Saturday, January 22, 2011

Livin' It Up in a Turkish Snow Globe!

Have you ever wondered if worrying and planning are in your nature? Have you ever thought that your life was too planned? Well before I came to turkey, I felt like life was clock work. Here I have learned to slow down, take in my surroundings, and with whatever comes to me, I learn to “roll with it.” One thing that is important in the Turkish culture is a coffee break; in the house, a cafĂ©, at work, in school. With this, it is not uncommon to have long conversation that can even last up to 2-3 hours given the circumstance. Well the most recent coffee break landed me in another city, Uludag.
My friend, Burak, and his family, the one in which I’m living with during my study abroad, were sitting around having the typical Turkish coffee. We then noticed, all of us had at least a one week break, so we said, why not go somewhere. They discussed a few different places, and then came to the conclusion, Uludag, which is a ski resort town where they have gone every year for the past 10 years. Then, so it was, we were leaving that night at 1:00am. We found a huge deal at the hotel, Alkoclar, where the price was half the normal, and everything was included: food, sauna, liquor, tea and coffee, which cut a major cost of travelling.

We rushed around the house, cleaning, finding clothes to wear; I even went out to buy a new winter coat, which I waited so long to buy. We had fun trying on all their ski clothing, finding the ones that would fit the others and me. Our bags were packed and we sat down for another coffee for our long journey ahead. As sitting there, it struck me; I have a project to turn in on Friday, the night that we were going to be coming back. Then my family calmly reassured me not to worry and that everything would fall into place. After looking back, they were more than correct. Again I ask, why stress over things that are little and that wont effect you as much as you think?

We arrived in Bursa at about 8:00am and then took a taxi, bus and then a shuttle to arrive in Uludag by about 9:30am. Burak, Ceyda, and I were starving, so we had breakfast at the hotel. Then to kick off the day with 2-3 hours of sleep we decided to ski. Now keep in mind, I have never skied in my life, so I was a beginner. I was originally going to pay 100 Turkish lira for lessons, but after giving the money, I decided no I will learn on my own. Burak taught me how to climb a hill, as well start and stop. The rest was too hard to explain so I learned as I went. By the end of the day I fell only 2 times and managed to go fast and make good turns.

We went to bed early for an early morning the next day. After breakfast and a Turkish coffee we put on our ski clothes and went for the hills again. We got pictures from the many camera men and went down different hills. I was able to go pretty fast this day, and the family said I was a really quick learner. We ended our skiing at about 5:00pm and proceeded to our rooms to rest and then prepare for dinner. After dinner, I had the obligation of finishing my marketing project. I got half of the work done and saved the rest for the next day.

The next couple days I continued working on my project,
and on the last day of skiing I was
faced with a challenge. Burak took me to the steepest hill there called, Hell. We got to the top, and as I looked down, I started shaking. I said no, no, no, absolutely NOT! Burak encouraged me, I went down about 20 meters and with my nervousness, I fell. I stood up and Burak said “Dustin, ski normal like you do.” He went down the hill, then I closed my eyes, breathed in deep and went for it. Can I just say, RUSH. There was so much adrenaline going through my veins I’m sure my heart could barely handle it. However, I made it all the way down without falling, and it was so much fun! We then climbed the hill again and had a Nescafe to relax while taking some pictures, given the perfect view. We then went down again, a different way and ended the day with a nice dinner and relaxing.

Our last day in Uludag, we all slept in and had a late breakfast. We packed up and checked out of the rooms. We then sat in the lobby a couple hours, I got on the internet a little bit, also drank green tea and sipped on more Turkish coffee. We took a shuttle down the mountain and had the best doner kebab I have ever eaten in my life. We then took the bus back to Izmir at 7:00pm, leaving us there at about 1:00am.

Such a great experience all decided over a Turkish coffee. The Turkish culture for me is relaxed, they know how to not worry, they know how to take life slow, they know that being late somewhere is not a crime, and they know that work will get done one way or another. One thing that I plan on taking back to America is the coffee culture, the relaxing culture, the “let’s not worry about every little thing” culture. Because these aspects in life are what make you relaxed, live longer, and take you to different places in the world.

1 comment:

Tine said...

It sounds like you had so much fun skiing! I haven't skied in 10 years, haha. I love that the liquor was included in your hotel! That's so awesome!

I'm with you on the relaxing coffee break lifestyle... I really need to incorporate that into my life!

Miss you!!!