Lessons from Abroad: Study Abroad Returnee Conference, Traveling

Bayram, Bursa and Bollywood

September 30, 2015

A week into classes and my university had a week long holiday to celebrate the Muslim holiday Bayram. I scrambled to make plans to travel but everything became complicated very quickly and most of the busses were filled up. Luckily, my magical roommate Beste invited my friend Misbah and I to stay at her family’s house in Bursa. Misbah and I took a minibus to the metro to a ferry to Beste’s car. In Bursa, Beste and her sister showed us the hustle and bustle of the silk bazaar, a beautiful mosque, a delicious local chestnut dessert, a six hundred year old tree, and a nearby village on the sea that left us dreaming of Italy.

Most importantly Misbah and I got to meet the kindest Turks in Turkey who happen to make the best food. Every meal was handmade down to the jam and yogurt. Beste’s mom even focussed on vegetarian meals for me. There was also a very cute very spoiled dog named Doggie. We spent the nights in the parlor drinking çay, talking politics, and gasping at the 2000’s style clothing in Bollywood films.

Unexpected things:

  • Apparently Turkish toilets have a cleansing mechanism in them that I never knew about and am too afraid to try.
  • Grapes have seeds???? (I had become so used to buying seedless grapes that I nearly forgot.)
  • Rakı just tastes like black licorice. (And apparently Turks don’t know what that is.)
  • I made it through the feast of sacrifices having only seen one bloody animal.

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