YESSSSS! HALLELUJAH! Finally, it happened!
If you are a volunteer probably one of the things you are going to be more excited about is the famous ‘On Arrival Training’. The girls and me, we were waiting and waiting for this week to come true. Turkish National Agency has been having issues to organize this kind of training during the last year, but at the end, there we were! Flying to Ankara (although I have to say probably it was the last place in Turkey I would have liked the training to take place). I have never been a ‘fan’ of this city, plus all the bad comments I heard in my wonderful Izmir about Ankara, and other personal issues that I will explain at the end of this post because it deserves to be read.
How did we get to Ankara? It was kindda chaotic situation once we arrived. Firstly, we flew in a Turkish Airlines flight operated by Anadolujet (ergo we were not expecting any luxury, but they gave us a snack, tea and water so… more than happy!). I definitely love Turkish aviation!
Then we took a coach from the airport to the bus station. It was very funny because we were talking with the drivers 3 words in Turkish, 3 words in English. But we finally understood each other 🙂
And here it comes the adventure… we needed to take a local little shuttle to get us TO WHATEVER POINT OF THE WORLD with anyone speaking English and our luggage moving and falling to the floor of this particular and ‘cozy’ transport. Then, Valentina decided to grab the arm of a gentlemen in a very intense way (I would have been scared if it was me) who may seemed to speak English but NO, of course, NO. Anyway he was very kind and at the end some other passengers tried to explain to us too IN TURKISH and they asked to the driver to stop for us. Because, OF COURSE, you need to shout to the driver where you want to get off, there is no ‘button’. We found ourselves in the middle of the road and we saw a taxi so we started shaking our hands. The taxi approached to us and the driver told us he would come in a few minutes. So we trusted him and we waited. Luckily, he showed up. And we arrived to the wonderful hotel!!!! Just a 100%. Location (next to a lake), facilities, food (I HAVE NEVER EATEN FOR FREE THAT MUCH AND THAT GOOD SINCE I AM NOT IN SPAIN!!!) Mamita hermosa, I miss you 🙁
Who knows me good is aware of kola as a way of living for me. They even offered us soft drinks FOR FREE. It was just the cherry on top.
Unfortunately, I have been ill since the beginning of November and I couldn’t enjoy up to the maximum. At this point, I would like to thank all the staff of ‘Ve Hotels Gölbaşı’ for taking care of me. Specially the girl at reception, the choffeur and Mister Ismaıl, director of Marketing for taking me to the hospital. It was a funny ride! As well as Mister Emirhan Aslan, from the National Agency and my beloved trainer, Miss Serap Bilal. If I continue like that I would visit the hospitals of the whole country! Hopefully not… İNŞALLAH!
Training was super helpful. All the participants were very nice and I could learn a lot from their experiences in different projects. We are even planning to expend New Year’s Eve together 🙂
I realized how lucky I am about having very clear from long time ago where exactly I wanted my EVS to take place. Some of my colleagues didn’t even check on the map the location of their future town before moving to Turkey (actually quite interesting if you really want to experience such an adventure). I admire them for living in cities located in the East of the country. For those who have been born in cities near the sea side it’s not easy to survive without feeling the salty wind in your soul. Without finding an ‘end’ to all those lands. Bloody hell, there must be an end! And this end has no other way than water full of waves. The landscape of Ankara just made me sad. Where was the water? Huge chance I had that the hotel was next to a lake! It reminds me of my days in Croydon where there was absolutely no way of escaping from the dryness.
In Ankara, we visited the tomb of Atatürk and the huge monument built in his honor as well as some museums. At the end of the day, we enjoyed a very ‘silent’ dinner (girls at my table will know what I mean) but I had the best company to make it louder. Oh! We also happened to see the Turkish National Agency building and spend some time there chatting with some of the “big bosses”.
I learnt that Atatürk decided to move the capital from Istanbul to Ankara during the war cause this last location was safer. Ankara is not surrounded by any sea so it was harder to access and therefore conquered by the enemies.
Special thanks to Serap Bilal once again for being more than a trainer and for talking us in a very open way with no “taboo”.
Ankara adventure came to an end and somehow it was a relief.
Mehmet, I wish you could read my words from the sky. Ankara was the place where Mehmet was killed together with more people from his town. Mehmet was from Malatya, an eastern city of Turkey. He had never visited any other place before, never traveled, never discovered what his own country had to offer him. He was always amazed about my life. He also wanted to be free and enjoy. Somehow we lost contact and after a few months, when I was living in France I remembered his birthday so I texted him. But Mehmet never replied. I started investigating and I found his face between the victims of that terrible attack in Ankara Train Station in October 2015. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Since then, Ankara is hurting inside me. Turkey continues its course although all the pain of bombing attacks. We can’t amend the past. We just need to learn how to cope with it.
I wanted to make you visible, dear Mehmet. Because you deserve it. For you and for all the rest of innocent people who lost their lives on that attack. For your family and friends who answered the messages of this foreigner girl. We don’t forget you.
“Yurtta sulh, cihanda sulh”.
“Peace at home, peace in the world”.