I can’t believe it’s been almost a week since I first arrived in turkey! Time is flying by each day as I am overwhelmed with new experiences all day long! Yesterday we visited a sultans palace in the morning and then in the afternoon we went to our community service projects. We moved back into our original group and went to a foundation called A.I.P, and they provide scholarships, food, clothing, and textbooks for children that are in need. Myself and four or girls entertained some children for about 2 hours and also organized some things in the building for them. That night I went out to Taksim square with some students and one of the Turkish volunteer to grab a drink and see what the nightlife is like in Istanbul. This area is where the shopping, bars, and young people are in the city. It was really nice to be out and away from the tourist area and see the difference. The six of us first went to a karaoke bar and then headed to another location that had the best mix of music I have ever heard. Each song that came on was in a different language..it was amazing!
Today, we visited a nonprofit organization that works with youth programs. It was really interesting and reminded me that I really need to start applying for internships for summer/fall. In the afternoon, we once again worked at A.I.P, but today there were no children and we focused on organizing clothing.
I did get a little frustrated at Turkish culture today after a certain incident that happened. I was warned that Turkish males have the tendency to pinch foreign women, thinking that they can get away with it because of the media that they see about white women. Until today, I had not experienced but as I was walking today an older man came up behind me and put his entire hand on my butt and squeezed. When I looked behind me, he took his hand off and said “goooooooood”. I was in utter shock and couldn’t believe that had happened. The man walked past me and continually looked back and smiling until we moved streets and out of his view. I felt so violated and almost sick to my stomach for awhile after that happened. I couldn’t even begin to wrap my head around the idea that men think its ok to do tht, just because of what is viewed on tv or in the movies. There’s no bother word to describe it but feeling violated. I don’t want to make it seem like I am going overboard with my reaction, I just am shocked. I have been stared at and yelled across the street in many countries, but never has anyone laid a hand on me. The man had no shame to put his entire had on my butt and squeeze. 😦 I wish now I had said something, but I was so caught off guard that no words were escaping my lips. After that I’ve been a bit put off by the culture, but I’m hoping that this will go away soon.
This weekend we are spending time with out host families in the city of Istanbul and then on Monday we will take a 4 hour bus ride to bursa to stay in a village with another host family. It will all be very interesting. I’m looking forward toting, but also a bit nervous. I haven’t had a host family that has liked me before since I am so quiet and shy when first meeting people. I am really hoping that this won’t happen again with me,
Off to get some sleep before being completely immersed in a Turkish family starting tomorrow!