I came to Izmir with very little expectations and complete open-mindedness to whatever the experience brings as I have only known Turkey through stories and my father’s trips. My first week in Turkey had been filled with so many interesting experiences. The first thing I tried to find close to my host family was a gym. While the home I am staying at is in the countryside of Izmir (Sasali), we live very close to a bus stop that goes directly to a mall with a gym all the way at the top. I can’t say I noticed anything significantly different from the gym setup compared to what I was used to on my campus but can firmly say all the facilities within it were 100 times cleaner. Turkish people are very courteous of other people, and this show as everyone cleaned up after themselves.
I had the amazing pleasure of meeting some great people at this gym that showed me towards an amazing experience in Turkish cooking. A friend recommended a chef he knew in the area that showed those interested in Turkish cuisine a great evening of cooking and food-tasting. I was interested and got the Chef’s contact information. After communicating about my interests in foods and what I wanted to see, I decided to go over the next day.
That afternoon, with my amazing host and his guests, a lovely Australian couple, we worked together to prepare dinner. Over the course of 5 hours, we prepared Şiş Kebap, Corba, Sarma, Turkish Salsa, Mantı and Künefe. It was a delightful experience hearing about our hosts’ family and the history behind each dish. Having been here for a week now, I am always blown away by Turkish hospitality. Like my good friend that helped us prepare those dishes, Turkish people are always generous with their time and are willing to lend a hand, regardless of whatever they are doing.
By: Mohamed Omane
Term: Summer 2019