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Aaah, guys, I'm so worried now. I was supposed to leave for Turkey on the 30th but all of the sudden we've lost the original flight I wanted and had to settle for another one, a way longer one, so we decided for money reasons to push forward the date to the 26th because now my flight will take two days and then I'll have an extra day to get used to the time difference, etc. BUT! Oh man, I'm not ready for this! I didn't speak any Turkish at all really until this summer when I really tried to study but I can hardly say anything at all correctly or pronounce it right and the worst thing is that I can't seem to memorize the most important phrases. Like the whole exchange you have when someone says hello. Of the title you add onto people's names when you first meet them. Or the right way of saying thank you, seriously why is sag olun so much easier to say and yet not the right one to use ubiquitously? I'm getting really scared now. I want to be polite and be able to communicate with people, or at the very least say hello correctly and ask how they're doing. But even now I can't do that! And even more so, I'm getting really worried about being in Istanbul. I haven't really been in a big city, and Istanbul is not just big, it's humongous. I have only ever taken the bus at my College as any sort of public transportation and even that took me like three months to get used to so I'm terrified of getting on the wrong bus in Turkey and then not being able to find my way home! The good thing is that the home I'm staying at is only a half hour walk away from the school I'm attending, so I can go there by foot! (Though even that is terrifying because I've been reading that you need to be very careful crossing streets and I have to say living out in the middle of nowhere I don't have much experience with traffic on roads.) But honestly the biggest thing I worry about is being rude! There's so many things I've been learning recently. Don't give complements to a baby. Don't turn your back on a person. How to say no when someone wants to stuff you full of food. All of these things are so tiny and I don't really know how to do them. The worst is when guidebooks tell you about something to avoid and then don't say exactly what you should do instead. For instance I've read that you shouldn't give a present directly to the recipient and that you should place it on a table or hallway or something, but is that after you've shown it to them or just in secrecy for them to find later? I can't stop worrying. I love languages and learning and cultures and I'm so very excited about this trip but I just can't stop all my negative thoughts. What if I insult someone? What if I get lost? What if no one likes me? Can you guys tell me about your first trip to Turkey, or any insight into not making a fool out of yourself? I'm so glad this site is here, I just keep reading the older topics about other people's travels and they make me laugh and get so excited!
Oh man, oh man, I need some more advice! (What would I do without you guys!) I love Turkish food! I really do, but I don't eat all that much and my landlady seems intent on making me explode. She doesn't want me to stop eating and won't accept my doydum's! I'm not sure what else to say without being rude, so tonight she kept wanting me to finish the rice and tzatziki sauce that was left over and at first I thought she just meant the rice so I ate that and then she came back and pointed to the sauce and told me to eat! And... Well... I could have eaten it with more of the dinner but that would of meant eating way more food so I just ate it... alone... except the bread... And she kind of looked at me weird and asked if I wanted rice and the other part of the meal too and I couldn't explain that if I did that I really would burst so we kind of had an awkward moment but finally I finished and she was happy. But... I kind of need advice. Is it very rude to say that you're way too full to keep eating? I don't want to make her lose face, but at the same time I don't want to make myself sick. This is kind of a funny story now that it's over, but not exactly the most enjoyable experience to be having every night.