The comedian Louis C.K. has a funny sketch in which he talks about how “everything is amazing and nobody is happy.” He uses airplanes as an example. He talks about how people complain about delays and silly issues like leg room, but they don’t take the time to stop and realize how incredible it is to sit in a chair in the sky and fly like a bird. We often don’t think about how in a few hours we can now cross continents that used to take people years to get through.
Today, as I flew through the air from Kyiv to Istanbul, and then Istanbul to Kayseri, I was truly amazed by the miracle of flight. In between, I will admit that I had some other feelings: exhausted carrying my heavy backpack, confused by the process of getting a Turkish visa for my passport, and a little annoyed when my second flight didn’t have a movie. Despite these grumblings, it was all worth it. Looking out the plane window, I was in awe at the landscape of Turkey. I saw farmland, oceans, islands, rivers, mountains of every shape and size, valleys, and more. Then, after an hour of additional driving, I arrived in Goreme, in the center of the Cappadocia region. The landscape is breathtaking. See for yourself:
Students: I’ve been realizing how much I’m using other kinds of learning to get by on this trip. See if you can help me solve some of these mysteries using skills from your various classes:
1. Math: In the taxi from my hotel in Kyiv to the airport, my taxi driver got up to 130 kilometers per hour. And there were no seat belts in the back! How fast is this in miles per hour?
2. Science: If you were to create a topographic map of the Cappadocia region, what interval would you use for the contour lines? What’s the highest elevation is in the area? Are my sneakers enough for hiking around here? I didn’t bring boots.
3. English Language Arts: I have to write a letter to a principal in Istanbul to try to convince them to let me visit their school this coming week. What should I use for my hook and/or topic sentence?
4. Math: It will cost about 35 Turkish Lira to do a load of laundry. Is that worth it? Or should I wear dirty clothes this week?
5. Language: Help me figure out some basics. How do I say “thank you” “good morning” and “excuse me” in Turkish?
6. Social Studies: I know that most people in Turkey are Muslim. Will I offend people if I wear short sleeves? What about a tank top?
7. Science: I’ve caught a glimpse of the bizarre rock formations in Goreme National Park. How did they form?
Can any students out there help me with these? I don’t have time to do all this research on my own and your skills would be much appreciated.