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Monday, May 12, 2014

Richard's First Week auf Turkei!

Hello! So we made it to Turkey after a long 23 hour trek across the ocean. Lilly and I ended up having the most similar flights so we were on 2 out 3 planes together. I listened to my iPod most of the way and contrary to popular American opinion...Justin Bieber's new album was great! I downloaded it before I boarded the plane and put it on repeat for much of my first flight until I fell asleep! Highly recommended. I said my final goodbye's to my parents and boarded the plane. As I made myself comfortable it was almost as if I was experiencing deja vu. I then remembered I had seen a movie that had a plane that was identical to the plane that I was on, the movie was called Non-Stop with Liam Neeson, so of course I had to take the Liam Neeson type photo in the bathroom lol.
 Displaying IMG_1060.JPGI eventually ended up falling asleep on the plane after watching Anchorman 2, Her(very creepy, but good movie), and some movie with "The Rock" (famous wrestler). My layovers were in Germany! I took German at umich so I was able to practice it in the airport as I ordered food and did other things. Lilly and I finally arrived at the airport in Ankara and we could not find Eric. We were very worried because our flights were supposed to come in around the same time. Turns out Eric was at domestic baggage claim and we were at international so he just had to meet up with us later. Lilly and I were able to find a bus because Lilly knew a few words that were able to help us communicate with the driver and we purchased tickets. The bus from the airport took us to Asti Displaying IMG_1230.JPGwhich is the bus station that we tend to take most of our trips from. Kind of like the C.C. Little of Ankara lol. But we arrived from here and took a cab to the university. We were then greeted by James, Jennifer and Katrina in the lobby and were given our room keys and escorted to our rooms. These are our dorms. Displaying IMG_1072.JPGThe dorms don't allow female/male interaction outside of common areas such as in the lobby and in the garden and the dorms also have a 1 a.m. curfew. This was a big transition from the autonomy that I was used to in America. Displaying IMG_1079.JPGThe government equips all of their police with automatic weapons. They do not speak English and they seem like they keep the public in order for the most part.
Displaying IMG_1085.JPGDisplaying IMG_1082.JPGDisplaying IMG_1089.JPGThere are dogs everywhere! On sunday when we walked to mall we came to the realization of this! The way Ann Arbor has millions of squirrels Turkey has millions of dogs that just roam the streets. They are very humble dogs, they function as normal members of society. We walked to the mall and had turkish coffee before our dinner, people in Turkey LOVE coffee and tea!! I guess it is like in America how people love Red Bull! I do not like coffee but the tea was ok! This is Jennifer and I on the bus exploring the city!
Displaying IMG_1071.JPGThis is the view of my room for the first day of work. We work Monday-Thursday from 09:00-17:00 everyday and Friday we get time off. They give us laptops and meal vouchers. The meal vouchers subsidize our meals but the dining halls are similar to umich...YUCK! lol but in actuality they aren't that horrible. My roommate is pretty cool his name is Arda, he is Turkish and has lived in Turkey his whole life. I was a bit nervous at first about having a Turkish roommate but he turned out to be pretty cool!
Displaying IMG_1138.JPGThere is a lot of recreational activity that takes place.Eric and I were playing soccer with some of the Turks in the common area outside on a nice and sunny day. We were discussing our cultures and comparing similarities and differences. As well as just talking about life and our aspirations among other typical guy things.Displaying IMG_1140.JPG
The Students are all very personable and hospitable, they like to take us places. I went to a traditional Turkish dance class, bowling, out for Gelato and to see where the guns are made in Turkey!! Pretty fun!
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Public transit is big here, I wish we had some type of mass transit system in our major urban areas! People like subways and rely heavily on buses. Displaying IMG_1101.JPG
We took a trip over the weekend to Kapadokya which was a beautiful city if you like being outdoors and nature. I am more of a city boy but I could appreciate the beauty of the city. Here are a few pictures of my trip. We spent TOOOO much money this weekend though lol It is a very touristy area so in the upcoming weeks we need to be more fiscally aware lol.
Displaying IMG_1303.JPGDisplaying IMG_1342.JPGDisplaying IMG_1325.JPGDisplaying IMG_1311.JPGDisplaying IMG_1305.JPGThe food was pretty interesting too we tried to stick to just using traditional meals. There are Popeyes, Burger King, Dominos and Mcdonald's here. The only thing I have been using that is American is Starbucks and my roommate got us Popeyes!
Displaying IMG_1315.JPGThis is the "Ottoman" meal I ordered when we took our trip this weekend and yes I can drink! lol Very excited. I figured out how to do my laundry when we got back and it only costs $2.50 American to wash everything which is pretty nice too! The language barrier is pretty intense, I wish I spoke Turkish before I came! The class was helpful but a bit misleading. Men are actually able to wear shorts and cramming that language did not help at all lol. I have learned and retain more from just general conversation and asking questions with actual Turks! I have seen Syrian refugees though, scattered many places throughout the city I feel empathetic towards them. But all in all Turkey has been interesting so far! The students here think I look like every famous African American i.e. Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Malcolm X, Will Smith, and the Jamaican athlete Usain Bolt. I look like none of but its ok.
In the upcoming weeks we plan to take a few more trips and do some more activities so stay posted!!


  1. Richard,

    My name is Tammy Mida and I am interning in the LSA International Internship office this summer. I will be reading and responding to your blog posts.

    Wow! This is a great first post. I'm glad the long flight was manageable. Last time I had a flight like that, my ear buds went out. The curfew and restrictions in the dorms will be something to get used to- that's for sure. I'm glad that you get along with your roommate. I think that rooming or living closely with someone from Turkey is a wonderful opportunity.

    The public transportation is definitely something that you can take advantage of in the coming weeks. I hope that it is affordable, so that you can remain "fiscally responsible" while still traveling. Keep trying with the language. No matter what sort of preparation you would have had before, it is always easier to learn on the spot. Although frustrating, you seem like you're getting the hang of it very quickly!! Just keep in mind that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity! I look forward to your next post.

  2. Did you see that your pictures didn't appear? Could you ask one of the other UM students to troubleshoot this with you? I'd love to see the pictures!!!

  3. Yes- great post--we need to see the photos. Please work on getting them up on blog! Thanks.