It has been another adventurous day in Istanbul! It began with delicious breakfast at the hotel with the other students where I finally realized how much bread is a staple food here. They serve it with everything and multiple times throughout the meal, wow! It was a free day before the program starts so everyone set out In different directions in the city to explore. I walked around with three other girls and our first encounter of the day didn’t take long to happen. As we were walking along the streets I attempted to take several ‘artistic’ photos of the cloths and jewelry that are on display everywhere! While taking some pictures a shop owner beckoned us into his shop to try on the traditional clothes complete with a hat! For those of you on Facebook there will definitely be a picture to come once I am home to upload everything. I am still in awe at how generous the Turkish people are. I have not had one encounter where I have been displeased by anyone. Everyone is so joyful, full of life, joking around and always laughing and smiling. I know that since we are in a tourist area that it is part of their job to do so, but I genuine believe that Turkish people are this generous and joyful about life. It really is a breath of fresh air compared to the US.

I already have come to love many things about turkey. As I mentioned yesterday, I loooove the public transportation! Also, the apple tea!! I am most definitely bringing some home…I could drink it all day, hehe. After walking through the streets a bit we had lunch at a nearby restaurant where the meat and vegetables were cooked in a ceramic vase and brought out in a pan of fire. I wish I remembered the name of it, but just as everything has been, it was delicious! I really need to start writing down the names of all of the foods I try so I can remember them. While eating lunch I did use some more Turkish besides the ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ that I have learned. ‘doydum’…..means I’m full and the waiter was shocked when I said it to him when he asked if we were through haha. After lunch we went to a huge bazaar where we let ourselves get lost from store to store. This place was like a maze lined with beautiful clothing, amazing smells, bright lights, and flirtacious men (hahaha)! Another observation I have made is that there are no women running the shops and even on the streets the men dominate the people walking around. It really makes me wonder, where are the women and what do they do with their day? The most interesting story to tell for that particular outing is that one of the girls ended up Ina situation where one of the shops sellers got her to go into their scarf shop, slightly closed the door, and was flirting with her by kissing her hand and hugging her! Poor girl…she was so embarrassed haha.

Around 5pm everyone met back at the hotel for about a 2 hour meeting and then we all went to dinner as a group where throughout the entire dinner, the guys who stand outside of the restaurants to get people to eat there, we’re talki to us and one of them even pulled out their guitar and started playing songs…which of course itook some video clips and will put on facebook for all to see once I am home 🙂 I did try e typical Turkish drink which is called raku and was…disgusting haha. I was told it was supposed to taste like black liquor licorice, but I thought it tasted more like absinthe (which I think is disgusting!)…but at least I can say I tried it

Tomorrow will be our first planned day where we will have meetings as a ‘class’ and go on a typical tour of the city, including seeing the blue mosque. From what I remember, I think I have been in a mosque in India, but it will be very interesting to visit one in a primarily Muslim country. well….after this I must bid good night and fall into my Turkish bed and dream of yummy tea haha. I am sure by the end of the trip the girls I am with will be tired of hearing how muh I love the tea!!!

And…ill leave with some words I’ve learned in order totry to get others to say (of course jokingly lol) op beni…..which means kiss me hahaha