I like Turkish music. So I will listen to Turkish music, excuse my spazzing that I call dancing.
This makes me happy ^^^
My life here in Kayseri has definitely taken a turn in the past two weeks. The first adjustment phase seemed to come right on schedule for me. Rush past the difficulties with the self-conviction that “I can do this” and trying desperately to blow over cultural adjustments like, um, not understanding a single word anyone says 85% of the time and looking like a gaping mouthed goldfish the same amount. That only leads to, for me, the very sharp, downward dip in moral and enthusiasm. It was definitely starting to feel impossible and stark still at the point I was at. I believe that’s called “surface adjustment” then the first dip in the Chart of Sadness when culture shock truly hits you. I can’t say how surreal it is how sitting in a living room can be the hardest task I’ve ever had to do in my life. But that’s how it is sometimes in a different country where you don’t understand the language or the norms or the titles by which to call people so you avoid their name for the whole night.
However, what I’ve come to realize now that I got a straw and sucked up it is that the key to happiness is truly the people in your life. Just that human connection is what makes this process and experience worth it, because in a place where you have no words or expressible thoughts or communication the bond with people is key.
I was treated to an absolutely amazing night yesterday, for example. A few girls in Christian and my class invited us all over (including Isabel, who wasn’t able to come) to one of their house’s (Nihal) for dinner and a movie. Very sweet. We all took the bus after school to Talas where we were ushered into her living room, promptly given slippers, the girls ushered away again to change out of school clothing, and then we were forced to eat homemade, traditional Turkish flatbread and chocolate candy bars. We watched the beginning of an Indian movie, which was definitely an experience given that it was half in barely understandable English and half in Hindi, and the only way we could actually understand was to read the Turkish subtitles. In a way it was a proud moment for us; even if we still had no idea what was going on.
We then ate a beautiful, bountiful home cooked dinner of Kayserian specialties, baklava, and cherries. Bless their hearts, her mother and sister had apparently worked all of the previous day preparing the food, hadn’t slept the night before because of their anxiousness, and were still nervous that it wasn’t good. Which is the most ridiculous unnecessary fear I’ve ever heard because the food was faint-worthy delicious.
We then spent the next hour dancing to Turkish music, learning choreographed Korean dances, playing with her little brother, and just having fun.
As is custom, we were then treated to Turkish coffee. Nihal’s mother read all of our fortunes for us, brought out a Turkish version of bingo (which I won!) and then disappeared yet again. As I was quietly sitting on the couch laughing at Nihal’s adorable brother and trying to communicate with her older sister, suddenly the lights turn off and out comes Nihal and her mother holding a birthday cake singing “İyiki doğum günü”, which means Happy Birthday. I was blown away completely. In between all of our friends and Nihal’s family showering us with love and trying to welcome us into their home, on top of that they were celebrating my birthday. Nihal assured me that they knew the it wasn’t the correct date but wanted to celebrate in case they didn’t get the chance to later.
I blew out my candles, and as I was cutting the first piece, I looked around me and cried. It was the first time I’d ever been surprised on my (or near) my birthday in my life, and it was with people who had immediately opened up their hearts to us even though I’d only known them for a little over two months. Naturally çay followed after the cake, followed by a violin performance by Nihal, and then unfortunately our night had to come to an end.
After a small but normal miscommunication about staying the night, Nihal’s family went above and beyond yet again and drove all of us American’s to our respective homes. I came home to another steaming cup of çay, and simply basked in the company of people who, although they may be new in my life, have shown me instant love and made me feel right at home in their country.