Eight (8) months ago I was led into T11, a class, by a course administrator to study Turkish at Gazi TÖMER. It was a class of strange faces to me then; different people with different dispositions and the only common denominator was the fact that we were all there to learn Turkish. The class had started a week prior to my arrival and two kind fellows, whom I will get to know better later as Isabel and Marwan, tried to explain a few things to me. A few minutes later, another new student walked in and I was glad to have company in my confusion. He looked as confused as i was when the teacher walked in and started teaching what was basic grammar. Due to my inability to comprehend anything the teachers were teaching I was left with the option of writing and that I did to the best of my capability.
It was during one of the breaks that I officially met Rama. She spooked me alright – asking me what I knew about the Turkish language. “Nothing” my obvious answer. “Not even the counts or alphabets” she pressed. A quick shake of my head answered her latter question. Then she gave me the ‘sorry pal” look. By that time, I was not very acquainted with her to know to ignore it. As if I didn’t know already, I gathered yet again that this wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. In the first few days I simply showed up at school, returned to my dorm feeling cold and with a headache, ate, did my homework (if there was any), took a hot shower and lights out for me. I was trying in vain to find the logic in this new language. For years now, that was my method of learning- find the principles, master them, apply them. It took me a while to figure out why my method was not going to work this time.
A new class opened two weeks later and Rama was the first to tell me and encourage me to move there. It took me just about that much time to decide against it.
It is worth mentioning that I had very good teachers but I knew I had met the one the first day Şhaida Hoca, my speaking teacher, walked into the class. She was the best teacher ever for me then- a mixture of fun and learning – and oww how I needed fun during that time. It didn’t become a bed of roses after that. I still struggled, even probably much more in her class where I was required to speak.
I don’t know for sure but I don’t think it was very easy for anyone. I knew of my tears because I was the one crying them and often too. Not able to understand anything in a class was very new to me. A feeling I could and still will never get used to. I remember walking up to my comprehension teacher once after class and telling her I didn’t understand anything she said in class, ever.
During all this time, I had forgotten all the excitement I had exprerienced traveling abroad, learning new things and even the miracle that brought me here.
Weeks passed, the seasons changed, exams after exams the class got smaller and smaller (for different reasons) and a bit more intimate each time.
Now eight months later after passing four promotional exams and the final exams (thank God for answered prayer) we all sat around a table with smiling faces eating ice cream with Şhaida Hoca and reminiscing .
Now I look at faces of friends, not strangers, still different people from myself – with different perspectives on life – and I am happy.
I know I will miss every one of them. Hazret’s long speeches in Konuşma class, Isabel’s exasperated look in Yazma, Rama’s unending questions in Anlama and Dil Bilgisi class, Enes’ hand in his hair any time he was writing or thinking, Mohammed’s random questions, Sohiab’s brief showdown in Yazma class and his unshakable defense of the doctor profession, Khaled’s decisive head shake when asked a question in the Yazma class, Rana’s quiet prescence, and Aye Lwin…. well, Aye Lwins wins the smart boy.
A bitter sweet end for a group of friends who otherwise will never have met. Eight months of torture, trials and test and we came out as the Triumphant 11.
To my TÖMER classmates *Arkadaşlarım sizi çok özledim. Yaptığınız her şeyde size en iyisini diliyorum.*