So it's been about two weeks since I left Istanbul. It's been 8 days since I moved back to vermont. I only had four days at home with my family. I'm starting to settle in and get into a schedule, but there's still hiccups along the way.
SO I have decided I need to rewrite my post about the Israli protest in Istanbul, post my thoughts, stories and lessons from spring break, and write about my thoughts on coming home and leaving Istanbul. I think I'll keep the blogg going as this summer has already proven it's going to be a great one filled with more research, sunny days, hazy nights, hiking, and sailing and all that good stuff. If you want feel free to check back in a few days and all summer long.
As the ipod playlist, I've a added few things - the new MGMT ablum I love it, some Chiddy Bang songs as I have come to think he's a supercool undrground rapper, while abroad I discovered the glory of LDC Soundsystem. But I can't forget the classsics, I made sure to add some more Eagles as they are always good in the summer as well as more Allman Brothers and more CCR.
more in a few...
First, I realize I never wrote about spring break, but I just haven't had to time sit down and truly reflect on all that I experienced and saw in that short period of time. I promise as soon as finals are done I'll post my thoughts and pictures.
Right now, I cannot believe I only have six days left here. I am stoked to go home, see my family, friends and alex, watch the Celtics beat the Lakers, and eat tons of cheese and steaks, but I am having a hard time saying goodbye to Istanbul. It has truly become a place I love. Actually I want to reflect on this later. Right now I want to talk about two things: Eurovision and the Israeli thing. I think I may write about Israel in another post a little later as the topics do not relate at all.
OK So Eurovison - the greatest show/ song contest ever. Keep in mind, I am not an american idol fan. Apparently, it has existed since the 50s. Basically, each country participating submits a song (previously unreleased). On Wednesday and Thursday night, there is a semifinals, in which, top 21 songs are picked. The Big Four - UK, France, Germany, and Spain- automatically qualify for rating purposes. On Saturday Night, there are the Finals. Each song is perform for two minutes to large productions with lights, props, video and sometimes fire or fireworks. No more then six people allowed on stage. The performances are super dramatic, its great. Some of them are truly incredible and make Lady Gaga look like a child's production, while others just down right silly.
After all the performances, there's a really long commercial break allowing viewers and judges to vote. Voting is determined by country. Each country has three judges, they pick the country's three favorites awarding them 12, 10, 8 points respectively. Then the viewers from the country pick the seven each getting 7-1 points determined by ranking. It's a crazy process but if you see it live, you just might understand it.
The best part is the judges votes because they are so political. Foe example, Greece's 12 points went to???? that's Cyprus. Who did Cyprus give first too? Greece. It was awesome to witness how forward each country was about it. No one even tried to hide their alliances. I loved it, perhaps, it's because I'm a major poli-sci dork, but whatever. I'm not the only one. Apparently, (i read it in a newspaper article) there are all types of professors and scholars that have written about it. It just one of pop culture things that completely displays the political feelings of the time.
Second best part, not all the countries in it are from Europe. Israel, anyone? I can't wait to try to watch online next year.
Here's the top three performances and some of my favorites via youtube:
1) Germany - Satellite
2) Turkey - We Could Be the Same
3) Romamia - Playing with Fire
Greece - Opa
Azerbaijan - Drip Drop
Moldova - Run Away (this one is just funny)
I have decided what foods I like, where I like to drink, what stand to buy my chips at. No longer are the crowded buses something that could get me completely lost and swallow me whole; now they are just crowded buses on the way to friend's apartment or night out. It's working out well. There are no real surprises anymore. I'm just comfortable here, which has led me to ponder some things. Should I be thinking about living abroad after school? What about grad school? and all those other questions that pop with those decisions.
I have come to the conclusion that I do want to have some time to explore things before I head to grad school. I'm pretty sure that I want to study international relations in some type of form. I do not know in what concentration yet. Perhaps I'll come back and work for NGO or go somewhere else. I don't know but I know none of these decisions need to be made now. I just know that this experience has given me more options and more confidence... both are good things.
I promise I'll post about my spring break in the next few days. I'm thinking one post on each country - Syria, Jordan, Egypt. For those of you that don't know, I and friends backpacked from Istanbul to Cairo and back in about 11 days. Originally, we had plans to go to Syria, Jordan, Israel and Cyprus, but two days into the trip we got word that boat ride from Israel to Cyprus would be too expensive so we went with our back up idea and loved it!!!! so check back soon
Konya is known as a very conservative and religious city in Turkey. Some consider it to be the most conservative city* So I had some preconceived notions before I arrived. Some were right and some were wrong.
First, I went to the Whirling Dervishes museum. The Whirling Dervishes (Mawlawi Order) are a sect of Sufi order of Islam. The order started in Konya in the 13th century. They are known for their elaborate dances, which are in remembrance of God. The museum is pretty cool. You have to treat it like a Mosque. You must take off your shoes and wear a headscarf a well. Many people go to the Museum to pray at the tomb of the founder of the order. Konya is the type of place that attracts Turkish tourists rather then international tourist.
more to come on spring break and all....
I can't believe it has been almost a month since I last posted! I just got back from backpacking through Syrıa and Jordan to Ciaro. I will post about that and life in Istanbul over the next few days...Stay Tuned!