Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Turkish Doctors, Take 2

You of the faithful few that read this blog will remember the absolute craziness of the last time I was at the doctors when they tried to give me a topical cream for an internal injury... *sigh* So for the past 2 weeks I've been battling a cold/sinus infection/chest infection/whatever else phlegm-based that could be going on in my body. Today, I finally admitted that I had lost the battle and trudged down to the campus health clinic wondering what could be the diagnosis or how on earth they would decide to treat me... After much fawning over the fabulous purse that Raymond gave me a couple of years ago, they sent me off to see a doctor. His English was great, he asked the right questions, gave the lungs a listen and then proposed some antibiotics to fight the infections and a sinus cold medicine for some more immediate relief. He also took one look at me and said that if I wanted he could write a doctor's note that would excuse me from the next 2 days of school! WOW!! So different from the last experience! YAH!!! Just goes to show... consistency is so not the name of the game in Turkey! ;)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Soho in London... the land of dead Barbies and fun times

Yup, you read right... the land of dead Barbies and fun times. When I was in London, I was able to have most of my evenings free. This was great because I got to spend some time with family, so good to see Donna and Mike. I also got to hang out with one of my great friends who is a little CRAZY!! He decided that I needed to see the famous Soho of London and off we went for dinner and a couple of drinks. The streets were full of people getting ready to go to dinners, shows and parties. It was alive with energy and life. I loved it. First we went to a great restaurant that I can't remember the name of. After that we headed off to one small pub and then another. The last place was the one that caught my eye. We walked up to the door that was guarded by a very dapper and gorgeous man dressed in a black suit. I was nervous that the place was too posh for me, until I went downstairs that is. Downstairs was dark, the music was bumping and the ceiling was covered with dead Barbies and Troll dolls. You'd think this would be uber disturbing, but on the contrary, it was just plain funny. So, thanks, Taljit, for showing me the land of dead Barbies and fun times. Miss you much, my friend!
The wild and crazy streets of Soho

Yup... dead Barbies lining the ceiling... I took this leaning backwards and upside down... super fun!!

Me and Taljit...

Traveling with Teenage Boys

It's not the first time and I am sure it won't be the last, but traveling with students presents a special challenge. It's a challenge to get them to meet you at 3:30 am so you can make your early flight. It's a challenge to get them to remember that their passports need to be in their carry-on bags and not left in the seat pocket of the plane you just exited. It's a challenge to get them to stop asking you ridiculous questions. It's a challenge to convince them to sleep on the late night return flight. It's a challenge to get them to walk from one place to the next without complaints. And it's a challenge not to adore them all by the end of the trip!

What's this all about, you ask? Well, a couple of weeks ago I traveled with my boys volleyball team from Ankara to London to participate in a volleyball tournament. It was the first tournament for this team and they ranged in age from 14 to 17. They were nervous and a little scared to be in a big gym with some very established teams, but they sucked it up, went in there and did their best. We didn't win a lot of games but we pushed some of the best teams to perform better and we made a lot of friends along the way. And, they stole my heart. Everyone of those boys did me proud with their play and their teamwork and with the way that they found love for a sport that many started to play just to travel to the tournament.

Here are some pics of our trip and my boys:

Playing their new "brothers" at the German School of London.

Getting ready to let the world know that we are BLIS! A timeout...

Warming up for a game.

Monday, November 14, 2011

How The Mighty Have Fallen

Not too long ago, I rated my favourite and least favourite airports. Some are ridiculous with the security measures they take (but, hey, at least you have some sense of security, right?), others had nothing to offer outside of the plane right and a nasty bench to wait on. At the top of my least favourite list was London Heathrow. It always seemed disorganized and like a zoo when I had been there. That is until last summer when I sailed through transfers there like never before and the shopping etc had risen to the level of amazing. I cautiously moved it from my least favourite list, but it's BACK! I was traveling with students and tried to do a group check in. The grounds staff seemed a little confused at first but got on board and had a supervisor usher is forward to someone who would "help" us. I guess the forgot to tell her that as she proceeded to tell me that ONE at a TIME was all she was doing. Okay... that's fine. Then she was rude and grumpy with the students when they were fairly polite to her. However, others stepped in and got our kids processed VERY quickly and efficiently and even managed to organize it so that we were sitting together. We breezed through security (these kids are pretty seasoned travelers themselves so it was easy) and split up to spend our 2 hours of free time shopping etc. Sounds fine, right? Well, typical to Heathrow, our gate wasn't listed on our boarding cards. We told the kids to continually check the boards and to give themselves plenty of time to get to the gate. The gate was listed to close at 2:55pm. At said time, the boards still listed our flight as please wait. Also not unusual but we asked an attendant and he informed us we'd be boarding at gate 21. So off we went, hoping it wouldn't change (which it didn't, so that was great). Once we FINALLY boarded the plane (well after our departure time) we found out that the reason for the delay was that Heathrow wasn't fully staffed that day for some reason and couldn't accommodate the volume of traffic (uh... people, millions go through this airport on the regular and have done so for AGES... you'd think you'd know that you need a butt-load of people to make it work). Fail, Heathrow... not epic, but enough to shift you back to the yucky list! ;)