Friday August 7th
The rest of the week was filled with similar field work. We began developing more efficient methods to quicken the process. We continued to work long days in the field and ate countless more apples. I worked more on my Turkish and Ekrem Abi picked up a few English words. Sevil Hanim continued to sing at random times while we were working in the field, getting everyone to dance and join in on the fun.
I got to ride on various vehicles from tractors to pickup trucks. Ekrem Abi rides a motorbike to work every day and understanding how much I love them, he took me for a ride after lunch one Tuesday. I usually only get to ride on motorbikes once every few years when we visit family in India making it all the more special that I got to in Eskisehir. The strong wind pulled my hair back and both Ekrem Abi and I had the biggest smiles (me happy to be on the motorbike and him happy to see my joy).
Many conversations ended with discussions about me leaving reminding me how limited my time is here. Sevil Hanim and her daughter Hande got me a shirt as a good bye gift and I got bracelets from Gul Abla and Kubra. Each gift was so thoughtful and kind and I absolutely loved each one.
Today was my last day in lab. I didn’t realize until the last night when I had dinner with Gul Abla, Dr. Amer, and Joe but by lunch the today, it seemed like everyone in the institute knew. Many individuals I have said hi to multiple mornings but don’t know came up to say bye, greeting me with my name. 5 o’clock brought many hugs and tears as I said goodbye.
The hardest part today was saying bye to Sevil Hanim and Ekrem Abi. Though this may sound unreal, Sevil Hanim has become my mom here. She advised me, looked after my safety, protected me from Ekrem Abi and Umit Bey’s friendly banter, and has been that parent figure I have missed the past two months. Ekrem Abi has become an older brother. Not only did he help me learn a lot in the field and lab, but he also joked around with me while protecting me. With my brother being in London all year, it was nice to finally have that comfort and someone to mess around with again.
Some moments the reality that I am leaving doesn’t set in and I find myself laughing with everyone; others it hits me like a train and I find my face covered in tears. Luckily I will be able to stay in touch with everyone through various social media and phones.
Many lab members have told me to go to college in Eskisehir, get a PhD and then become their boss years from now. Though we know that won’t happen, the sentiment behind those words means a lot to me.