Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Okay, so Blogger has been messıng wıth me and I haven't been able to post ın forever...not even by emaıl, whıch ıs very strange.  But I'm borrowıng my anne's laptop now and ıt seems all rıght.  It's a turkısh keyboard, whıch I'm still gettıng used to, and ıt's late, so please excuse the strange and ıncorrect letters (ı, ğ, ü, ö, ç, ş) as they appear out of place.  I've trıed to post a couple tımes sınce my last successful update, and neıther tıme worked...I have no clue why.  Anyway, I'm just goıng to post those attempts here ın theır correct order before I brıng you up to speed - I can't believe I've already been gone a week.  I've also been takıng hundreds of photos, whıch I shall do my absolute best to get up as soon as I can. 

On Wednesday nıght I wrote:
Merhaba, everyone. Arrived safe at LaGuardia 25 minutes early...! I slept most of the flight, met up with AFS staff and everyone else - including the supercool Turkey people I've met on facebook. It's just NSLI-Y people going to Turkey, Russia, India and (mostly) Egypt. This orientation is full of great eope, but a few irritable advisers and a mix of activity. The food is surprisingly nice. One lady who was in the Peace Corps in the 60s in Turkey told me that the only blonde people there are prostitutes - I'm sure that's not accurate ny longer, & that she meant no offence, but the way she said it wasn't very nice.
I'm taking lots of pictures and video, you'll see them soon.
Well, I'm on a borrowed laptop in high demand, so,
Seni Seviyorum!
And on Monday:
Selam, everyone! I'm ın Ankara wıth my wonderful host famıly. The Ankara NSLI-Y kıds - about half have famılıes ın İstanbul - took a bus thıs mornıng that lasted about 7 hours...! But I was surprısed by how pleasant ıt was. People ın Turkey seem to have a great sense of hospıtalıty. The hotel staff and local people near the beautıful Otel Famıly where we stayed last nıght ın İstanbul were wonderful to us and humoured our attempts at turkısh, and the bus was very clean and comfortable. We were offered snacks and drınks multıple tımes, and they wree good! İ had lovely cake and what I thınk wsa orange-melon juıce: delıcıous. The food at the Otel was also excellent - there was halvah for breaqkfast, and those lıttle plastıc tubs of jam - but so much better than ın Amerıca. ROSE jam, people, wıth petals ın ıt. Amazıng. Thıs evenıng my host mother and sıster met me at the bus statıon. We were all quıte nervous, but I really lıke them and my host father, and I,m very excıted for the next 6 weeks (altı hafta). My mother made a delıcıous dınner, and we unpacked and now I am so thoroughly exhausted I can,t see to type (that,s not why the letters are funny, though -- I'm stıll gettıng used to Turkısh keyboards. Oh, by the way, YouTube IS blocked here - because a couple years ago somebody uploaded vıdeos ınsultıng Atatürk. Peoole stıll get on ıt, though)...and blogger ıs actıng up too. Untıl I,ve fıgured ıt out I'll have to post by emaıl and pray that that works. Too tıred to upload my bıllıon and one pıctures now - but there's no school tomorrow, so I'll do ıt then, tamam?

Okay, now fınally for a real-tıme post.  Gah!  It's Wednesday, or Çarşambe, and today was the fırst day of school at TÖMER language school.  It was actually pretty great.  I was tıred ın the mornıng, because Yesterday we (the nıne NSLI-Y students ın Ankara and our wonderful AFS Türkiye assıstants) had a bıt of a grand day out.  My baba dropped me off at the Unıted States embassy a lıttle before eıght-thırty, and we all gathered ın the front next to the people ın lıne for visa applications.  After a whıle one of the AFS staff showed up (Türkiye ıs not a punctual place) and we headed ın.  We had to go through a lot of securıty and leave our passports and electronıcs behınd before goıng ın.  We were there for a securıty brıefıng - yeah, we are totally spıes and I pack a neon pınk AK 47 - and the `brıefer, I guess, was a very cool guy who ıs acquaınted wıth my famıly's dıplomat frıends at the US state department branch ın İstanbul.  We also met the US Ambassador to Türkiye, whıch ıs a pretty cool bıg deal.  He was also very nıce and the Embassy vısıt was overall very enjoyable. 

Then a quıck vısıt to the Ankara AFS offıce - pıctures to come - and a tour of TÖMER before trekkıng through streets that remınded me a lıttle of London's Camden Lock - kınd of sketchy, probably-ıllegal vendors of all sorts of thıngs, half-fınıshed constructıon goıng on - to a fantastıc kebab place (or, as they spell ıt here, kebap).  When I got home, Alkım and I played tennıs and basketball, and then I took a longer-than-ıntended nap.  So last nıght I took a whıle to get back to sleep after dınner, whıch was pancakes that I made for my famıly, some wıth chocolate chıps (sorry, Amerıcan daddy, I know you thınk ıt's blasphemy; please don't dısown me) and Turkısh breakfast food that my anne made. 

SO, thıs mornıng I took the bus wıth an NSLI-Y guy whose famıly lıves two seconds from mıne down the road and hıs host brother, who ıs also an AFS staffmember.  A few years ago, he was an exchange student to Maıne and attended John Bapst Memorıal Hıgh, whıch ıs just an hour from my school!  Small world....ıck, what a clıche.  Anyway, that was fun to fınd out. 

It took all the students and staffmembers way toıyı gecelero long to fınd one another at our meetıng place thıs mornıng - agaın, punctualıty ıs not a common vırtue ın Türkiye - and we were a lıttle late for our fırst lesson.  Once we got there ıtwas great- good teachıng and good food.  And homework.  I honestly can't wrıte any more now, and I'şş leave you wıth 2 pıctures - sunset from the plane and the moon ın İstanbul.
More tomorrow
iyi geceler

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Aaah.  So, my last post didn't post.  Whatever, I'm in Istanbul!  Can't write much as I'm borrowing a laptop, but I've taken millions of lovely pictures for you to see soon!  Tomorrow I go to Ankara and meet my family, which I just can't wait for.  The orientations in NYC and here were both good overall.  The flight was delayed today because a co-pilot didn't show up, and took about 9 hours once we lifted off... 7 hours time difference, jetlagged out of my head but so happy.  I sat next to a turkish guy going home to do his 3 weeks' mandatory army service, and he helped me with some conjugation, grammar and vocabulary.  It's beautiful here, and I got in a little trouble with the supervidors for wandering off with a cool fellow NSLI-Y-er from Texas and chatting to the locals.  Our turkish is growing, and they all know a little english here.  As long as you smile and say 'good evening' a whole lot, they seem to really love you.  And I love this.  I will write in huge detail as soon as I possibly can, but for now, iyi geceler! 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

And I'm Off...

Merhaba.  This is my last night in the US, and a couple girlfriends are staying over to see me off.  We had a little party tonight, with lots of grilled meat and a Fred Astaire + Ginger Rogers movie, and a darling friend who I didn't think would come did, so that was great. 

 I have to get up at about 6:30 tomorrow to leave around 7ish.  My flight leaves from Bangor at 10 o'clock, and I'll land in LaGuardia sometime tomorrow afternoon for the orientation in Queens.  On Friday we fly to İstanbul, and from there, On To Ankara! 

I am going to miss everybody so much.  I'm not sure how I'll stand it...

We've insured my camera, and my friends helped me finish packing - the bag is just under 44 pounds - VICTORY.  All I need to do now is figure out how to zip it up (!). 

I'm posting some pictures of my friends house and family so that my host family can see them - but you can look too. 

So, I probably won't be able to post for a few days, maybe until I get to Turkey.  I need to get up in the morning, so this is it.  Wish me luck!  Friends, family, babysittees, laptop and native English speakers in general, I bid thee farewell.  Turkish family, food and other awesome NSLI-Y people I've been in touch with, I can't wait to be with you.  I can't quite believe that I'm doing this, but here I go. 

Wish me luck!  Bana şans dileyin.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Post With A Ridiculous Number Of Pictures

Selam, everyone.  It's the end of a beautiful hot day, and I'm packing right now.

AFS has very strict rules about what you can bring, and I have to keep my luggage under 44 pounds.  I'm culling my clothing selections to make room for the America and Maine-themed things I'm bringing my family.

On Saturday night, I went with my family to dinner with some friends who used to live in Turkey.  They put on a wonderful evening, and we watched a slideshow of photographs projected on a sail outside.  It kept billowing back and forth in the wind, and we made a lot of jokes about all the earthquakes in Turkey.  We ate the most delicious turkish food - grilled meat, aubergine, and feta cheese wrapped in phyllo and deep fried.  I made baklava for the first time, and was very pleased with the way it came out.

I spent yesterday with two lovely friends from the AFS orientation.  One of them, Silvia, is from Indonesia and going home next weekend after a whole year in Augusta.  The other, Danielle, lives here in Maine and is going to Turkey on NSLI-Y as well, for a semester.

We cooked Indonesian fried rice, which was absolutely delicious, and a lovely syrupy middle-eastern dessert.  Silvia stayed the night, and only just left.  I went to work babysitting for a couple hours while she hung out with my mum and some other mothers and kids at my house, and when I got back we went to the beach.  We waded, caught hermit crabs, and drew maps in the sand of the US, Indonesia and Turkey.

We also wrote our names in the sand.  She did hers in Arabic, and I wrote my hebrew name, לאה (Leah).  I think Arabic is far more güzel than Hebrew.

Some guys from my school showed up at the beach, and I introduced her, and when we left we put flowers on their various cars (identifiable by the college bumper stickers they sport.  Notable is the Harvard convertible) for them to find.  Then we went kayaking, which Silvia had never tried before.  She got quite good at it, and we were very happy and tired by the end.

I am SO excited about going to Turkey.  I fly to New York the day after tomorrow for the orientation, and on Friday to İstanbul!  I've found my host mother and sister, Didem and Alkım, on facebook and we've added each another as family.  They seem so nice, I just can't wait to meet them.  My host father is a chemical engineer, my anne studied psychology and works as a sales manager, and Alkım loves rock and plays the piano.  They've been to London, too, which is really great since I lived there for the first nine years of my life.

These rocks are just some pictures I took at the beach, but I am so enamored of the sharpness achieved by the Lumix that I couldn't help it - even if I kind of am echoing Ian's posts.  Whatever, he does it better.  In any case, I implore you to click on these to enlarge them and marvel.

And with that, my dears (sevgilim in Türkçe), I must away to my suitcase and figure out how to make it all weigh something that I am capable of lugging around Türkiye on my own (I'll have you know that I lugged some pretty damn heavy kayaks today, through the stickiest mud thusfar traversed by womankind).  I'll try to fit in another post before I leave, and then I'll be writing from Ankara!  I imagine that I'll be quite a mess when I first get there, so you must bear with me.  And just because this is a post with a ridiculous number of pictures, I'll throw in just one more:

İyi geceler.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

Illustrated News

Merhaba again, everyone. This is utterly shameful. You are going to think I have absolutely nothing to do, no friends, no life in general, which isn't really true. But I am thoroughly in love with my camera and want to show you everything, and, this being another ridiculously hot day for Maine (it was 90° Fahrenheit yesterday!), I have opted to stay inside and edit photographs just for you. Above are two pictures from the farmers market, my first attempts at food photography. Black and white in Türkçe is siyah ve beyaz.

Below, I demonstrate to you the inconceivably amazing powers of the Lumix. The two cropped shots are just that - little zoom-ins from the original pictures, and look how sharp they still are! I am totally in awe of this. I also like the smaller shot of the arm and hand because, if you don't see the original and don't know these two friends of mine, it's hard to figure out whether the hand and arm belong to the same person.

News: only 4 days until I leave! I didn't receive a reply about my host family, but the old information has appeared back on the site, so I'm guessing there was just some kind of glitch on the AFS web site. I've also gotten an email from my host mother! It's just a short note, in slightly broken english, but very sweet... I can't wait to meet them. My sister in Ankara is 13, just like my sister here, my father is 39 and my mother isn't telling her age - in a goodnatured and humourous sort of way. She says "we look forward you to be a member of our familiy" Well, me too. I am çok excited.

I'm not babysitting today, so maybe I'll go to the beach. I kind of feel like finding a butterfly to photograph, too. And I must do some RosettaStone... If you know how to download video files from cameras, please do leave a comment. I can't figure it out. Teşekkurler!

Tamam (
that means OK, I just learned it), Güle güle!

Some More Pictures

So, evet. More photos. I don't know anything about editing, I'm really just messing about, but it's so much fun! Observe original chintzy --> overexposed trippy flower arrangement. I really want to get into food photography, too. I think my camera has settings for it, but I ought to just get good at making things look right. There's a massive number of excellent food photos at SmittenKitchen, if anybody's interested.

I'll soon show you the amazing sharpness that the Lumix manages by giving you a couple cropped shots, along with their originals. The focus is so perfect, despite the fact that the cropped ones are magnified a million times over...a shot of somebody's hand, taken from a photo of a whole kitchen, and there's no discernible difference in quality. I guess that's what 12.1 megapixels get you. I just have to get the permission of the friends in the photos...

But for now, here's something which is, in my totally unqualified opinion, a lovely piece of food photography. I didn't take it, but I made the cake.

One point that's actually related to the theme of this blog (though, really, who am I fooling?): I had my host family, as you know, and I was really excited. But I've checked my AFS account again, and they seem to have taken the info down. I don't know if this is a mistake, or means that I'm not with that family any longer, so I've sent an email to the NSLI-Y people. I'll let you know what goes down.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

First Shots With My New Camera

Yes, I know I just posted, but I wanted to show you a couple pictures I took with my Lumix today while babysitting. These are the only ones I've edited so far, and I know they're not great - I'm no photographer, that's why I want to learn. But I'm quite pleased with the shadow of the kettle's handle and the tangerines' reflections.

News and non-News

Kiva - loans that change lives

Selam, guys. Sorry it's taken so long to post. I meant to last night, but I was at a friend's house and his in internet wasn't working - probably because of the gorgeous killer rainstorm we had last night. Anyway, News! Last night my mother and sister has a massive fight over leggings or something, and I decided to escape and go for a walk with this friend. My new camera has come - it's a Lumix GF1, and the most beautiful, compact machine I've ever met - and we spent a little while trying to work out how it works. Yeah, yeah, look in the manual I KNOW. But how much fun is that? Another nice guy from school gave me a video-chat tutorial on how to set it up, slide in the memory card, etc, but I haven't quite worked out the video factor yet. But still! I hope to be posting pictures and videos really, really soon.

Anyway, we decided to watch a film at my friend's house in the evening, and before going over I went home to gather some stuff up and confirm some other movie plans for tonight (my social life is just explosive, I know...not), and I decided to check my AFS account, because, well, I have been obsessively checking my AFS account for a week now, to see if my host family information is up yet. Loads of people on the Turkiye Summer facebook group seem to be hearing before me.
They're all "I'm in İstanbul with a daughter my age and a three-year-old!" "Ooh, I'm in İstanbul, too! Their son is 20!" Well, I seem to be the only one so far who's going to ..... (cue Ode To Joy).....

Ankara! My family consists of a mother, father, a daughter who's about twelve years old, a bird, some fish and an engineer. Well, okay, maybe the engineer is one of the parents, but you'd never know it from the ridiculous way the web site is laid out. Anyway, I'm really excited... last night I kept dreaming about it. I don't know if they speak much English, and kind of hope they don't. But that's the current news. I leave in less than a week now!! I have to go babysit (9-12am every morning for a week, it's been....need spending money for Turkiye) now, but I'll post soon with pictures.
Güle güle!

P.S. have you noticed the little vocabulary bar that's on the side of this page now? Do you think it's all too cluttered? I must admit I'm rather fond of the fish at the bottom...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Kiva - loans that change lives

Ah, I'm sorry it's been so long. Üzgünüm. But it was just so crazy... finals week. I think I did fine on my exams. Least well on Algebra, but that's to be expected. And as of yesterday at noon, school is over! As of yesterday, when people ask me what grade I'm in I can tell them "Oh, I don't go to school" and watch their expressions change as they try to figure out whether I'm serious. As of yesterday the only homework I have to think about is AP US History (maybe) and Sophomore English, both of which I can ignore for a couple months. Anyway, Friday night I got together with some friends and we watched movies and had a really great time, and this morning I got up way too early to help my mother sell granola and fried egg sandwiches at the farmers market. I need to make a little spending money for Turkey, so I'm doing that and babysitting quite a lot in the 10 days left. I'm way in debt because of the camera I ordered - which did NOT take the above random picture of some focaccia I made tonight (that was my webcam) - so I can show you all about Turkey, videos included!

This was senior class night, which meant that the jazzband had to play Pomp and Circumstance so many times that there ought to be an amendment to the Constitution about it, and then we watched slideshows with cheap effects that switched from one baby picture to another. The slideshow music this year was better than last, at least. Then there were awards, and it all took forever but was a bit more meaningful this year for me, as some of the people graduating are my friends now. I will miss some people terribly. Had a little cry about it today. I picked up the local newspaper with its list of all the graduates and it started to sink in that they're leaving. I really, really wish that I could just stay with a couple of them forever - I might even be wishing that this school year never ended, but that would be silly, because then it wouldn't be SUMMER.

But, hey, I might be leaving too. Yesterday (in French class, actually) I learned that I've been accepted to the Maine School of Science and Mathematics, which is a tiny but excellent magnet school up near Canada. I don't know if I should go or not. On the one hand, the people there are great, they send their students to great colleges and universities and it would probably be a lot of fun (and work). On the other (I am not from Fiddler on the Roof, and therefore only have two), it's four hours away from my home, it's essentially in the middle of a frozen potato field, they have very little music and art, no french and certainly no Türkçe - though, of course, neither does my current school. I need to think about it, and quite fast because the first deposit (it's a public school, though selective, but one has to pay for room and board*) is due on the 25th of June. Of course, I'd have to send it in earlier because I'm leaving on the 23rd.

Other people on the Turkey Summer programme are hearing about their host families, but I've checked my AFS account and have no information so far. I really want to know. The only things I hope are that my family doesn't speak too much English and that they're really into food.

Graduation is tomorrow, and I have to go play more boring march music, with the concert band this time. I have a killer headache resulting from standing in front of the speakers tonight, and not sleeping much last night, so I'm going to go to bed now.

Iyi geceler.

*Though my town has an interesting arrangement involving taxes going to local kids attending my school, which is technically private but the only high school here. So if you want to go somewhere else, provided it's not a religious high school, they'll give you the same amount of money that they would pay to this school.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tekrar, Lütfen

Oh, see that? I can come up with those just as well as you, Lonely Planet! Tekrar, Lütfen = 'again, please'. Actually, I'm only planning to use that for asking people to repeat themselves (promise), but it does occur to me that there are less innocent uses for the term. And! It's! Only! 16 days until I leave! I am starting to have dreams about Turkiye. The food... I have to just get through finals week, and then I am going to start packing, and finally order a camera to take with me, and buy gifts for my family (about whom I still know absolutely nothing about! And I've heard that the NSLI-Y participants learning Arabic have all that information already! There is no justice). I'll also try to have a little party to say goodbye to my friends... I'll miss them. I think I'll have an amazing time in Turkiye, but I will miss Maine. I'm also going away for the most perfect part of the summer here, where I've spent every summer of my life.

Anyway, the point of the title is that, once again, I have forgotten to bring my phrasebook to school meaning that I can neither
a) study (forcing me to write these looong blog posts, you see!)
b) post the rest of those romance phrases I promised you. But don't worry, I will. And if I don't, OFF, just for you.

I have finals in Maths, Art, Social Studies (there was no midterm in that class, so his final is worth 20% of the year grade and everyone's panicking), Science and French. So, after that school will be over! and I get to focus completely on getting on with the RosettaStone, and life will be good. Right now, life is horrid. I hate the stress of finals, and I hate that freshman have to take them even if they have ninety per cent in their classes. I wish the magnet school I've applied to would just get back to me and with a congratulations/nice try, ditz letter, and that none of my friends were going away to college*, and that I could stop reading webcomics both cheap and fascinating.

On a better note, the thunderstorms I listened to, enthralled, all weekend are over and it's being vaguely sunny, like Maine knows it can never measure up to blazing Turkiye, but wants to prove that it's willing to Give Sun a Chance.

So, I had an okayish weekend. Tell me about yours in the comments, and I'll post some hilarious anachronisms and misunderstandings of World history for you next time. Oh, and that...yeah...other stuff I fail at getting to.

Iyi günler

*Possibly, wanting to change schools and simultaneously wishing nobody else would is what they call hypocrisy. Screw them.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

News, etc.

Selam, everyone. Just a post to let you know that I've gotten a couple emails from NSLI about my upcoming departure - I leave for NY in just 20 days and fly in 22! The first bit of information was a reply to a question I had about visas - all I have to do is hand over about $20 US at the airport to get my visa, because I won't be there for very long. That's abfab news. There was also an email with information about AFS Turkiye, specific things - the type of electrical outlet there, what sort of gifts to bring your family (I'm thinking chocolate chips as they're apparently rare there, Maine maple syrup, locally made granola ( try some because it's incredible.), and blueberry jam, as well as some pictures of Maine, etc, but I'm still looking for ideas so have fun in the comments) and rules. The things that could definitely get me students sent home include hitchhiking, breaking Turkish laws, driving and drugs. I can't drive and I don't do drugs or hitchhike, so I'm not particularly worried. The drinking age there is technically 18, but they're very laid-back about enforcing that - we are talking about Europe. One can also be sent home for developing eating disorders, which I suppose makes sense. I am not an eating disorder sort of kız. I love to cook and I love to eat, and I'm not really concerned by the AFS warnings that most people gain weight while abroad. I'd certainly rather eat my favourite foods - things that I cook, not horrid processed foods Go Michael Pollan - than abstain and lose weight. I like clothes, but I'm totally at home in my body ... so 50's figures are out of fashion, and so are the Ashkenazic hips that are my birthright (along with that unburnable olive skin I didn't get). So what? Give me that turkish food, I'm only there for six weeks and I plan to enjoy every meal.
Well, I promised to finish those romance phrases - oh, that's something that IS allowed on AFS - so here's one to tide you over. I promise to tell you the totally important ones about condoms and idiots over the weekend!

Do you want to come inside for a while? Biraz içeri gelmek ister misin?

Oh, and a friend whose family is from Turkey has told me that peanut butter is really hard to find there. Stands to reason, as it's not even that easy to get in the UK. Not much variety or quality. So, that's another potential present for my family. The picture here is of the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Erdoğan, who has called the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara "a bloody massacre ... that deserves every kind of curse."

I've switched my laptop's keyboard to Türkçe! Now I don't have to copy characters from Ğooğle Tranşlate and, hopefully, those annoying highlighted bits will go away. I am a happy kız tonight. Mostly. I babysat my brother after studying for French finals with a friend for a couple hours, and then I baked a cake for another old friend's birthday tomorrow*. It's the chocolate cake from the brilliant food blog Smitten Kitchen, with a potentially dangerous coffee cream cheese icing that I'm really excited about.
Iyi geceler! Seni seviyorum, world. That does not extend to finals, by the way.

*Is it right for a fifteen-year-old to call anybody an 'old friend'?

Ankara, We Have A Problem

Merhaba. Turkey has just withdrawn her ambassador from Israel, in response to Israel’s attack on a flotilla of aid ships making their way to Gaza. One of them was the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish passenger boat, and Israeli troops boarded it and at least nine activists were killed, many of them Turkish. Turkey was Israel’s closest ally in the muslim world, and Israel has really messed up. The EU and Russia have issued a joint statement condemning Israel’s actions, David Cameron of the United Kingdom (meh) has expressed similar disgust. I can’t believe this. Israeli troops just went and slaughtered at least nine activists. It’s so totally unacceptable, and I don’t blame Turkey and the rest of the world for being angry. This picture of protesters waving Turkish and Palestinian flags…they all wanted the blockade on Gaza to end, and these activists’s boats had been checked in Turkey for weaponry – it’s clear that they were only carrying humanitarian aid. What frightens me, though, is the way anti-Israeli sentiment turns so quickly anti-Jewish. Can’t people tell the difference? I feel completely attacked by the hateful anti-Israeli messagesflying around the internet. Yes, people, I’m Jewish. That does not mean I’m an Israeli soldier, or even pro-Israel. I agree that it was brutal and unacceptable for Israel to do this thing, to board a Turkish ship (‘mavi’ means blue), but at the same time it feels like I’m being blamed, even threatened a little bit.

I really hope this doesn’t mean that the NSLI-Y trip to Turkey is canceled. They’re rioting now, but I’m not leaving for 21 days… I really hope we can still go. There’s a student on the trip who was transferred from the Egypt summer programme because it wouldn’t be safe for them, as they had spent the previous summer in Israel. It would be awful if that person, or any of us, had to be transferred again or even told we couldn’t go. There’s been no word yet from the people at AFS, so I’m just trying to be optimistic. I’ll keep this up to date as things happen… Let’s hope that no more violence results from this, and that the situation calms down quickly.

This is what the United Nation Security Council’s has to say. I’m glad I participated in Model UN this year, because it was fun and I can understand the following... but at the same time I wish I didn’t get it at all.

The Security Council deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries resulting from the use of force during the Israeli military operation in international waters against the convoy sailing to Gaza. The Council, in this context, condemns those acts which resulted in the loss of at least ten civilians and many wounded, and expresses its condolences to their families.

The Security Council requests the immediate release of the ships as well as the civilians held by Israel. The Council urges Israel to permit full consular access, to allow the countries concerned to retrieve their deceased and wounded immediately, and to ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance from the convoy to its destination.

The Security Council takes note of the statement of the UN Secretary–General on the need to have a full investigation into the matter and it calls for a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to international standards.

The Security Council stresses that the situation in Gaza is not sustainable. The Council re-emphasizes the importance of the full implementation of Resolutions 1850 and 1860. In that context, it reiterates its grave concern at the humanitarian situation in Gaza and stresses the need for sustained and regular flow of goods and people to Gaza as well as unimpeded provision and distribution of humanitarian assistance throughout Gaza.

The Security Council underscores that the only viable solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an agreement negotiated between the parties and re-emphasizes that only a two-State solution, with an independent and viable Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbours, could bring peace to the region.

The Security Council expresses support for the proximity talks and voices concern that this incident took place while the proximity talks are underway and urges the parties to act with restraint, avoiding any unilateral and provocative actions, and all international partners to promote an atmosphere of cooperation between the parties and throughout the region.

I’ve joined the site to work on my Türkçe. It’s a good site, with peer review and a chat option so you can practice languages with native speakers. But yesterday, when I was home sick with wither heat exhaustion or sunstroke or the flu, I got about five chat requests from people in Turkey whose profile pictures were the Israeli flag in flames or torn and bloodied. It’s really unnerving.

My sister’s bat mitzvah went incredibly well, by the way. She did excellently in the service on Saturday, and we had a wild party on Sunday. My family all came from England, and a couple friends flew in from New Zealand and they all stayed in our new house. On Sunday night we had jazz (I sat in for a couple songs with my school’s top combo, who placed fourth in the Nation this year at the Berklee music festival), dancing, a fire pit and so much food. I’ll get some pictures up, my cousin’s a great photographer. Well, this Kız needs to get back to panicking about upcoming finals, and actually start paying attention in Science class instead of blogging. Güle güle.