August 30, 2007
Lesson Two: Don’t be fooled by first impressions
I can't believe I've been living halfway across the world for almost three weeks. It seems like just yesterday when I began 20 hours of travel to arrive in Turkey. Once I arrived, all I wanted to do was crawl into a bed and sleep for the next week, but our professors had other plans. Immersion into Turkish culture was to begin immediately, starting with our first field trip.
Istanbul expands over seven hills just like the name Constantinople, meaning New Rome, suggests. The first night on our field trip to Galata Tower, we discovered that the seven hills are the steepest hills ever imaginable. From atop the old Byzantine fortress, I looked across the city and disappointment came flying through the wind and smacked me in the face. Most of the buildings were desolate, decrepit, or abandoned. Traffic makes walking dangerous and the 17 million also living in the city makes this Kentucky girl long for home.
What had I gotten myself into? I was so overwhelmed that all I wanted to do was cry. The group walked to dinner at a near
by restaurant so that we could all formally introduce ourselves and the professors could discuss their expectations for the Istanbul portion of the semester. There are sixteen students from various American universities and two professors from Grinnell in Iowa. There's only one other Centre student and so not only am I in a foreign country, I don't know the people I'm with.
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