2440 Rotary District Conference Video (and other stories)
In order to speed things up, I’m going to jump the gun a little bit and let you all see a compilation video of all the trips I’ve been on, some of the most interesting activities I’ve participated in, and anything else I thought was important for our Rotarians here in Turkey to see. I was asked to make this video for our District Conference which took place May 18-20.
Along with the video, Hannah (American) wrote a speech- in Turkish- and performed it in front of a huge room of our Rotarians, which was an incredible testament about exchange and international friendships. I’m very proud of Hannah for her skills in speech writing, Turkish, and for all she’s learned throughout this year. As a student who has already completed one exchange, I have had the chance to see several young people mature and change in life-altering ways because of their exchanges. At the beginning of the year, several of the girls turned to me asking for survival tips, sneak peeks into the future, things like that. Throughout this year, I’ve seen these 19 exchange students from 5 different countries have their minds opened to things they never imagined, have their hearts rattled with the feeling that they no longer belong to just one country or nationality, and the chapters of their lives filled with memories and experiences that will affect them in ways they still can’t imagine. Hannah is just one of those beautiful stories of someone who has blossomed into something much more during the last 8 months, and her speech was epic proof of that.
After the speech, my video was shown on the 2 large screens on the wall, which was a humbling experience, to say the least. I spent several long days and nights working on collecting videos from the other students, editing and adjusting clips, arranging them, etc. in order to have this video ready and looking its best for the conference. I let some of the girls see the video prior to it being completed, collecting comments and suggestions along the way. I definitely felt the pressure to make this video absolutely perfect, not only for Rotary, but for the other students in it that will use it as a reminder of their year here and show it to their friends and families upon their return with tears in their eyes. I don’t mean to sound like I think I’m the best iMovie-maker out there, but I’m very proud of the work I did in this video, and I’d like for you all to be able to see it. For some strange reason, YouTube isn’t allowing it to be played in the United States, so here is the link for the video on my Facebook page:
Following the video, 14 of us girls dressed in traditional Turkish dance costumes performed a dance called Çiftetelli. We’d been rehearsing the dance twice a week for about a month before the conference. All the days we spent sweating in the studio, the mornings after that we spent sore from all the leg work; it all paid off in the end. It was nerve-wracking to be performing a Turkish dance in front of a room of Turkish people, but they all seemed pleased that we had learned a traditional dance from Turkey and that we were trying to honor it as best we could.
Now, going back to the chronological order of things and explaining some of the things that were in the video that I haven’t written about yet, I have a few other small stories to add to this entry.
First comes from Biology class, when one day our teacher did an experiment about blood typing. I was surprised and a little nervous to see that the teacher took out a box of old sterile finger prick needles and a tile (like one you’d put on your bathroom wall) and used them to test the blood of the students in the class. I’ve never had my blood typed before, so after several of my classmates had gotten theirs done and none of them seemed to pass out of develop an infection, I tried it too. As far as the experiment can say, I’m O+, which is pretty awesome if it’s actually accurate!
February 23rd was the day I found out I was moving host families. I received a call from Rotary that once they found a home for Mariana, a Mexican student, I would be taking her place at her home. The switch came so suddenly, I barely had time to sort out my emotions, let alone all my stuff. I found out I was switching families I had heard some things about Mariana’s 16-year old host brother and had some worries that it wouldn’t be as great of an experience as I hoped, so I was cautious for a few days after I switched. But it didn’t take me long to see that I was meant to live with this family and become a part of it. They’ve been so wonderful for the rest of my exchange and I couldn’t imagine my year without them.
Haley Drozdowicz is a Craig High School student who's visiting Turkey. She's studying there as part of the Rotary Youth Exchange Program. Haley is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff. Her opinion is not necessarily that of the The Gazette staff or management.