Tuesday, 4 September 2012

A Turkish Introduction

So I'm here in Eskisehir, Turkey now...

In a Turkish Cafe
I live on the top floor of a three-story building in a room with two other girls. I was the first volunteer to arrive so I got to pick the biggest of the two female-rooms (both with 3 beds) which I am very happy about! :P

So our apartment has 3 floors and one basement. The first floor has 2 DeM offices', 1 bathroom a dinning room and a kitchen. The second floor has 3 EVS offices' and one big room. Then the third floor has 1 kitchen, 2 bathrooms, 6 bedrooms, 1 dinning room, and a balcony. We also have a washing machine, an iron and a fridge. I am sharing my room with Austrian Andi who is 19 and Francesca from Italy but who now lives in Brussels.  

My Bed
My things
Together there are 10 volunteers plus about 5 coordinators.
The volunteers are (photo's taken by Filipa (who studies photography at Uni) while exploring Eskisehir):

Andrea or Andi from Austria
Lili from Hungary

Jana from Slovakia
Rui from Portugal
Hudi originally from Indonesia but studies in Italy
Guillermo from Spain
Arpad or Arpi from Roumania
Filipa from Portugal
And Francesca from Italy/Brussels who arrived last 

Getting to Eskisehir

I was supposed to leave England at 22.30 on Turkish Airlines on the 31st of August, but it left more around 23.00. I sat between two young Turkish women; one with brown hair maybe in her 20's and one with blonde hair in her 30's - the brown haired fell asleep straight away and I did soon after. When I woke up, the brown haired lady had food (I had slept through it :( ) and the blonde haired was looking on her ipad at fashion clothes and picking them so I think she works in fashion.
The flight was 3.5 hours long, I think??? I don't know, I slept as much as I could, which was not a lot :(

When I got to Istanbul airport it was 4.30am Turkish time so maybe 2.30am English time. I went to passport control and they told me that I needed a visa (but the EVS organisation had previously told me that I don't need one) so I had to go back and get a Visa. At the Visa desk, it was £10 or 15 euro or 20 dollar but I had only Turkish Lira and he said they do not take them!!! I was angry haha. So I had to pay on my card and then they told me that the card machine only takes euro or dollar so I had to pay in euro but on my card (which is in pounds) so it will be more expensive than just 15 euro - sooooo annoying at 2 in the morning with little sleep :P 

Once I had my luggage, I went to the toilet and got changed because it was a lot hotter than in England. Then I found my way to the underground train station but it was shut. It was now 5.30am roughly. So I waited on the floor for 30 minutes, I took this time to sleep some more, but it was not comfortable so I just lay draped over my luggage with my eyed closed..

At 6am the doors opened so I got my ticket for 3 t.lira and got on the Tram with the help of a Turkish man who spent 20 years in Canada so was very good at English. The bus station where I had to get off was the 6th station. At the bus station which the EVS organisation had told me to get I said to the workers that I was from the DeM organisation but they looked at me blankly and it was obvious that they didn't know what I was talking about. (EVS told me that they would have already paid for my bus ticket and that the bus station would know who I am). After some confused talking, the bus workers called Safa (EVS organisation coordinator in Turkey) and it became clear that I would have to pay for the ticket myself. I was now down 40 t.lira out of my 90! I bought breakfast because it was now 7am and the bus did not leave until 8am and I was verrrrrry hungry!! 

Breakfast was a Coke and cheese and sausage toastie for 6.50 t.lira - it was really nice! 

At 8am, I got on the bus and pretty much fell asleep straight away. I got woken up about 1 hour later because I was sitting in the wrong seat - I was sitting by the window when my ticket was for the isle seat. So I moves and went back to sleep.
Before I realised that the screens didn't really work..
About another hour later I woke up again and this time we were in the countryside and it was SOOOOO beautiful! Big hills with green tree's and sandy floors and a beautiful sky. The bus told me that it was 10 something that that it was 27 degree's outside! (I have a slightly burned face because I didn't put sun cream on) 
Window View
I slept for maybe another hour and then the bus stopped for 20 minutes and I had an Ice Tea and went to the toilet - they have holes in the floor in public places like bus stations! At the airport they had proper toilets so I was not expecting it when I first went in, haha :P

The view from the bus stop
The bus took another 2 hours and then it arrived in Eskisehir (the city of my volunteer work) From here, I had to get the Tram to another part of the city. A Turkish lady helped me who could speak perfect German, this confused me at first, but now I realise that there are a lot of Turkish in Germany so many Turkish speak more German than English! On the Tram, I met an old man who could also speak German, he wanted to know where I was going and then he helped me with my bags and which tram-stop to get out at.

I got off the Tram and texted Safa and they met me about 3 minutes afterwards. I was the first volunteer to arrive by a long time. I arrived around lunch time and most of the other volunteer's would not arrive until midnight. I had some food and then we went shopping for a laptop cable (I forgot mine at Abigail's in England) - it cost me 11 Turkish Lira and also some shampoo for myself.

Turkish bread, cheese, tomato and Turkish tea
Later, we went to the biggest park in Eskisehir and had dinner. The park was really beautiful with 2 rivers on either side and some fish inside the river and some water-fountains. For dinner we had Turkish Pizza which was nice. We then went back to the apartment and I was so tired that after a shower I went to sleep at 6pm! (4pm English time) Unfortunately, there was a street party going on for a neighbouring Muslim boy who was turning of-age the next day so there was very loud music until around midnight.

I woke up around 11am and met 6 volunteers who had arrived during the night. We went to get breakfast for around 12 and then ate until 16.00! Two of the other volunteers arrived during this time - Filipa and Rui. Afterwards, we went to the apartment for a little while and then went to walk around the town. 

We visited a Mosque

At 20.00, we met for dinner and Francesca our last volunteer arrived. We ate dinner in a restaurant in town with Safa and 'Roberto' or real name Engin - "The ENGINE of DeM".

After dinner we went home and drank some beer, wine and Turkish drinks and ate popcorn and water melon and chatted about everything and nothing. It was a really nice evening and we got to know each other a little better.

Slowly getting into the working attitude

On the 3rd of September we had our first official EVS meeting and the project officially started. We all had to introduce ourselves, write our name on the board, tell its meaning and tell everyone why we were named this name. After that, Safa explained some more about EVS and the annual Terracotta Event. 

Hi, my name is Lucy, it comes from the Latin word for Light...
We were then divided into groups; Birds, Monkeys and Rabbits. We had to find each other by acting like this animal and then we were given a sheet of paper with instructions/tasks to complete before 5pm. The first team back at the meeting point would get free drinks. 
I was a bird with Arpi, Lili and Rui - GREAT advantage here as Lili speaks amazing Turkish! Our first task was to get a group photo with an old man and a waiter in front a certain building in the center of town (I've forgotten the name)
Old man, Arpi, Waiter, Rui, Lili and me
We also had to get a piece of Donner Kebab for free and learn how to make one. This task proved a little harder as the first place we asked got very offended when we asked to take pictures of the process, however, the second place we went to gave us a large amount of kebab meat without question!

In the end, we were the first group back and to celebrate I had this amazing drink here: 
After returning to the flat to freshen up, we decided to go shopping as a group and then head to a bar. We ended up back in the place we'd first had breakfast and stayed until around 2am.

Enjoying an ice cream


Filipa, Lili and Engin

Breakfast was at 11am again today, we had bread, cheese, tomato, cucumber, sausage, olives and chocolate/vanilla spread to choose from. After breakfast we had another meeting, introducing us to the different types of work we would be doing - for example; social media, blogging, photography, filming, editing and creating a magazine in Turkish and English. We then had lunch; very similar to my first lunch here in Turkey and now we have free time until dinner at 6.30pm.

It has been extremely relaxed so far but tomorrow things start getting more serious, we have to be ready to leave at 8.30am. A shuttle bus will pick us up and take us to the event location where we will be meeting with many of the organizers and one of us has to make a speech. I think Rui is doing it but I have offered to help him write it as it has to be in English. I also found out today that at some point while I am here we all have to give a presentation about our country to about 100 people... That to me is ridiculously scary! Especially because... what is there to say about England that people don't already know????

Lili and myself
I think I am going shopping with Lili now as she saw a dress in Istanbul that she really liked but they didn't have her size so we are using our free time to search for it! Wish us luck :p


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