Ahhhh the internet is alive and working again in my room! Hopefully it'll stick! There has been SOOO much I've been dying to post but haven't been able to! So this one is gonna be a book! Hey, atleast I gave you fair warning, right?!
Things are going great here in Istanbul! It's gorgeous and overflowing with character! So much going on all the time!
(This is a typical street, located near our school!)
Unfortunately, we haven't been able to explore (other than close by) as we've had to be at work almost everyday or have been WAY to exhausted to even try! As we are still jet lagged, we often go in and out of commas at any given points of the day! Plus this teaching for 3-4 hours at a time requires soo much energy! Not only that, but you're speaking broken English and at turtle speed! But it's great once you see on their faces that they understood your lesson! Also, the heat here is insane! The both of us are swollen, seriously. Oh and the humidity -def don't miss that from Canada! That def makes you tired! Sweating has already become like breathing to me! Haha! Nasty, I know! But atleast everyone else around you is also dripping! Surprising though, not many people have crazy BO (as many of you were expecting!)! They're all well groomed here! Hah! Another thing that has quickly become the norm, is getting attacked by tons of mosquitoes at night! I've been super lucky in comparison to poor Katie who has been murdered a thousand times over -face biteS included! Thank God for bug spray! ...man I must smell like a bed of roses....
Let's see, the other teachers are super nice and helpful! We met this super cool teacher, Anthony, the other day! He was so quick to show us around and give us great tips! He actually showed us the mall right by our house (haha yes, we've already found an American mall. we really just needed to go to the wal-mart -like store ok!). He actually showed it to us on the 4th of July, so how more American could we be than to grab a hot dog there:
Next he had been pumping up this super secretive swanky bar a crawl away from our dorms. He's didn't find it until the last month he moved out and wished he found it sooo much sooner! It's located above a hospital across the street (I know, what a location right?). It's a secret bcuz they don't advertise for it, it's by word-of-mouth only so it stays nice and sshhwanky! Apparently Anthony isn't a huge drinker, but leave it to the Katies to get him good and liquored up! Haha! We got the hook up big time that night and they gave us many different drinks to try! Yes, not even a week in and we have already found a new Effins! Haha! We call it "shwank" as we have no idea what the name of it really is!
Our dorms are super quiet right now, apparently lots of teachers move in during the fall. It has huge, dark, tiled hallways in the middle with single rooms outlining the building. We have bright orange, metal furniture (found out it's from Easy Jet leftovers! Haha!). And the girls bathroom have 4 potty holes (literally) and only 2 american toilets:
(I popped a squat in that my very first morning here!)
Our landlord is awesome! His name is Mustafah! lol! (how awesome is that?! Really, need I say more about him?!) He's this short, old, really friendly, smiley guy! Everytime I see him (which is atleast 2x a day), I make him teach me something in Turkish or I desperately try to practice some words that seem impossible to say! This language is nuts to learn! He told me the other day that he's my Turkish teacher (he only speaks a handful of English words but seems to understand more than he can speak)! He loves it, he gets so excited! Hehe! Tonight him and his wife (who is super sweet too and loves to laugh at my awful Turkish) were having tea and cookies at the front desk when I got back from work (10:20ish). They offered me some! They're so cute! I wish I had the slightest clue as to what they were saying! Haha!
Our first day of teaching was Saturday! We were supposed to teach from 9-12:50 (that's one class) and then again from 3-6:50 (yup, one class) -oh with an hour's length activity inbetween! It was a great start! My first class is a level 1. They were really nice and excited! "Ohhh kali-fownia!" (think the governator on that one)! All of my classes love to tell me places to see in Istanbul! One of my students told me he would take me on his motorcycle to all the best places in Istanbul! Holla! Only I might die! Either that or lose my leg on a bumper of some car! Yikes! Crazy drivers over here, and it is worse than what you're already thinking! Another student is a waiter at some super nice restaurant, and wanted me to come! I told him I would bring Katie with me! He got really excited! Hah and another works at Bim, some German store that sells electronics and home stuff at the mall here. Every break on Sat and Sun, he kept pestering me on when me and him will go see his work. Uhhhh right, about that....I tell him soon, soon! Hah! But then he asks for the specific day! Arg! At every break I hear beem (bim) over and over again! Nice guy but lay off dude! I'll eventually get to your freaking store! Haha! Then my second class were no shows! Haha! Hookie! Yay! Free time for me! Plus I was brain dead at that point so I was stoked! (Oh, each of us are taking over 2 weekend classes, they just have a few weeks left). The next day was the samething! I found out today that one of the office workers granted them a holiday, but she failed to tell anybody before she went out on vacation herself! But during that time, I found the black market of jeans!! Literally! I wondered down some street and there was store after store of big name jeans with the center of the tag cut out! And the bulk of them were Zara jeans (let's just say giant length-jeans)! Holla! I will return!
Oh and it's great! They pretty much call you "Teacher" (and will say it everytime before they speak!)! Haha! They can't pronounce "Katie" (it comes out kiy-ley) and if they are able to say it, it comes out "kyiy-tea"! They know they can't pronounce it, so they wind up saying Kate, which I tell them is perfectly fine, but they know it's not right so they say they wind up saying "teacher" or a "kiy-tea - teacher" combo! Haha!
Last night was a great surpise! We met this level 5 student a few days ago, and I had him in one of my activities on Saturday. His name is Mahmut (pronounced Mahhh-moot). You must pronounce the H, even though when he says it, you can't hear it! Anyways, he wants us to call him Mahoney (lol, some teacher told him to just go by that) instead! So Katie and I were walking back from the Wal-Martish store late last night and all of the sudden we here "Katies!" from out some car! It was Mahoney! lol! He offered us a ride home (a whopping 2 min ride), so naturally, we jumped in! He then offered to take us to the BEST ice cream place in all of Istanbul before we hit home (oh all the students somehow know where the teacher dorms, Lojmont, are -its a 20 min walk from school)! So of course we were game! (BTW, ice cream is on every corner, literally, we're talking worse than Starbucks here -a good worse though! haha!). It turns out it is the oldest ice cream place in town (which also happens to be the quarter of town we want to live in! Holla! The pic below was taken in this quarter) and he insisted that we would get 3 scoops each (he had to buy bcuz he says Turks believe it's rude if the male doesn't pay)! Delightful! Then he took us to this place on a dock for some tea (him being a Turk, we had to have tea!). On the way back, he saw I was wearing my seatbelt in the backseat and got offended! lol! He couldn't understand why one would need it back there unless they were with a really bad driver! We rushed to tell him its the norm to wear it in all of the seats in the US! haha!
But one of the best parts, is on the way to ice cream, he had to play us Michael Jackson (and made sure he told us he only likes the '83 and '87 Michael!)! "Suuuper!" He shouted so many times! Then, he told us that pop songs are hard for him to understand (they go to fast) and asked us what some words are. We were listening to "Beat It!" at the time, and when the chorus came on, he told us if he was right in hearing "Just Pita!" (instead of "Just Beat It")!!! LOL!!! I can definitely hear it now and strongly suggest you go dig up that song to hear how it sounds like Just Pita! So funny esp cuz he was so serious! He was like I can't understand why he would sing about pita?! lol!
Mahoney had also told me on Saturday that he would take us around (as he would really love to be a tour guide plus he gets free English practice out of it!)! Well he wasn't lying as he told us last night that he would pick us up at 10am on Thursday (we're off that day)! He's going to give us a tour of the Asain Side (our side) and take us to some amazing fish restaurant (def gonna have to suck it up and pretend fish is mouthwatering good! eeek!) for dinner!
Oh!! And icing on the cake:
Our awesome manager, Diana, brought us to go get our tax numbers today. The office ladies at the place thought we were prostitutes! lol! Apparently there are lots of light featured, foreign women here that take on this profession! But the kicker is, if we actually were prostitutes, why the heck would we want a tax number?! Now that's honesty for ya! Imagine a prostitute paying taxes?! Crazy! lol!
Alright! Enough already! Haha! I told you it would be a book! I will post a top ten of crazy things seen on a regular basis here in Istanbul tomorrow -with pictures!
And remember: Just Pita! (pita) Just Pita (pita)! Just PITAAAAA!! PITAAAA!!....mmm doner......