02/08/2013 05:29 pm ET Updated Apr 10, 2013

An Ode to Pizza

I have not had pizza since September 15. Before September 15, I ate pizza at least twice a month. It's my favorite food and it's easy. You pick up the phone and you order it. Then, later, you pay for it. That is all there is to it.

As you go around the world the pizza changes. It's always going to be dough, sauce and toppings. The dough is going to have different types of flour, and the sauce will use different tomatoes or maybe no tomatoes at all. It's really not fair to all the other pizzas to say that my favorite -- mushroom and asiago -- is better than all the rest because there are just too many different pizzas, and they go beyond comparison.

The world is the same way. If every country is a pizza, then I went from thick crust, tomatoes and cheese to thin crust and minced meat this past September when I left America to spend the school year as an exchange student in Turkey. As much as I miss my American pizza, I've grown to like what they have here.

For the most part my life is the same. I wake up, eat breakfast, go to school, go home, watch TV, eat dinner and go to bed. The most obvious differences come with what I am eating, where I am going to school and what I am watching on TV. I have been welcomed with open arms everywhere I have gone, and I mean that literally. Coming from Ohio I wasn't quite used to a kiss on each cheek every time I entered someone's house, and I was definitely not used to it at school. Nor was I used to taking off my shoes every time I entered a home, but now it feels strange wearing my shoes inside, even when it is acceptable.

I don't want to say that when I first got here things were easy. It felt like it was a million degrees outside, I couldn't communicate with my host family easily or my friends at school, and I missed my own family and friends (and cat) at home. I would be lying if I said things are easy for me now, but I think that that is also just part of being 16. Sometimes life is hard because you have to go to school and on top of that you have family and friends and sports or whatever it is that you do. And every time I start to think that maybe this is too much, I just tell myself that the only difference between me being home and away is the country.

Now that I'm an exchange student, no matter where I am, I have family, friends and school. I even have pizza.