Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Turkey Trip 1: The 'Noble Task' - AIESEC Kocaeli Break Up the Barrier Project

Disclaimer: I do not intend to offend any party mentioned in this post, I just want to give clear description about the exchange experience, including the not-so-sweet-and-rainbows moments.

Well, IT WAS ONE OF THE BEST TIMES IN MY LIFE. full period. no joke.

The journey began as soon as I finished my last exam, I spent one night in the Big Durian and woosh the next day I already arrived in Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul. My first 6 hours ever in Istanbul wasn't as pleasing because I was just sitting in the airport's Starbucks, but the moment I realized, I was already back in the airport and waiting for my flight to go back. Six weeks flew like a jet, it was like a dream. Like Haha's daughter name if you know what I mean lol!

My very first girl, her name is Firdez
First lesson preparation

So when leaving Jakarta for Turkey, I carried a noble task to teach English to the disabled kids (Break Up the Barrier project) in a smaller city called Izmit (also known as Kocaeli) which is 2 hours away from Istanbul by bus. Trust me I did my research, I went on past exchange participant's blogs  (EP-this is what they call us, you know, one of the AIESEC jargon bunch) which was surprising because most are from Indonesia. You can tell the turks love us, we are nice, friendly, lovely and obviously contribute a lot to their economy ;p so after the tedious research in between studying for my exams, I finally get the grip: just don't expect too much. AIESEC basically is a student-run organization, they are just trying their best. So I flew with no expectation, not knowing someone from the very AIESEC would asked for more money than what I meant to pay at the airport :p so much for an expectation?

But don't get me wrong, the 6 weeks was awesomely amazingly fantastic. The noble task though, was nothing as it sounds, I got to work 3 days a week for 3 hours. Some complained, some didn't care. Me? I was SO HAPPY. I got the gold chance to finally travel Turkey--which was my real 'noble' intention. Well, I've travelled to few countries before and never ever in my life I came up with 'prepared traveler' ideas like buying a Lonely Planet. Turkey really is a special destination because I've been yearning to go there for years. At that time, I was having a love-hate relationship with the LC Kocaeli, couldn't thank them enough and also annoyed to roots at most times lool sowwy smoochies :* (LC-local committee, yeah, AIESEC jargons blah).

Omar (Egypt), Gabby (Indonesia), and Anna (Czech Republic)

Anyways, I got to teach English to not-so-disabled kids. No. 2 reason why the journey wasn't as noble as it sounds. I didn't complain though, it is already not easy to teach English to most Turkish kids because they love their language soo much. Most of the kids were not disabled, they just had minor psychological disorder or tendency. I love the younger bunch, they were around 4-8 years and would actually listen to you, while the teenager ones hahaha you know how teenagers got complicated yarns of thoughts in their head right? Sometimes they'd sit nicely with you, but most times they'd just give their back when they saw you. Universal puberty hormonal twists, couldn't understand more. We mainly just played around with the kids, they were fond of volleyballs, and teach numbers or colors when they had the mood to do so.

Towards the end, I realized that the rehabilitation center (slash school) I frequently visited was the worst of all because of the some of the worker's treatment to the EPs and kids. Not really physically, they'd smile and laugh while telling our Turkish committee that they hated us, didn't like us to be around, and even said random stuff like 'you're ugly' and told my friend that she's pretty in English. At first, I was like what? this people urgently needed treatment too! So, in the very last week of work I asked for a different rehab center and they arranged me to go to the better ones. After comparing with the new ones, I finally understand why the workers in my old rehab acted like that. It was actually a smaller rehab center located in the city's outskirts. Life's bit more bitter around there maybe? :p

My most favourite girl ever! Her mom even asked me to be her abla (sister) :p
Making craft from flour and glue
Despite the flinches here and there, in general it was such an experience! I'm thankful for everyone who took part in my so-called noble journey to Izmit :)


Okay, I don't want to write a looooong post, I'll split them into different ones instead :D sorry I was away for sooo long. Last semester is really no joke, been drowning myself behind the stacks of weekly assignments and will stay like that until end of October. Btw, Turkey is the last part of my Project Tatooine :) who knew only 6 months after I decided to live a better and happier life, things were just falling into places perfectly. One thing I (re)learned from the past 6 months is you have full control of your life. Happiness is indeed a mere state of mind!

Soo, have a good day people!


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