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Dontcha know? I’m going to turkey, ey!

Dontcha know? I’m going to turkey, ey!

Between the snow sparkling in the afternoon sun and the lilt of Canadian accents, I feel like I’m on the movie set of Fargo but I’m actually in Raleigh about to take off to Adana, Turkey. I’m flying Air Canada and thus am surrounded by “dontcha knooows”- someone should do an anthropological study of who flies which airlines but i can tell by the unimpressed way these people look out the window that these grisly weathered mustaches don’t belong to southern farm boys. For those of you don’t know, a “snow storm” hit the south last night leaving about 2 centimeters of powder, dozens of empty grocery store shelves and a flurry of school cancellations. This morning, my Indian neighbors and Southern friends scraped up every snowflake to construct snowmen and splatter each other with snowballs. Fortunately, the storm didn’t delay my flight and I’m happily winter-jacket-less, ready for warmer weather in the Mediterranean (should be almost 70 degrees!). Some background on this trip: it’s just a holiday, nothing research or work-related. Although it turned out to be fantastic timing with the grant project because we’re as far as we can go without human subjects approval. Those forms should have been filled out a year and a half ago, but supposedly the person at the institution will do it after her grants are due on February 4th. So I won’t be missing much since I’m just researching these days with no official teaching assignments. Anyway, I never knew any Turkish people before coming to graduate school, where I met a ton. Always up for a cultural excursion, I tagged along with sumeyra to several events at the nearby Turkish center, everything from henna nights (to emulate the bridal shower experience for people missing weddings in turkey) to cooking classes to informational seminars. The warmth, hospitality and carefree quality of both the food and the people had me instantly enamored with the culture. An Arab studies professor from the nearby University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill gave a “virtual tour of Turkey” that confirmed this country’s place at the very top of my travel bucket list. I love its position at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa causes cultural influences swirl together, like watercolor marbling, to create a truly one-of-kind masterpiece of a place. Reinvented throughout the ages during the crusades and other religious/political conflicts, layers of history reflect the best of the old and the new in its cities. So unlike most of my trips, where fellowships/circumstances chose the country for me to some degree, Turkey was 100% my doing. When Orhan, a couchsurfer I hosted back in August, repeatedly invited me to visit him, I sealed the deal with $700 round trip tickets. (For all of you eurotrippers, Istanbul would be a really cheap, interesting place to fly in and out of. You need a $20 visa on arrival but that’s a small price to pay for seeing the “jewel of the great Turkish empire”, in the words of Atul). Orhan had a great time with me in Raleigh, hiking Raven Rock state park, grooving to soul music at the Apex jazz fest, seeing all sorts of exotic animals at the Carolina tiger rescue… I can’t wait to see what he has in store for me in the next ten days. I know it involves Mediterranean paradise in his hometown of Adana, fairy hills in Cappadonia, the ancient city of Ephesus then we’ll end in Istanbul. We’ll stay with his friend at the base of the Bosphorous bridge that connects Europe and Asia… How cool is that? I’m signing off for now but if there are any wordpress experts out there with better suggestions for themes, I like this one compared to the two dozen others I’ve tried but I’d rather one that features pictures more prominently. Comment if you have suggestions! Song of the moment: Snow Outside by Dave Matthews...