Archive | March, 2013

portland(ia)

19 Mar

Two Fridays ago, I woke up, tried to take a shower but found that the hot water was out, went to class/work dirty, came home and took a shower, threw my packed duffel bag into my car, drove four hours from Waco straight to the Shreveport airport, got on a plane to Dallas, then waited a few tense hours for the moment of truth… The flight I was waiting for had an empty seat, which meant that I was going to Portland!

The purpose of my crazy Friday travels: a spring break journey to be reunited with two of my best friends from Istanbul, fellow exchange students who attend Portland State University. Over the next few days, I saw a lot more of Portland than I thought was possible in the time frame I was working with. Some of my favorite things in the city included the Saturday market (hundreds of vendors selling art, food, and hundreds of other things), Voodoo Donuts (where you can order weird desserts like the Bacon Maple Bar), Powell’s (a magical bookstore that takes up an entire city block), and a sushi restaurant where you can take whatever you want from a conveyer belt that runs from table to table.

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Downtown Portland from a bridge

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Some Voodoo Donuts (the bacon maple bar had already been eaten at this point)

Also, one day my friend Kyle’s mom, Kyle’s sister, Kyle’s friend, and I went on a road trip (without Kyle, who was studying for finals) to see some cool nature things. We saw the Columbia River Gorge, several waterfalls, Hood River (the most popular windsurfing destination in the US), and Mount Hood. On Mount Hood (my first time on a snow-covered mountain), we made a pit stop at the Timberline Lodge, which is the outside of the hotel filmed in ‘The Shining’. Seeing all that made me realize why people from Oregon like nature so much. I’d love to go back when it’s less cold and wet and hike around in all that nature.

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The Gorge on a cold, overcast day

 

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Recognize this? It’s the Overlook Hotel from ‘The Shining’

My Portland holiday was a short one, as I only had three full days there. But those three days were jam-packed with exploration and spending time with great friends in an awesome, weird city. I’d love to go back again someday and spend a little more time there, because I know there’s a lot that I missed. In the meantime I’ll just keep on watching Portlandia.

Now time for the life updates.

Portland was my only trip this semester, but as soon as May rolls around and school is out of the way, I will once again be hitting the road (the skies, actually) and heading back to India. I have been trying to figure out how to get back there basically since last February, when I left. And I now have my plan. After I take my finals in Waco, I will return to Shreveport where I will begin a brief stint in the factory (I promised myself I would never work there again, but there’s just no beating that money when you’re a college student). I will be back on the assembly line for about three weeks, and then set off for India! I am so excited to go back. For the month of June, I will be attending a Hindi language school in the foothills of the Himalayas, and then I will return to Delhi for a few weeks to visit friends and teach English. Sometime in late July or early August, I will come back to the states and most likely work in the factory until school starts. I need to save up some money for what I’m about to tell you next.

About two weeks ago, I got some wonderful news in an appointment with my academic advisor. I can satisfy some of my degree requirements (such as defending my thesis) electronically, and therefore I do not need to be on campus for my last semester, which is next spring. Translation: I’m going back to Boğaziçi! I felt that my time there was too short, and I wished I could stay for a whole year. Now I will be able to, as long as there are no unforeseen complications. The only drawback is that I will not be able to walk the stage at Baylor’s graduation in Waco. However, I feel that one quick stroll across a stage is a very small price to pay for the chance to spend another four months in Istanbul.

I feel a little embarrassed writing all this, because I almost feel as though I am getting too many amazing opportunities to see the world. But traveling is my passion. Not a day passes that I don’t daydream about going to unknown and faraway places, experiencing new cultures, and learning new languages. I know that I am blessed to be able to pursue my passions and get so many stamps in my passport while I am still young, and I will continue living this adventurous lifestyle as long as the doors are open for me.

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