Turkey Diaries: Part IX (Going Home)

This is the ninth and final installment of the Turkey Diaries. It’s now only a few hours until my plane should lift off from Turkish ground. I’ve been really happy with my stay but am damn glad to be going home already. It of course would’ve been nice to be home for actual Christmas but the final exam for my course on Culture and the Environment only took place yesterday, December 26th, and since the condition for getting an Erasmus grant is that you have to spend a minimum of three months in your destination, I couldn’t quite be back in time as I only got here on September 26th. Well, I’m glad that I’ll only miss Christmas by a few days, and everyone home is still in Christmas mode when I come home, and I’ll still get to enjoy my share of Christmas delicacies.

It’s been kinda funny to spend Christmas in a country that doesn’t celebrate it at all. Of course I knew that, coming to a Muslim country, Christmas wouldn’t be a big deal. After all, we don’t celebrate the birth of baby Muhammad in the “Christian” countries, do we? Still, Turkey being at least partly a “Western” country and modern Christmas being mostly a consumerist feast   anyway I was expecting there to be even a little bit of Christmas hoopla but pretty much the only thing I’ve seen or heard is an occasional plastic Christmas tree, and Christmas music being played at Starbucks.

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Early morning at Hacettepe Uni.

Anyway, onto some thoughts of this whole Turkish experience: like I said in the previous post, I managed to surprise myself positively and received good grades at my course so far. However, the bulk of the course grade will be determined by the scores of the final exam and term paper so I’m not sure yet what my grade will be. In the term paper, I focused on gender issues but in the final exam I wrote four pages on whether ecocriticism can “really” have a positive effect in “real life.” Surely it must have. Otherwise, what would even be the point of wasting those two slides of (recycled) paper writing about it? If I wouldn’t believe in studying the environment possibly having at least some kind of positive effect, how would I justify telling my son that yes, daddy really is trying to do some good in this world?

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Again, a fascinating pic of my desk during the exam.

Well be that as it may, it’s not hugely important anyway what grade I get as it’s pretty unlikely that it would be very interesting to anyone but myself. However, getting a good grade would mean that I myself know that I’ve done well and could continue confidently in my chosen field of ecocriticism. And, it’s not so important what grade my term paper gets but whether it has potential after further editing to be offered for publication. Anyway, I will tell the results when I know them myself. For now, though:

Yeah OK so it’s not “summer,” school’s only “out” for a week, and it would be really bad news if it had “been blown to pieces” but you get my drift.

(Edit 29 January 2017: I got A1, i.e. the best grade possible. Sweet!)

Anyway, besides “just” the course and everything that I’ve learned on it, I also think that the whole experience has been very useful. I’ve gotten to know more people in my field, from other graduate students to the teacher of the course, and feel more and more like this ecocriticism/environmental humanities field is my real academic home.

During my time here I also did more interviews for my thesis and also managed to make good progress on the summary part of my thesis. It’s amazing how much work you can get done when you really have no life so to speak. Back home there is always so much to do that I rarely get to work as much as I did here.

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The department of Literature at Hacettepe Uni.

Anyway, besides all the work-related stuff, I also enjoyed the experience as a whole. Turkey is a country with an amazing history, a troubled but definitely interesting present, and a future that could go either into some really dark directions or, if common sense prevails, into a more positive direction. Time will tell. What I do know, however, is that I definitely want to come back. There are so many places that I haven’t seen yet, as well as some places (like  the Antalya area) that I definitely want to visit again. I just hope that the political situation doesn’t deteriorate even further. That would be a bummer for me but most importantly, it would of course be bad for all the wonderful people I’ve met during my trip. Here’s hoping that things will turn out OK, and looking forward to maybe writing another set of Turkey Diaries some time in the future. Inshallah!

Thanks for all the readers for virtually hanging out with me during the trip, and happy holidays all around, regardless of whether you believe in Jesus, Muhammad, Gaia, Zeus, Cybele, or nothing at all. Teşekkürler!

P.S. Ha, rereading this post before hitting the “publish” button I realized that it was maybe a bit more emotional than usual? Well, although I do go through the trouble of once reading through what I’m about to post, I’m actually not big on editing this blog to death, so let’s just leave it as it is. I blame the fact that I’m finally going home to see my family for the emotionality. Normally I’m like any other man. No emotions. Just masculine performance.

Featured image (not visible in mobile theme) credit: mirror.co.uk

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