Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Night 108: Things I Will Miss and Things I Distinctly Won't

When I left the U.S. for Jordan three and a half months ago, I wasn't entirely convinced that this day would ever come. I was scared and nervous and excited and I just couldn't envision what coming home after being away for 108 nights would be like. It still feels weird. I still feel like tomorrow I'll wake up in my bed on Jadaat Shashaa Street and grab some bread for breakfast, head to the University to get my morning Nescafe from my Nescafe guy and maybe a candy bar, go over to Arabic and whine at Sarah about how hard it is, spend my afternoon in TAGKS and go home and watch a movie with Lara and Janet. But no. This time tomorrow I will be on a plane only a few hours away from Chicago and Sam which is SO MUCH better, but SO VERY WEIRD. So, here's what will likely be my very last post on this blog, about what I will miss about Jordan and what I very distinctly won't. And maybe some of what I've learned and all that sappy stuff along the way.

First off, stuff I won't miss because I've found that it's better to start off negative and end on a positive note rather than the other way around:

1. Catcalling boys/نسونجي. Asshole man boys. I've blogged enough about them, so I'll hallas (stop) with that.
2. Traffic. Loud honking noises for no reason.
3. Dirtiness/smog/dust/cigarette smoke. Smoke in general. I am so excited to go to a country where you can't smoke inside.
4. The immaturity. People here aren't treated as adults until they're married. And it's not like Jordanians are super conservative, traditional Muslims who get married at sixteen or seventeen. Twenty is considered too young to get married--you're kinda old if you're getting married at 30, but anywhere between 25 and 30 is pretty normal here, so not too different from the States. That means that 20 year olds are living with their parents, getting allowances from their parents, living by the rules of their parents, etc. They don't even get jobs until they've graduated from University--not even little part-time cashier jobs. This means that anyone not married is treated as though they're sixteen. Including the foreigners. Maybe especially the foreigners. Which is weird and frustrating for someone used to a lot more independence. Sure, over the summers I live with my parents, but if I want to stay out until 3AM I can. I don't, but I could if I wanted to. If I want to eat, I can eat what I want when I want. I miss that SO MUCH, guys. I want to go home where I can take a shower without asking for permission first.
5. Arabic. I miss English, Arabic is hard.

Okay, things I will miss:

1. Arabic. Yeah, yeah, I know I said I wouldn't but I changed my mind. Sort of. I won't miss the intensity of Arabic here--having to use it every day, the 12 hour a week Arabic classes, etc. But I will miss using it with my friend in a casual way, using a word I forgot I knew with a cab driver, and entertaining myself on long car/bus rides by trying to read the signs out the window.
2. People. I wrote a little bit about this in my last post, but I'll miss my American friends so much. It's weird that I won't see them every day ever again. I may never see any of them again. It scares me and makes me sad. Although, if the Republicans win the next election, Hannah and I are moving to Istanbul, so that works.
3. Speaking of Istanbul, I will miss the proximity to Istanbul. And other countries that are nearby. If Syria were in a better state I would like to have liked to have visited Syria.
4. Nescafe. I thought I hated it but I don't. I'll also miss my Nescafe guy; the guy that knows I want my Nescafe in the morning and I don't even have to ask.
5. Wassam the Falafel Man. Nicest man in all of Jordan.
6. Falafel.
7. All of the beautiful places. I don't know what I am going to do with my weekends at home if not traveling to amazing deserts and mountains and caves and towns and villages. I love Jordan so much, even if I really don't like a lot of Amman. Jordan though is spectacular and I could easily spend months here just traveling and seeing gorgeous places like Dana, Wadi Rum, Petra, Ajloun, Aqaba, more stuff that I haven't even seen.

This is my last blog post and I don't know how to end it 'cause I'm bad at that. I'm SO excited to go home, and I leave in a few hours, so ma'saalama (goodbye)! I'll see (most of you) when I get home!!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Night 103: Mixed Feelings and Dabke

Holy shit, it's Night 103*! What.

I have mixed feelings about this.

On the one hand, I am SO EXCITED to go home. I'm excited for the most basic things, like English and toilet paper and macaroni and cheese. Not to mention Sam, family, Beloit... Really, I'm pretty sure that no one has any perception whatsoever of how excited I am to go home.Well, it's possible that Palestinians who live in Jordan and not in Palestine understand, but that's a different story.

On the other hand... I like parts of being here. Mostly the people. It's sort of embarrassing to admit that by people, I mean Americans that I've met here. Also Janet and Lara. I'll miss them a lot. I'll miss folks that I've met at CIEE, like Rasha and Ahmad, and even my Arabic professor, Muna. But mostly I'll miss the American students that I've met here. I have friends here that I can talk to about my PoliSci papers and not only will they understand what I'm talking about, but it's likely that one of them has written/is writing a paper on the same thing and we can share notes and procrastinate by chatting about the topic for an hour or two. I don't get that at home.

We also went through "Cultural Re-Entry" training yesterday and that made me intensely excited to go home because we talked about all of the things that we've missed the most, what the first thing we're going to do when we get back to States will be (most people said eat Mexican food). But it also made particularly clingy to my Jordan friends. We talked about what an intense experience study abroad has been and how hard it'll be going home and trying to explain that to people. The only people who get it are here and we're all going to be scattered about the world as of next week. It's scary and now my feelings are in multiple places and one time and that just makes me feel mentally nauseous.

So there have been times in the last few days when I've felt like "I'm comfy here, why do I want to go home again?"

And then a skeezy man-boy calls me "sweetie" and makes hissing noises at me and I remember. These man-boys are not outliers in Jordanian society, by the way. In fact, a majority of the un-married men that I've met in Jordan (excluding most cab drivers, but not all) cannot seem to resist catcalling women. It appears as though their actual occupation is to lounge outside of McDonald's or other establishments where they don't intend to buy anything and hit on women and make them feel uncomfortable. I really look forward to going back to the States where it is not only socially unacceptable for a man to catcall a woman, but it is perfectly socially acceptable for me to call them an asshole for doing so. More than that, the man will understand that I am calling him an asshole. It is so much less satisfying to yell at a Jordanian man-boy and call him an asshole when he has no idea what I'm saying.

But then I go home and decorate the fake plastic Christmas tree with my host family and I feel cozy and homey again. We watch Arabic Jeopardy and I bicker with Lara over where to put certain ornaments (they have about a hundred ornaments for one tiny tree and not only did Lara insist on using all of them, but all of the ornaments that look the same cannot be anywhere near each other. This was a challenge) and it's nice. But it's another one of those things that manages to make me homesick and "No, I don't wanna leave" at the same time.

Then I go out into a busy Jordanian street where people are honking unnecessarily and I almost get hit by a car a couple of times and I really miss the States.

Some other fun things have gone on in the last nearly two weeks since I last posted (wow, really, two weeks? Oops). On Wednesday night CIEE hosted a dinner for host families and students, as well as the Apartment People. Not too many Apartment People showed up because Host Family People and Apartment People don't really hang out and the Apartment People were outnumbered due to all the host families. It was a nice chance for all of us to meet our friends' host families, and there were some speeches, and dancing (we were taught dabke, a kind of Jordanian/Bedouin dance), and lots and lots of food. There was even a chocolate fountain and sticks with marshmallows on them for dipping into the fountain. It was great. I think I ate more that night than Janet and Lara have ever seen me eat before, which made me feel bad. Especially when Lara commented "you never eat that much!"

Last night I went out with my host family, including my host aunt, Linda, to فحص (Fa-Hace). It's a sort of Christmas-y town where there are more Christians than Muslims so there are lot of Christmas lights and decorations. Going to فحص consisted of driving around looking at the lights and then stopping by the various Christmas trees in town to complain about how they weren't as pretty as last year. Also, there was an area that is apparently usually covered with lights and Christmas trees and decorations, but this year was totally empty. This made my host family sad. So we went to Chili Ways where Lara had a gigantic turkey sandwich and chili fries despite the fact that she had had McDonald's for lunch. She insisted that she was going to vomit as she was eating the sandwich. There was nothing I could do to stop her. Then we tried to find Janet a new purse, but no luck. Then we went home. So فحص turned out to be less of a thing than I thought it was going to be, but mosh moshkila (no problem/no worries/hakuna matata).

Anyway. I go home in less than SIX DAYS. I have mixed feelings about it, but overall I'm excited. There are just a lot of butterflies over here in Jordan.

*Okay, so I screwed up on my numbers a little bit. Not on the title, I checked that again today and I really am here for 108 nights, but I screwed up on Night 74--or actually what should have been Night 76. I repeated a number. Oops. Maybe no one will notice. Except that means that all of my posts (all three of them...) since the screw up are incorrect. Anywho.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Night 88: We Could See Egypt from our Hostel!

Title courtesy of the ever-hilarious Elizabeth. :)

So, my last blog post was all about Stress. And what do you do when you're stressed out? Go to the beach, of course!
There was a prettier beach next to our hostel but I forgot to take a picture. 

Straight after school on Thursday the Sarahs (there are two of them), Elizabeth, and I headed for Aqaba to watch Elizabeth run in the International Red Sea Marathon. Aqaba is a beach town overlooking the Red Sea (the same sea that Moses was supposed to have parted back in Old Testament days) at the very, very southern border of Jordan. We could actually see Egypt (Africa! We could see Africa!) from our hostel. Also Saudi Arabia was just six miles down the street, and Israel was right across the way. Jordan is tiny. Nevertheless, It took us four hours by bus to get there (which was actually a relief since I had been under the impression that it would take six hours), and due to ticket complications we did not get to our hostel until close to eleven. Elizabeth had to get up at five for her marathon. I do not envy her. The rest of us got up at about eight and ate a leisurely breakfast at the hostel. Then we headed into the city to find the finish line.
Look, Egypt!

So I don't know about other people, but during most marathons and triathlons (yes that is actually how you spell that word, there is nothing between the h and the l, surprise!) that I've watched (and I've watched a few, my family likes to run), there are multiple points along the run from which spectators can cheer their friends/family on. Not so much the case in Aqaba. In fact, although most people seemed to be aware that a marathon was going on, they didn't really seem to understand what a marathon was and thus things were not very clearly marked and people were driving cars and horses and ATVs and camels through what was supposed to be the track. Also, no one really believed us when we told them our friend was running the full marathon. Apparently, most people that run the Aqaba "marathon" are either kids that run in the fun run, or people who want to get into the Western trend of running a marathon by running a 5k. We stood at the finish line for about two hours and only saw four people (including Elizabeth) that ran the full marathon. Have I mentioned that Jordanians don't like to walk or run? They don't.
Old castle ruins on the way to the finish line. 

Speaking of that finish line though, it was a major ordeal locating the finish line itself, due to the aforementioned misunderstanding of what a marathon is by Jordanians. Every person we asked, including cops, thought we were asking when the marathon ended when we asked them "Where is the finish line?" Even when we asked in Arabic. We finally found it by asking a friendly guy at a tourist information booth. The finish line was located near the giant Aqaba flag (we thought it was Palestinian at first) pole that is visible from every point within a number of miles.
The flagpole and the Sarahs. 
Elizabeth finished the marathon in about six hours, we were so proud! She got a fancy medal and everything. Also a beer from one of the Sarahs. Very important after running 26.2 miles.
Elizabeth's medal!

After much congratulations and hugging we went out to eat and then headed back to the hostel for some rest and relaxation by the pool. Sadly (or not so sadly if you're me and hate chlorine), it was too cold to swim. I meant to do homework during this time, but that did not happen. Shhhh..... Instead, after hanging out by the pool, we went out to dinner with some other friends that were also in Aqaba to celebrate a birthday. I got pasta and it was soooo tasty. We also met a South African guy that was very nice, but a little mysterious. We gathered that he was pilot of some kind working in private security in Afghanistan and Pakistan who had somehow gotten to Jordan from Dubai, even though he was supposed to be returning to Afghanistan... He was interesting. One of my favorite things about hostels is all of the interesting people you meet along the way, which is not something that really happens in hotels. To be fair, I've only ever stayed in two hostels ever, but I have absolutely loved both of them. The Mavi Guesthouse in Istanbul beats out the Bedouin Gardens in Aqaba, but the Bedouin Gardens was still lovely and really pretty.
Near our room at the Bedouin Gardens hostel. I loved all of the colors. 

Other than the marathon (which was only actually chaotic and long and tiring for Elizabeth), we had a pretty stress-free, relaxing weekend. We spent our night in the hostel eating peanut butter and cookies, drinking cheap booze (well, apple and orange vodka for me, and real booze like Guinness and port for the Sarahs) and watching Crazy Stupid Love with the amazingly not-photoshopped Ryan Gosling. Overall a very good weekend.
Cheap booze in Aqaba is cheap 'cause it's a duty-free zone. 

Aqaba was my last travel weekend of the semester--I am now out of money and out of time to do any further traveling other than going home. So from here on out y'all are likely to see a couple of blog posts about finals and Arabic and homework and my increasing excitement about going home, but probably no more camel rides, archaeological ruins, or unplanned desert trips. I have mixed feelings about this..... Anyway, another camel picture!

This camel was not as nice as Shilou.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Night 85: Stress

Guuuuyys.... study abroad is stressful!

No shit, Meg, life is stressful. Suck it up.

Fine. But I'm going to complain about it first.

I'm stressed out. For the most part, there have been some pretty predictable stessors during study abroad, most of which I've blogged about here:

-Cultural differences
-Some more Safety, and some more Arabic, just for good measure.

All in all though, this semester has mostly been less stressful than regular Beloit semesters. Sometimes being in Jordan feels like a nice break from the real world. I don't have to worry about club politics, or even really American politics, I don't have social things to organize or attend or worry about attending, I don't have to worry as much about classes (except for Arabic), or lots of other things that I ordinarily stress myself out about at Beloit. But now with the end of study abroad approaching, the real world is coming to get me and it is STRESSFUL. To be fair, I think on a scale of 1-10, I'm at about a 6 right now, which is not that bad, but still. I'm frustrated with how little Beloit tells its study abroad students about what is going on at home and what we need to be working on right now. I feel like usually there's paperwork to fill out at this time of year, and I have no idea where I'm living next semester, and I feel like I must be missing something important but I don't know what....
I'm also feeling super disconnected with home right now. I barely talk to friends at Beloit and I have to nag some people pretty hard to actually talk to me, and I don't know how my dynamic with people at school will have changed when I get back in January. At the beginning of this semester I was so homesick, and I missed my geeks and the awesome geeky, awkward, nerdy awesomeness that is Beloit. I thought that while the people here are nice, I would never make close connections with them like I have with people in Beloit and it made me incredibly homesick. I still miss my geeks and I'm off the charts excited about going home, but... I've made friends here. I like them. We've created a little community of our own here in Jordan and we've gotten to know each other pretty well, and the conversations have become so much more fun and interesting, and hanging out with people here is easy and fun... And I'm probably never going to see any of them again. I have friends in far-flung places like Colorado, Washington, Alabama, Washington D.C.... Some friends are closer, in Wisconsin or Minnesota, but odds are we'll all keep in  touch on Facebook and that'll be that. It frustrates me and it makes me concerned for the future. If I end up living far far away from Wisconsin and Beloit and Madison and the community that I've become a part of there, will the same thing happen? Will I stay Facebook friends with my college friends and nothing more? Gah, I don't even.

Growing up is hard.

Okay, Sucking It Up starts.... now!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Night 83: In Which My Mom Comes to Visit and I Can't Come Up With a Clever Title

How can you tell you're in Jordan? When almost every photograph on your blog is beige, beige, and more beige. It's difficult to write a blog about how awesome one's weekend was when the color of the pictures does not accurately portray what the beige places actually look like. 

Anyway. My mom came to visit me this last week! It was fun, despite the beige-ness of the photographs. She got here on Wednesday night and I ended up skipping class on Thursday so that we could go exploring together. It may or may not effect my overall grade because CIEE is stupid. I told them that my mom was in town and I wanted to skip one class so that we could leave early in the morning for Petra, but they were like "No, only if you're sick." Even my Arabic teacher thinks this rule is stupid. I should have listened to the people that told me to just fake sick. :P 

Again, anyway... We stayed in a nice hotel in Amman that night (having a mom that works in the travel business is great--all of the hotels we stayed in were paid for by someone not us), then the next day a driver picked us up and took us to some of the sites along the way to Petra. We went to Madaba and Mount Nebo, both of which I've been to and blogged about, but we also went to Karak Castle, which I hadn't been to before. It was a Crusader castle, a lot like the one I visited way back when I first went to Petra, Shobak Castle. This one was in the middle of a city though, and arguably cooler. It also had lots of climb-y bits: 
The entrance to Karak Castle. 
The view from a precarious ledge of Karak Castle. 
The Crusaders seem to have been big fans of windows.
After Karak we got to Petra, but didn't actually go inside until the next day ('cause we got there after dark). We stayed in a really, really nice hotel and let me tell you guys: luxury makes me uncomfortable. It's not a case of feeling like this is a poor(ish) country and feeling frustrated by the luxury, not at all. Jordan depends on its tourism business, it wants/needs more people to come here and spend money on luxurious hotels. That's a good thing. I just don't like all of the attention they show you at fancy hotels. It makes me feel weird. But anyway, on to the next day... 
We got up at fuck o'clock in the morning so that we could have Petra all to ourselves and our guide. At first I was like "Meh, I've seen Petra and wasn't terribly impressed by it, why do I have to get up so early?" But it was definitely worth it. The first time I saw Petra I had basically just done a two-day nature trip out in the middle of nowhere, and then we went to Petra with like 4,000 tourists and it was busy and hot and loud and crowded and I didn't like it. This time, it was cool and empty and I liked it significantly more. It's still not my favorite site in Jordan (I'd say that's probably a tie between the Dana nature reserve and Wadi Rum), but it was ten times better when it had about a tenth of the people. So, pictures, because my camera had battery life this time!

The obligatory Treasury picture. 

There are lots and lots of houses within Petra. They look a lot like caves, but they were houses in the Nabbatean days. Apparently, they were also houses for Bedoins until 1985. They got kicked out by the government so that Petra could be a tourist destination. Now they live in a separate city that you can see from Petra, and they have special selling privileges in Petra. They don't need a permit to sell things to tourists, and I think it's reaaaally hard for anyone to work there who didn't live inside of Petra (or who isn't descended from someone who did) when the government kicked them out.
My mom! 

Adorable donkey is adorable. 
More caves/ houses. 

Old city walls and columns, kind of falling apart. 
The largest (or maybe only?) free-standing building in Petra. It's also sort of earthquake-proof. Or something. I wasn't entirely listening to the guide at this point, heh. 
I don't remember what this is, but it sure looks cool, huh? :D To be fair, we saw this bit of Petra without a guide. The guide took us through the Siq at the beginning of Petra, past the Treasury and through the city to the place where you start the hike up to the Monastery (there's also a restaurant at this point, but we didn't eat there because of a stupid mis-communication on my part). After the guide left us, we wandered around Petra unguided which is just as much fun, but less informational. They're not really into signs over here. So we climbed around and explored a lot. I liked being able to show my mom just how much you can get away with here that you just can't do in the States. I have climbed on so many things here that would be barricaded and hidden away by barbed wire and giant KEEP OUT signs in the States. 
"Strong bridge!" 
So after Petra we left for the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth. I'd already been, but I know that my mom was pretty excited about bobbing and floating the Dead Sea. She also managed not to get any of it in her eyes like I stupidly did the previous weekend... Other than the stinging, it is a pretty cool experience, and the mud actually does make your skin feel good. For the most part, we just relaxed at the Dead Sea. We ate great steak and watched some belly dancing, and we got massages on Saturday morning... It turns out massages are nice, but I can honestly say that I've had better neck massages from friends than the full body massage I got at the Dead Sea. It was a cool experience though, I had never had a professional massage before.

The Dead Sea and a random person floating. The hotel that we stayed at had a beach with a view of the sea, but you had to walk down some stairs and over some rocks to get to the water, so I left my camera up at the beach, so no pictures of the two of us in the water. 

I had school on Sunday, so we had to leave the Dead Sea on Saturday afternoon. We had dinner with my host family and I'm so glad that my mom got to meet them because they are basically the best host family that anyone could ask for. We had chicken and potatoes for dinner by the way, very zaki. Sunday (after I had class) was mostly spent wandering around Amman. There's not actually that much to do in the city. It's such a residential city and there aren't that many cultural sites to see or museums or basically things to do. I took my mom to the Citadel (see one of my first blog posts for more) and over to Rainbow Street (the ex-pat center of Amman), and we had coffee and tea, and then I took her downtown to explore some of the shops, and we ate dinner at Hashem's. I don't remember if I've mentioned Hashim's here before, but it's a tasty and fairly famous restaurant in Amman. It's vegetarian and is basically just street food (falafel, ful, hummus, pita) served at some plastic tables, nothing impressive. But the King ate there once, there's a gilded framed picture and everything! 
Yeah, so that was my weekend. Thanks for coming to visit me Mom, I had a great time! :) 

Also, reason number 240 that I love my host family:

Lara brought a plate full of candy to my room today because she was eating candy, so I had to eat candy too. The Ghiradelli and the candy corn were actually gifts from my mother to my host family, but they don't really like dark chocolate so I'm going to end up eating most of the dark chocolate. I am okay with this. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Night 74: Good News and Bad News

So, good news or bad news first, guys? Bad news? Okay.

Bad news #1: I forgot my camera at home today and so I have no pictures of Ajloun or the Dead Sea. And by "I forgot my camera," I mean I thought I left my camera at home but it was actually in my bag the whole time. Hi, my name is Meg. I've been doing shit like this since 1991 and will continue to do such things for many years to come.

Bad news #2: Turns out the Dead Sea burns the crotch area. It's unpleasant.

Bad news #3: We didn't go on the archaeological hike in Ajloun today, we went to the Dead Sea instead. I'm going again with my mom this Friday, so I will be going to the Dead Sea twice in one week. My life is so hard, huh?

Good news!

Good news #1: I went to the Dead Sea today.

Good news #2: I painted a space-themed classroom in Ajloun, it was awesome! We painted murals in three classrooms for the school in Ajloun today, and ours was space-themed. We painted a sun, a moon, some stars, Saturn, and a rocket ship. We also had a border going around the room of stars with English alphabet letters inside of them, as well as Arabic letters. Pretty nifty. I wish I had pictures, but I do not, see Bad news #1.

Good news #3: While there are still ~32 days left until I get to go home, there are only 15 more days of Arabic classes. This news kinda made my day. This means that of the 32 days, there are 15 days of Arabic, 8 days of weekend, 4 days of finals, and 5 days of I don't know what. But I know what it's not. It's not Arabic. :D

Good news #4: I have a blister from my fantastic new purple shoes. Obviously, this is not good news; the good news is that my blister did not burn or even hurt at all in the Dead Sea. Weird, but good.

Good news #5: My sort-of host sister that doesn't live with us (she's thirty), had twins on Wednesday! Pretty exciting.

Good news #6: My mom is coming to visit in a few days! We're going to Petra and the Dead Sea and it'll be great.

tl;dr: No pictures (hopefully you noticed that), Dead Sea burns unpleasant places, ow, I painted space, I measure time in weird ways, baby twin host nieces, my mom is coming to visit me next week.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Night 74: Food of Istanbul

Okay guys, time for pictures of lots and lots of food. Specifically dessert-like food.
Also, I would like to apologize for the bad formatting of my last couple of blog posts (including this one). My internet is being stupid and for complicated reasons this means that formatting is really difficult. :P

 Loads of colorful rice pudding and fruits. This particular window display is in a dessert shop that we went to pretty much every day. Mostly we were there for the free samples of Turkish Delight, but we also ate there a few times.
Kitty! This was our very first meal in Istanbul. We all had delicious omelettes, and the kitty hopped up on the table to finish off Jill's breakfast when she deigned to leave a few scraps on her plate. This cat also tried to eat my purse.
Ratatoille cake. At first I thought that this cake and the following two cakes were mostly fondant, so they were pretty, but probably not tasty. However, it turns out that these cakes are covered in marzipan, not fondant. WANT. I love marzipan.
Smurfs. This was particularly cute since it reminded us of the University of Jordan, where freshmen are referred to as "smurfs."

This cake was from the delicious dessert shop that gives free samples of Turkish delight (the shop is actually called Hafiz Mustafa, but we always referred to it as the "free samples place" or the "chocolate baklava place," or by the end of the trip, "our place"). It was sooo tasty. It also had bananas in the filling, which was interesting. That day we also had hot chocolate :).

This was the waffle that I ate on Buyukundu, one of the Princes' Islands. All waffles in Istanbul are this beautiful. Most come with ice cream. I also got a waffle later in the trip that had peanut butter on it, which was amazing because peanut butter does not seem to exist in the Middle East. The day that I got the peanut butter waffle, Hannah had a giant crepe with THREE scoops of ice cream.
Chocolate baklava from Hafiz Mustafa. The white baklava was added to the plate by our waiter. He said it was his favorite, so we should try it. After we paid, he brought us a plate full of tiny squares of Turkish delight. Best waiter ever.

On our last night in Istanbul, we had dessert for dinner. This, of course, was Hannah's idea, and it was spectacular. I'm pretty sure we confused the hell out of the Hafiz Mustafa staff, though. Hafiz Mustafa is structures such that it has a dessert shop on the first floor where you can buy individual pieces of Turkish delight and baklava, and candy boxes to take home. Upstairs is a sit down restaurant where you can order hot chocolate, coffee, baklava, cake, etc. We sat upstairs, but because the menu does not have some of the items from downstairs, we had to bring out waiter down to the counter and point at all of the things we wanted. He was confused at first, but then caught on and started suggesting things to us, including the chocolate cookie pictured above. My favorite was the pink thing. I think it was coconut something. Then, we went back upstairs and when he asked us for our drink orders, we were like "No, you don't understand, we're not done ordering food yet." We then proceeded to order chocolate cake, the pudding that looks like creme brule (above), and some cheesy pastry things. Then we ordered drinks. The waiter was quite pleased, and later the head waiter came by and offered us free apple tea. Best dessert place ever.