Well, I now officially live in Erzurum. I still don’t have an address, but I do have an apartment. High ceilings, lots of natural light, a gas stove, great water pressure, old wood floors, marble sink (everything here is marble; it feels more decadent to me than the Turks apparently), built in shelving, lots of gaps in the tile, coal dust in the windows, and all sorts of peeling pant. Its basically every hipster’s dream.
Oh yeah, and I have a bathing grotto! Or, if I’m being more clear, there is one room which is completely tiled, floor to ceiling. The shower head is on one wall, sink on the second, toilet on the third, and washing machine on the 4th wall. The drain in the floor catches the water runoff from shower and washing machine. At first, I thought I’d hate having a wet floor. Now I think its actually a brilliant idea to just have a room where everything can get wet. So, per Daniel’s suggestion, it has been dubbed the bathing grotto.
We’ve met a number of our Turkish colleagues in the School of Foreign Languages. The faculty is about 40 professors strong. They have all, without a single exception, told us how much they love America. We’re currently in the office of a professor who teaches English classes to the medical school students; he spent over an hour this morning talking about his deep and enduring love of American principles and history. We tried to temper his enthusiasm by mentioning the flaws of our great nation, but he was undeterred. He also refused to let us leave his office without having multiple glasses of tea, chocolate bars, and candy. I’m going to get fat here and have a constant low level caffeine headache and it is so worth it. The Turks we’ve met have been incredibly hospitable and go out of their way to take care of us. It feels very… southern? Except I don’t think they have the “bless your heart” mentality secretly lurking behind their smiles.
We met with the Rector and the Vice Directors of the University yesterday. The Rector offered to personally escort us to some of the key historical sites in the area. He is a huge history buff and has a PhD in Modern American drama. He spent time at Tisch doing post-doc work and traveled all around the US studying American folk drama. He even suggested that we try to work on a writing project together this year! Talking to him, I felt just like I was back in good old Kimpel Hall at the U of A campus, playing at Academia. At other moments, when I’ve no idea what’s going on and am reduced to smiling and nodding and trying to look intelligent, it feels like I’m back at ONEGas. Which is actually a helpful feeling cause, you know, I loved (body and soul) working there after about a week.