Quick Update! Posted on March 21st, 2011 by

So, it’s been awhile. Approximately 24 days. Turns out, studying abroad is quite the time-suck.

First of all: CRAZY ISTANBUL WEATHER! Coming from Duluth, Minnesota, I thought I knew crazy weather. Blinding sunshine will trick me out into -20 degree-Fahrenheit weather that makes my lungs hurt. The next day, 20 degrees above zero feels like a tropical climate and I go for a ski in a t-shirt and spandex. There are similar disparities in Istanbul, but they lie in a different quadrant of temperatures. March 10, the temperature dropped enough to trick this city into Minnesota habits.

Turkish people actually get excited for snow, because it's so much more rare here!


And the next day, Istanbul looked like this:


WAIT A SECOND! I thought it was winter. Steps down to Beşiktaş.

Taking advantage of the wonderful weather is easy in Istanbul. Walking around Kabataş and Beşiktaş with Marta, wandering around Rumelihisarı and Bebek with the Eliškas and Metehan, trekking to the Asian side with Eliška R.–there’s always something beautiful to explore in the sunshine.

Rumelihisarı, a fortress built in the 14th century.






Sunset in Kadıköy, on the Asian side.

Although I have enjoyed the majority of my Turkish food experiences, in order to conserve money and sharpen up our cooking skills, my friend Lili and I have been cooking dinner most weeknights. We often make some sort of carb (rice or pasta) with sauteed veggies, but we have been experimenting with soups! We even soaked our own beans and made a vegetable-bean soup. Shopping has proved excellent practice for our Turkish skills and we hope to try some Turkish recipes in the future. Maybe we will even attempt to cook one of the giant sting ray-like fish in the markets in Sarıyer.

Vegetable bean soup!

This past weekend I spent largely relaxing. I did homework and went to bed early on St. Patrick’s day (sorry, Ireland), had dinner with Marta, Sam, Sam’s mom Shary and her sister Kathy and slept at Marta’s on Friday, and did homework again Saturday. Saturday night, we went out to Taksim for Nicole’s birthday. The night consisted of watered down shots, wandering around in search of various foods (Burger King chicken wings, döner, and baklava), dancing in the street with some boys from Izmir, and lounging at an outdoors nargile cafe for hours. Sunday, one of my best friends arrived in Istanbul! She will be staying with Marta for her spring break, and while I will be gone this weekend for a CIEE trip, I’m planning to skip as many classes as possible to spend time with her. Which has proved difficult due to this being the most popular week for midterms, but I’m doing my best.

Coming up: Eskişehir and Ankara this weekend. Spring break next week, which will consist of a visit to Dirk-jan and surprise vacation from him. April 16 or 17 I hope to do either an overnight or day-long homestay with a Turkish family, and the weekend after that is Easter! I had my hopes set on Russia for Easter, but the tickets are expensive and the visas difficult. зто Россия. Perhaps I will travel to Bulgaria, since it is the closest Christian country to Turkey, and cheaper than cheap!

The last thing I wanted to mention was tutoring. I am tutoring a girl for her TOEFL, and it has proved challenging yet rewarding. I wanted to be a teacher when I was younger, but chose against majoring in education since it is such a limiting major. However, with the experiences I’ve had tutoring, I think I might reconsider my aspirations. It’s a lot of work, but it is so much fun! I really enjoy meeting with her. It has also made me realize how frustrating the English language is! For example: We cooked the beans and carrots for the soup. We were cooking the beans when we added the carrots. We had been cooking the beans for 60 minutes when we added the carrots. We cooked the beans first, and then cooked the carrots. Try explaining all these verb tenses to a non-native speaker! I’ve never gotten to near fluency in another language, and now I understand how difficult it can be.

I’m sure there is a ton more that I forgot, but I’m exhausted and I have an extremely full day ahead of me.




  1. Tom Lany says:

    It’s neat to hear about your experiences, LaReesa! Thanks for blogging!

  2. Jill Fischer, CICE says:

    Great pictures! Thanks for sharing!

  3. dirk says:

    super nice blog