An Experiment in Adaptation

Before arriving in Gazipasa people always asked me how I felt about traveling to Turkey. Truth be told, I never knew how to respond to them. I didn’t exactly feel scared, but I didn’t exactly feel excited either. To put it simply, the whole situation felt so surreal that I couldn’t pin down my emotions. This internship is my first time being out of the country, and in the mere week I’ve been here, I’ve already discovered a lot about my ability to adapt. It seemed impossible at first, but somehow thirteen grown men can share a single bathroom apartment with surprising cleanliness and efficiency. I struggled the first night; my room had no air conditioning, I was still on US central time, and my mates snored through the night. These past few nights I’ve adapted, and slept like a log. I also never imagined that I, someone who routinely wakes us around 10:00 AM could get up every day at 5:00 AM and work 8 hours long in the hot Turkish sun. Yet, here I am, doing just that and having the time of my life. I’m sure the coming weeks will present more challenges, and I’m now just as sure that I’ll adapt just like before.
While I never mind talking about myself, it would be a huge mistake not to talk about my first impressions of the country that will be my home for the next few weeks. Firstly, Turkey is gorgeous. This point is irrefutable; from the sea that sparkles like sapphire infused with gold to mountains that rise like giants from the earth Turkey comes as close to paradise on Earth as can be done. Secondly, I am constantly amazed by the outgoing friendliness of all my Turkish colleagues and their abundant generosity. It’s amazing how easy it is to make friends with those you cannot speak to, smiles and laughter are universal. Despite all of this, from the surprises interior and exterior, the thing that has amazed me most so far is the food. Every meal has been exceptional. Mass produced, yet hand-cooked and delicious, the dig food is to die for. Writing this at the culmination of my first week, I have no doubt that the next week will only bring further adventures, challenges, and surprises, all of which I am well prepared for.

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