Day one has come to an end, and I’m finally unwinding at Beazer’s apartment in Bakirkoy. I am exhausted, enlightened, so happy, and
so excited for what lies ahead of me.
Seeing Beazer on the other side of the baggage claim was more than just a sigh of relief, for many reasons. One,
anyone who knows of Snow Weekend at 1161 Ashby will know the kind of comfort you all give to me. It’s not something
that can be explained, but it is shared among all of us. I will leave it at that.
Anyway, he is one of my closest friends, and to see him for the first time in awhile and catch up on life is awesome! Also,
I was delirious and ragged, and just stepped off a 10 hour flight to a foreign land literally half a home away—with no phone
or any idea of HOW to contact him if he weren’t there. Since my flight was delayed, there was no telling if he knew my
whereabouts, or if we’d find each other.
The long flight was well worth it to see that goofy smile. Beazer –(his real name is Brandon, but that sounds so foreign to
me now!) –is a mutual friend of Mike and I. After he graduated from JMU, he came to Turkey to teach English and explore
the world. Pretty neat, huh? So of course I had to come visit him on my way to my big adventure.
He’s been such a great host too. For one, he gave up his bed (complete with Spongebob sheets!), and he is suggesting anything
and everything to do to make my stay a worthwhile one. He took me on a grand tour of the city (although so far it’s just a peep—
this is the 4th largest city in the world!) —-and so far we’ve . . . witnessed a political protest, ate at a traditional Turkish
restaurant, explored the famous Bazaar, almost bought out the entire Bazaar, explored the backstreets and mosques,
drank beer on Galata Bridge at sunset, made a nice (vegan!) dinner, and hung out with his roommates.
Alright guys, that’s a wrap! Time to let these experiences fester and soak it in, I’m pooped!
Wait a minute.
It’s only been ONE. DAY.
I know you’ve all had that feeling where you just cannot believe a fun-filled weekend lasted ONLY two days. It feels like an eternity
because of how jam-packed and memorable it was.
The weight of this trip is beginning to set in now.
I am reminded that time exists in moments, not hours–I have an entire month of life changing moments ahead of me. How on earth
am I gonna soak all this in?! This is one of the many reasons I admire my boyfriend so much. To break away from normal routine and
the luxuries of American life and the convenience of the internet — takes a really strong person.
Some of you may remember my month-long Europe trip with Mike last summer. I was exposed to whole different world and way of life–
and this trip will take it even further. It’s not so much about sightseeing as it is soulseeing. Traveling and opening your mind to other
cultures expands your mind in ways unimaginable. You truly have to be there to be moved by it.
And that’s why I have my camera. I’m able to stop time and then go back and gain a deeper meaning in the pictures that I take. I guess time
will tell just how I will learn from all of this.
Since arriving here, I have only enjoyed the break from my normal routine and environment. It feels like centuries since I’ve
had internet or a phone—but it’s only been a day! How sad is that?! Internet is such a drug for me and such a constant that it’s difficult to
let it go. While I absolutely LOVE the quick access to information and to the outside world, it’s also a nice vacation to the inner workings of
your brain. I can think for myself again.
On that note… . It’s pretty cool to feel like I’m stepping back in time and forced to interact with people to get anything done. Who would
have thought that life existed without cell phones? I can hear my conscience more, instead of the cluttered world of the web weighing in and
yelling out my list of to-do’s.
Traveling has as much to do with the development of us as individuals as DNA does in determining who we look like. Seriously. Make it a
priority. Even if you are not able to travel at the moment, then go explore! Get uncomfortable. Dig your feet it in. You only live once, after
all. Make it as important as buying a car or saving for a house. Go somewhere you’d never expect! And come home with something that
a new car smell will never give you.
Back to earth, Carly, these people don’t want life advice, they want to hear about your trip.
Can’t you tell I’m loopy from all this jet lag?!
It really is worlds away from the Western mentality though. I was a little unprepared for how alienated I feel here. I knew I could expect it
in my arrival in Ethiopia, but I definitely stick out like a sore thumb among the locals here. Every glare reminds me that I am not only
American — but I am a woman — and neither are high on the power list here. I feel like one of the “rogue dreams” from Inception (for
those of you who saw it) and everyone stares at your obvious differences.
It’s not exactly the most comfortable feeling in the world, but it’s also cool learning from everyone and everything here. It’s just another
reminder of how big the world actually is.
Traditions pervade the marketplace, and it’s magical to witness. Loud voices in prayer come from a megaphone, and echo through the
alleys every few hours. Vendors not only try to sell you their product, but literally try to shove it down your throat, which is pretty
overwhelming. Most women wear scarves to cover their hair, and some are covered head to toe in dark cloth. The textiles and pottery
and glass lanterns are com-pletely- BREATH TAKING. Poor Beazer had to witness me being my puppy-dog self when I was oogling
everything in the Bazaar. You want to do some great shopping, come here! And you can barter! The best! :]
One thing I know for certain, though: smile is a universal language :]