Really? I have been here a month! The time has seriously flown by, but I feel very adjusted to my life here (besides the fact that I am still homeless). Work is going quite well. I have decided to just work at one school and I have about 25 hours a week so far. I work weekend mornings and weekdays from about 2pm till 10pm, with Tuesday as my day off. Not your typical 9 to 5 but I think it keeps work from getting so monotonous and I am almost nocturnal now. Which is great in a city like Istanbul where everything is open late and you can get anything from beer to Chinese food delivered to house 24-7.
After 2 weeks at Ali’s house, he has passed mealong to his friend Erhan. I meet Erhan a few weeks ago at his birthday party and right away I knew this was a good guy to know in Istanbul. Erhan has graciously opened his home up to me, I am sure when he agreed to let me stay there he had no idea I would be there for the next 3 weeks. Erhan’s house is just a 20-minute walk to my work and his home is always lively and full of friends.
Last week was Bayram, the Muslim holiday to celebrate the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son to God, good thing God intervened and told him to sacrifice a ram instead. So, each year Muslims recreate this act by sacrificing a lamb, cow sheep or goat. The meat is divided and given to relatives, friends and neighbors and the needy. Being a vegetarian, I was quite nervous about this sacrificing holiday, especially when I heard the city smells of blood for the whole week and there will be carnage everywhere. I have been lucky to avoid all scenes of massacre so far and any smells of blood.
Due to Bayram, all schools are off for the week. Which would have been great if A. I had money and B. I was ready for a vacation. But Erhan was kind enough to invite me to his hometown, Izmit (just an hour outside Istanbul). I feel so lucky to be “going home for the holidays.” Izmit is a small suburb right on the sea, quiet and suburban. The holiday felt very familiar, lots of food, family, deserts and little kids in their Sunday best.The rest of my holiday was mellow and uneventful. I did find some time to get a new tattoo. I have been thinking about getting another tattoo for a while, and when your new best friend is a tattoo artist, what better time then the present. I picked an Arabic style font in red ink with the “STARS” and “ALIGN” across my right and left wrist. It’s the title to one of my favorite Kaskade tracks (I am officially obsessed) and it reminds me to trust in fate.
On Sunday I went my first professional basketball game, which was pretty exciting because I got to see Mr. Alan Iverson play. It was only his second game with Besitkas and the fans were going mental. Apparently in Turkey games are so intense only one of the teams fans are allowed to come to the game. The entire time the Besitkas fans were chanting and singing. And the few times I had my friends translate what they were saying, instantly regretted it. Lets just say it was a lot of talk about players mothers and various body parts. At the end of the game the visiting team had to berushed off the court by the riot squad in full gear. That’s pretty much all that is happening. I still love it here, I enjoy the chaos of the city but the kick back style of the Turks and I can’t get over Turkish breakfast!