After being in Turkey since September, I’m going back to the U.S. on June 20th!
Things are already winding down quite a bit; after this week I have only two weeks left to teach. But I’m thinking there will probably be low attendance from here on out, since students are allowed to miss 96/300 hours for the year and it seems that they are treating themselves to more free time if they’ve had good attendance. But we’ll see what things look like! After several months of trying to come up with fun and engaging activities, I’m pretty much out of ideas at this point.
The last two weekends I spent with large groups of the other ETAs in Turkey, our last big gatherings before we all (or most of us) head back to the U.S. It’s funny to think about where we all were when we first met in Ankara, and how many interesting experiences we’ve had since then.
Last weekend we were in Bodrum, a coastal town on the Aegean. We were lucky enough to stay in a resort, and got a really good rate since our group was so big (there were about 45 of us). The weather was a little cool and cloudy, so we couldn’t enjoy the sea or the pools that much, but it was still nice to be outside and have all-you-can-eat buffets for each meal. We all stayed in the “relax rooms,” which are villa-type rooms that are separate from the rest of the hotel.
The previous weekend I actually left Turkey! I wasn’t too far though–I visited the Greek island Chios (about a 45 minute ferry ride from Çeşme in Turkey) for Orthodox Easter. The island is famous for its Easter rocket wars between two churches. I’ve never seen anything like it before–tens of thousands of home-made rockets are fired at the rival church, aiming to hit the bell tower. Simultaneously there are other fireworks/firecrackers being set off by the people watching the rocket war, which put me on edge for the whole night because there were ashes and rocket shells falling all over the place! But it was a lot of fun and I’m glad I saw it.
I also got to visit a few villages on the island. My favorite was Pyrgi, where all the buildings have these interesting white/gray patterns carved and painted on them.
I still have some travel plans left before I leave Turkey, but it is going by so quickly. I’m very excited to go home and be around friends and family again, but I will miss some things about Turkey (for example the çay that is given to you for free after every meal in restaurants!), and I will miss my students. Even though it is hard to communicate with them sometimes (depending on the level), they always have very entertaining things to say and are a lot of fun to be around!