Merry Christmas from Turkey! It can be difficult to live in a country where most people don’t know when Christmas is, much less what it celebrates. Anyway, I didn’t start teaching until October, so it shouldn’t be too much of a shock to teach on and through Christmas. In Turkish fashion, Happy New Year!
We went to Kars and Ani for a couple days and stayed with Cat, resident honey tourism starter of Kars. Cat’s a Coloradan, former-Fulbrighter, National Geographic young explorer seeking to start up a honey tasting tour business (like wine or cheese tasting…but sweeter). We stayed in her house as she explained the difficulties of starting a business in Eastern Turkey. It was great to go see Ani in the snow, hear some conspiracy theories and history, and go to a hamam with Taylor.
I teach a new class now, doctors in their 30’s-50’s. It’s amazing the difference a small class size and highly motivated students have. They have a lot that they wish to be able to communicate, and I learn a lot about medicine and Turkey in the process of teaching them some English. My students have decent medical English but nearly zero conversational English. My first class I asked if they had children, one guy told me he had two children, “a son and a doctor.” “Oh how old are they?” My son is 12, my doctor is 8.” “…Oh! You have a daughter!”
Giving tests to my 18 and 19 year olds was a real struggle, since cheating is blatant and rampant. I’ve decided to give oral exams from now on, which I’m doing this week — so I’ll see how that goes.
I really enjoy the relationships that I’ve built these last couple months. Watching movies, building “gingerbread” houses, eating lunch, celebrating brithdays — Turks seem to know how to focus on the people rather than the event.