Sunday, June 14, 2015

My Birthday, etc.


So before I talk about my birthday, I'll do a little updating on other things. First, one of my friends here found this picture and when I saw it, I realized that it couldn't be more true. I really have grown to love, appreciate, and really consider Turkey my second home. Yes, I understand that for everyone who hasn't traveled very far out of their comfort zone before, Turkey may seem a bit scary. But the only way to truly understand a culture and appreciate the beauty of a country is to travel there. My advice for everyone who wants to travel but may be too anxious to leave the normal travel destinations is to "Just go". Get on a plane and explore. Sometimes the next step in the right direction is a leap of faith. 
Last Saturday I was watching a Turkish Soap Opera with my host dad when my host mom walked in with two garbage bags full of these beans. She dropped them on the ground and said "Will you help?" Oh of course! Such a funny way to spend a Saturday night :)

Okay, now I'll tell you about my birthday! I went to the ferry station to 5 of my friends and when I walked up they held up this sign! I started laughing so hard because everyone else walking to catch the ferry was looking at us and they didn't understand what was happening. I really have the best friends ever! (Here is Daffne, Me, and Luis)
Here is Daffne, Luis (with "Happy Birthday Maggie" written over his two arms and forehead), and Mari 

A part of the group: Me, Mario, Emely, Daffne, Luis, Mari. We were meeting the others at a place to eat lunch all together.
More people: Hailey, Me, Luis, Mari, Hana, Fiona
I even skyped my friend, Arthur, who finished his exchange and is back in Brazil. 
Mari and I talking to Arthur 

Birthday Card they all signed for me :) 
Then when I got home, my host parents and some of the friends of my host sister came to wish me a happy birthday! 
Here is the whole group from my birthday (plus a few ransoms who just jumped in the picture haha)

Such a great birthday celebrated with great friends and family! Thank you guys for everything :-) 

Then the next day was "International Best Friend's Day"! 
Daff, I don't know how I got so lucky to get you in my life as my Best Friend. This year you've helped me in so many ways that I possibly can't thank you for all of them. I don't know what I'll do without you next year, but Mexico isn't that far away so we can always visit each other. Seni Seviyorum niƱa 
Then we had a "goodbye" party for our Turkish friend Derin who is leaving for vacation soon and won't return until we are all gone. I'll miss you so much Derin! 
Yesterday, I went to the home of Mari with Laura and we baked Apple Bread, some Brazilian Chocolates, "Love" Tea, and pasta! Laura made the pasta and it was so delicious :) 
Anyway, as I have only 18 days until I'm in the US, I have to just keep remembering to relax and enjoy these last days with my exchange family :) 
Thanks for reading, Maggie

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Up to now...


So here's an update of the past few weeks: 
District Conference in Antalya!

So tired after our 12 hour over night bus ride.
Our jackets
Hotel we stayed at
When they left for the trip and I returned to Istanbul with 3 other exchange students. (The hand is Luana's. We were holding our hands out to each other as they drove off)
Beautiful beach day
More beach
Boat ride with Gabo and Hailey
My 3 sleeping babies on the bus ride home to Istanbul 

Back in Istanbul 

Lunch with friends
Luis and I
My German twin, Fiona
Went to my last Rotary Meeting
Rotary Dessert 
Host Family's cat, Cookie
Hair braiding in the park pt.1
Pt. 2
Gabi couldn't get all the braids out! 

Baked apple bread and skyped Daffne (even though we only didn't see each other for 1 day, we still had a lot to talk about :) Plus, she made her bruise into a planet! Hahaha)

Picnic in Moda seaside today
It says, "You are my world"
Mari from Italy
Derin, our Turkish friend

In the Metro station:
It says, "And now"

Anyway, Tuesday at 6am the first of our group leaves to go back home. The first one to complete his/her exchange... Wow. I never thought this day would come. Only 4 weeks until I come back to US, I can't believe how fast this year went! I love this group of exchange students so much, they have become my family. I love them all so much and I am dreading the day when I leave them all for a while. I can't be more thankful for the life I lived here in Istanbul. It has changed me and made me such a better person. Plus, I know that all the friends I made here are for life, not just a year. Love you all so much XOXOXO

Thanks for Reading, 

Monday, May 11, 2015

New Family

So last Wednesday I changed families! Now I live in Europe (so officially I've lived on two continents during one exchange. Pretty cool, huh?). I really love my new family! They actually own a cafe, which I think is amazing since I don't cook... Also, my host sister was on exchange last year in Cental States (my rotary region), specifically Illinois, so I got to meet her last summer at the end of the year conference. She is such a nice girl :) Here are some pictures of the cafe: 
And here is an article written about my host parents and their cafe called "Cafe Cakehouse" (sorry, it's in Turkish) 

I love the cafe, it just feels like I'm sitting at home, rather than at a cafe somewhere. 

Also, it was a little weird because on Mothers Day I had only been here with this family for 5 days so I wasn't sure about what to do for my host mom... I decided on buying her flowers. She absolutely loved them! Here is a picture: 
((And for my USA mom, I skyped her and posted this beautiful picture of the two of us...))

I have my district conference this weekend so I am getting pretty excited! It's being held in my second favorite city in Turkey (behind Istanbul) called Anatolia. It's a seaside city in the south western part of the country. I can't wait to go again! 

Until next time.