me in the ME

the semester of fun, sun, and Arabic

Continent-hopping and other daily activities.

Even though the program has officially ended and I’ve left Jordan- depending on who you talk to, I’m still in the Middle East since I’ve country-hopped to Turkey! I’m staying with a friend of mine from Tufts and seeing the sights in Istanbul before finally setting of for home. I find Turkey to be really fascinating because while included in Wikipedia’s “Traditional definition of the Middle East”, the country, and literally this city, bridges Europe and Asia. Suitably then, it is also included in Wiki’s list of recognized European states. If we want to be technical (which we do), I continent hop every day when I cross the Bosphorus, simply going from one part of the city to the other.

From what I’ve seen though, the Asian (read- majority) part of Turkey isn’t acknowledged so much/at all. I flew in on a 2 hour flight on Turkish Air in which I was served a hot breakfast- I can see why they won the Best Airline in Europe award for 2011. Seriously, it’s rare to even get good drink service on a two hour flight, let alone a full meal. Driving around the city, I see signs telling me that Istanbul is the 2012 European Capital of Sport. Today, I saw the heaviest chandelier “in all of Europe”.

I never learned that Turkey was European in any of my classes, ever. So trying not to offend anyone, I’ve been catching myself a lot from saying something like, “Turkey and the rest of the Middle East.” That’s funny too though, since I never really considered it a part fo the Middle East, just like Morocco isn’t really the Middle East. Both are included on Middle East map quizzes, but then again those also include Georgia, Bulgaria, Serbia, etc… which is going much farther out of the Middle East than I generally define it. So it all depends on whose definition you use. Apparently, I’m in Europe. Who’da thunk it.

It’s very different for sure from the Europe I know. Western Europe is kind of my jam and I’ve totally been getting into the Eastern Europe groove recently. And after being in Jordan for four months, I’m just starting to get the hang of the Middle East tune. That being said, Turkey is so far, none of the above. Not to take this music analogy too far, but it’s amazing to see the blend here. Historical/religious sites like all of Europe, beautiful like Italy and, dare I say it, Greece, a thriving, modern downtown. But the massive domes that color the skyline belong to out of this world mosques, not cathedrals, and I can still hear the call to prayer as I’m bopping around being a blatant tourist.

Even after everything- simply breathtaking.

Sometimes, I almost understand Turkish too! Wait, that’s a lie. Sometimes, I understand a word or two in a 20 minute conversation. Per usual, I ended up picking up more from movie subtitles (The Avengers finally!) than from actual day to day interactions. Visiting Turkey more than being in Jordan for 4 months brought home to me how much Arabic I actually DO know. Turkish shares enough words with Arabic that I could have the following conversation:


“Soldier idea life simple ok!”


I’m a sparkling conversationalist, don’t you agree? It’s very humbling to be completely helpless and not understand a thing being said or even how to pronounce words. It’s not even like in Arabic where I can try to sound out words I don’t know. From what I’ve gathered, some letters have the same pronunciations- but then there are little squiggles and umlauts that do crazy things to how you’re supposed to say something. What I end up doing is gazing around in wonder at everything, fascinated by what’s out the taxi windows.

And I can because Turkey is so FREAKING beautiful. I’m in awe of everything. Literally, everything. I can’t shut up about the blue of the sky, the green of the trees, flowers in color, the other blue of the Bosphorus- my friend must think I’m on drugs. Not that I’d know, but sometimes I’d imagine drugs might feel like this. It’s crazyawesomeinsanemindblowing ALL THE TIME.

And then there’s the food! Oh the food… This was lunch. It’s called kumpir. It may be the oddest thing I’ve ever eaten but WOW. Who knew that a baked potato stuffed with American salad, Italian salad, couscous, hot dog, cheese, black olive, green olives, hot sauce, yogurt sauce, oil, corn, peas, and even more would be so good?! This is why we travel- to eat whatever we want and only care about it later!

A true explosion of deliciousness!



Single Post Navigation

5 thoughts on “Continent-hopping and other daily activities.

  1. JoNell on said:

    Sounds like you have another language to learn so you can go back next year lol but sounds like you had a great time and learned a lot can’t wait to see you when you get home love ya be safe n be good 🙂

  2. Gorgeous pics! Turkey sounds like an exciting place that’s a mix of everything. I’d love to go sometime. I haven’t continent-hopped in years.

    The only European country I’ve been to is Romania. Beautiful architecture, warm people, but sad orphanages. We even went to Transylvania. In the daytime, it wasn’t so scary. 🙂

  3. I don’t know how you blog and travel. Wow! So I nominated you for an award on my blog. Keep giving us the skinny on what’s going on in the world. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

the stable times

walk, trot, canter through every barn in the northeast with me

Min Ayna Anta?

Introspection & International Relations

two friends blogging about israel-palestine

"I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the spirit."

College Cookbook Project

Learn How to Serve More Than Sauce & Noodles


Est. 2011 -- Booksellers, Etc.

Emily L. Hauser - In My Head

Writer, social activist, a lot of Israel/Palestine, and general mental rambling

The Kids' Table

kids and food but not kids as food

Peregrinate: To travel or wander from place to place

aka: Kasey and Eoin go backpacking.


Let's Speak Arabic

1000 Awesome Things

A time-ticking countdown of 1000 awesome things by Neil Pasricha

Kate, Cracking Up

Cracked in All Ways Except the Illegal Ones

All the Tapas

Just another site

Tufts Public Journal

An anthology of truth -- A journal for the public

Illustrated Bites

an illustrated food blog


book + movie = mook. this is mookology.

MWF Seeking BFF

My search for a new best friend.

%d bloggers like this: