So there are a lot that has gone untold as so many things keep happening here, and when I do finally get the chance to blog (yup, it's official, I have crossed over to the dark side and used blog as a verb), I completely forget to update you on such events! So, I'm going to do my best to give ya tha juicy highlights....duhn duhn duhn!!
We made it to the islands a few weeks ago. They are just off the coast of Istanbul and you can actually see them from our side. They are one of the few places Istanbulus (love that word!) will actually go to swim around here (Istanbul water is just too dirty for them so they must go to the Black Sea or head down South).
It's just a ferry ride over, but for us of course, a very interesting one! We were left standing on the giant ferry as it was jammed-packed. About half way there, this fairly big group of Arabs (they were on a tour, but most of them were all related to each other) rearranged themselves and told us to come sit down. Little did we know, this meant we were going to get videotaped and photographed with almost all of the men in the group -each got their own photo sitting in between us. This random event immediately began as soon as we sat down, though it started off innocently. These two cute, young girls (one poor one's name is Banana) started videotaping us and then wanted a picture with us (we learned rather quickly that they speak better English than our students! Eep!)! Then all of the sudden, 5 cameras whipped out and their older, male family members were taking turns, jumping in getting their very own shot with the 2 of us whities! Haha! We barely had time to blink let alone even think about saying yes or no to the next lucky dawg! At one point, they even dragged this old man over from around the corner to take a picture with me while Katie was talking to this other guy. They were all laughing and were so excited as they told me how they were going to show his wife when they got back, and how she will make him sleep outside for a night because of it! Not only that, but they were planning on posting our picture all over their town! Haha! So weird!
Here is a pic of us with the 2 bamboozlers/hornswogglers:
We actually wanted to get a few pics with these guys as a joke, but they def missunderstood us when we asked, and instead they ran out of the way so just Katie and I could get a picture together! Hahah!
The other major highlight is the new flat! As you may have noticed, I still haven't got that video up yet; we got some poster tacking to do ok! Trust me, it'll be worth it once it's complete! Though we did manage to have a house warming party the week after we moved in! No delays there that's for sure! It was fun despite the awkward night (us teachers have weird scheds so no one night is good for everybody)! Here are the pics including a few roomie ones! (Cousins from Winterpeg, do you know my new roomie, Michael?).
We found out from our friend Owen that we had the 30th off about 2 weeks before hand - he remembered how English Time failed to tell them about the national holiday last year so he thought he would let us teacher's know about it! This holiday there by gave lucky Katie and I Wed- Sat off! Booyaaa! So we booked ourselves outta here almost immediately! Our first choice, naturally, was Greece, but with time restraints (it's so close but so far away!!) and prices, we decided to stay in the country and settle for the south of Turkey; this tropical, holiday place every Turk so wildly talks about. We wound up in Cesme which lies outside of Izmir along the Mediterranean.
(A house in neighborhood to the left of our resort.)We went down there thinking it was going to be a crazy scene of packed beach resorts lined up along the clear, aqua-blue shores, just one big party all day long...seeming as our students painted such pictures. Well, I think we picked the wrong spot! Hah! We decided to stay at this 5 star resort hotel -yes, we are teachers after all, 5 star only please! Psh! No, it was pretty cheap considering we got two massive, and I mean massive buffet meals included; there were 2 giganto pools; a private beach with this cool dock; a club in the hotel; all other usuals such as a bar, restaurants, get your-hair-did place, game room, food store, chach-ki shop stores; and then there was even a spa which we got access to (no-no, unfortuntely the bill did not include a massage or any such wonders -just the spa pools, gym, sauna, and steam room). It was absolutely gorgeous though quite remote. This resort left you with no reason to leave! (View from our room balcony)
We also went at the end of the season, so it was pretty much empty. Anyways, we still planned on going out, you know at least check out the club at the hotel. Haha! Not soo much! To our surprise, all we could do was sleep there, and if it wasn't that then it was eating! We tried sooo hard to go out after dinner each night but we only kept falling asleep -within minutes of getting back to our ocean view room! lol! Maybe because we kept coming back as blimps from the crazy feast we counted stop scarffing on! One night we even cracked a bottle of wine to let it breathe (now I'm no wine connasieur by any means, just give me the cheap and tasty, but let me tell you: you will do anything to try to make this Turkish wine taste at least somewhat drinkable!). But before our first sip, we freekin fell asleep!! Unbelievable!! Haha! And it's not like we did anything all day! We would just lay out and tan, the most action was swimming in the Med -but that was more floating! Haha! Pretty amazing though! (View of our private each, lay out on the right or on the giant pillows on the dock.)
Oh! Another day, one of the guests even found a small octopus swimming in our beach and took it out to show everyone! So cool! Unfortunately too though, it was a bit hazy and not as sunny and hot as we were hoping for.
(One day we opted to lay out on the dock.) One day I was getting a bit antsy so we managed to venture into town, man was that tiring! Haha! So all in all, it was more of a detox weekend! It was so great and I guess we really needed the sleep!
(Are you sleepy yet? I want a nap just looking at this view!)But have no fear! When we got back Saturday morning, we jumped right back into the norm! We went to our first Fenerbahce game (one of the well-worshiped Istanbul soccer teams -actually the town Fenerbahce is located right next to us), drinks before hand included! It was kinda bummy though, you aren't allowed to drink in the stadium!! What kind of game experience is that?! It did, however, turn out to be a lot of fun! We went with a couple of our other friends and sat in the noisy cheering section! They pound drums, shout crazy songs and never sit down!! It's awesome! Even better yet is to see these boys under 10 get so involved in the game even though you can tell they're not exactly sure why they just yelled what the did! This one fat kid a few rows in front of us even whipped off his shirt at one point to spin it around his head!! Classic!! Hahaha! This other kid, a row before us, always had so much anger whenever Fener messed up! That was hilarious too! He could make his face do some pretty strange things! Yet another interesting thing is this stadium: it barely even looks old and has never been cleaned -well I'm only guessing here but I do think I'm quite accurate! There are sunflower seeds all over the seats and floor along with a thick film of dirt! -note to self: bring a newspaper to sit on next time and don't bring change.They check for change and make you throw it in this box if you have any! That was maddening, I even stopped before hand to get more change thinking it might be handy (like the Euro, they use dollar coins here), so I lost at minimum 6 bucks on my way in! Grrrr! Apparently, I would have thrown all of my change at the players during the game had they let me in with it. Dang good thing they caught me boy! I got a throw from the top of the stadium at an angle not even a pro-American football player could reach! Psh! Actually, I'm simultaneously, working on my next game at Fener stadium -this Wed is Belgium vs Turkey; a qualifier game for the World Cup baby!
Ramazaan, as I'm sure you all are aware, has already begun. Not too much of a change as there are a ton of religions here. I even think there are more people eating during the day than when these people are not fasting...very confused. Anyways, we take a longer break during our night classes so these starved people can shove their faces with food. They have this special pitta bread everywhere for the holiday, and it's amazing with Nutella! The office staff was chowing down one night during the long break and of course, shared their food with me. One huge difference in Turkey is that everyone shares their food here, no matter what it is. Kids in class will buy a small pack of something and before even having one, will go around offering the entire class some -even if that means they would only get 2 little pieces for themselves! Ooop, that reminds me, here's a pic of me with one of my classes that just finished. Most of them were there that day, they asked to take a pic with me!
Welp! I've eaten up enough of your time and I must get to other things on this grand internet! We still don't have at home btw, but are becoming great friends with the guys at this local cafe! Oooo, that's another thing I'm lovin about my new 'hood, there are several stores I pass by each day and they recognize now so I always exchange greetings with them -some of these stores I haven't even stepped foot in! Love it!