I must say, it's absolutely glorious to be back in DC, with its attendant transit woes, traffic nightmares, and hordes of tourists. I've settled into my apartment in Eastern Market, and the Beej has come to live with me in our new home. He's quite taken with the squirrels that he can see from his window perch.
I've been in Turkish for four weeks now, and I'm really enjoying it - it's so similar to Azeri that almost all of what we're covering is familiar. The Turkish teachers are all quite good, and we've had a number of fascinating conversations about ethnicity, religion, and politics in their home countries. Suffice it to say that I've had a good primer in the politics of Turkish secularism!
I feel like I've finally made some substantial progress in getting over Riyadh. When I see a paper bag on a park bench, I no longer think IED first; I assume I'm back in wino-ridden DC. I've finally gotten used to putting a beer bottle cap into my regular trash can, since I don't have to keep a separate receptacle for alcohol-related products. My last day in Arkansas, I spoke to a group of fifth graders about living in Riyadh and daily life in the Middle East more generally. It forced me to look at the past year through a different lens, and I think it was healthy for me. I'm hoping I'll write more in the coming months as I continue to decompress and as I learn more about Turkey. Here's to more regular posting!