Hello from Erzurum!

I stayed home this weekend to catch up on sleep, grading, and lesson-planning. The two other Fulbrighter’s left to visit Trabzon and Eskişehir. I’ve been teaching quite a bit after taking on extra hours for both medical students and Medical Faculty. For the first time in my life, I’m teaching an entire classroom of people who are older than me. Strange but definitely interesting. Other than teaching, I had a few very lovely dinners with Turkish friends. On Monday night, a few friends from the nursing faculty invited Leah and I over to their house for mantı. The dinner was all women and a bunch of children. Most of these women are pious and always wear headscarves, so it was super interesting to hear them talk about relaxing at home, modesty, Islam, and men!

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On Thursday, I taught a class of Medical Doctors who specialize in infectious diseases, microbiology, and gynecology and obstetrics. They are all minor celebrities by Erzi standards: world travelers, widely published, and wealthy. They also happen to be wonderfully gracious men and women. Two of the gentlemen brought me a dinner of lamp ribs, flat bread, and hot peppers. Delicious and so needed after a day of teaching straight from 8am to 7pm.

Finally, on Friday, I had two Turkish guys and a German girl over for white-chicken chili. They each made a side dish so we ended up with zucchini fritters, a carrot salad, and grilled bread with local cheese, spices, and tomatoes. We ended up playing card games, drinking wine, and talking about Turkish history. I was playfully criticized by my Turkish friends for not bringing their bowls and plates to the table already full of food. Apparently its quite rude to have people fill their own plates… I’ll remember next time.

Ok, on to all the crazy things I read and thought about this week.

1.) Music and your brain. This work obviously doesn’t say as much about your brain as it does about cultural capital, socialization, etc. but I still find it interesting!
http://musicthatmakesyoudumb.virgil.gr/

2.) Ok, this is an amazing short film. I watched it with 4 different classes of students this week and we had conversations about a crazy range of topics from travel to political asylum to alcohol. I find it a beautiful piece:

3.) A song for the week from Megan Blankenship. Fleet Foxes in the Black Cab Sessions playing “Crayon Angels.” On a related note, in addition to missing real coffee with every part of my being, I miss my guitar and other people who play guitar.

4.) So if you’re offended by strong language, go ahead and stop reading. But I love this and find it so true to my experiences in Arkansas at Heifer and elsewhere. Anyway, check it out:
http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/a-small-scale-organic-farmer-wants-you-to-know-a-few-things

5.) This one may seem kind of random, but, I’ll admit that violence, war, and political instability/growth are weighing pretty heavy on my mind. The shooter in the Canadian Parliament building was subdued and killed by the Sergent-at-arms, Kevin Vickers. This is an article describing Vickers response to a vote a few years ago that attempted to ban the Kirpan (ceremonial daggers) from Parliament. I love his response! Tolerance, he argues, is not the purpose. Instead, he says, “As head of security, I am going to accept and embrace your symbol of faith within the Parliamentary Precinct.”
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/parliament-to-accept-and-embrace-wearing-of-kirpan-sergeant-at-arms-explains/article614877/

6.) And just for grins: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/12/17/i-love-girl

Snow-capped mountains around town. Winter is coming.

Snow-capped mountains around town. Winter is coming.

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