I spent the earlier part of my day lazing around trying to recover from my illness. Around 3 pm my roommate, Joy, and I left the dorms to meet up with one of the internship coordinators from Özyeğin University. We went to Beşiktaş and Ortaköy which are on the European side of Istanbul.
We walked around for a bit then stopped for refreshments.
We ate börek, cheese wrapped pastries fried,
and we had our first Turkish beers!
One of the topics that came up in conversation is normal size of people from around the world. The internship coordinator, Hande, is from Turkey. I would consider her a normal size American. She was maybe 5'9 so a little taller than the recorded average. She definitely wasn't overweight but maybe on the roundish side. She said she was big for Turkey. Joy is from Thailand. I would consider her average height and skinny, but she is considered big for Thailand as well. I never really thought about size like that before. I mean, I know I'm tall and whatnot, but I've seen taller. I've seen fatter. It's not a big deal to me; I don't really care. Looking around, what Hande said was true. The majority of the Turkish people we say were shorter and skinnier.
Afterwards we met up with another internship coordinator and some students from the university. We ate traditional Turkish cuisine. I can't remember the names of the food we ate, just what it was. We had lamb ribs, rice, tea, stuffed eggplant, some other spiced lamb meet, bread, more tea, and some kind of sweet mashed up grain thing. They also served ayran. I tried it again, but it still just doesn't set well with me. Its basically spoiled milk...NOT ok. I think maybe if you like yogurt you might like it, but I like regular (and by regular I mean skim) milk. I sometimes have problems with eating cheese because it's MOLD. I certaintly don't eat cottage cheese which is half way through the process or yogurt. That is one thing I am missing dearly: MILK. I am also missing water. You aren't supposed to drink the tap water here because it's unsanitary. You buy purified water from the store. It's cheaper than the U.S. but it definitely adds up over time. I feel dehydrated a lot of the time especially because it's hot too. I told one of my friends that back home I easily consume 5l of water a day. Here, I drink maybe half of that. That has been hard to adjust to. Joy and I have also noticed how much people stare. In the U.S. it's considered rude to stare. Here, it's a way to catch someone's eye to start a conversation. This is both good and bad. It's bad because I don't want to talk to 99% of the people that stare. It's good because as American you WANT to stare but it's rude. Because here it's not so bad, you can stare at the people you want. I realize this makes me sound like a creeper, but I think it's true for most people. Everyone's wanted just a longer look at someone for some reason, so here's an opportunity. I must admit that I normally don't stare back unless I'm wearing some shades.
Some of the people from the university and I went to a bar to watch the Americans entrance in the World Cup after dinner. One of the students was spewing pure hatred for the U.S. At first I laughed, but then it kept going and going. It got old pretty quick. That's my home, dude! I don't rag on your country like that. He later apologized saying he didn't mean most of the stuff he said. Hmmm...so much for future outings together ;).
Today made me realize how different American culture is from Turkish culture. Sure, we're all people just trying to live our lives the way we see fit. So what if we like potato chips or Lady Gaga or even if we walk around half-naked? I'm proud of who I am and where I come from. On that note, the U.S. better freaking win their upcoming games in the World Cup. ABD all the way!!!!!!