam, Abigail, Lena, and Lucas.  Basically, I couldn´t ask for a better group.  We are a so different from each other, I don´t even know if I would be friends with these three if we all just happened to go to the same high school in the states.  However, we all get along like siblings now and I don´t know what I would do without them. 

My Hosts

Of course my host family has played a HUGE role in my exchange.  I am with them almost every day.  They teach me the little things about Turkish culture…the things I will want to do after I get home, but won´t make sense to anyone else.  They were unbelievably patient when I couldn´t speak their language or didn´t know their culture.  This doesn´t jsut include the people living in my apartment, but also all the aunts, uncles, and cousins.  I know I´ll miss them a lot come June 26th.

SAL 11-E

My class at school.  I will miss them so so much when I get back to the States.  Another great thing about my really big class (33 if everyone comes) is that there are two other exchange students with a Rotary program; one American, one Brazilian.  I am so comfortable with my class.  They are also so comfortable with having foreigners in the class.  It really is a two-way learning experience.  They know what we can understand and how to include us.  Even though this year school is not exactly academic (something I miss a lot), I still love being at school.   

TÖMER

Where would I be without TÖMER and everyone who ‘lives’ there?  It is a scary thought.  I can´describe TÖMER here, it deserves a post unto its own.  In other words, keep your eye out for it.  🙂  Basically TÖMER is our home when we have no where else to go. 

American (still living in America)

I realized something just a few weeks after arriving in Turkey (wow, that was so long ago!).  I have the most amazing and wonderful family on the planet.  Of course, you are entitled to your own opinion, hopefully your family taking the place of mine.  However, being away caused me to realized just how much I love my family and how great it is that they are all supporting me throughout this whole year.  I haven´t been able to talk to my extended family a lot throughout my stay, but it is great when I do.  They are so supportive and willing to put up with my confused wonderings (especially my Uncle Jon and Aunt Saige for that last part).  Because I am my family and my family is me.  Turkey taught me that.  I love you all.  unfortunately, you were all spared the photos, I don´t have technological understanding to upload from different source than the USB.  Sorry, I had so many possibilities.  However, here is a picture that made me think of home. 

The Türk

I don´t know his name or his story.  Just that every Turk that walks by me without staring or assuming I am NOT Turkish.  They are a big part of the whole experience too.  Every time someone says ‘Oh, I thought you were Turkish’ or ‘You´re a foreigner?  You speak Turkish!’, it is a sign that I am much more part of this world.  It may be the waiter in the lachmacun restaurant or the guy at Turkcell.  Maybe it is the friend of a friend or a random person who asks for the time.  I don´t hesitate to respond; I know what they are saying.  The Turk is the one who forced me to change my view on life and how I see the world.  He taught me to act as a Turk, even though I can never truly be Turkish.  I am comfortable with these people.  That is how I know I have truly changed. 

Ten weeks.  One day. 

That is all what is left.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Abby permalink
    April 14, 2011 11:28 am

    I love your picture of “home.” Be sure to let us know the day the Turks introduce you to rock picking. 🙂

  2. Mama permalink
    April 14, 2011 4:32 pm

    I was able to read your blog post on my lunch break today, but the pictures didn’t download. The “home” picture made me laugh (out loud!) after which I had to call Greyson over to look at it too! 10 weeks seems like a relatively “short” time considering that we sent you off for 10 MONTHS back in August! We are counting the days!

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