The language is so different than anything any of us have experience with- but people are extremely helpful and only laugh at us a little when we try to talk to them. A couple of us are picking up the basics pretty quickly, making it easier to shop at the market and get around town. One word we wanted to learn for sure is “kedi” (and yes, we realized it is extremely similar to the name of a certain team member...) which is the word for cat. Cats, unexpectedly enough have become our team mascot as we have seen them EVERYWHERE since we got to Turkey. And we aren’t just talking stray cats fighting outside our hotel in Istanbul and roaming around outside our apartment here, we are talking cat decor inside the house as well (our landlady likes cats on her stools, aprons, and any other surface she can find). We can’t seem to get rid of them, and Landi has a certain fascination with them (although not a healthy one- we’ve stopped her from throwing forks at them from the balcony about 12 times so far) so we are making the best of it and adopting them as our friends. Our favorite is Terk, a particularly dirty cat we see quite often.
On Thursday we went on our first beach adventure and we were glad to have it go very smoothly! The first dolmuş (mini-bus basically) that we got on took us straight to Lara Palaj where we found our own little stretch of beach. Swimming in the Mediterranean was yet another surreal experience, as most everything has been so far. The beach that we went to stretched for miles and miles and was dotted with resorts. We took advantage of a patch of deserted lounge chairs and umbrellas we stumbled upon and had a nice relaxing afternoon. We got home on our first try as well, which was pleasantly surprising- we had all prepared ourselves to get lost on our first venture into the city!
We have been to a couple of different markets, which is a lot of fun as we get to interact with some locals and see more of the Turkish lifestyle. This morning we went to the Saturday market, which was huge! There were multiple streets blocked off with rows and rows of vendors selling everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to name brand clothing. We bought our second round of groceries, once again shocked at how much we can get for so little (we spent 10 lira- or about 8 dollars- and got enough fruits and veggies for a week!). We really enjoy making dinner together- as unusual and inventive as our meals have been. Our favorite so far has been the corn on the cob that we got at the market- and we have found that we are satisfied as long as we have some fruit and fresh bread.
Today has been the hottest day so far at 100 degrees, so we feel blessed to be experiencing cooler weather. While we are starting to settle in, we are of course continuing to learn the rhythms of life here in Antalya. I think that we are all surprised at how much we love it here already, feeling at points that eight weeks is not going to be enough. We have a lot of great adventures coming and can’t wait to share them with you. Next week we get to start working with some younger kids at a church here in town. We will be doing arts and crafts with them (surprise!) and look forward to being able to do some Bible lessons, as they are Christian kids. Blessings to all our of our family and friends- don’t worry we still miss you even though life is perfect here.
Your Turkish Delights