Thursday, October 27, 2011


A plane just flew over Istanbul in the general direction of Africa, which got me to thinking...
These initial weeks teaching in Turkey have been hectic (I can't seem to get a few of the girls in my 4th grade classes to stop pinching my cheeks and making noises I used to hate hearing my aunts make), but they've also been eye-opening. Teachers impart a small bit of themselves on their students and I have the chance to impact roughly 200 individual lives with my own particular style.
While that is a little daunting and, indeed scary at times, I am feeling a small sense of freedom to
really be myself in the classroom and to be patient with even the most tedious annoyances. That's not to say that I'm going to let the little devils run rampant every day, because everybody needs a little, hell A LOT, of direction in life! I think I learned that lesson from my grandparents; something that is only just recently coming to light for me.
Dave McWane says, "We've all gotta burn somethin'," but I think I'll stick to wood and not bridges or sentiments. I've been feeling particularly in tune with a sense of internationalism while savoring the tough love of life in residential Istanbul. In a sense, I could envisage myself putting down roots in a place like this. The faces of old men and women tell stories without even making eye contact or sharing a word. And on the other hand, I am drawing on a sense of fleetingness to get by each day (teaching English can be a sort of fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type gig). Students aren't the only thing you've got to be patient with in Turkey. Bus stop signs read 5 minutes until the bus on the route you want will be at your stop, and read 3 minutes 5 minutes later.

Side bar #1: My German host-brother, Kai, has been in Turkey this past week, enjoying a relaxing week-long vacation in the South, near Antalya. We couldn't arrange to meet, unfortunately.
Side bar #2: An old high school friend, Matthew Tritt, has informed me that he booked his flight to Istanbul for the week of Christmas later this year. What a treat; to spend the holidays with an old friend in a new place! He'll be flying in from England and says, "we'll either tear it up or gently fold it together."

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