Two weeks to go     A True Bachelor Party     Dave's Last Supper                            The Blob,  Vol. 1, Issue 2, August 2006
Good-bye Canada    Safely Home                  The Turkish Market        
Orientation            The First Hike                Tea Time
Tuesday August 1st, 2006
Two weeks from today and I'll be on a plane over the Atlantic.  What possesses someone to go and live in another country for two years?  Adventure's at the top of my list.  There's so much to see and experience in the world.  Moving around a lot, though, makes for quite a different life.  Saying goodbye to people becomes a seemingly easy thing to do but it does take a toll as I'm realizing just now.
I've lived in my hometown this past year and to my surprise, I've made a bit of a home here with family and new friends.  To ease or prepare for the goodbye, I find myself withdrawing now.  It's almost like I'm already living in Turkey.  There's definitely an art, which I haven't mastered yet, to living in the here and now and making the most out of life. 
I saw one of my last sunsets here in North Bay tonight and it was so beautiful.  There was quite a viewing audience tonight.  My special spot has become very popular since last I lived here.  We have one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world.  Every place has its own special beauty.  It'd be cool to put the beauty of each place all together into one.  I feel like part of me is in each of my special spots all around the world which seems so small that I feel like they're all in my backyard.
Wednesday August 8th, 2006

A TRUE BACHELOR PARTY!
My best buddy is finally going to get married!  Combined with leaving for Turkey in a week, everything feels so surreal.
We did some fishing and canoeing for the day.  Below is Steve getting in for his FIRST ever canoe ride!  Mr. Canoehead on the right is demonstrating proper canoe carrying.

After eating out on a patio, we went back to camp for a little fireside singing and a few marshmallows.  Someone (Ian) bought six bags of marshmallows for eleven people!!!  After a nice swim in the lake the next morning (while I slept), we took breaky at the bar.  Al A's the only one of us married!!!
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Dave's Last Supper
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Dave just finished his first year of teaching.  He taught Physics at a BC school in Dalian, China.  We both did our undergrads at
U of Waterloo.  We also got our B Ed at the same school one year apart.  Dave had a heavy teaching load this past year (11 and 12 Physics) and he says he was working seventy hours/week in the fall.  He's looking forward to having more free time this year to do fun things and I'm freaking out more about not having any free time for my first year this fall.  Thanks for coming back to see us this summer Dave.  Have a good one in China!
Tuesday August 15th, 2006
BYE FOR NOW MY LITTLE CANADA!!!
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Yep, Roy is actually married.  I guess it's kind of fitting that I go off to start my new life teaching in Istanbul as he starts his new life with his beautiful wife Jean-Anne.
My flight leaves at 3:30pm today, and yes,
I'm flying with British Airways and I have to pass through London, which means I can't even take a book on the plane with me!  Honestly, I'm more afraid of and stressed out over my baggage problems and the dehumanization I'm going to feel being searched than I am about any terrorist plot.  The biggest thing that bothers me is having to check my laptop in as regular baggage.  It's funny to think about the information on my laptop being priceless to me but worthless to anyone else.  To lose it would be a great loss.  The airlines really should have instituted some sort of laptop baggage program ten years ago.  It's not right to risk having it destroyed as check-in baggage like what happened to Bruce's well packed wine bottles at the airports in New York.  I'm proud of Canada for only instituting the liquid limits.
My bike riding days in Canada are ended for now, but it was great fun!!!
Here's the wedding powerpoint dowload.
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Friday August 18th, 2006                                           SAFELY HOME!
Yes, after losing my backpack containing my new camera, teaching clothes and bathroom essentials, I've arrived safely in Istanbul!!! (They found and delivered my missing bag the next day)  My apartment is pretty nice and so far, they're really on the ball with helping the new teachers get setup.  Those of you from Taiwan will remember Carrefour - it's in Turkey as well.  We went shopping yesterday and now I'm just about setup.  I still have to decide about getting a tv and microwave.  From what I can tell, the cable here is better than the cable back home for the
same price.
I got to do my fancy restaurant supper with the director last night.  Turkish food is amazing!!!  I ate every course they served us (at least six) and I enjoyed every one.  Unfortunately, I had no room left for the great dessert and fruit.  On Sunday night, all of the new teachers go for supper together at the director's place.  Next week I'll be doing the new faculty orientation, the following week I'll be meeting with my department and then the following week classes start.  I've got a lot to do before that third week comes.
Except for losing my luggage at the end and having to carry 4 32kg bags from terminal 1 to terminal 3 in Toronto (as of June 1st, they no longer transfer luggage between airlines unless they're best buddies) the flight over went fairly well.  Airport security was toughest in North Bay, second in Toronto and easiest at Heathrow.  I beeped everywhere in Canada so they frisked and wanded me, but I didn't beep at Heathrow so they just let me pass.  I also helped an English girl smuggle two bags past security.  She was very beautiful and I'll hopefully see her again! 
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THE TURKISH MARKET
I pulled out my camera to take pics at the market and suddenly everyone wanted me to take their picture, like the man in the lower right.  They weren't too pushy about making sales to the extent where they would follow you around, but they do call out to passersby.  They're also tricky when dealing with foreigners.  One girl was told the silverware sets were going to be $3.50 each and then when she went to buy, the fellow recalculated and wanted $10 for two sets.
On the left is our first new teacher initiated supper.  We had Greek style pasta with chicken wraps and corn.  It felt amazing considering we just arrived one to three days ago.
Kelly on the left is from a school in the Bronx.  She's exchanged jobs with a Turkish teacher
for the year.  Dee in the yellow has taught English for 35 years in Florida.  Debbie in stripes has taught math for 25 years and Christi in the middle of the middle pic has been a math teacher for a few years.  The middle pic is the bar at our social centre on campus.  Pretty cool, eh?
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Tuesday August 22nd, 2006
ORIENTATION
Below is a picture of the new teacher's orientation class.  The foreign and Turkish teachers have separate classes at times and then we're together at times which requires some translation.  Later this week we'll also be dividing by high school (Lise) and Elementary.  I'm impressed with the fact that the school has all of the new teachers come a week before the departmental meetings.  While some of our time is rather boring (admin people seem to have forgotten how to teach or something), as a new teacher, especially being in a new culture, the extra time to bond with the other new teachers
is invaluable.  We did also have a fun activity at the end of the day today (our second day) which involved role playing some of the cultural differences we might encounter in our classroom.  It's really been a lot of fun so far meeting the other new teachers.  I'm really looking forward to a great year.  My department, though, is a bit unique in that I'm the only foreign teacher so that will present me with some unique challenges which I don't think any other teacher at the school will face.
I also found out today that my school is the second best school high school in Turkey according to grades.  While I don't respect grades alone, that fact does make me pretty excited and curious to meet my students this year.
I think I did my fifth shopping trip today and I've made a pact with another teacher not to go again.  Every time I've gone I've spent over $100 and I don't know where it went.  Tomorrow there's a trip to IKEA and as much as I'd like to go, I don't think I should because I know I'd end up spending money I shouldn't be spending right now.  The school did give us a small startup allowance which has covered half of my costs and they also gave us all an advance on our first pay, but it's still added up to a little more than I figured I'd end up spending.  The good thing is that some things like ice cream which we stopped for after shopping is quite cheap.  Notice our carts overloaded in the background.
So far, I'm impressed with the American director and the assistant Turkish director.  They both seem to have a good understanding of school politics and issues, though I won't know for sure until an issue arises.  I kind of felt a distance with the principals when I taught in Ontario.  It was like politics and the Federation's rules were the most important thing.  Maybe part of it here is that the director just arrived at the school last year, but I also feel that the school has a good attitude and understanding of the needs of new teachers.  I also found out that my director is planning to summit Mount Ararat next summer!!!  One of my secret plans in coming to Turkey was to learn Turkish enough to sneak up Mount Ararat somehow, but apparently it's become possible to summit the mountain legally as long as you have a guide.  This has been one of my life dreams so I'm quite excited at the possibility of making it happen.  The director is in the green shirt on the bottom left and his wife is in the blue shirt on the bottom left.
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Tuesday August 29th, 2006
The First Hike
Ray, an Auzzie Physics teacher, took us out in his Toyota Hi-Lux which he shipped over from Auzzie land.  I ventured down a rather steep slope shown in the bottom mid-left picture.  Kelly and Alex are barely visible at the top.  The bottom mid-right picture shows Alex beginning his descent.  After slipping a little, they decided to go back up and walk along the road, causing them to miss out on the beautiful scenery shown in the top right.  Walking down the river was so fun and beautiful.  I had to shimmy across the rock face on the right to get down that waterfall which was a lot of fun.  I'd really like to go back there again one week-end to do some gullying and then camp out further down the river.  The whole trip made me really want to get a motorbike.  I think I'll have to get one in March.
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Thursday August 31st, 2006

Tea Time

On the left we've ordered tea under the Galata bridge (cars are passing over us which we can't hear) while looking out on the views shown on the right.  A great place to relax in the big city.  The mosques may have been designed by aliens.
The Galata tower is on the left.  We took the elevator to the top because the stairs were closed.  It was built in the 6th century and gave us a great view of the city.  Above mid-left is a helicopter flying around the suspension bridge.  Above mid-right are two dolphins in the river and to the right is some art.
We sat at the tea shop overlooking the water for several hours discussing Turkish and western culture and teaching.  Hande is the assistant to the director and she invited Patricia and I out for tea.  It is now on the top of my list of places to go and relax after a hard day in the classroom.  It was so cool observing the Turks arrive and greet one another with the double cheek kiss and then recline on the pillows/bean bags and chat away for hours.  The night is near the top of my list of cool life experiences.  It's such a rare atmosphere to see in Canada.  Folk festivals are maybe close.
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