Sleepy eyed, thirsty and disoriented, we made our ways through customs and waiting for our luggage. After our long transit from Chicago to Ankara and with suitcases in hand, we were greeted by a police officer who held a white sheet of paper with our names printed on it. Slightly terrified and confused, we soon realized that he was gesturing for us to follow him to other people—not in uniform. Relieved, we saw a man and a young woman, who we assumed were our colleagues coming to pick us up. We were expecting to meet someone at the airport shortly after are arrival at 11:00pm local time. These two friendly colleagues drove us anywhere from 40-60 minutes to our hotel (and we don’t know exactly how long because we were just SO tired by that point) and made sure we got checked in. We were extremely grateful for their assistance as I’m not sure we would have been able to navigate from the airport to our hotel in such a zombie-like state.
The next morning (Saturday), we made our way to our office to meet some more colleagues and to begin our search for our new home in Ankara. We walked for about 8 hours, with a few breaks to eat and drink tea; but mostly we walked around and looked for rental signs in windows. We got to see a few places (one furnished, one unfurnished) and were almost convinced to sign a lease, however we chose to wait one more day.
After a long day of taking care of administrative tasks (i.e. house hunting, purchasing a cell phone SIM card, etc.), we made our way to the city center where we saw TONS of people (mostly young Turks), a police-occupied park where the recent protests have taken place and a pedestrian street which housed everything from restaurants to book stores to lingerie shops. It was nice to feel the hustle and bustle of ‘the city’ and even more wonderful to sit down with friends and engage in good conversation about travel and politics.
All in all it was a fantastic day filled with good people, conversation and scenery. More to come. We begin work training on Monday and teaching soon after.