The month of November showed me a new side of Izmir weather. Rainy, cold, windy. But as much as it surprised me it still is nothing compared to what the weather is like in France right now. Life here in Izmir is continuing its course. I have my own routine here now, the bakeries that I always go to, the hairdresser who I chit chat with every morning or should I say babble with (the only words of Turkish I know of haha).
I joined the workshop bandwagon whilst still going to the office and I really enjoy the new rhythm it gives me.
We celebrated some of the volunteer’s birthdays together, said our goodbye to our short terms and welcomed new people in. It was a really weird feeling to see friends go and I realized how quickly one can get attached to people they met only one or two months prior. Without the blink of an eye, you don’t remember how life was before them.
During this time, I had the pleasure to go on a trip to Istanbul for a few days. The decision was very last minute (as was the planning lol) but it turned out nicely. After making some rookie mistake in the planning process (like booking bus tickets for the wrong day… yes, I did that) and with the help of my favourite experienced travellers (aka flat 3!) me and my friends arrived in Istanbul after roughly six hours in a bus.
We rented a flat in the Eminönü neighbourhood and stayed for three days. Istanbul is a very beautiful city and three days were definitely not enough to explore all the places I wanted but still, I saw really nice spots. Some discovered by accident and other more popular places like Hagia Sofia, the Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet, Gülhane Park, souvenir shops: you name it. The flat we rented was adjacent to the famous spice and the grand Bazaar, so we went there on multiple occasions. I also looked at the Galata tower by night, visited some beautiful mosques whenever I had the opportunity and discovered nice parks to take breaks from our hectic adventures.
Another trip that marked me was the second training provided by the Turkish national agency. For this I got to travel to the eastern part of the country and discover Rize. The training united ESC volunteers from different places in Turkey. All together we did fun activities and discussed about our projects. I learned information about other opportunities I could join after this experience. In my free time I even got to explore a bit of Rize. After our activities we would rush into a taxi and walk around the city to see nice spots. The most breath-taking one being the black sea. We discovered a cool spot next to the hotel and went to it in order to get a closer look and it was stunning.
This also marked the last month of 2023 and of course end of the year celebrations! The French cultural Institute organized a cute Christmas market over the course of three days. I stopped by and at the same time got myself a library card in order to borrow some books. Melika and Laurine (our two other volunteers) also planned a Christmas market for Pi Youth Association. It was a really nice event that gathered volunteers, the office team and the Pixel team. We had amazing food and a great time all together.
And because we can’t get enough of Christmas, we also had our own personal Christmas gathering with a few friends where we ate and had the best time together with the volunteers who hadn’t left for their country. Just like that the year was ending. It is hard to grasp that we are already entering 2024 and that I’m now further along my journey in this ESC. But I’m excited to see what’s next!