I received an email two months ago with a clear message:
Congrats! You have been accepted in an EVS, in the project ‘Let’s meet in Mediterranean’ in Antalya, Turkey.
“Antalya?”, I thought, “It sounds like a theme park”. But I felt fine, I really wanted to come to Turkey, and I was sure that the experience was going to be wonderful. Of course, my mother didn’t think the same.
I was preparing my luggage one month ago, thinking about what important things I would need in this experience. “Maybe, you can bring some food from Spain. In 6 months you really miss it”, said to me my friend who is living in India and need too much food from Spain every day. “For sure, there is no pork in Turkey, so I will really miss ham. Maybe I can put some pieces in my valise, and I can add some cheese, but is that the most important thing that I have to bring?”. My friend was saying to me other things: a shampoo brand that you really like and it’s impossible to find abroad, some books and films for when you feel bored, some headscarf for entering to the mosques… Actually, I didn’t know many things about how was the lifestyle in Antalya, so I wasn’t sure about how I had to dress, which kind of food I was going to eat, or if the city was safe or not. All of these first prejudices disappeared the night that I arrived to Antalya. Just a few women wore headscarf, the bars were opened very late without any problems and my first dinner was different, but not bad. The center of the city was awesome, like Malaga or Valencia in Spain. There were many different restaurants, concerts, festivals and in a few days I will enjoy swimming in the beach.
“This is not the Turkey that I had in my mind before coming” I told to my mentor. “It’s not, this is Antalya”, she answered.
But I was sure that I could benefit to many things from my luggage. Ok, this shampoo is also in Antalya, I have not enough time for all these films, and the mosques have headscarf availables for the guests. “Mum, don’t trust in media who are talking about Turkey, trust me, this is not Turkey, or maybe it’s the real Turkey, and we didn’t know it”, I said to my mum the first week.
After one month in Antalya, I’m sure that the things I brought in my valise are not extremely necessaries. Of course, I can eat some ham in my bad days, or I can watch a film when I have hangover on Sunday. But there is just one thing that you need before coming to Antalya: PATIENCE. Because this is Antalya, but it’s still Turkey.