Time to exit

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This is Sirinevler, the neighborhood where I live. It is always busy, which is good and bad. It can be difficult to sleep sometimes because of the noise, but it is always well lit and people around, so it feels safe. Of course, avoid the square (meydan) when there is a demonstration, which is often.
This is Sirinevler, the neighborhood where I live. It is always busy, which is good and bad. It can be difficult to sleep sometimes because of the noise, but it is always well lit and people around, so it feels safe. Of course, avoid the square (meydan) when there is a demonstration, which is often.

12/3/2015
Today marks the two month mark for my contract completion. I’m ready to move on, too. The school continues to be a disappointment. Last week I was promised a new class: Level 4 evenings. Naturally, when the schedule came out, late on Saturday afternoon, I had a Level 2 morning class and a Level 3 evening class. So, once again, the time I spent preparing was a waste (that I am not paid for) and the late schedule meant I had no time to properly prepare for the Monday morning class (I had 17 teaching hours plus prep time this weekend). Just to add insult to injury, my new classes don’t have books and the office refuses to copy more than 10 pages. I’m supposed to cover the book, without a book. You can imagine my opinion of the school. (This isn’t a charity operation. This is a privately run school where the students pay a lot of money to attend classes. Most of my students are college-aged, have never worked a day in their lives and come from families who are financially well off.)

And did I mention I’m still owed 40TL for October?

It’s clearly time to get out of Turkey, too. There are US travel alerts, not just for Turkey, but worldwide. Saturday two pipe bombs exploded near separate Jewish synagogues in Istanbul, killing 23 and wounding hundreds (though most of the dead were not Jewish, they were Muslims just walking by). Tuesday, 5 were injured when another pipe bomb went off near the Bayrampasa metro station during evening rush hour. These may or may not be in response to the Russian plane shot down by Turkey near the Syrian border last week. It’s terrorism, folks, and it’s working. I’m officially afraid.

Oh, and not one of my two classes of students claimed to know about any of these events.

Yeah, I’m leaving. And not a moment too soon.

But as a reminder, nowhere is safe. Yesterday in San Bernardina, California, 14 people were shot down as they attended a holiday banquet for the developmentally disabled. I understand that was domestic terrorism. It doesn’t make me feel any better to know that.

Don’t misunderstand me. I am happy to have come to Turkey. Istanbul is an amazing city with great people, unbelievable history, yummy food and so much to learn, see and do. I am humbled to have had this opportunity. The world can be a wonderful place and I’m one of the luckiest people on the planet. I’m happy to be here, but it isn’t all good and it isn’t completely safe.

Sirinevler. I live in this neighborhood because I can walk to the school and it's fairly inexpensive. This allows me to save money on the metro. In light of the recent pipe bombing on the metro, it also helps me feel safer. As with most areas of Istanbul, we have a short term power outage once a month or so. Usually, it's only one hour. Occasionally it is as much at 8. Most businesses have generators, so they can stay open seamlessly. The school does not, so classes are canceled if a power outage goes more than an hour, as it did last week on Thanksgiving.
Sirinevler. I live in this neighborhood because I can walk to the school and it’s fairly inexpensive. This allows me to save money on the metro. In light of the recent pipe bombing on the metro, it also helps me feel safer. As with most areas of Istanbul, we have a short term power outage once a month or so. Usually, it’s only one hour. Occasionally it is as much at 8. Most businesses have generators, so they can stay open seamlessly. The school does not, so classes are canceled if a power outage goes more than an hour, as it did last week on Thanksgiving.

11/28/2015
Notice for U.S. Citizens: Demonstrations Today in Taksim, Galatasaray, and Kadikoy
Demonstrations in response to the killing of the head of the Diyarbakir Bar Association are expected to begin this afternoon and last throughout the evening in Taksim, Galatasaray and Kadikoy in Istanbul. The U.S. Consulate General encourages U.S. citizens to exercise caution and to avoid the area if possible.
The U.S. Consulate General reminds U.S. citizens that demonstrations and large events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational. We advise to avoid the area of large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations and to exercise caution if you are in the vicinity.

We strongly encourage U.S. citizens to maintain a high level of vigilance, be aware of local events, and take the appropriate steps to bolster your personal security.

The pomegranates are in season now. Messy to eat, but oh so sweet. I am enjoying them.
The pomegranates are in season now. Messy to eat, but oh so sweet. I am enjoying them, and often wearing them.
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Beth

I'm a professional vagabond. I quit my cubical job in January 2014. Since then, I've hiked the Appalachian Trail, The Camino, and taught English in Vietnam, Turkey, Russia, Spain and Mexico. I'm exploring the world.

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