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2440 Rotary District Conference Video (and other stories)

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Haley Drozdowicz
July 1, 2012

In order to speed things up, Iím going to jump the gun a little bit and let you all see a compilation video of all the trips Iíve been on, some of the most interesting activities Iíve 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. Iím very proud of Hannah for her skills in speech writing, Turkish, and for all sheís 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, Iíve 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 canít 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 donít mean to sound like I think Iím the best iMovie-maker out there, but Iím very proud of the work I did in this video, and Iíd like for you all to be able to see it. For some strange reason, YouTube isnít allowing it to be played in the United States, so here is the link for the video on my Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150964484803112

Following the video, 14 of us girls dressed in traditional Turkish dance costumes performed a dance called «iftetelli. Weíd 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 havenít 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 youíd put on your bathroom wall) and used them to test the blood of the students in the class. Iíve 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, Iím O+, which is pretty awesome if itís 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 Marianaís 16-year old host brother and had some worries that it wouldnít be as great of an experience as I hoped, so I was cautious for a few days after I switched. But it didnít take me long to see that I was meant to live with this family and become a part of it. Theyíve been so wonderful for the rest of my exchange and I couldnít imagine my year without them.



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