Friday, April 20, 2012


I've been parking my bicycle near the front of the school building, under a stairwell, and locked to a support beam. I figured it was safe there because it's not in a direct line of site for the students but it's near a "supervised" play area. I use the word "supervised" lightly because in America I remember actually watching the children, setting boundaries, stopping fights, etc. Here I see clumps of teachers texting with their backs turned away from the play areas (granted the best wi-fi in the school is near the soccer field) and fights happening right under teacher noses.

Anyway, I digress. When I approached my bike this afternoon a group of children left their school bus and came over to say hello and examine my bicycle. One of the astute young boys pointed out that I had a flat tire. Darn, I thought,but luckily I have a spare tube..I'll just pop it in and be on my way. Upon closer examination I noticed that my bike pump had also been swiped. Now I knew the flat was caused from foul play and not from one of the many pieces of broken Efes beer bottles I ride over every morning. I got mad and angrily started walking my bike the seven kilometers towards home. Alas, there is no privacy in Turkey so pretty soon all the teachers knew and went in to get the head master which is probably a good thing because not only did I have a flat and a missing pump, but I also had a flat cause by someone breaking off the stem of the tube. I guess that was faster and more damaging than just letting the air out of the tire.

Well, the head master arrived and he was very apologetic and said the school would pay, and they would catch the students on the security cameras, and his workers would drive my bike to a tire shop, and bring it to my home later. (I'm sure they wanted to take it to a motorcycle and car repair shop because they didn't want me to come along and said "it is not a place for women, you know Turkey, ha, ha, ha".) And, I said, "no." I'm coming with the bike,and I want to go to a bike shop, and then I can ride it home after it's repaired. Plus, if they were paying, I wanted to give the business to my bicycle friends who had just opened a beautiful shop with quality bikes and equipment. I want them to stay in business.

Little did they know that I also needed my bicycle to ride to a mailing company in time to mail my signed teaching contract to Izmir. For most of the week I had actually been waivering about staying in Malatya next year, especially since about two hours earlier the headmaster said he really wanted me to stay, I really like many of the people here, and the beautiful spring weather has been clouding my judgement....But, I'll take the vandalism as a sign...It's time to go...

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