Tuesday July 21
Have you ever had a day when you just can’t stop smiling? Well that was me today.
I can’t say the morning started off that way. I kept making simple mistakes that left me quite frustrated with myself, but fortunately Joe was very patient with me. Joe and I listened to random podcasts as we worked, laughing our way through the morning.
Buşra Abla and I went to the cafeteria where I had a wonderful soup and spiced rice for lunch. When the food is vegetarian, I have realized I absolutely love Turkish food. The highlight of each meal is the bread. They don’t serve the processed junk we call sliced bread, but rater home-made wonders. Hasan, a man from another lab, came up during lunch and gave me a brochure about Istanbul. I saw him after lunch yesterday and he knows a bit of English and he was telling me that I have to visit the city before I leave.
While it sounds like a fairly decent day so far, you are probably wondering why I was so exceptionally happy. Around 1:30 I got an email from my brother, Sanjay. He is currently doing an 11 week internship at Glaxosmithkline’s (GSK) headquarters in London. His manager recently asked him to apply for the GSK Future Leaders program. This is a 3 year program after undergrad where individuals work with vice-presidents of different GSK branches around America getting managerial experience to develop their careers. After an intense 14 hour interview spanning two days, late last week, Sanjay informed us he would hear back on Tuesday. At 1:30 today I got an email from Sanjay with the subject ‘Good News’. HE GOT THE JOB!!! When I talked to my dad about this, I realized how wonderful it is for my brother to be walking into senior year of college with a guaranteed job offer. The more I thought about it, the more excited I got.
Our 3 o’clock tea break was also perfect. We got a chance to take a break from some of the repetitive work that needs to be done for Joe’s research and talk to the members of lab. Sevil Hanim was scratching her arm. When I asked her what happened she said she had developed an allergy to being away from me since I had been working with Joe more often. It was honestly the sweetest thing she could have said.
Joe and I left work right at 4:50 to catch a minibus into town and get some groceries. Though Joe had warned me, I didn’t realize how truly packed that minibus would be; but since I love being around people, I loved it. Some of the interns called me over and we had a broken conversation in English and Turkish. Hasan was also on the bus and helped us converse. One intern politely gave up his seat for me and the ride just made me even happier.
In the city Joe and I started a bit of a game. According to Joe people stare at both of us because we look foreign but look at me longer. He started tallying the number of stares we both got. I guess I have been oblivious to this until today but I finally noticed people staring today. At the end of the night I won 🙂 I also realized that if you stare right back at the person, they become uncomfortable and shift their gaze.
I was feeling spontaneous so we started exploring different parts of the city and discovered a new mall with a whole floor dedicated to bowling and arcade games. The top floor had a movie theater and a really cool slanted library.
For dinner Joe requested we go back to that burger joint. This time I got a sandwich with tomato, egg, and cheese. While I can’t claim it was extremely healthy, it was definitely more nutritious than my last meal at the place.
We ended our night getting groceries and we even made the last bus back to the institute. While getting groceries at Migros, I didn’t consider how heavy the rice, oil, fruits, and vegetables would be. I have to admit it was quite the struggle carrying them for the 15 minute walk to the bus. Joe offered to help me carry them multiple times but I was dead determined to be independent. I may have gotten a blister and sore arms but I did it.
When we got back to the guest house, I was tired but still on my euphoric high. Apparently the world decided I needed to be brought back to earth. A few hours later I heard a noise in the hallway and though Ümit Bay had come home from taking care of all the logistics with his new house in the city center. When I peeked into the hall, however, it was the man who runs the guest house and he was more than a little surprised to see me in the room across from where I am supposed to be. I guess Gul Abla never informed them that I had gotten the keys to the other room because of my faulty toilet. He politely told me I need to pick one room and would be expected to finish the move the next day.
In lieu of everything that happened today this still didn’t bring my spirits down much and I am really happy I got both rooms for as long as I did. I guess I am just too curious for my own good sometimes.