Julianne - outbound to Turkey

My Journey and Arrival in Turkey!

My departure was supposed to take place on the 8th of September from Jacksonville Airport, but due to the classic Florida weather of thunderstorms, my flight to Dulles was extremely delayed. It was so delayed that I would not have been able to make my international connection. On the other hand, the flight plan I was given by my travel agency only gave me an hour to get from one plane to the other in time for departure, so thanks to both of these factors I ended up departing on the 9th. I realize things happen that are beyond my control, but the main reason I was upset was because I wanted to fly with the other Turkish inbounds from Munich to Izmir. However in comparison today’s flying hasn’t been that much better.

Actually my experience flying has been so full of bad luck that by the end I was laughing at how incredibly bad the journey had been. My flight to Dulles boarded promptly, but we were delayed because there was a backup in takeoff times. When we finally did try to go take off, we got about 5 feet off the ground and something malfunctioned, so we had to make a quick landing. As we were going to try takeoff again, a woman had a panic attack and demanded to be taken back to the gate. Once again we had to turn around. When we took her back she realized that she had checked bags on the plane and she didn’t want them flying without her. We had to have them open the cargo hold and look through all the bags to find hers. By this time we had been there so long that we didn’t have enough gas to make the trip to Dulles. We then had to refuel for the second time. Finally we took off, but many people missed their planes because unlike me they didn’t have a seven hour layover waiting for them in Dulles.

Once I arrived I found out that the gate that held my flight to Munich for later that night was at the literal other end of the terminal. For those of you that have never been to the Dulles airport each terminal is huge. Walking from one end to the other will take you 20 minutes. It will take you more if you have 2 heavy bags and a five pound blazer on. On the ceiling, in the international terminal of this airport are the flags to the world and I thought it was a tad peculiar that right outside the gate my flight would fly out of was the Turkish flag. My flight to Munich was also delayed, but nowhere near as long as the first flight. Other than that, the flight to Munich was pretty uneventful. My next flight was to Izmir and it was also delayed due to weather problems in our flight path. We waited for an hour and finally they planned a new flight pattern that went around the rain and through Croatia. I have also failed to mention that I can’t sleep on planes so by the end of my flights I had been awake for around thirty hours.

Finally I made it to Izmir! I used euros for the first time to rent a cart to use to carry my plethora of bags. I waited at baggage claim for quite a long time and all the other bags came out of the carousel before mine. I am not exaggerating. My two bags were the last ones out of baggage claim. The entire time I had been in the Turkish airport I had been stared at; I have never felt more visible in my life! Ever since I arrived in this country I have felt eyes on me all the time. After my bags came, I walked out and so many people were waiting for me I couldn’t even spot my host family! The group of people had signs and flowers and balloons, they had even made shirts to wear that said “Welcome Julianne”! We took a bunch of pictures and then got Turkish tea at the airport. Just the idea of drinking Turkish tea in 90 degree weather makes me start to sweat, but I’m sure I will get used to it soon enough!

We then went home and had a huge traditional Turkish meal. The dinner was amazing! I still have to get used to the idea of eating things immersed in lukewarm yogurt, but other than that I loved it! During dinner I learned that my host mom has her own home furnishing business, that my host dad is the most famous doctor in all of Turkey (the Turkish equivalent to Dr. Oz apparently), and that they have a summer home in Cesme. My school is right near where they work and so I can come visit them when I want!

The Turkish people are so nice! Every single one of them wants to get to know you and be friends! We exchanged gifts and they gave me a furry panda diary from Claire’s. After I showered and came back to say goodnight, they gave me Turkish coffee and baklava for the first time. It turns out Turkish coffee is like 5 times as strong as an espresso, but is thick and almost muddy. After trying it and having both my socks knocked off from the sheer amount of caffeine, I was told I would have to finish the entire cup to have my fortune read by my host mom. I then went back to my room and started to unpack around midnight. Eventually I collapsed into my bed and fell asleep around 1 am. Hopefully I will avoid jet lag!