June 19

I arrived at lab this morning ready to harvest more wheat. Sevil Hanim and I went back to the green house, got our system set up and began. The machine, however, was even more inefficient than it had been the previous day. The spikes kept getting stuck forcing me to unscrew the hinges and open it repeatedly. Within half-an-hour we realized the rain from the night before had increased the moisture content and was ruining the machine. So we had to stop. I didn’t have any other official work for the day so I went inside and shadowed other members of the lab. Büşra was busy with what looked like tubes of soil. I soon realized she was planting wheat so I helped her for a few hours.

During lunch Ekrem took me to the mini bus to get cooking supplies. I wrote out a list in Turkish with the help of Google Translate so I didn’t anticipate any issues. I was wrong. It turns out the bus didn’t have any small bottles of oil and it took me a good 10 minutes for me to understand this. Ekrem, the vendor, and another man buying food all tried to patiently explain this in Turkish till I finally understood. I still considered it a success.

I got back to the guest house with about 30 minutes to make and eat lunch. I went with scrambled eggs and had bread with peanut butter. After my sad attempt to eat lunch yesterday, this felt like a feast.

I got back to lab to find Sevil Hanim sleeping in the break room and felt awful that I woke her up. Most people who are fasting use lunch break to sleep because they have a meal at 8:30 pm and then wake up around 3 am to have a second meal.

For the rest of the afternoon I got to put cotton at the bottom of the tubes in preparation for more planting.

Though I don’t understand the language, everyone in lab tries to include me in conversations. Google Translate helps a lot but I now understand why my French teachers ask us not to use it. A lot is lost in translation. For the current purposes, however, it is perfect.

For dinner I attempted to make rice and an eggplant curry. This time Cennet Abla cooked the rice for me. Unfortunately the rice turned out the same way. I guess this rice is just different and is meant to have that wet and sticky consistency. Fortunately I didn’t have to eat it because Ümit invited me to dinner again followed by tea. Today it was a lentil soup with homemade bread and a plain pasta.  The kids taught me a few more words to broaden my vocabulary in Turkish. I learned a few numbers and the words for spoon, fork, and other kitchen utensils.

I went to my room, anticipating to sleep quickly, but ended up on the phone with my parents for an hour. It is great to be able to stay in touch while I am awayJ it is now 12:30 am and I am finally going to bed. I plan to sleep in tomorrow because it is the weekend and I have no plans!


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