These past few weeks have brought about rapid fire changes for the voyagers of T.I.M.E. In an attempt to illustrate these shifts, and as a morning enthusiast, I chose to highlight my favorite time of day as a depiction of our evolving lifestyles.
Istanbul, Turkey — the Superdorm
The average morning during our studies at Bogazici University began with the shrill beeps of my travel alarm clock, prompting me to hop in the shower (frequently stopping the water flow to avoid flooding), waking me up for the upcoming hours of lecture. We were almost completely independent for our meals in Istanbul and my breakfast typically consisted of yogurt, muesli and peaches purchased confidently from the supermarket down the street from our lodgings. My morning goal was the same as all mornings at home: find the coffee!, so I would eat on my feet, hoping to dash out of the room a moment earlier to stop by a cafe on the way to class.
Turkey at large — the Excursion hotels
Most mornings waking up on excursion felt more like greeting a utopia than a day in the life of a student abroad. Some days found us staying in hotels nestled between mountains, others quietly hidden in a bustling city. I would wake ready for a day of both unknown adventure and prolonged bus rides. Upon descending the winding staircase, or frightening elevator depending on the day, I would steer myself in the direction of the dining area and find myself confronted with extensive breakfast buffets, laden with cheeses, breads and if we were lucky, a chocolate spread. Mornings were leisurely, we were on vacation after all, but they still held that buzz of purpose, anticipation and relaxation as we mounted the steps of our coach bus.
Fez, Morocco — Homestay in the Medina
My travel alarm clock has been replaced with a cacophony of pigeons, roosters and the pleading of my younger host brother to stay home from school. This morning is my first in the Moroccan homestay and needless to say, after living in hotels for the past two weeks it is a dramatic change of pace. I putter around my room, trying to locate my recently unpacked shirts, brush, and contacts before brushing my teeth, fumbling with the spigot tap we use in our home’s upstairs bathroom. From below, my roommate and I hear our host mother call “Eh-mee, Kay-tee. Please come for breakfast!” I feel like I am back in elementary school as I load up my backpack and head downstairs for a quick bite before school. Our host mother has produced a breakfast spread that reminds me in some ways of those we had on excursion (bread, jams, chocolate spread!) but this is infinitely more intimate. We sip mint tea and sit in a companionable silence as whenever I speak she chides me to try in Arabic; maybe after the third lesson in the language I will be able to better respond to these requests. Having finished our breakfast we head out into the maze that is the Medina for school, and a new routine begins.