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Friday, July 22, 2011

June 21st: Our first adventures into Bursa

Now, a month and a day from when we first arrived here in Bursa, we are getting ready to leave the Turkish life we have now come to love. For me this trip has been such a fantastic insight into a culture I clearly had no idea about before.
My heart does feel a bit heavy for having to leave this country in a few short days and I feel as though the U.S. will give me quite a culture shock when I return.

Our days at Uludag University, Gorukle and Bursa started as a haze of bus, ferry and minibus rides, that now all seem like a blurr (mostly because I fell asleep on just about every moving vehicle we were in). I remember our final bus ride into Bursa ended in us being dropped off on the side of the highway.
As I was torn from my millionth nap on a bus, I found myself stressfully gathering my huge backpack and running off the bus to gather my luggage and quickly herded into a minibus that just so happened to be parked on the side of the highway waiting for us. It took me several minutes to even figure out what was happening but, when I did I found out that the minibus contained our new Turkish family.

We were taken to the dorms which we quickly found out had no air conditioning and no working elevator, which meant that we had to lug our belongings up 4 flights of slippery marble stairs ( and if you saw my bag, you would know how hard that was!). We got settled into our dorm which was fully equipped with a kitchen and bathroom. After a couple hours of furniture moving and unpacking, we were picked up for dinner with our new friends.
The first dinner with Sami and Semih consisted of trying to figure out what everyone was saying (on both sides), I learned some new turkish words and got some clarification on other words I had learned but not really understood. The students were very hospitable right off the bat and made dinner super comfortable. There was a lot of nervous laughter due to communication difficulties but, the excitement everyone felt was raw and real and I will never forget it.

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