Turkey calls itself the Country of Mothers. They’ve repeated this in orientation quite a few times in reference to how men are very taken care of and pampered. They told us that our students will treat us like their new moms since they will be new University students, away from home for the first time. They told us to befriend all the mothers in our department so that we will have home-cooked meals anytime we want. They told us not to get suckered in by all the men who will act like mothers and then try to pounce… whatever that means.

At Ataturk’s mausoleum today, we were shown huge marble carvings in relief of the mothers of Turkey. They were sending their son’s to war, making bullets for the Independence effort, baking bread, carrying artillery shells on their backs through the mountains to the front line, knitting scarves, and flying fighter jets.

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Three statues of the mothers overlooking the Walkway of lions leading up to Ataturk’s mausoleum.

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A bronze representing some of Ataturk’s reforms in agriculture and industry.

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The man himself and a view of the city from right outside his tomb.

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Not a mother… but still. Chewy!

Memnun oldum, country of mothers.

Speaking of mothers, during a session with the health department of the US embassy, the following exchange occurred:
Health Director: If you want us to share information about your medical treatment with your family or partner, you’ll need to sign this form.
Grantee #1: So, the embassy cant tell our families where we are or anything, right?
Director: No… not unless you sign this form and then we can tell them what you are willing to release.
Grantee #2: What about if we die? Do we have to have signed the form before then in order for you to tell our families?
Director: Um, you lose all rights to privacy when you die. So, no. We will tell your family even if you neglected to sign the form. There isn’t really a retroactive procedure for that.

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