Giving Thanks for Erzurum Life

Life has settled into a comfortable, but still semi-unpredictable rhythm. I’m really enjoying this year. I’ve got 4 classes of 19 year old engineers and tourism students. Their motivation stretches from taking away 3 different phones from one student in 10 minutes to “teacher I have missed you, tooooo long since last class!” I’m giving them an exam this next week. I don’t travel nearly as much and find myself very comfortable in Erzurum, learning to play Okey (a gin rummy like game with card-like dominos), hanging out with David, Emily and Asad lots, reading and meeting friends on afternoons and weekends. It’s really great to have David here, my life feels much less fragmented and more cohesive.

News from Colorado: Annaleigh Jane Adam was born last week on November 21st! Andrea and Bryan are going to be great parents! My Mom will give anyone a run for their money on proudest, most excited grandma. Skype will have to suffice until I can see her myself in January!
ImageBack in Erzurum, I really enjoyed going to the play “Orphans” this weekend with my officemate. I can catch enough of the dialogue to find it highly entertaining even if the philosophizing about the American Dream, in Turkish, is still too challenging for me to catch most of. I’ve started taking a Turkish class to try to combat such confusion–offered 0 or 15 hours a week–there is no halfway. It’s greatly helped me finally nail down things like to, from, in, and possessives, and confuse me more about definite articles. It’s taught by 3 University teachers, all of whom I’m connected to in several various ways.

I think those connections are something I knew would come with a second year, but I didn’t know how much. Diligent readers of my blog will remember that last year’s turkey was secured alive and then the process of killing and cleaning had to be attended to. This year, a Fulbright coordinator in Ankara has a brother-in-law in Erzurum who owns a restaurant (who Helen Marie tutored the daughter of last year) is securing one for this Thanksgiving. Now, never in Erzurum does “Pick up a turkey on Friday” actually mean it will be that simple. But…I have high hopes of it being de-feathered.

Another example of the Erzurum network: That play? Free since we know an actor’s wife. I still enjoy meeting new people and my expanded vocabulary of Turkish small talk but I really enjoy being a fixture in people’s lives, faith and friendships. As I look forward, it seems an easy thing for me to secure a job in Turkey, but rather anxiety causing to do the same in the US.

I’m excited to host my second Erzurum Thanksgiving this coming weekend and bring my colleagues, friends, and fellow Fulbrighters together to reflect on what a great year it is!

Also, my impossible Christmas wish is for the sun to set AFTER 4pm. Timezones. That’s all I want for Christmas.