It was a gray and cloudy morning. I was so tired that all I wanted to do when I came to the quarters was to sleep. But then…
It’s D minus 1 for the International Language and Culture Festival (Turkish: Uluslararası Dil ve Kültür Festivalı) which is sponsored by the International Turkish Association/ITA (Turkish: Uluslararası Türkçe Derneği/TÜRKÇEDER), and I’ve got to go with my friends; and there are so many of them!
(I’m not gonna go with the official line which says 140 countries and 1500+ students, but there are 5?7? countries with some 20+ students and teachers who stayed with us!)
We’ve had our 5-star (well, almost 5-star, maybe a 4.25) breakfast, and then we went to the International Izmir Fair Center on a minibus or something, courtesy of the millionaire organizers of the Festival (Find a poster on the Internet, and Google the names that appear on it. You’ll get a bloody idea.)
There was this strange atmosphere that hovered over me; after all, despite watching the Turkish Festivals from a distance since time immemorial, I am no fan of it. But then, as the following days will show, my views…Here are some snapshots that will put out my point well (Pictures are courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/turkceder):
Then of course, we’ve started to set up the booth, which was found inside Hall 3 of the fair center; along with a lot of other countries…Well, the booth was something like 15-20 square meters large, but it didn’t matter: It was more than enough for our needs.
My job was to bring stuff that can’t be found near the stand, and that meant anything from water to those large and dumb dummies to our stand (Yeah, they couldn’t speak, right?) and it made my clothes real dirty: From blue to brown. Yeah.
Then of course comes the early gift-hackers: There was this girl named Sopo from Georgia (I’m 95% sure it’s just a nick or shortcut, since they tend to have those …………… long and extremely messy names) who asked for a memento or something. After 10,000 seconds of bargaining, we’ve came to the agreement that one of us will deliver the “gift” to their stand, which was outside the hall, on the third day of the festival.
And then the “ninja visits”…I love those first-day visits, looking up for potential places to “attack”, and on this day, I’ve got a sling bag from the organizers themselves. Just nice and slow…I know that I’ll complete my “secret compendium” at the end of the Festival…
Of course, this Festival is not complete without the corporate lacquer and the sponsor advertisements (not to mention their own booths!): The Philippine stand is sponsored by “Mavi Produksyon“! I couldn’t help but laugh at that one.
And oh sh*t, Anelka’s number one enemy: The media. Now I understand why the guys with the camera are somewhat hated by a large portion of society: X, Y, and Z. But then, I have to deal with that (production value) thing, as well as the rest of the 1000+ students who are at the festival. I just hope that me and the media (who are my natural colleagues, by the way) will have a decent time together.
And then of course, after a very, very long and crappy and turbulent day; we (the team) have got our booth up and going. Kudos to us for that! Yeah buddy…yeah.
It’s 21:30, and I’m back at the dormitory with my friends. Had a great time back there, though I must admit that I’m really, really, really tired from having to work for 12 hours (and the fact that I’ve just arrived 3 hours before D-1). I guess the unlimited snacks and drink should make up for that!
Then comes the dark, windy, and cold night…Sleep is slowly embracing me…
PS: Is it the festival? Or is it The Festival? It doesn’t matter.