It’s Getting Cold Here!

So things have been progressing at the university. The academic calendar is made up of four periods of eight weeks each. So we’ll soon be reaching the end of the first period. This means two things: (1) exams, which are never fun to grade; and (2) my time here in Turkey will be 25% finished. Time is flying by! Sadly, winter is coming. I’ve been told that Ankara winters are particularly brutal, so the Floridian in me is terrified.

As you know, last weekend was Halloween. What you might not know is that Turkey doesn’t recognize the holiday at all. In an attempt to share some American culture, we (the Fulbrighters) threw a Halloween party at the Independent Learning Center. The ILC is the part of the school where students can come use the computers, find materials to improve their English, and learn about new cultures. The ILC also hosts workshops and conversation clubs. So for the party, we gave an overview about Halloween, including the art of trick or treating. The students designed their own masks – resulting in many selfies.

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One of the best parts was when everyone did the Thriller dance together. The facemasks made everything seem less embarrassing.

In a search for Halloween festivities, my roommate Keanna and I went to Berlin. I was fortunate enough to go to Berlin last year while studying abroad, but this was Keanna’s first time in Europe. I’ve realized that no two trips are the same, even to the same city. (Sidenote: if you ever visit Berlin, take a trip the Jewish Cultural Museum!)

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Brandenburg Gate (the sun started setting by 5pm, which confused me immensely; this picture was taken around 6pm)
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Walking through the Holocaust Memorial
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I couldn’t handle all the foliage.
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The Berlin Wall

I saw a different side of Berlin and ventured out to Potsdam. Potsdam is about an hour outside of Berlin, and it’s where the Potsdam Conference took place in 1945.

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Cecilienhof Palace
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Inside Cecilienhof Palace, where Truman, Stalin and Churchill decided how to split Germany after WWII
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Outside Neues Palace — completed in 1769 for Frederick the Great of Prussia
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Every other room was just as elaborate as this one.

Some of you might be wondering why I haven’t posted many pictures of Ankara. To be honest, there’s not much to show. Although, maybe that’s because I live here. Don’t worry: you’ll see more of my host city in the future.

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