Sunday, April 12, 2015

Orientation Trip to Izmir

           Now that the jet lag has worn off and we've had a week to figure out what we experienced, I figured it would be a good time to update you on our little vacay to Turkey! We went for an orientation trip over spring break to do some house hunting and scope the place out.  Words cannot explain how thankful I am we got to do that. 

           We had three major goals we wanted to accomplish while there.  We wanted to figure out housing, look at what kind of cars people drive and Mike wanted to talk to schools. I think you could say we were successful, but really, nothing was solidified, so we're really still at square one.  If there's one thing I think is going to be important throughout this whole process is being laid back and just kind of going with the flow.

           Mike met with a few people at the school he wants to attend.  The first day was a little disappointing because they wouldn't even talk to him since the application process doesn't start until the summer.  Luckily, the second day he went, he was able to meet with some people who were able to provide insight into how the application process works and the requirements and timelines that he would need to meet.  Schools...check?

           One afternoon we went to the "air force base" (aka floor of a hotel with 35 employees) to talk to them about housing because there were rumors that they could help us.  After roaming around the hotel for a half an hour trying to find the 6th floor, we managed to make our way through security and find this "base."  Once we got there, the people were really organized and helpful.  They showed us the available listings and explained how they could help us.  They basically work with landlords to organize the lease, so we don't have to do that.  THANK YOU! That was my biggest fear was getting scammed in a lease because we don't speak good enough Turkish.  It was too early to sign a lease, but we were able to get a feel for what we would be able to afford.  Housing...check?

          The last thing that we were really looking at was the cars that people were driving.  We have an SUV now, but gas is so expensive and the roads are so narrow, we knew that wouldn't be coming with us.  So, as we were roaming around the city, we were scoping out what type of cars people were driving.  After this week, it looks like we're destined to be drivers of a small, compact hatchback car.  Everything we've read says that cars get pretty beat up over there, so bringing a nice, expensive car is not practical.  So, we'll be selling our car and buying a "beater" before going.  Car...check?

           I'm not sure how successful we were at checking things off of our list, but we did as much as we could.  We also got to do a little sight seeing here and there and, let me tell you, this place is gorgeous.  I always pictured myself going on vacation to Turkey, but I definitely would not have believed you if you had told me  I would live there for two years. Therefore, there were (and still are!) a lot of reservations I had when I found out we were moving. This trip helped answer a lot of questions we had, as well as a lot we didn't even knew we had.