Student guest post by Taylor Breckles
As you might have guessed, that greeting wasn’t Polish. A surprise, I know. The reasoning behind this bold, creative choice stems from my most recent adventure outside of the classroom: my trip to Turkey. Well, my trip to Izmir to be precise.
Izmir is a region of Turkey (I hesitate to call it a city since it is so large; I mean, there’s a city within this city!) that borders Greece, so it has a nice, warm Mediterranean climate and is filled with palm trees and ruins. Prior to my trip I heard many concerns about my staying safe in such an area, but my fears were quickly dashed. Izmir in particular is renowned in Turkey for having a lot of security – as in armed guards in malls, metal detectors in the subway, and security stops pretty much everywhere you go. You can really feel the sense of community there, which is really nice. I mean, in the bazaar I was about to buy a coffee pot when the guy selling it to me gave me a different one because it was cheaper. How many times would that happen at home?! I got a better product for a cheaper price!
The city itself is gorgeous, full of history and architecture and culture. There are basically no road rules though so you have to be exceptionally careful when crossing the street. I suppose part of the majesty of this place lies in its completely uniqueness compared to what I know. When you go to Europe, for example, you can still find things that you can relate to, but Turkish culture is completely different so it really feels like traveling. The food is amazing, even their 90-proof alcohol, raki, is enjoyable. Manti was a particular favourite of mine: meat-filled mini dumplings in both a yogurt sauce and a tomato/olive oil sauce.
Beyond food, I was able to go to the abandoned Ancient Greek city of Ephesus (or Efes in Turkish), which was an absolute dream come true. You can walk around the city, go into former houses, and climb the steps of the amphitheatre. Needless to say, I was like a very giddy child all day. Actually being able to touch ruins was indescribable. So many conflicting emotions!
TThe amazing food, cheap prices, gorgeous weather, and overall splendour of Izmir were amazing. If ever you have an opportunity, go to Turkey!
Now back to relative normalcy, i.e. it’s back to classes for me. I’m still trying to find takeout besides sushi that will stay good for a 40-minute bus ride, so if you have any suggestions please let me know. Classes have just begun again and so far I’m not sure how they look as I have yet to finalize my timetable. So far, it looks as though I will be taking Polish class, my thesis-writing seminar, and creative writing . . .