Friday, May 4, 2012

Teaching Children

Things have been pretty normal this week. Though it defiintely leaned towards the "what an awful week" side. This week in class, I had one kid raise his hand and ask if he could sleep during my class. As in, in the front row, sleeping. Asking permission. I had my other class reveal to me today that they followed me home from the bus and found out where I lived. They claimed they were joking, but oddly enough, they all now know the name of my landlord. I gave my class a lecture today- because after three hours of them looking at me like I was speaking in an ancient dialect of some far-flung country, I told them sit for an hour and study their words. After nearly nine months of English classes (only English classes for their whole first year!) they still do not study nor do they even bring paper to class. I walked back into class after a short break and found my kids making paper airplanes and saying "look teacher!" like they were so proud to see them zooming around the classroom. My students are in university. They are 18-25 years old. But really, they are like children. Culturally speaking, I understand the diference. Turkish kids, especially women, aren't raised in the same way that American kids are. In America, we are basically taught that by 18 we should be independent and ready to take on the world by ourselves. We are sent off to college to live on our own and "discover ourselves." In Turkey, this is just not so. The kids here are extremely dependent on their families, and lack a strong sense of independence. When they arrive to university, they don't know what to do with themselves. They were never taught sound studying practices and most return home every weekend to be with their families.

In other news, my MACbook Pro died two days ago so I am using the internet on my iPhone.  And I got sick. Wah wah. Okay, enough venting. I am heading out of Duzce as quickly as possible, after this lousy week and going to the South, to Antalya, the land of endless beaches. I will come back sun-kissed and worry free. This is, at least, my goal.

where I go to escape, Antalya 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Akyaka, Best Beach in Turkey

Akyaka is not widely known. In fact, many of my Turkish friends were unfamiliar with this little beach side village on the Aegean Sea. It took me a 14 hour bus ride to make it there, but it was worth it. My weekend in Akyaka was like a hidden fairytale. Nick and I took a 30minute mini-bus ride from Mugla's otogar (bus station) to Akyaka, where we wound down the twisty rocky streets of the mountains until the town of Akyaka came into sight- beautiful, whitewashed and stunning in contrast to the rock-faced mountains and the jewel-toned sparkling Aegean Sea. Akyaka is full of Turks, students from Mugla Universitisi and a large population of British ex-pats.

Full of summer houses, the houses are either bright white or made of wood, all cutely embellished with vines spiraling upward, twisting around the verandas and porches, painting a picture perfect villa complete with freshly blooming flowers, adding to the Eden-like feel of this tiny sea-side hideaway. Our friend Jena who lives there (yes, we hate her for her luck :) !) escorted us back to their bungalow where we dropped our bags off and drank some coffee before heading off to eat some traditional Akyaka breakfast and relaxing. We (EB, Clayton, Jena, Whitney, Nick and I) walked for about 30 minutes to reach this place along a road that hugged the shoreline. Little harbors, Lycian tombs and rocky cliffs dotted the shoreline, turning our walked for food into an unexpected nature adventure. We marveled at the beauty, mostly at the water, but also at the rolling tree covered hills opposite the shore, creating the nestled little cove where Akyaka sits. The hills seem to roll on top of each other, folding and rising and dipping in a perfectly harmonious fashion. The birds sang a secret tune, saved just for spring time, welcoming all to its hidden hills.

When we finally reached our little breakfast sport, we were greeted with a pecked, umbrella-lined shore, a little lake of crystal clear waters, a flowing brook, a footbridge and a luminous teal Aegean Sea that would  put any postcard to shame. We had a local breakfast spread with special honey and cheese from the village. The rest of the day was spent earning back our summer tans, lazy naps sounds of rolling waves and swims in the chilly water. It was worth the 14 hours bus ride.

If you happen to be near Mugla, head down to Akyaka, it was by far my favorite beach I've been to yet, a quiet little paradise tucked between the mountains and the Aegean.

Beach of Akyaka 

the Aegean Sea, Turkey 

Me, EB and Jena 

Nick and I 

our little breakfast nook 

craggy mountains and sand lined beaches 

little boats in the harbor 

deserted beach, my favorite time to walk along the shore

mountain/beach contrast 

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