Thursday, June 17, 2010

We're only human

If I continue to have days like today every day I will master this language in no time! I got to work a little earlier than normal this morning so I went to talk to one of my bosses who speaks English fluently (there's one other, and some of the regular employees). Our first topic of conversation was how I lost my meal card. He reassured me that it wasn't a big deal and I shouldn't worry; we all make mistakes and forget things. He then proceeded to challenge me to speak Turkish for at least 1 hr every day. Well, the competitive side in me jumped out; I'm not one to turn down a challenge. After lunch was the perfect time to start. I casually asked about buying bus tickets. Before you know it, all of the employees had stopped working in order to give advice. We were having real conversations! One thing lead to another and then we were looking up pictures on the internet of places around Turkey. The conversations eventually shifted to family. I spent the rest of the afternoon showing everyone pictures from home.

The ride home from work went well. I must admit, I have the best bus driver ever! He reminds me of the stereotypical, Italian (no he's not really Italian) grandpa. He's crazy, but he would do anything for us.

Joy and I with the bus driver

When I got back to the dorm, I talked to my dad long enough to figure out there was another problem with my banking in the U.S. NOTE: Make sure that ALL of your banks know you're abroad! Oops. Guess I forgot to do that. After half an hour of translation mishaps and 23023028309823 phone calls I finally got it sorted out (I'm proud to say that I cried during only 1 of the phone calls. It was a culture shock frustration moment - it's not easy explaining your banking stupidity in a foreign language!). Here's a shout-out to all of my Turkish friends who helped me out :). THANK YOU.

Michigan and Istanbul are extremely different places. Different languages, different customs, different personal hygiene standards. I'm not in Kansas anymore, Toto. But these 2 places are also very similar. Maybe the house landed in Idaho?

Michigan and Istanbul Comparison/Contrast

SIMILARITY (S): I never check the weather at home, nor do I check the weather here.
DIFFERENCE (D): At home I don't check the weather because it always changes. I never check the weather here because it's always the same.

S: Pure addiction. People get hyped up over any game.
D: United States wins.

S: Who doesn't like to drive fast?
D: Turks don't care about traffic laws (if there's any)

S: Both cultures have impeccable taste
D: Since Turkish women are generally smaller, they have smaller feet. Thus the shoes are smaller. Apparently drag queens aren't too popular over here...

S: Everyone likes to look at pictures! whether it's family, the ocean, food, trees.
D: ... (none that I could think of!)

This is normally the part where I end the entry. Today, though, I'm going to end in a different way. When I was looking for pictures of home, I didn't have very many good ones. I tried to google some pics from the U.S., but those pictures don't have any meaning. I am asking You (yes YOU) for help. PLEASE send me a picture that means something to you. It can be family, friends, scenery, your favorite tea pot, etc. I DON'T CARE. I want to share with my co-workers what's special to us in America. I think this is the best way for me to share the U.S. with them. There are guidelines though!
1. I do NOT appreciate spam
2. IT MUST BE APPROPRIATE (rated R photos are a no-no)
3. When you send your picture, please put in the subject line "(your name here)'s photo for Emily"
4. Send it to please and thank you!
5. The deadline is preferably 2 am Eastern Time (That's 9 am Turkey time). If it's later in the day, that's ok. I just want to show people at work tomorrow.  *If you need more time, e-mail me saying so! I completely understand :)

I like forward to seeing what you come up with!

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