We board our plane that will take us back to the States in two days. We all agree that after 13 days of touring through the cities and the countryside of Turkey, we are looking forward to arriving home—sleeping in our own beds, eating salad (fresh green vegetables have not been a regular part of our diet here), and seeing our friends and family.
That’s not to say that this experience has been unpleasant; in fact, it has been one of the highlights of my life. This trip was my first out of the country, and it turned out to be more eye-opening and awe-inspiring than I could have imagined. Experiencing all the history in this country, from the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul to the underground city in Cappadocia, was truly amazing. I appreciated learning about these sites and the people that used them more than I ever did from reading my world history textbook.
Aside from the historical sites we visited, the beauty of the countryside was incredible. Trekking through valleys in Anatolia with Latif, climbing around the fairy chimneys, driving by fields of vineyards, sunflowers, and olive trees, swimming in the Aegean Sea . . . the list goes on. All of it has left me in awe.
I have also really appreciated the local customs that we’ve experienced. Horseback riding with the locals through the valleys in Cappadocia, planting trees in the battlefield of Gallipoli, picnicking in Mustafa’s (our driver) farmland, picking apricots, and having a traditional Turkish bath. We have all learned a little more about this culture than we had, and (at least I have) grown to love it. The things I have learned and seen on this trip I will not easily forget.
--By Cheyenne Wallace (2013)