Sunday, October 28, 2012

Turkish Beginnings (part 1)

          I find myself finding excuses not to update my blog. Although these excuses (mid-term exams and make-up work) are legitimate, I realize the need to continue to process my trip. I thought as time went along, it would be easier. However, I am not finding that to be the case. Even now when I am completely over my jet-lag and back into the swing of school, I find it hard to find the words to write of my life-changing experience. What could I possibly write to convey the vastness of my trip and feelings? But I shall try and what better place to begin than the beginning of my trip.
          My trip began with a nine hour flight from Washington D.C. to Dulles. Not looking forward to this leg of the journey, I was pleasantly surprised to start off the flight with an engaging conversation with the man sitting next to me. The following is my journal entry from that flight:

"Plane ride has been good so far. I am sitting next to a Serbian sculptor. He is 72 and has really been a joy to sit next to. He told me how travel is necessary to understand the world and gave me advice to stay in school as long as I can. He talked about when he was a student and didn't know what to after ward, his teacher told him to go straight ahead. Straight ahead was a brick, windowless wall. His teacher said he needed to forget all what he learned and find a way to go straight ahead. He told me that I will come to this wall and will need to find a way to go ahead. When I told him I want to work for peace, he seemed worried about me being able to find a job and actually make a difference. He told me how the optimism goes away after college. He also told me about a friend of his who was an activist and ended up jailed by the US military. He told me to go into this work I need to be strong. He asked me how I've tested myself... I didn't know how to answer and he told me to hit a police officer and go to jail. He then proceeded to tell me of the five months he had spent in jail, the people he had met, and how he never regretted that experience. When he talks he seems to have such a joy, for lack of a better word. His English isn't perfect but you can tell he really loves talking to people and also loves his work as a sculptor. I felt so blessed to have been able to talk to him."

The flight did not seem so long because of this conversation, a couple hours of sleep, movies, and delicious meals (I highly recommend Turkish Airlines!) and soon I arrived in Istanbul. After meeting another member of my delegation at the airport, we caught a cab to our hostel and met the rest of the group minus one person who had been denied entry into Turkey. (He was supposed to be one of the co-leaders of the trip, but another CPTer stepped up into this bit of responsibility.) We ate dinner in a cafe outside the famous Hagia Sophia and made plans for the next day to get to the other Istanbul airport where we had to catch a flight to Diyarbakir in Southeastern Turkey.

No comments:

Post a Comment