The past four days have been a whirılwınd of adventure! I am currently ın a small town near Bursa, Turkey staying with a family of three that speaks no english whatsoever. But, before İ jump to my stay here i want to mention the amazing time that İ had with a family in İstanbul! İ was very nervous at first, of course, being the shy person İ am, but over tıme İ grew to be very comfortable with the family. The first day spent with them began by taking a ferry to the Asian side of İstanbul. Before coming to Turkey, İ had no idea that turkey was on two seperate continents! The father (baba) and daughter Dila picked me up from the group and spent the first hour or so walking around showing me shops and having me try foods. I could tell right away they were very nice and gentle people. Afterwards, we had lunch with some of the fathers friends and from there we went to their home. There is so much to tell about my time with them that İ am even forgetting everything I wanted to mention about my time there. It was a little rough at first because İ didnt speak much due to being shy, but İ think they learned that about me quickly. İ was lucky that the majority of the family members were able to understand and speak english for the most part. Their son had spent time in California and their daughter was planning to spend the summer in London with family. I had a wonderful experience with them and by the end of it I really felt like İ was part of the family.
After spending two days with the wonderful family ın Istanbul, I met up with the rest of the group and we took a 3 hour bus ride to Bursa where we are currently staying with host families. This has been quite the experience so far. We were met at the bus stop by the mayor of the city, along with the press. From there we went to a restaurant to have lunch with the mayor at the most famous meatball location in the town, all the while the press were taking pictures as we were eating (we found the newspapers today that show our pictures of that day….we were even on tv two days in a row). Afterwards, we went to the town municipal where we were picked up by our host fathers one by one. It felt as if we were being auctioned off, haha. From there, I walked with my host father (who is my same age, so very weird to call him a host father lol) and right away we discovered how little turkish İ speak and how little english he knows! Entering their home İ was fed right away and from there we began the adventure of trying to communicate. Thankfully, I brought a english-turkish dictionary, which by now is very worn down from constant use haha. So far, we have been using a lot of hand motions to signal for things. They are a very young couple, the husband ıs 24, the wife is 27 and they have the cutest daughter who is 2 years old. İt was really stressful at first entering the house and not being able to communicate, but it has gotten a lot better and i have quickly learned a variety of turkish!
Today, we all went to the local highschool and taught english for 2 hours to children ranging from 12-14. Afterwards, we had lunch at the local soda factory where we were provided a tour and everything! Afterwards, the mayor and the press took us on a city tour showing us all the important things to know about the town. Tonight was spent with several other families coming over to the house İ am staying at and drinking lots of tea while trying to communicate things. Mostly it is a room full of women staring and smiling at each other not knowing what to say and passing around the dictionaries! Regardless of the lack of communication İ am having a fantastic time with this family and they are very kind and gracious. İ can for a fact say that İ wıll be joining a gym and going on a salad only diet after all of the food they have given us!! HAHA.
Off to bed after this update, just one more day in this village and then back to Istanbul for two more nights and then from there to Greece! Missing everyone 🙂