Friday, June 25, 2010

Beach Holiday in Asia

Catching up...we had no problems with the flight and were really fortunate we planned the beach holiday in Asia for when we did, because it stormed in Istanbul the whole time we were away!

We went to a small beach town in the south called Fethiye, which is right on the Mediterranean.

We only had two days there, and we spent the first on a boat that cruised around the islands of Fethiye all day. We swam in the Mediterranean, ate a delicious fish lunch, and explored one of the islands. Mostly, though, we just hung out on the boat talking and taking in the sun and the beautiful views.
That night after resting a bit, we went out to dinner at one of the many restaurants surrounding the fish market. The waiter escorted Gio and me to the market and we picked out the fish we wanted them to cook for us! Gio ordered us a bottle of Raki, an infamous Turkish drink, and that got the party started. The food was delicious, and as we were one of the last tables to linger at the end of the night, many of the waiters swung by to talk with us (or rather, with Gio, since she's the only one that speaks Turkish). Gio even read one of the waiter's fortunes at the bottom of his cup of Turkish coffee.

We stopped by one bar that played our favorite Euro music, but since NO ONE else was there but us, we moved on to a more popular establishment, where there was a wedding celebration and live band. It was SO LOUD and SO SMOKEY but also SO AWESOME to hear live Turkish music (from a flamboyant gay man) and people watch. The waiters would swing by and pick up any small piece of trash as soon as we'd put it on the table. The weird thing was, they'd just brush it to the floor. Once the floor had accumulated a lot of trash, then they'd sweep it up. It was so odd!

After that we wandered down by the pier and found a playground where we had way too much playing like big kids. There was a boat named Olive Oil that we wanted to adopt. Instead, we ended up adopting a pack of very loyal dogs that followed us all around the pier and then back to our hostel. We named them: Rabies, Cream, and Asian Willy (he looked like Shawn's western dog, Willy). Charlotte kept exclaiming, "When did we become the pied pipers of dogs?!"

The next day we took a sort of hike up to look at the Lycian ruins that were still lodged in the hillside. We had another dog that followed us up every hill that day and he was named Straciatella (Italian chocolate chip gelato flavor) and we nicknamed him Ella. When we stopped for beverages he joined us and when I tried to get a bowl of water for our loyal companion, the waitress thought I was crazy.

In the afternoon we took a cramped bus down to the beach and hung out for a few hours. The water was such a beautiful shade of turquoise. When describing it to my Italian friends once I arrived in Italy, I learned an important vocabulary distinction between the sea that is Turko (Turkish) and turchese (turquise). Luckily, it was both! After some time on the beach, we stopped by a restaurant for a while to watch the Portugal-Brazil game.

By then it was time to fly back to Istanbul! And that was the end of our glorious Beach Holiday in Asia. We just hoped the weather in Istanbul was beginning to cooperate...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Crazy storm

I am in the midst of the most intense thunder storm EVER. It's raining and thundering and hailing and there's lighting that lights up the whole sky. It woke me up all scared in the night but it's ok because Char and I are sharing a bed so we just snuggled. We went to the 8000 years of Istanbul museum exhibit today and it was really informative about the immense history of the city and its various eras.

Tonight we're leaving for Fethiye! Off to the airport in ASIA!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Safe & Sound

I made it! I am currently sitting in Gio's kitchen in Istanbul eating double-fat olives and drinking iced tea while looking out the balcony at buildings upon buildings. The trip over was as stress-free as can be. I only wish I could have stayed a bit in Germany, as everything looked so cute from the plane! My transfer went smoothly and Turkish Airlines was quite nice. I got a full warm meal on a 2.5 hour flight, which would never happen anymore in America. I don't really even have any airplane stories for you...that's just how easy the trip was. Now I can set to work on wrapping my mind around the fact that I just traveled half-way around the world and I'm in TURKEY. Whoa. Tomorrow we're flying out of the airport on the Asian side of town to go on a beach trip to Fethiye, Turkey. That will be my first time ever in Asia. How weird! Expect more details in the coming days...xoxo

Monday, June 21, 2010

I'm off!

Well the morning has come! I'm vacillating between excitement and nerves and thoughts of "what the hell am I doing?!" Thank you to everyone for your good wishes for my trip. I've dreamed of living in Europe again ever since I returned from Italy the last time and now it's actually coming true. I know it'll fly by in a blink and before I know it, I'll wish I was sitting right back here with stomach churning. Funny how life works. I'll be sure to update you all asap and let you know I've arrived safely, which should be tomorrow morning. Long "day" ahead of me and I should get going. I miss you all already. A lot.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Final Countdown

In a mere two days I'll board my plane to Turkey, or Ham, or whatever it is! No, I'm not actually that confused about the country's name, I'm just beyond psyched to explore the only country that shares its name with a delicious meat and I think more countries should follow suit. Imagine a world filled with food countries. "I'm off to visit Crepes!" "I can't wait to step foot in Jam!" Oh, the possibilities.

I thought I'd be super nervous like I was before leaving to study abroad but I've got it on lockdown. As I told my mom, I'm trying to be a big girl. But really, it's just that this time around I know what the heck I'm doing. I've been getting ready for weeks so that these last couple days wouldn't be too stressful and I've actually been quite successful in executing that plan. And as far as leaving, this time I don't just feel sad to leave the people I love here, but excited to see the people I love there! I feel so fortunate that it worked out to meet Gio, Shawn, and Charlotte first because seeing close friends will really cushion the blow of leaving home. Then in Bologna I'll get to see all my old Italian friends, and in Siena I already have a jump-start with roommate friends. So all in all, not a bad set-up. And to all my America family and know how much I'll miss you, and you know how good I am at using Gmail and Skype. :) Lots of love!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Well, if you insist

Oh, the joys of working for less than slaves, migrants, and children with lemonade stands. The UC Siena study center emailed me this week and said they can offer me "indirect compensation" in the form of paying my rent. I'll take what I can get! I would have even accepted them funding my unavoidable gelato habit, although paying my rent might be more cost effective for them in the long run.

To top off that great news, I found an apartment this week as well! I used Easystanza, an Italian website, to find the place. However, due to their weird methods of charging people for their services, I could only send messages and not receive them. By using my refined problem-solving and facebook stalking skills, I somehow managed to track down the girl and get in touch. Now I'm moving in with her! I'll be living in a very internationally populated apartment in the center of town that offers stunning views of the hillsides. I can already imagine sipping wine and eating cheese while staring off into the distance. Come to mamma!