How I Spent My Winter Break

100_04761.jpgIn tribute to the good old “How I spent my summer break”, here’s the TEFL Logue’s winter version.

As my readers may know: I went to Turkey! I am a big fan of traveling, and even more so traveling without detailed plans or a large budget. So, I made reservations in Istanbul for the first and last portions of my trip (I may like flying by the seat of my pants but I’m not going to leave a New Year’s Eve reservation up to chance!) and decided to wing it in between.

I was impressed and touched by the hospitality and kindness I was treated to in Turkey. I get lost like it’s my favorite hobby, and when I asked someone for help, perhaps 90% of the time the person would accompany me to where I wanted to go, sometimes asking other people along the way if they weren’t sure. People almost never played the “I don’t speak English” card (and this is especially impressive to me because, well, even I play this card from time to time); it didn’t matter if we didn’t share a language – people went out of their way to help. Passerby stopped what they were doing to help me find my way; salespeople offered advice when it was clear I wanted nothing but directions.

And of course: Turkish food. I consider myself a “recovering vegetarian” –

meaning I now occasionally eat meat after a year-and-a-half long hiatus, and thank goodness for this because there is a lot on offer in Turkey. I have to confess though that topping my list was borek (burek/pita in Bosnian), ideally with potatoes, as this was one of my favorite foods in Sarajevo. I also had the opportunity to compare Turkish kaymak with Bosnian kajmak. Hm. My verdict is that Turkey makes an admirable effort to duplicate some of these amazing Bosnian foods, but there’s no substitute for the real deal. 😉

Be on the lookout for a more detailed description of one of my more unusual travel tasks: checking out animal welfare organizations abroad – not really connected to EFL but most certainly facilitated by working abroad.