Bayram Mubarek Olsun

Izmir

The Kurban Bayrami or Eid al-Adha has begun in Turkey. The holiday began today and continues until October 7th. We have been extremely busy with the first two weeks of school and getting used to not only the new schedule but the absolute effort required to communicate in another language for 10 hours a day. Studying is taking the majority of my time and I have built a massive library of flash cards and notebooks to write down words i hear, words i need, and grammar. In school we learn how people talk in the street using the ‘Argo’ street language. In language class we learn tenses, grammar and conversation. Vocabulary is our responsibility. The last few weekends we have taken small excursions to restaurants and I went fishing to the north toward Manisa outside Izmir. We took a small fishing boat owned by my host brothers father out onto the sea and began catching fish as the sun fell on the incredibly greek mediterranean looking town. On the shore apartment buildings were built above ruins of ancient buildings no one remembers the name of. I caught five and we went out to delicious seafood dinner where we chose a fish and watched it cook. Salads here are shared by everyone on one plate, and you eat condiments as bites instead of putting them onto food. There are also meal combinations that are fairly strictly dictated. You gotta eat fistulye before main courses of meat for instance.

Its a strange thing to transition from tourist to visitor to having somewhere be your home. I’m somewhere in the middle of that, working to develop the 8:30 to 3:30 school and 5pm to 7pm routine. Homework takes several hours and thats without school textbooks and workbooks to attempt to join the classes. Soon I hope I will, and with friends at school i feel comfortable although exhausted everyday.

This wednesday we went to the Foreigners Police Department and worked on getting Residency Permits but we remain on temporary visas, albeit newer ones. This was the first time I’ve seen Syrians in large amounts. Only women and very young children. The millions of Syrians in Turkey are the worlds fastest growing humanitarian crisis and it would serve us well to our spend money on them rather than military actions.

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My daily subway stop

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Konak and the ascensor tourist landmark.

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The quintessential Izmir photo from the top of the Ascensor in Konak.

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Kelly stands among the thousands of Bayram shoppers in the Bazaar.

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Alsancak and the nightlife areas near the Tomer school photographed on badly my ipod. Time to take photos is scarce especially when walking in crowds I don’t like to carry much. I’ll try to bring it more often but there’s no hurry. I’ll write a longer post by October 15 with the Bayram details and our Ankara trip.

Below is the song extolling the city’s beauty written by the Izmir greek native Dario Moreno which plays endlessly in the ascensor.