Hello! This is Pepper writing from the end of my year in Turkey! My city is called Elaziğ (pronounced Ela-zuh), in the south-eastern part of the country. I have been teaching a mix of grammar and speaking classes to mostly engineering students in their first year of university. A foreigner is a kind of rarity in the city, which has been a sometimes humorous and sometimes difficult experience. But the incredible moments have made it entirely worth every difficulty. So I present, Elaziğ!:
The view from my office.
The nearby town Sivrice and lake Hazar.
A stroll up to our local Seljuk castle (called the “milk castle” because they supposedly ran out of water for mortar during the construction and had to use milk).
I have been able both to travel within my region of Turkey, and in other regions. I went to Gaziantep a month or so ago, which is a large city relatively close to me (5-6 hours by bus). It’s a very cool city, and I almost heard as much Arabic spoken as Turkish. I visited an old Armenian church-turned-mosque, which for years was in ruins but is now being renovated.
View of Antep from the roof.
I’ve also been able to see Istanbul a number of times. Last fall, I went to the Istanbul Marathon. Although I didn’t run in the marathon, the bridge over the Bosphorus was closed to traffic and open to pedestrians for one day – giving us the opportunity to walk from the Asian to the European continent.
Well, that’s a taste of my experience here. And if it isn’t enough of a taste, here’s a photo of Turkish breakfast I had together with another Fulbrighter – Sabeen Ahmed (who took the photo). It’s been a wonderful and challenging year. I’m so grateful to have been giving this opportunity. And my Turkish isn’t half bad 7 months later 😉 So görüşürüz for now!