A little nervous, but still in full command of the microphone, Ata encouraged his new Rotary colleagues to pronounce his last name. “It is Ch-ay-leech, and merhaba means hello in Turkish,” he beamed.
With the help of Alux.com, Ata educated us on 15 fun facts about his home country, Turkey. Who knew that 50% of Turkish residents are under age 30; or, that soup is served before most meals, including breakfast? Adding his own touches to our quick introduction to Turkey, Ata displayed a picture of Mustafa Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey and the leader who brought women’s rights and public education reform to the republic’s provinces.
When asked about modern day Turkey, Ata was adamant, “We don’t ride camels!” Instead, he said that his culture is known for deliciously prepared foods and fancy mustaches. While his school day is over nine hours long plus half days on Saturdays, Ata confessed that his English language skills do not come from school, but instead from playing many hours of video games, because he is “secretly a nerd.” When his family’s photo appeared on the screen, Ata became emotional and boasted about his body-builder brother who is the funniest person he knows. His mother and father have created a wonderful life for him, and Ata’s wish is to make them proud of his accomplishments while he is on youth exchange.
He is off to a great start, having already experienced a Seahawks game, a Mariners game, a gaming convention, sushi, Costco samples and Bumbershoot. His favorite things so far? Garlic fries and free lemonade refills. Ata’s goals for the year include participating in sports and building his core strength; learning everything he can about our culture; making the best of each opportunity; and showing his thanks to Rotary and our Silverdale Club.
While he will be busy with AP classes, sports and school friends, ATA welcomes and appreciates outings with Rotarians and their families. Everyone is encouraged to not miss the opportunity to share an adventure with this bright, engaging young man.To schedule an outing, contact Host Mom Ellen Newberg at 360-692-3981 or firstname.lastname@example.org