Plenty of Patience and a Lavish London Layover

Merhaba! Greetings!

This past weekend, I moved to my new home for the next year, Istanbul, Turkey.
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The trip took roughly 26 hours and was not without numerous hiccups, but I made it safe and sound. The most important thing of all. 😀

When using public transportation, as I typically do, I have really learned to accept that some things will be out of my control and most things will not go as planned.

Now although I missed my connection and lost my luggage, I somehow maintained my sanity and sense of humor throughout. 😀

It all began Friday morning after a farewell brunch at Blue’s Egg near Milwaukee.11872150_10207364217453504_7787336219469235942_o It was our first time there, but definitely not our last!IMG_7461Dad’s steak and eggs were cooked to perfection, and my kale and sausage omelet, with an aged provolone cheese sauce, was fluffy and flavorful. Yum!IMG_7460http://bluesegg.com/
After brunch, we headed to Amtrak train station in Milwaukee, with direct Coach bus service to O’Hare.  😀IMG_7462The trip cost $30, which compared to a flight, saved me around 80 USD. Quite the deal. 🙂

From Chicago O’Hare, I checked in with American Airlines to fly to London, England.

Unfortunately, my Chicago flight was delayed over 2 hours.

On the bright side, I met a group of Venezuelan musicians to chat with while I waited. They were traveling to Beijing for a concert, and when I asked the name of their band, they nonchalantly mentioned they had done two world tours with Shakira. True story- these lips don’t lie. 😛
56339-shakira-hipsdon27tlieAnyway, when I finally boarded the plane, I found myself in a spacious aisle seat, with plenty of elbow room. 🙂IMG_7466They served a turkey t.v. dinner with complimentary wine, plus they had plenty of recently released shows to channel surf. 😀IMG_7468After wine and the movieAge of Adaline I drifted asleep and I awoke to a light breakfast as we approached London, England. 🙂IMG_7469Because of the 2-hour delay in Chicago, I had only 30 minutes to make my next flight. The AA staff gave me a fast track pass to expedite my transfer, in hopes that I could catch my plane.

The pass basically meant nothing, since everyone around me had one as well. :/IMG_7471It was a “hurry up and wait” situation as we all ran from one long line to the other.

Anyway, I ended up missing my connecting flight and had to wait 7 hours in the London Heathrow airport for the next flight to Istanbul.

Lavish London Layover

Well, it took less than 10 minutes for me to get bored just sitting in the terminal. Hah. 😛20150816_154401Lavish window shopping seemed to hit the spot while stuck in this London limbo. 😀

Make-up by Dolce and Gabbana. IMG_7473Dior fragrances.IMG_7472 $300 Prada sunglasses. 20150816_143434$30,000 Tiffany yellow diamond. 🙂
20150816_143041 For the inconvenient wait, American Airlines even gave me a food and drink voucher to use at any of the terminal restaurants. IMG_7474I checked out The Crown Rivers Pub and ordered the salmon rainbow salad.IMG_7479 I know fish and chips is customary food fare in London, but I had to class it up a bit. 🙂IMG_7476Quinoa, sweet potato, lima beans, pumpkin seeds, and pomegranate tossed in a chili soy vinaigrette.IMG_7478 Expensive, but not on my dime. 🙂

I finished off this British airport adventure at a tea shop with a sample of English biscuits and jam.

Pinkies up! 20150816_155113Finally, at 6PM I boarded a short, 4-hour flight to my final destination. 😀

Luckily, I sat next to the most adorable kids on the planet, while I enjoyed a tasty Italian meal. Although the British tykes called the food, “absolute rubbish.” Hah. 😛IMG_7482IMG_7480IMG_7481

Plenty of Patience

Well, onto my lost luggage.

Unfortunately, when I was about to board my flight at Chicago O’Hare, the stewardess informed me that I would have to check my backpack, since there would not be enough space in the overhead compartments.

I was reluctant to let it go, since I worried about them misplacing my bag in London. I felt almost like Greg Focker in Meet the Parents, when he didn’t want to give up his luggage. Here’s a recap of that scene:

Maybe you would see that I’m a person who has feelings, and all I have to do is do what I wanna do and all I want to do is hold on to my bag and not listen to you! And the only way that I would ever let go of my bag would be if you came over here right now and tried to pry it from my dead, lifeless fingers, okay? If you can get it from my kung-fu grip then you can come and have it, okay?- Greg Focker maxresdefault

Well, I didn’t put up a hissy fit like him, but I did have to let the bag go. I asked the stewardess if I would pick up my pack in London or Istanbul. She told me Istanbul. After filling out a luggage tag for the pack, I asked a second time with the same response. Istanbul.

Well, go figure, I arrived at midnight in Istanbul to find the backpack was still in London, waiting for me at the lost and found. :/

I couldn’t fret in the meantime, since it wouldn’t get my bag here any faster.

I decided to hop in a taxi and head to my residence in Istanbul to get some kind of rest. 😀

Florya Kiz Yurdu– Female DormitoryIMG_7483

Welcome to Bahçeşehir Koleji

I awoke the next morning to meet fellow teachers that would be attending the orientation session with me at Bahçeşehir Koleji.11912978_10104548656837117_1077369994_n We had all been initially recruited by MIEL Education, and are now employed as English teachers by the Turkish recruiter, Senka Turz.

These teachers came from South Africa, New Zealand, Russia, Canada, Egypt, and even a guy from Verona, Wisconsin. What a small world. 🙂 They also speak Thai, Arabic, Spanish, Russian, Africkaans, and numerous other languages. Plus, they had taught previously in South America, Asia, and the Middle East, obviously not lacking in cross-cultural experiences.

For our first week of orientation, the school provided transportation to Bahçeşehir’s Halkali campus, as well as, breakfast, lunch and dinner.IMG_7506The campus was quite far from the city, but in a quite posh neighborhood, full of high rise apartments.gggAlthough we were only a small group of 15 recruited by Senka Turz, we had orientation with hundreds of teachers at campuses all across Turkey. We gathered by the masses that morning to the serenade of Turkish violin melodies for a healthy Mediterranean breakfast. IMG_7487 These were no huevos rancheros, but the salty feta and kalamata olives was delicious with the cool cucumber and sliced tomato.IMG_7488All of the Turkish women here were dressed to the nines in fabulous dresses, with blown-out hair, full make-up and stacked high heels. Life size barbie dolls. Hah.

We obviously have to up our game. 😉

Afterwards, we met together in the conference room to learn a bit about the company and orientation schedule.IMG_7489Bahçeşehir Koleji began in 1968, and is now represented at over 100 schools across Turkey.

As such, the school wanted a photo with the teachers holding different city names where the schools are located.

They gathered us on the rooftop to take an aerial photo of the new staff holding their signs.IMG_7491Larry, Curly, and Mo, as I called them, had zero coordination skills trying to get the shots with the Go Pro drone and selfie stick. 😛IMG_7490All we could do is laugh at the situation, especially in the sweltering heat.
At least the final photo turned out OK. 🙂 11882282_930608283651664_3442122865257064556_oOverall, in orientation, we have been spending the day learning about generic teaching techniques and resources available for lesson planning.IMG_7500Honestly, this week has been a complete blur, as I’ve been suffering from serious jet lag, sleeping around 3 hours each night and constantly dozing off during the day.6a00d8341c00c753ef013489150d44970cAt least I’m not alone. We all feel like zombies as we walk mindlessly from our sessions to the cafeteria for each meal and tea break, just to keep us going.

On the upside, the Turkish meals have been incredibly delicious, colorful, and nutritous.

Chicken and cabbage with dill soup.IMG_7511Marinated chicken with peas and a sour yogurt drink.IMG_7492Potato stew with a honey walnut pastry.IMG_7504IMG_7505We’ve also tried some delicious cuisine outside of school including these street mussels, stuffed with seasoned rice and a squeeze of fresh lemon.IMG_7496IMG_7497My orientation roomie Ashley had a chicken kebap, and we both enjoyed some potato and cheese borek.11891891_10205609476770417_7633585042150791584_oWhile on the search for food, we got to know our local neighborhood, Florya. It’s safe and clean, full of modern shopping stores and quaint cafes. IMG_7527I survived my first cup of authentic Turkish coffee with my friend Cindy, and we all enjoyed a local hookah bar.IMG_7520Al Babel hookah lounge.IMG_7528IMG_7533Apple tea.IMG_7536iPad hookah menu. IMG_7534IMG_7531We even made our way down to the Sea of Marmara for stunning sunset views and a walk along the malecon.
IMG_7515IMG_7519IMG_7543IMG_7538IMG_7518IMG_7545Adorable cats everywhere. 😀IMG_7539IMG_7546IMG_7548So far, the Turkish women and men we met have given us complimentary tea.IMG_7498They have been courteous by opening our doors, always with a smile, and hospitable by helping us all get situated halfway across the globe.

This morning, while sitting up at 5AM, during one of my many hours of insomnia, I sat peacefully in the lounge and listened to the “call to prayer” at the mosque nearby.IMG_7495I had forgotten for a minute, with all these changes and sleep deprivation, that I had moved to Turkey. In that moment, it finally sunk in. I have arrived in this new country and my Turkish adventure has only begun.

Now this weekend will be full of sightseeing and birthday celebrations, as I will be turning the big 2-7! 😀

The next post should be full of fantastic architecture, cuisine and historical facts.

FYI: As an early birthday present , I came down to the lobby yesterday morning to find my backpack had been delivered. Patience sure pays off! 😀IMG_7499Until the next post! Enjoy your weekend!

Hoscakal. Goodbye. 🙂

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