Things I have learned thus far from my time working in Mersin:
- I have realized , without a doubt, that I will always be a (loud mouthed) introvert, someone who voices opinions with no fear or care as to what anyone else thinks, but who also doesn’t live for an audience, and really really really needs her alone time. I would yell as loudly my feminist, socialist, blah-blah-whatever beliefs to an empty room as a crowded hall *or here as the case may be, to an invisible online crowd*. I don’t fit in with “normal” extroverted people, I never will and I am totally okay with this, which I think makes me appear even more the weirdo. Its one thing to be “shy” (which i'm not but sometimes you have to use a simple vocabulary with simple people), but WANT to fit in with the group and look on enviously , because normal functioning dull people understand this, but when you honestly don’t give a damn, you are HAPPY to be alone and WISH you could find more than a random minute in an 8 hour day to sit alone with your lunch…you totally confound them. I love the absurdity of it all, even thought it gets tiresome to have to play along with their requests of “be more active with the students!! Sing a song! Jump up and down for no reason and be totally happy about the blistering temperatures and the fact you are getting paid 2 bucks an hour to babysit dozens of wealthy Turkish kids!!!”. Being a camp counselor is probably the worst suited job for me, but its kind of hilarious really. I wish that I could bond with the black-sheep-type students, the artist bookworm weirdos….but it occurs to me that black sheep students wouldn’t be caught dead in summer camp and are probably busy catching frogs in a polluted river, barefoot and covered in dirt and stealing cookies from their neighbours kitchens, or alone in the park reading disturbing comic books, having begged their parents NOT to send them to summer camp.
- Fitting in with the theme of being the black sheep, is the archetype of ugly duckling. Now I have been complimented more in the middle east than anywhere else, and over the past decade as well have received many compliments that should, in theory, provide proof to me that I am a very attractive person, and maybe, even dare i say, “pretty". None of them, however, have ever made me actually think “hey..wait, I AM pretty!!” more than a 13 year old boy saying over lunch, to another teacher, in broken English while gesturing to me, “she is very beautiful teacher!!”. It made me blush, because I thought, here is the most genuine opinion, he has no reason to lie and say such a thing, and it MUST be true! haha. It made me so happy. Kaan…I love you! you are the first person whose compliment actually really meant something!!
- Living with roomate's really sucks sometimes, especially messy Turkish girls that I get the feeling have been somewhat spoiled all their lives and don’t understand the concept that dishes don’t do themselves, and groceries actually cost money! These girls are 24. I don’t understand how this is possible, but i do my best to ignore it by buying my own 'Suzme' yogurt (ridiculously rich and pressed to be almost like a dessert WHILE BEING SOMEHOW STILL LOW FAT OH MY GOD ITS A DREAM COME TRUE) which i then try to hide in the back of the (near empty) fridge.
- I am not, even though I tried desperately to wear the short shorts and flip flops and have developed a tan that beats even the Turk's ….a beach person. I hate the humidity. I hate the vacant, extroverted, mindless beach people. I hate having to explain why I don’t particularly care for swimming and have people stare at me blankly. I belong in the desert, where the days are hot and the nights are cool, where I can be alone with my thoughts and the stars and the comfortable cocoon of silence… and that’s that. Cappadokkya is literally calling my name at this point.
- Working fulltime for 150 lira a week really makes one feel like a slave but also makes one develop the greatest attitude of indifference. I eat the giant free breakfasts and lunches and play table tennis when im supposed to be doing something else. I sneak on the internet when im supposed to be building “team spirit” over the lunch break. And I have no fear because what are they going to do’ fire me?? Please! I am only here still because some of these kids are so darn wonderful that i would feel horrible abandoning them.
- Going to a dentist in Turkey is a very quick, relatively painless experience... though i am slightly unnerved why a root canal is taking 3 separate appointments, nevermind recieving medical care in a country where people think arts-and-crafts glitter causes Cancer (??!!), yet seem to have no issue with the toxic bugspray that plumes in giant smokey clouds around the residential apartments, every single night.