And the total is...

Friday, August 14, 2015

...just under one hundred pounds! Sans the dog, of course, though I wish I could bring him too!

It's weird to think that I'll finally be on my way to Istanbul tomorrow morning. Even since I submitted my application in February it's been an uphill battle to make sure it actually happens. When my family went to file our taxes and my FAFSA in March, we discovered that someone had filed a fraudulent tax return in our name.This led to my family becoming very friendly with the IRS and a delay in receiving my financial aid package from Sewanee. The second it looked like we were making progress, something else happened; one step forward and two steps back.

Until three weeks ago I felt like I was in a perpetual state of whiplash. A form would be approved and I would get excited and start mentally preparing to go abroad, and then the IRS would need another form, or the processing would take another two months, and it looked like I would be stuck stateside. Not to mention that by the time August was about to roll around I hadn't even received my acceptance from Bogazici, which had its own set of problems!

At long last the IRS was able to process our tax return and Sewanee sent me my financial aid package. Three weeks ago I was (finally) informed that I had been accepted into Bogazici's history department! I was ecstatic that things were going to work out, but was simultaneously overwhelmed. Many of my friends who are also going abroad had their stuff figured out before the semester ended, and thus had several months to prepare for the adventure. I had three weeks.

And boy have those three weeks gone by quickly. I was able to spend a little under a week in Savannah, Georgia for a much-needed vacation, but when I got back to Texas almost every day was spent preparing for my departure. We booked my flight, bought new luggage, an adapter, and several other things that are stuffed in the depths of my suitcase. I've spent the couple of days enjoying Texas, which entailed a trip to my favorite stores, eateries, and museums.

I leave tomorrow at seven in the morning, and I still can't quite wrap my head around it. For so long it seemed like I wouldn't be able to fulfill my dream of studying abroad, but in 32 hours I'll be in Istanbul. I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunity, for the people who supported me when it didn't look like it would work out, and for my family who did everything they could to make my dream a reality. I can't wait to experience a culture that's so completely different from what I'm used to, and to gain a more empathetic understanding of a society that's so often demonized in the United States. As I write this blog, my goal is to provide a thoughtful and insightful account encompassing not only my studies, but my journey to obtain a more nuanced understanding of Turkish culture and Middle Eastern society, and to encourage understanding and acceptance of a culture foreign to our own.

Here's to enjoying my last night of Say Yes to the Dress and the beginning of a new adventure!

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