My International Birthday

I have been putting off posting this post but now feels like a good time because I have more information, I suppose..

So! Alex and I went for a birthday brunch on my special day, which was nice. When I returned back to my dorm my roommates, Ege and Didem, had left for me a lovely birthday note and a small (and extremely delicious) cake!


Then my roommates actually left for a mini-trip back to Istanbul to spend time with their families there. So I, of course, took the opportunity to play music on my birthday. This is something that I always, always enjoy doing. Playing music. 🙂

By the time 3 PM rolled around it was time to meet up with my friends here who were free. I had planned an event on Facebook the day before to play Grounders!! Playing Grounders on my birthdays has become a tradition, which I do quite enjoy (and my friends who join me always seem to enjoy too!).

We met at Sunshine cafe and gathered there for a bit.
Some of my friends had small gifts for me, IMG_2783_2
which was nice of them. Azim, my friend from Kyrgyzstan, gave me a Kyrgyzstan hat (as can be seen in the selfie) and I put it on and it stayed on. It was like a birthday party hat, I thought. Another couple of my international friends, Ahmed and Oksana, actually bought a cake for me! They had to leave a bit early so they didn’t even get to enjoy this cake. I think it was actually one of the best cakes I have ever eaten though!! My friend Ecem gave me some pretty earrings and a beautiful scarf that Turkish people keep until you want to get married and then you give it the person you want to marry and he has to keep it from then on, I guess.

When we got to the park (just out the A4 gates of METU and across the bridge) I had to explain the rules of Grounders. Which is something I am not really that used to doing actually. But soon everyone was on the same page about the game and I started being it and we began. I caught someone soon enough and the game continued. It was the most international game of Grounders I have ever played. People were counting in English or Turkish or even Russian sometimes (I believe). I was having a TON of fun with the game (like I always do); I had managed to escape the “it” person every single time. I was even sneaky about getting other people caught. No I was… helping the “it” person  tag another person. Yes, that 🙂

We had been playing for maybe an hour and a half and when a couple of my friends had to leave. I first got a stranger to take a picture of all of us:

Alex, Kylan, Semra, Azim, Me, Ecem, Meltem, Oksana, and Ahmad!

After this point I don’t remember much other than beginning to play again. I remember that I followed a friend over to a different area of the park  that was built out of ropes and I remember the friend who was “it” came over to get one of us. The “it” friend reached around the top of the structure to tag someone and was about to get me. I was so committed to not being tagged that I just let go of the ropes and somehow propelled myself and fell 90 degrees flat onto the ground on the back of my skull. I don’t remember anything after this point. I just remember suddenly beginning to process what was happening in my friends apartment, which was near by, thankfully. I was laying on his couch on two pillows with a bag of ice on the lower back part of my head…

My friends told me that I got up and walked back to his house with no problem but when I got there I told them I felt sick. I’m really glad that they cared about me and for me so much. They let me relax on the couch as the four of them that were left played hearts. They wouldn’t let me sleep even though I felt tired.

Then we went out for dinner. It was really cool exploring Ankara on my birthday. And parts that are actually so close to METU too! We ended up at this place for dinner near ToolBar which is a popular student bar I hadn’t even seem up to this point. I had a Turkish meat sub.

Then we went back to Kylan’s place where we played a few rounds of Egyptian War (which is one of my favourite card games from home)! Kylan and I were playing so quickly together and one point and we both agreed that it was awesome!! After the card playing they began to sing me happy birthday and turned out the lights and when I blew the candles out it became dark and we all heard sprinkles going every-which-where. It was a funny moment. After a bit of clean up of chocolate sprinkles we then ate half of the cake!!!



Thankfully I was alright from the fall… I began feeling pressure in the back of my head the next day and continued to feel it on Monday too. My handball class is on Tuesdays and I was really hoping to feel all better but instead of going to the class my legs walked me to the doktor on campus. It was a bit of a challenge with the language barrier. I just kept asking all of the nurses there “Ingilizce biliyor musiniz?” Finally a student who was able to speak English and Turkish helped me to understand that I needed to go into a different building just across the way and upstairs to register in their system for one lira. I did that. “Kayit” is the necessary word I learned there. It means “register”. Then I went back down to the main area and took a number. I went up to talk with the nurses again and they printed out some paper work for me and were able to get me an appointment with a doktor who could speak English — Thankfully!

I didn’t even have to wait before seeing this doktor. I explained to him the best that I could what had happened. Then he tested my balance and coordination. He said that all seemed fine. And I agreed that I did but that didn’t explain why my head still hurts. He directed me to the X-Ray room and the staff in that room didn’t speak any English. That was a bit overwhelming for me. If I did have something broken in my skull it would be more broken by the way they were pulling me on the table and pushing at my head to get it in the perfect spot under the machine…

Seeing the images of my head was a really neat experience. It looked to me like the cerebellum portion of my brain was swollen but the doktor said that it looked normal for the most part. He said I was lucky there was nothing broken or fractured. He said I was lucky that there was no internal bleeding. He also said that I have minor tissue damage. He wrote me a note and told me to take it easy for 3 to 5 days and it should feel better. If it doesn’t feel better soon I will go see him again.

Turkish Doktor Note

It was the BEST birthday but also the worst.


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