I just finished my first year in Turkey!

The children have had their last day. In between teaching and vacationing there is an ambiguous period of time that administrators all around the world call "Teacher Workdays." In my current school, these days span out for about a two week stretch.

Now listen, I've got as many loose ends to tie up as the next teacher. The thing is, I'm one of those people who likes to hurry up and get everything done at the close of school as fast as possible. I'm not really interested in dilly dallying. So after completing all of my tasks a full week earlier than the time I was allotted, I found myself with an exorbitant number of hours for thinkin'.

I tend to write down thoughts on  little bits of paper and shove them into my purse as I cruise through life. Usually these small scraps (gum wrappers, ticket stubs, post its) get lost at the bottom of my gargantuan bag and if they resurface it is usually MUCH later and by that point the paper will be so dirty and torn up that the messages are nearly impossible to decipher.

Here are a few of my messages to self, coupled with some highlight photos:

1) Somebody in my office is trying to poison me. I know that this sounds extreme, but it's real. The water in the cooler tastes like poison. I guess, if I were to be completely accurate, I would say that someone is trying to poison the entire English staff.

I am extremely familiar with this kind of poisoning because I've been dealing with it for a lifetime. Between the rotten food in my childhood refrigerator and the sleeping pills my sister would try to drug me with, I'm a goddamn professional. A professional victim of poisoning. I should add that to my friendship resume.

2) I went to an orchestra at Ephesus and it was pretty rad. But I have a few questions:
#1 Why do Turkish people always sit so close? There is an entire amphitheater to spread out and someone is literally sitting on my feet. This person is a stranger. And they are touching me VERY unnecessarily.
#2 What's up with the fanatical clapping? Let me clarify something: I am all about clapping for performers. But there is no one performing right now and people are just randomly clapping in large groups. It's like group-clapping-turrets. Is someone performing a social experiment to see how many people they can get to clap?? I think it's a cultural thing. The other day when I came into class with my hair straightened, my students gave me a round of applause. My girls told me that I look like Katy Perry. They also told me that looking like Katy Perry is a very good thing.

3) Did you know that Katy Perry fans are called Katy Cats? True story.

4) Some of my friends are moving away and they have been selling off their belongings. I've been trying really hard to not be a hoarder but it's in my nature to hoard. (It's lingering "poor person mentality" and I'm afraid I'll never shake it. Buffets are really difficult for me to navigate as well.)
Anyhow, my friend Gina gave me some clothes and check this out: Since I have started wearing her things, random strangers have been approaching me on the street and calling me Gina. But here is the weird thing: The clothes that she gave me were not in her regular rotation -- they weren't "signature Gina clothes" or something like that. Additionally, we look nothing alike aside from the fact that we are both white women. So how are these strangers making this connection?!? The entire experience has been spooky, perhaps even borderline alarming.

5) Here is a picture of her with a picture of her. There is also another small picture of her that I glued into the corner of the picture of her.
Gina and I look nothing alike. But the drawing is really good.

This is me. You probably think I'm at the beach. But I'm actually inside my hotel room posing in front of a photograph of the beach. I counted 14 of these photos (the exact same one mind you) around the hotel and I figured they were there as a backdrop for selfies in case someone who was visiting the beach didn't actually want to go outside.




9) And last but not least,


Tata for now, I'll be back in two months:)

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