My work visa did not arrive until the Monday before the Saturday I was to leave for Turkey, and my plane tickets where not purchased by the school until the next day (I guess they don't want to spend the money on the ticket until they know you can actually come and work in Turkey). So by the time I called Lufthansa airline to find out the excess baggage requirements, I learned that several of my bags were of the wrong dimensions and weight. So my mom and I had to go buy MORE duffel bags, and repack. Thank God I had my mom to help me, because by this time, I was SO SICK of packing, I didn't even want to look at my bags. We had become regulars at the local UPS store where they let us use their scale to weigh my bags. The morning of my departure, my mom's cat peed on my carry-on bag, so we had to switch and repack that bag, too. (I forgive her, though; she had a bladder infection). When we got to the airport, everything ran so smoothly with baggage, and out of all the new teachers, I by far paid the least amount of money for excess baggage and brought the most. Yay, bags o' outdoor fun gear. Anyway, if I never have to think about baggage dimensions and weights again, I will be a happy woman.
On the red-eye flight to Munich, I used the tried-and-true technique of the Dramamine-overdose to put myself to sleep. By the time I woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed 6.5 hours later, they were serving breakfast. Perfect. When the flight attendant stopped at me, he was caught off guard that I was staring back at him. "Wow, I finally get to wait on you!"
There was a quick layover in Munich, and then I boarded the 2.5 hour flight to Ankara without knowing that I was surrounded by many other new teachers. I watched out the window as we entered Yellow-and-Brown Land. Ankara is situated in the central plateau of Turkey: high desert. August is when the temperature and lifelessness of the land peaks. Quite the opposite of the lush green of August in New Jersey or even Montana at the time I left.
Once in Ankara, we "pretended" to land once, and then accelerated back up into the sky to circle around the airport in nasty stomach rollercoasterness for 15 minutes while I was surrounded by an orchestra of vomiting noises. I was so proud of myself for not getting sick. I think it's the years of training I've had: sitting next to mother in boats, planes, helicopters, etc. while she threw up, and I worked hard to hold my own stomach together.
Once in the Ankara airport, all of us new teachers were met by our orientation staff, and we were whisked off to our new home: Bilkent University housing in East Campus.