My Turkey TOP TEN Most Memorable Moments
06/19/2014 - 09/30/2014
As unfiltered honesty has been a request from me this summer, I must say that, at first, I dug reeeeeeeeal deep to write this post. Furthermore, I have actually been digging deep since my last post 2 months ago to write about anything I've experienced during the eternity (uh, I mean the 3 1/2 months), that I've lived here in Belek, Turkey. This job has had its difficulties. Yet, I did not want this space, where Polka Dotted Unicorns and all other fantastical creatures roam free, to become a place of frustration, complaints and judgement.
Working and living in Turkey, with the threat of ISIS and U.S. Air strikes in my backyard and the sickening reality of countless Israeli-Palestinian deaths in my front yard, made me long for the oblivious serenity of my California Palm trees. But, come on! Reading the above news as I am being paid to enjoy all the amenities of a 5 star resort while doing only 1 show a night ! I couldn't dare bring myself to complain. That is to anyone besides my sister Tovah and BFF Makeda...and sometimes Mom and Dad....okay, and a little to 'MiVida' Silvia...and well, always to my roommate India. Well I didn't want to keep all bottled in!....you get ulcers that way ;-) As my mother Sharon "Shay-Shay" Collins would say: "if you don't have anything good to say then don't say anything at all." So heeding this advice my Blog has been dry the past months.
Yet, now my job at Maxx Royal is (FINALLY) coming to an end, and the feeling that I SHOULD write something whispered to me. So I began looking back, taking stock of the memories I've made, the adventures I've embarked on and the incredible souls who have come across my path. The memories were plenty and it was clear that I had much more good to say about my time here than bad. So one night, while waiting in between dance sets, I began writing and the flood gates rushed opened. There were so many memories to choose from! So many moments of joy and laughter. As always in my life, hind sight is 20/20 and now, I can see clearly what an amazing Summer Turkey blessed me with. The list grew so long that for your sake I edited it to include only the top ten of my favorite and most memorable moments since arriving in Turkey on June 19th. They are in no particular order as all were as enjoyable as the next:
MY TOP TEN MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS IN TURKEY
10. Sharing Bunkbeds in a Tree House in Olympus
Felt like summer camp circa 1995 but so good to be a kid again! Picture 5 giggling girls in one room, all the contents of our hotel mini bar, 2 bunk beds, one extra mattress on the floor and a tree trunk at the Turkey hippie haven Kadir's Tree House. http://m.kadirstreehouses.com/
9. Hiking a mountain to the Eternal Flames aka Chimeras
After dinner at the tree house, the girls and I hiked about 2 miles uphill on a rocky stone path to the most fascinating natural phenomenon: about a dozen flames burning from the side of the mountain with no apparent fuel to sustain them. The flames are burning a sort of methane gas that has been venting from the earth for thousands of years. FUN FACT: According to Homer's Iliad, the hero Bellerophon did battle with the mythical Chimera, an immortal monstrosity usually depicted as a fire-breathing hybrid of snake, goat and lion that laid waste to large parts of the region. Some claim that the flames erupting from the mountain today are proof that the creature still lives within!
Again we were just 5 giggling girls roasting marshmallows over the Eternal Flames, while overlooking the shimmer of a full moon on the Mediterranean. A magical moment. Then came the reality of hiking down the mountain, at night, in my sandals (didn't think that one through) and having to stop and pee at a tree. I'm thinking my roomie India was being a friend by shining a light for me when in fact it was just the flash from her snapping this embarrassing pic!
8. Our Villa Pool Parties!
Every morning, like children on Christmas Day, the girls and I would wake up and go to our balconies to see if that huge hole in the ground in the shape of a pool was finally filled with water. After 2 months of waiting the day finally came! From that day on, we made the most of that hole in the ground with birthday pool parties, daytime sunbathing, late night skinny dipping, backyard BBQs, etc.
7. Stage Rehearsals
For the first 2 months, at 6pm, we had rehearsal on stage with the ocean in view, the sun beginning its decent and fruity (virgin) smoothies served to us by our friends behind the bar. After which I would jump in the sea (not the ocean, I've been corrected, but the sea) for a salty swim.
6. Turkey Moons
Have you ever watched a moon set into the horizon and truly understood the movement of Earth and its place in the solar system?
Turkey granted me that gift. The moons were absolutely stunning.
Sometimes orange as a tangerine.
Sometimes a bright white light.
Sometimes the perfect crescent.
Sometimes so big you really believe you might be able to reach out and touch it.
Their shimmer over the Mediterranean is soothing to the most troubled souls. I was captivated every night.
Here is my best shot:
5. White Water Rafting with my partner in crime Alejandro!
I am NOT featured in the above photo because my rafting partner, Alejandro and I, were about a 1/2 mile behind everyone else struggling to catch up for the entire 2 hour rafting tour. We thought we would be a great team and high fived each other as we jumped into the raft. But that was not the case. Alejandro and I were probably the most awful rafting couple in the history of this river! He was rowing upstream and I was rowing downstream. For some reason we just couldn't synch up with each other. And what was so strange is that NO ONE else seemed to be having ANY trouble. I looked ahead and watched India and Yessi chillin in their boats taking in the scenery, pointing at birds, the clouds and other interesting wildlife. Who had time for that?! Courtney even looked a bit bored and Yessi was barely even rowing, although to be fair she did choose one of the guides as her partner.
Things got so bad for Alejandro and I that the guide actually roped our raft to his! Definitely an embarrassing moment for team IvorieAlejandro but I could care less cause my arms were dying. He then told Alejandro to get into his raft while I sat behind them in the raft alone...finally a moment to chill. But not for long, because as soon as I got comfortable, a rapid capsized my raft and threw me into the freezing river! There I was on the Super Spin Cycle, watching boulders pass inches away from me, wondering if you lose consciousness before feeling the pain of one knocking into your skull. Not to worry Mom and Dad, within seconds, I felt a strong grip on my life jacket and as if I weighed as much as a puppy, my guide scooped me right out mid cycle! Once back in the raft I looked up at Alejandro and I burst out laughing. And as if he had been waiting to make sure it was appropriate to laugh, so did he! We continued on, of course the last ones to make it to the end, but laughing the entire way. From then on we vowed to always be adventure partners. For better for worse.
4. Banana boat with girls
Five girls in bikinis convinced the water sport guys to give us a free ride on the Banana Boat! I'm assuming 5 girls falling on and off their phallic shaped Banana Boat was worth giving it to us for free. Nonetheless, I've never laughed so hard! Slippery when wet so every time we fell off it would take us no less than 10 minutes to get back on!
3. Getting my Nipples Pierced with my roommate India!
Gasp! Mom I know! Wtf?! But to be fair, It's been on my to-pierce list for some time and for some reason when you're in another country the phrase YOLO is always there to make all your bad ideas seem absolutely fantastic! So one Saturday afternoon, India, Kaela and I took the bus into town. We did some sightseeing in the markets of Old Town Antalya, then to a harbor with some pirate ships, then to some observatory with a nice view of the harbor...basically all we could to distract us from the fact that we pinky swore that today was the day. So after lunch and 2 tequila shots we walked the plank. Kaela stood behind us the entire way to make sure we did not chicken out and she also asked all the necessary questions regarding price, sanitation and healing that India and I were too dazed to ask.
Did it hurt? Emphatically YES! Am I happy I did it? YOLO! Best part: Kaela and India being there to hold my hand, giggle, cry, and scream with.
2. Paragliding in Oludeniz
This entire day was incredible! Two rental cars filled with new friends, a boat ride to a cave, jumping off a cliff into the sea, a sunset dinner with the most hospitable Turkish man I've met thus far...but all of that came second to what you see in the pictures below. I was literally on top of the world this day.
1. 7 o'clock Dinner with my Turkish Delights!
I know I said they were not in order but I did save the best for last. Almost every evening for the past 3 1/2 months I sat down to dinner with the Turkish Delights (as we liked to call ourselves): Courtney from Texas, India (my beloved roommate) from South Hampton, England, Kaela from Ohio, and Laura from Argentina (Messi!!)...and for the first 6 weeks with Yessi from Cuba.
At 7ish, we would sit, eat, talk, laugh, gossip, complain, check out every guy in the restaurant and check our Instagram. Then after the plates were cleared, and the tea and/or hot chocolate arrived, we would do it all over again! This was our ritual. Rituals are becoming more and more important to my life, and so even on days when I thought the time would be better spent FaceTiming, I had the sense to know this was a special moment. A moment that could never be recreated and would be gone in an instant.
I adore each of these girls and our time here will forever hold a special place in my heart. I think they would all agree that if we didn't like each other as much as we do, the past months would have been impossible and we would never have made it to see the end. Most of the memories flooding my mind were of our shenanigans. The day at the Water park. The Bubble bath in the Kemer Jacuzzi after I attempted to a dive into the pool and dived so hard that I hit my head on the bottom only to resurface with my bikini bottoms missing! Playing King's Cup at 3a.m. in the living room but spending an hour on the the bit where you pass the card from mouth to mouth. The Midnight jump off the pier with most of our clothes@ India. Almost getting fired and having no regrets. Playing Egyptian Rat Screw or SLAP as I know it, between sets. Movie marathons. The time they got me to watch Frozen- an animated film (don't know why but don't like em'). Kemrrrrr. Damnit Janet! Kindaaaa. "Oh....ok cool.""You got this." "Mmmmmm"@Courtney. "Can I have an essspresssso...a double?" Hola chica! "Do I look like I care? Cause I doooon't."
Okay, the list goes on but now I'm just speaking in code to my TDs so I'll spare you.
Thank you beauties for the Summer of 2014. It was unforgettable and so are each of you. Wherever I am you are forever welcome.
And so the end is here. We have 2 more shows and a most anticipated departure on Wednesday October 1st. From there, I have plans to travel Turkey for a couple weeks. See some more sights. Get back on the Unicorn. Although I really do feel full and I am intensely missing home and the goodness that awaits me there so still contemplating an early return. Therefore, my next post will either be me in Ephesus at Apostle Paul's old stomping grounds or back in LaLaLand.