Posts Tagged ‘year off’

Rumen in Turkey

Rumen is a volunteer with the Turkish project Youth Caravan. Here is his first article about his Turkish adventure:

Why I cry, when Turkey smiles at me

It was early in the morning, when we packed our things, and on the youth bus, we prepare to leave for Istanbul.

I was sitting next to a Turkish volunteer girl, Selin. Because it was very early in the morning, around 4-5 A.M. all of us, were tired and wanted to sleep.

After some attempts to move into the right direction to sleep, she offered her help, to make it more comfortable for both of us, to put my head on her shoulder, so I can sleep better. Then I looked at her, and gritted my teeth, because I was starting to feel how the tears are coming to my eyes.

This girl, whom I have known for not a long time, made everything for me, during the trip, to make sure, I sleep comfortably and every time I wake up, she ask me-“Do you feel comfortable, is that ok”

I had a difficult time to answer her, because I was going to burst out in tears, and say a big “Yes!”

Why is my reaction so? What is the big deal, of a polite girl, to show some manners and to make sure, I am comfortable.

It has to do, with the fact, that I am from Bulgaria and she is from Turkey.

Some of you, will say, “So what?” “Big deal”

But go to some of the Bulgarians blogs, especially when elections are coming, and read some of the posts there.

You’ll read about the fears of people, that the Turkish party, will take control, that Turkish people are taking over Bulgaria. New organization have been established, like Attack, that promote “ clean” Bulgaria and that the Bulgarian society has to kick out all Turkish influence from Parliament.

With this mindset, of those people, who will see me, as a person, speaking with the enemy, how can I explain to the Turkish Volunteer Selin, that I should not like her, because in my country, they will see her as an enemy. How can I explain this to my dear coordinator, who is taking such good care of me that I can’t accept his help, because of the wrong mind set of my country.

How can I open my heart for Turkish friendship when in my country some people will call me a traitor. How I will explain to them, that when I return to my country, I want to tell everyone about Turkish hospitality, how good they have treated me, to tell about different Turkish volunteers, to remember their names, their friends’ names. How can I explain all this, without some people looking at me in a strange way and asking me “So, are you going to vote for DPS (the Turkish party in Bulgaria) then”

I was thinking of these things when I was going to sleep, shoulder to shoulder, head to head, with Selin. And that made me sad, really sad. Her hospitality and kindness, was too much to expect from somebody. She broke my expectation, of a friend, of somebody who can take care. Who am I to her? Just a volunteer from Bulgaria, or a dear friend?

My eyes were wet, and I tried to stay quiet in the bus, but my heart was screaming with confusion and anger, and all these stereotypes that don’t let people fully relax and embrace the diversity and other cultures. Because of the past, because of the present, between Bulgaria and Turkey.

When I went to a baklava shop, and started looking at the sweets they have, a man came with some samples and lemonade and offered me some, without asking whether I was going to buy something or not. I took some baklava and drank lemonade, looking confused, where is the catch. There is always a catch. It can’t be for free. There must be something I have to pay. I am not used to free things.
The man was speaking little English, so he asked me where I came from, and what I was doing in Turkey. All the time he was very polite and smiled.

How can I explain to him, that I can’t take his hospitality? That because of our nationality he has to stay away from me, as some people will say to me.

I was overcome by warm emotions, of this hospitality. But it was too much to take. I have never been so spoiled by attention and affection, by people who have known me for 2 or 3 minutes and they already wants to be my friends.

I want to say big thanks to Selin, my coordinator Gurkan and many, many other volunteers and people I met, that they support me and give there friendship and make me cry, every time they smile.

Now you know, why I cry, when Turks smile at me.

Hope that the tears will go away and I can give them, as much as possible, of my friendship, because they disserve it.

The trip to Istanbul was wonderful, thanks to the ultimate help of Selin, and my eyes in the end were so red, but hopefully nobody noticed. A big thank you…THANK YOU!!!

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how to waste a year off – easy steps

Preparation:

Junior year: don’t read books, write essays, explore colleges or prepare for SATs

Summer between junior and senior year: sleep till noon, hang out with friends

Senior year:

Plan A:

October-December: score as low as possible on the SATs, ask other people where to apply, write poor essays, miss as many deadlines as possible

January: take a deserved rest

February-March: complain about anxiety, while waiting for colleges’ application decisions

April: sink in depression over the rejection letters you have received

May: spend a lot of money and time on buying clothes and jewelry for the prom

Summer: take a deserved rest – sleep till noon, hang out with friends and take very short spells of daydreaming about your year off

Plan B:

October-December: breathe easily while the others are having a hard time taking exams and applying

January: make up your mind to start reading books

February-March: listen to your friends’ complaints and be happy about making the wisest and bravest decision in your life – to take a year off

April: worry a bit about the prospect of receiving rejection letters next spring and calm down by remembering you have made the best decision

May: spend a lot of money and time on buying clothes and jewelry for the prom

Summer: take a deserved rest – sleep till noon, hang out with friends and take very short spells of daydreaming about your year off

The year off proper:

October-December: score as low as possible on the SATs, ask other people where to apply, write poor essays, miss as many deadlines as possible

January: take a deserved rest

February-March: complain about anxiety, while waiting for colleges’ application decisions

April: sink in depression over the rejection letters you have received

May: prepare for university entrance exams for Bulgarian universities

Summer: pass the university entrance exams for Bulgarian universities, enroll at a Bulgarian university, take a deserved rest and take very short spells of daydreaming about the best years of your life as they are starting in October