Check it out! An update in light speed time! Wazzah!!
So I finally videod the flat! But I forgot to mention in the video that we call it “the Smooth Sailing Mac Pad”. Haha! Yes, we are geeks! I seemed to have forgotten to video the sailboats on our balcony railings as well; hence the smooth sailing bit. Mac because we all own Macs, the same ones. Also, it might help as you watch this masterpiece if I explain the delay of my videoing. It is because we had to Ataturk-arize our flat. Which is still not even complete because I still need to get a poster for my room! He’s the father of Turkey (direct translation actually. The Turks go nuts for this guy). He’s freekin everywhere here –no joke! He holds the key to Turkish history. There are a ton of strange posters of him for super cheap here! Example: him throwin back the Raki!...unfortunately we don't have that one -work in progress. However, I think it's key to note that the poster you will see in the bathroom came with the flat, not any of these Ataturk posters (mind is boggled).
And now for the feature presentation:
Ok, so the game! Crazy madness! I went to one of the qualifying games with some friends: Kevin, Jeff and Grant (well Greg, but I call him Grant). It was Turkey against Belgium. Super exciting game, minus the fact that I didn’t see any young fat boys whipping off their shirts for an exciting play. Our seats were pretty sweet! We were on the lower level kinda behind one of the goals! Booya!
So their system of letting us into the stadium, I tell ya, I now know what’s it’s like to be a cow, sheep,…etc (or as our students would say “blah blah blah” ). Absolutely ridiculous! The turn out was huge, unlike the Fenerbahce game I saw a few weeks ago! Butt loads of people! It took FOREVER to get in, and people here don’t have that personal bubble us westerners so cherish. So if you are right up on some stranger they won't even know it, they probably even feel more comfortable touching you. Lots of the Kurnel sandwiches going on (oh yes, new nickname to add to the books! Grant crowned me so to differentiate between the two Katies. Classically awesome part is that everyone always says it with the title “the”! Haha! Oh I made up the spelling btw, there’s accents and such, but ya). Mmmmm the Kurnel, it’s what’s for dinner. The boys weren’t to thrilled either. I think Grant put it perfectly when on our walk back, he asked if I got groped. Of course I replied affirmatively and he was quick to agree with how they (the boys) all did too! Not many females go to the game, so the guys got sandwiched a lot more than they were ever hungry for! So there was a lot more action than night than we all could ever imagine! So in the giant stadium hall, being herded along, groped, not walking as other people do it for you and we finally get pushed through the gate -yes! The male security guards pointed me toward the woman security guard to go get groped some more (awesome!). Even though I made sure not to bring any change or other such objects my superhero arm could chuck, I decided to wiz by them -yup opted out for the special grope. [Turk security guards are just there for the job, so they don’t care if you walk through a metal dector and it goes off or not. Safety first!]. So we somehow found four seats in our general area. It was packed with by-standers on our lower level. The pounding and pounding on the huge metal-sliding doors of all the angry people demanding to get in was still a constant. We were a bit worried, it sounded like a huge outburst waiting to explode! Almost towards the end of the first half, it finally subsided and no one was hurt. But the action in the stadium didn’t stop as the crowd was cheering like mad! I def cheered every chance I could, hand gestures and all! If I was able to pick up on what they were screaming, I was doing it. The first half was kinda sucky though, because Belgium made it look like they were playing with puppets, or maybe because Turkey made it seem they didn’t care to win. Either way, it was a pretty uneventful first half with some close plays at hand. The second half, however, got goooood! They were finally tied and that’s when they started whipping out the drama and playing dead when they got “hurt” in a play. It was awesome and so ridiculous! Even a fight between two opposing players almost busted out! It was great! The ref kept having to try to break them apart and then attend to the “hurt” player rolling around (note: he was able to shake of the agonizing pain within seconds of finally getting up to walk). Then the coaches almost got into it! Hah! All in all, an exciting game despite the closing tie! Not to mention more intense groping that followed on our way out of the stadium –note: we did wait about 10 mins for it to clear, or so we thought. On the way out, you have to go down these stairs, and it’s dark and we couldn’t see them, you just know they're coming as you're in a the thick of all of the fellow sheep, sorry people. I felt like a buffalo that was being herded off a cliff by a bunch of Indians. Kevin and I were seriously worried for our lives, we didn’t know when the steps were coming and we couldn’t see anything below us! By fate, I guess the Indians weren't hungry, we wound up in the middle and found a railing in the middle of the steps before getting pushed down the stairs. At one point I wasn’t even holding myself up, yes that’s how close we ALL were.
I was invited by my friend Natalie to go to the beach on one of the islands nearby with some others. She had also invited Nelly (an older, hilarious woman that says the most random things super loudly at any given time. Example: she looked at me one morning in the teacher’s room while I was reclining -all stretched out in an office chair: “Boy! You are really long!!!” This is almost 2 months in working there, she has seen me many times before, and she says it with her funny accent in a voice like she’s never seen me before. She unintentionally made the room, full of us teachers, and there’s no way you can’t hear her, crack up and in sheer confusion!). Also, Ibrahim one of the nicest, Turkish office staff guys, whose English is quite good. We all thought we were going to have a relaxing day on the beach. ARRRHNNNNN!!! (buzzer sound). On the ferry over, Natalie mentions how she knows this beach and recommends renting bikes as the walk is quite long. I’m down! I miss biking soooo much! Ibrahim is game as well, but Nelly, ohhhh Nelly. She starts freakin out, and here's the clencher: not because she can’t ride a bike. No, because she can’t go down hill. Yup, take a second…processed yet? K, so she can ride a bike, but down hill is the big issue -you know, what should be the easy part of cycling? So we take 20 minutes convincing her it will be fine. Hahah! Oh dear! Literally, every 5 minutes we end up waiting for Nelly to catch up. We all have to stop and wait and wait and wait. Then we get a little bit scared because she was so worried about biking that we start to think that she may have fallen. Well because this is no flat island, no we had a bike ride up and down and up and down and up and down these mountains, that we are much too tired to actually ride back up a dang hill looking for her. So Natalie immediately volunteers Ibrahim to go looking for her! Haha! He’s just as tired and hot as we are, but that didn’t matter –he would, however, do it each time she demanded. Luckily for him, Nelly would be just around the corner by the time he was summoned to go find out if she was alright. So after what seems like forever, we get to this beach Natalie knows of. What do I see but a house just along side the curvy road situated on a cliff. Yes, I said cliff. No little hill down to the beach or walk down to it. No, this adventure Natalie had in store for us gets better.
(The beach we hiked down to)
We have to hike down this mountain, try that on for size when Nelly didn’t even want to bike! At first, we wanted to plant our bikes on this house’s property for safe keeping (no fences up and it’s a run down home). But Ibrahim had to give his ID card to the bike guy so he wasn’t willing the risk; he wanted us to take the bikes down the cliff with us. So we make the valiant effort down one of the slopes -no doubt, Nelly complaining. Finally Nelly puts her foots down; thank God! So we start to think of another beach we could go to. Just then, the people whom live in the house come out and tell us to put our bikes on the side and they will watch them for us. Ibrahim gives in and we rush to throw them down! Then on the way down, through all of the the trees, Natalie starts freaking out thinking spiders will get her and even almost turns back (I didn’t see any spiders mind you)! Ibrahim to the rescue and we're back on going down the cliff. Meanwhile, Nelly is, of course, far, far behind. Every few minutes we would scream her name and she would scream back. Phew! Though the last part of the cliff was ridiculous! Super steep and all dirt! A bad fall waiting to happen! So we wait for Nelly to catch up and head down the worst part of the cliff (I’m in flip flops mind you). Ibrahim first, we go down! At one point he just risks it and races down. Great choice for him: as soon as he gets down, Nelly decides to decline to go down the cliff. Natalie proceeds to tell her that she will be okay and that WE will help her down. With that said, she quickly summons Ibrahim up to help Nelly down the cliff! Poor Ibrahim was a bit hesitant, but a like a true Turk, won’t fight much when he knows he must help a female.
(Poor Ibrahim going up the cliff to help Nelly)
As soon as I’m down to the stoney shore, I strip off my clothes (Woah there! Bikini underneath thank you!) and jump into the water. Perfect temperature on this remote shore, though lots of seaweed and tons of stones don’t feel peachy-keane on the feets! So I’m swimming around and they finally get down and settled (prolly 15 mins later) and Natalie won’t go past all the seaweed, so she beaches it right in the shallow end. Ibrahim, however, makes quite an effort to get out to me! Haha! I’ve never seen someone swim so awkwardly in all my life!! Lol! So he gets in (mind you being a Turk, he already doesn’t approve of the water. Sure it’s a little better than the water on the shores of Istanbul, but it’s still dirty as it is just a short ferry ride away). He starts splashing – er, sorry swimming around. You can tell he’s trying to make this breast stroke of his look dang good; but a quote from Garden State was all that could (and still does) come to mind: “Dude, you look like a wet beaver”. I was trying sooooo hard not to crack up, but that’s all I could think of! He looked soo ridiculous! There was soooo much splashing going on and he was trying to go fast but only got slower! So he did a quciky half moon and scurried right out of the water!
(Natalie trying out her skills as a green monster)
Right, so this relaxing day sunbathing on the beach, turned out to be maybe an hour's worth of time spent on the beach. We laid out for a tiny bit and then it was time to bike all the way back to catch the ferry! Natalie almost had us go the same way we came, but all I could think of was the hills we would have to bike back up. So I requested the easier way around, which is also the longer way back. Luckily, it was mostly down hill and the scenery was gorgeous.
(A few from one of our many stops. You can see Istanbul in the background)
Only, it was mostly down hill. We now had to wait for Nelly for even longer amounts of time! At some points we would get really worried because we knew she didn’t want to go down hill and so we would start to think that maybe she really ate it hard or rode off a cliff on a turn! These hills are long but not steep, so it’s not like we are putting her in great danger. Thank God for Ibrahim, when Natalie would try to get him to go (it would take more coaxing now that we are tired and this would mean riding up a long hill) Nelly would come within minutes, or be around the corner when he would actually take the challenge. As soon as she would see us she would start laughing forever in her hilarious, loud laugh! At one point we waited so long we found a corner store and got some chips, a drink and sat while we waited! Haha! It was a lot of fun and an adventure I had no idea that could be in store on an island so close! We gave Natalie crap for it and this week we are going to try to go the Black Sea where beaches are sandy and a promise that we will step off the bus and lay out…..On the ferry ride back, we were all so wiped out that we all had to lay down on the long seats! Haha! I really wanted to fall asleep but was scared I couldn’t make it to my other friend’s house for a potluck dinner that was about to start!
With the good always comes the bad. I’m really upset to say Mustafa and his family’s life have been turned upside down. I found out the other day that English Time sold the dorms I first lived in to Maramara University. Everyone living there now has to get out so they can accommodate all of the new students that need to move in. I went to go see them yesterday and brought Mike along. I feel horrible that I haven’t visited them since I moved out –I even said I would once a week. Mustafa and Zabede are so depressed. They were such different people. Usually, they are so cheerful and joking around, but this time they were quiet and looked so upset. I tried to cheer them up by finding random sentences in Mike’s super old Turkish-English dictionary. I told them sentences as “he runs up a tree like a cat” and “the arrow sticks out of his arm” in my awesome Turkish accent. Completely random, I know, but atleast they had a good laugh. Don’t ask me why you would ever look in a dictionary for such sentences, but hey, they were there and so I felt it was necessary to use them! So freekin English Time hasn’t told them what is going to happen to them yet. This means Mustafa doesn’t know if he will have a job with them at another location yet or not. They don’t even know what day they have to be out of the dorms by! They are just waiting for a phone call that will tell them they must leave (and don’t forget that this is their home) within a few HOURS. This even could have been today! If not today, then it could be tomorrow or a few weeks from now. They are just waiting for this phone call. On top of that, he might be out of a job! They might not need him at another location. He has no idea what he’s going to do. It sounds like if hey gets let go, they will go back to their hometown (an 11 hour bus ride a way). He thinks he might go back to being a barber or try out some other job. It’s horrible! It sounds like they don’t want to go back to their hometown at all. They are such amazing and giving people, they shouldn’t ever have to deal with such a thing! I wish I could do something for them....
Anyways, time for dinner: I think I will have the “no name” please!