Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Merhaba! Boy is it cold here. There's snow much snow!!

Last night, Kate and I went for a walk after dinner. The snow was lightly falling, and the park along the Bosphorus was lovely. Then Kate noticed that, down the Bosphorus, the sky looked "blurry". It was about, oh, a minute later that we were hit with a wall of snow/ice. 

It was pretty miserable, and neither of us was really dressed for a snowstorm. So we began to make our way back home. We passed a group of men having a snowball fight, and they were chivalrous enough to pause while we passed. I cut a corner and ended up on a patch of ice. 

I did that thing that people in cartoons do - it was like my legs were just running in place. I wasn't falling but I wasn't balanced either, and my feet were definitely moving. This man hurried towards me to save me from busting my butt and in a frenzied voice was saying "Aman!Aman!Aman!Aman!Aman!Aman!Aman!Aman!", which is the Turkish equivalent of "Ohmigod!Ohmigod!Ohmigod!Ohmigod!".

He steadied me and let go, but when I lifted my foot to move forward, I started do the Scooby-Doo in-place running thing again. The response to which was again "Aman!Aman!Aman!Aman!Aman!Aman!" 

He rescued me again and guided me back to the safety of the sidewalk, and Kate and I made it home without further incident. Why do my shortcuts never work out?

Monday, January 30, 2012

What? How?

My street is really narrow. There are always cars parked on both sides, leaving enough room for one way traffic. The next street over, however, is even more narrow. That street is only two cars wide. 

And the cars park there. I'm not entirely sure how it works when the cars in the middle want to leave, but it seems to work out. These are photos that I took from the same place between two parked cars. I mean, how does the blue car get out?

How do these white cars get out? Maybe there is some sort of hierarchy - like, the silver Honda leaves every morning at 8am so it gets parked on the outside? Maybe there is some sort of honking or warning that happens when a car needs to leave? Maybe this street's neighbors are really close and everyone has everyone's phone numbers and knows whose cars are whose? 

Does anyone have any thoughts on how this kind of parking works? Does anyone have any thoughts as to why Americans could never, ever park like this? My thought is that Americans are always in a hurry, and often kind of angry, so it's a bad idea to put them in a position where their car might get blocked in. 

Friday, January 27, 2012


"Snow Snow Snow Snow Snowity Snow Snow!" - Katy Herrera

"Seems like that accurately describes life." - Kate Costello

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sad Bed

My bed is a sad bed. First, it is just a thin sheet of cardboard on top of a metal frame with two cross bars. Second, the mattress is a very thin, foam sheet. These two things combine to form the worst bed ever invented. Just between us though, I like the way it opens to reveal secret storage space. 

Okay, yeah, on the second day of moving into our apartment I was standing on the bed to kill a bug on the ceiling. I jumped a little and the bed broke. I decided that it sucked but I could sleep on the other two-thirds until I had enough money to fix it. 

This is definitely not a fix befitting an adult, but oh well. So yeah, I just curled up on two-thirds of the bed. But that put a lot of pressure on the one bar that was holding me up. 

So over the past 5 months, my legs and torso have been sagging. I've been sort of bent in half at the hip when I sleep. Sad, I know. 

Yesterday, I was sitting on the very edge of the bed, trying not to put an weight on the unsupported cardboard, and it broke. So we called the bed people to finally come fix it. They are coming tomorrow, and Lord knows how much it will cost to repair, but maybe they can give me a real bed. This not a real bed. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Zıbar Artık!

The Internet sensation! Now in Türkçe!

The translation that Niko came up with is "go ahead and croak," as in, go ahead and die. So harsh. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cold Water

Oh man. This morning was a great morning. We had new water delivered, and in the winter, the water they deliver is ice cold, baby. Just look at that sweet, sweet condensation. 

No one drinks the tap water in Istanbul. I've heard various reasons as to why but I haven't really found the one, true answer. Everyone just drinks bottled water. We get them in huge bottles and attach a pump to the top. Two of these huge bottles last the four of us about 3 days. I blame Chris; he consumes a lot of water.  
I'm assuming these bottles are stored outside before they are delivered to us because they are definitely not this cold in the summer months.

Abby likes cold water so she bought this funky ice cube tray in August. She stopped using the ice cube tray a month or two ago, though. I thought it might be a sign of depression but actually she thinks the water is cold enough on its own. Whew...

But yeah, the water came this morning, and it was soooo cold.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Bill the Akbil?

Today I realized that I haven't written about one of the few things that I have with me everyday at all times. I go through a checklist whenever I walk out of the house or leave a restaurant or get off a bus or, really, move from one location to another. It goes "cell phone, other cell phone, wallet, keys - ok let's go."

And on my keychain is my Akbil!

This little green guy is my buddy. In fact, I based the entire color scheme of my keychain on him. I got him from my friend Stephen, who I went to Izmir and Bodrum with when I first arrived in Turkey. I think I still owe him 10tl for it, too. I'll get it to you, Stephen, I promise.

The akbil is used to pay for public transportation in Istanbul. One akbil press costs me 1.75tl but a transfer press costs 1tl. All travelers must pay with an akbil; the buses don't take cash.

Yeah, so I hopped on the bus today, and this girl asked me if she could use my akbil. So I double pressed, and she gave me 2tl. I was up 25 kuruş! Then, about halfway through the bus ride, this other girl asked if anyone would lend her their akbil. Everyone was avoiding eye contact and ignoring her, so I stepped up. She, too, gave me 2tl, and because enough time had passed between the first presses and this one, it counted as a transfer and was cheaper! So then I was up 1.25tl. I actually made money from being a nice person!!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Switch Up!

My nickname was Katy from the ages of 0-13, when, in a moment of 8th grade rebellion, I changed the spelling to Kati. Today I decided to change it back. Kati is very cool and funky but Katy is very cute and playful. I'm switching it up and seeing what happens!

I can always change it back if I decide that it doesn't quite fit me. My mom is very flexible with names and my full/real name is still intact so it's not that huge of a deal. Changing all my online usernames is another story...

Let me know what you think. What does Katy say to you?

Friday, January 20, 2012


I don't go to Starbucks a lot but there was definitely a time when our home didn't have internet and I was there a lot. This is my usual experience:

Kati: Bir tall latte, lütfen.
Barrista: Tamam. İsim?
Kati: Kati
Barrista: *wild look*
Kati: Kaaah tee?
Barrista: *confused look*

At this point, they give up. They will either hand the cup over to the drink maker without a name or they will give it their best guess. I get a lot of variations of "Kelly" and "Kerry" but the cup below is the most messed up spelling I've ever seen:

Helin???? How? 

I've joked about coming up with a Turkish name just for my Starbucks life but I've decided the next time I go, I'm going to give them "Herrera" and see what happens. Might as well make a game out of it; I'll start a collection of spellings.

Does anyone else have this problem?

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Never order a hamburger outside of the United States. It's just offensive. Look at this:

They actually put it in a panini maker. I call it, well, just look at the title. Let's take a look inside, shall we?

Oh yeah, just as bad. Could they not have made a little more effort in the meat department? I mean, look how big the bread is. Or should be, before it was brutally flattened in a fervor of cultural misunderstanding. 

Thanks for listening. It really helped. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mr. Postman

Mail is an unpredictable thing here in Turkey. It takes anywhere from 10-20 days, usually. Sometimes it takes more, and sometimes it doesn't show up at all. This letter from my grandmother arrived with another letter on Monday. 

The thing is, this one was sent sometime in January, while the other was sent in the middle of December. There is no way of knowing when something will arrive. 

If you'll also notice, this envelope was torn and then placed in a plastic bag by the Turkish mail carrier. So not only did this letter get destroyed, it got repackaged and still arrived in less time than the other letter. 

The lesson: don't mail me anything time-sensitive or valuable. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


There are a lot of street dogs and cats in Istanbul. They usually sleep all day, and they have a policy of 'don't bother me and I won't bother you' that they strongly adhere to. Occasionally you'll get a dog that is a bit different. Like Chuck here. 

When I left work a couple nights ago, he began following me. He would race ahead of me then wait until I caught up and walk next to me for a while. He would explore front yards and then run after me. He stuck by my side for a good ten minutes. I named him Chuck because I could. I also talked to him for a while. In Turkish, of course, Chuck doesn't speak English.

At first, I asked him if he was going to walk me all the way home to Bebek. Then, we moved onto "what are you doing?!?!" Chuck got out of control real fast. I've seen this behavior in movies before but never in real life: he was literally chasing cars. He would wait in the middle of the road until they drove by then bark at them while chasing them for a bit. I was legitimately concerned for him, more for his mental well-being than his physical safety. Abby has said before that the adult strays must be the smartest because they've survived the city. And that totally makes sense - Chuck had to be a smart dog but he was not acting like it. 

I felt somewhat responsible for him, too, because was following me. After a car would go by he would run and catch up to me. I told him to stop and go home but he wouldn't listen. I really just wanted him to go away so I wouldn't see him get hit by a car - a very real possibility from his cavalier attitude towards the street and the cars whizzing by. 

About 30 seconds after I took the picture above, Chuck entered into someone else's territory. Three dogs, which are usually curled up asleep when I walk by, chased Chuck off. I laughed. This dog should be smart but, boy, was he dumb. 

Roommate Profile: Abby

The second roommate profile is Abby's. She went to Princeton and graduated with me this past spring. I think she's pretty cool but one thing you should know about her is that she is late quite often. She just moves more slowly than the rest of us. She takes her like 5 minutes to put on her shoes - no lie. I factor in "Abby shoe time" when I am planning when we should leave the house. This is my subtle way of explaining why the blog post is appearing early Tuesday morning instead of Monday night.

What's your name?
Abigail Bowman

How old are you?

Where are you from?
Born and raised in Iowa

When was the first time you came to Turkey?
I wrote a paper about Atatürk when I was in 7th grade for the National History Day competition. That paper completely changed my life. After winning at the State level, I went to Washington, DC and met with the Turkish ambassador. Later, when I was 14, the Atatürk Society of America sent me by myself to Turkey for a week to stay with families in Ankara and Istanbul and see for myself the results of Atatürk's reforms. I'll never forget that first trip.

How did you end up in Istanbul this time?
I got a Fulbright to come back to Istanbul for the year, and there's really nowhere I'd rather be for a while.

What are you doing?
I'm translating Murathan Mungan and other modern Turkish authors into English. For fun, I'm playing a TON of strategy board games and also writing my own interactive fiction piece.

What is the best meal you've had in Istanbul?
Fried zucchini sandwich, in our own kitchen. I live with a cooking god.

What's your favorite neighborhood in the city?
Kadıköy is my new favorite neighborhood. I'm excited to get to know it better. Arnavutköy will always feel like home to me though.

What's your greatest guilty pleasure?
Raw cookie dough...except I don't actually feel guilty about it.

Who is your mortal enemy?

What are you plans for 2012?
Get into grad school, find a good summer job somewhere, and go travelling around Turkey. I've never been east of Ankara, I have a lot of places to see.

What's the most dangerous thing you've ever done?
Exploring the steam tunnels below Princeton.

In 25 years, you will be...
hopefully in a real job. I'd like to have published a book by then.

What is the thing you most want your friends to see when they visit?
Of course I want them to see the mosques and museums, but most of all I want them to see the best parts of my everyday life: my home and my friends, my favorite mantı restaurant, my favorite waffle stand, and my own little stretch of the Bosphorus.

What does your family think about you living in Turkey?
They are 100% supportive; my love of travel definitely runs in the family. My mom and sister have visited me here already, and my dad will hopefully come this year.

What's your favorite Turkish dessert?
Since waffles aren't really Turkish, I'll have to say künefe.

Turkish coffee or tea?
I typed out five different answers to this question before settling on "Both."

How long will you stay in Istanbul?
At least three years, to finish my Fulbright and then complete a Master's here in Ottoman and Turkish history. After that, who knows--but even if I leave, I know I'll be back.

In three words, how would you describe Istanbul?
İstanbullulaştıramadıklarımızdanmışsınızcasına konuşma lan. (Don't talk as if you're one of the ones we weren't able to turn into Istanbul dwellers, buddy.)

Anything else we should know?
This post is 100% free of Kati's blogulant lies.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Oh my gosh! There was snow today! It was very similar to a Texas snow: huge, wet flakes that stick to nothing. It was a good distraction though. Definitely more exciting than the hour or so that all of the electricity was out in the city. 

This past week has been, on the whole, rather dull. The weather was cold and wet, and I would have rather stayed in bed. BUT I do have a good story. On Tuesday, I had a friend request accepted. Awesome, except I didn't know who the guy was that accepted my friend request, and according to Facebook, I was the one who initiated the contact. A mystery! 

I politely asked how we knew each other, but he didn't have an answer either. We had one mutual friend, and we were both in Istanbul. So we decided to meet up to solve the mystery! I brought Abby, you know, just in case.

Last night we went over all the possible ways that we could have met, to no avail. It turns out that my request had been pending since 2009, so we definitely didn't meet in Istanbul, but it also doesn't seem like our paths ever crossed anywhere in time. And he's not a ZOOM! kid. My last thought is that maybe we had another mutual friend that isn't an official friend anymore or maybe has deleted their Facebook. I just don't know. 

He's a cool guy, and I'm certainly glad to have met him, but the mystery remains. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

To The Doctor!

Chris has had this weird thing on his arm for almost two weeks now. It was getting a little gross so he made an appointment with a doctor at the American Hastanesi! This is supposed to the best hospital, like, ever. So I offered to accompany Chris for his own sake but also to see the inside. 

Ok, it wasn't that pretty or anything. Chris got good service and is on the road to recovery and everything, but the hospital itself is nothing to write home about (although I kind of am, haha). Before we got there I thought that it was going to be staffed by Americans, or something like that. It turns out that it really doesn't have any ties to America. The staff is not American but everyone speaks English. Chris found out from his doctor that the hospital was founded in 1920 as an American military hospital, and it was purchased by Koç in 1995. Their intention was to make it the best private hospital in the country. It's reputation definitely precedes it, but the facilities were not that special. 

In one way, it's predictable that a hospital would use "American" to promote a hospital. In Turkey, like much of the world, American is synonymous with modernity (whether deserved or not). And it makes total sense that a private hospital would use the American "brand" to imply that America has something to do with the hospital. 

I know that countries' names aren't trademarked or anything but it seems dishonest to call a hospital "American" when it's not. Sure it has American roots, but it seems that "American" was left in the title to convey more legitimacy over the other hospitals in the city. 

Finally, know that I'm judging all of this by the aesthetics of the facilities. I've seen prettier hospitals. I have not seen other hospitals in Istanbul though, so I guess if this is the prettiest hospital in Istanbul, I'd be okay with them attaching America to it. As long as America wins. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Today I went pants shopping, which is not easy in Turkey. Turkish women are made differently, and my hips just do not get along with their clothes. It turned out though that pants shopping is a whole lot easier than shoe shopping. 

These were bright red pants that I tried on in a moment of insanity. The color was less offensive than the surprise capri cut though. Had they been full-length pants I might have bought them. My goal for 2012 is to be more adventurous in the clothes department. 

A few months ago I went shoe shopping for some brown flats. It was a spectacular failure. I went to store after store, and at almost every single one, their largest pair was too small for my feet. I wear an 8.5-9 in American sizes. That's not huge; I would say it's on the large side of average. But apparently Turkish women have daintier feet than I do because no store had shoes that would fit me. It was crazy. I felt like an outcast giant. So I cheated and made my mom buy me some American shoes. 

Buying clothes here is hard but it's still part of the adventure of living here. I'm going to try to live in Turkey with what's available to me here, not live a life that's recreating America. 

To new pants!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Death of a Microphone

Last night was a grand night! My friend's mother had a birthday, and they had live Turkish music at their home.

It was actually pretty embarrassing because I was the only one who didn't know all of the songs. I have vowed to learn the lyrics to at least a few of these so the next time I can sing along with the best of them.

I ended up spending the night at their house. Everything about their home was lovely...except fot the 6am wake-up call, aka the call to prayer. The call to prayer is standard for Turkey; it's a Muslim country so five times a day, the religious are called to pray via a microphone and amplifier. It's usually a really nice experience because you'll hear one call begin and then mosques across the city join in. In some parts of the city, it's really loud and attention-grabbing, and in others the call to prayer fades into the street noises. 

There's a mosque in Bebek, where I live, but I can't hear the call to prayer from my house. Sometimes I completely forget that there is one until the sounds faintly float into an open window. This morning, however, I woke up to the reminder that I am in a Muslim country. I didn't actually check but my friend must live across the street from a mosque. It was so. loud.

Around 6am, the call began. Generally it lasts about a couple minutes. I woke up and mumbled something angry into my pillow (I don't like startling wake-ups), then I went back to sleep. A few minutes later, they started again. I was so confused because usually it's a one-time thing, no do-overs. At the end of this second one, there was static and feedback. Static and feedback. Like this: KKKKRSSHHHHKKRRRR!!!!!!!!!!! It sounded like a microphone was dying.

When I woke up for real I found out that the part two was actually a death announcement. I had never heard of that before so it was a learning experience! Quite a startling one though. Quite.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Roommate Profile: Niko

I submitted a list of questions to my roommates in the hopes that both you and I could get to know him a little better. Consider this character development for all my stories about the famous Niko. I used Princeton's University Press Club's 21 Questions With... as inspiration but some questions are flat-out copied from them. Thanks, UPC! So here we go...

What's your name?
Nicholas Demetrius Kontovas

How old are you?

Where are you from?
Northport, New York, USA

When was the first time you came to Turkey?
Summer 2007

How did you end up in Istanbul this time?

What are you doing?
Researching the development of Turkish queer slang. Trying to gather as many Turkish books as my incidentals allowance will allow.

What's the best meal you've had in Istanbul?
Hm...probably a grilled fish I had in a small place up in Bostancı. I'm a sucker for good seafood.

What do you do all day?
Generally review Turkish vocab, read, do some work on my thesis/Fulbright project, engage in an unhealthy dose of self-loathing, practice calligraphy, cook, play videogames, eat...

What is your greatest guilty pleasure?

What are your plans for 2012?
Find something to do after Fulbright. Probably continuing onto a PhD in Turkic Philology.

Who is your mortal enemy?

What's the most dangerous thing you've ever done?
Drink from Lake Baikal.

In 25 years, you will be...
Who the hell knows?

What's the most interesting thing you've learned about Istanbul?
Not so much a specific thing, but I'm always struck as I travel around the city by how decidedly non-Turkish Istanbul used to be, and consequently how quickly all of that non-Turkishness has been forgotten.

What is the thing you most want your friends to see when they visit?
The Bosporus. That's easy, though - it's hard to miss.

What's you favorite neighborhood in the city?
Cihangir. Maybe Kadiköy.

What's your favorite Turkish dessert?
Kestane şekeri isn't particularly Turkish, nor is it really a dessert so much as it is a sweet. But there you have it.

Turkish coffee or tea?

What does your family think about you living in Turkey?
I think they think it's pretty neat. My mom used to worry about my safety. I think my dad just wishes I would get a job.

How long will you stay in Istanbul?
At least until May

What is your least favorite aspect of the city?

In three words, how would you describe Istanbul?
Big, yet small.

Anything else we should know?
I'll probably be embarrassed by my answers later, so please don't remind me of them.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Bodrum Mantı

Our apartment has two different restaurants that we go to when we want to bond. Or are just hungry. One is at the top of The Hill and the other is in AVK. The one in Arnavutköy is Bodrum Mantı!

Bodrum is a town along the coast of Turkey, and apparently they make good mantı (mahnt-uh) there. What is mantı? It's a tiny meat dumpling that is usually boiled. It is topped with a yogurt and garlic sauce. 


On the left is the traditional, boiled mantı, and on the right is feriye mantı. Feriye mantı is fried instead of boiled. Both are amazing. It really just depends on what you're feeling. Abby says that she really likes the crunch of the feriye mantı while I like the squishiness of the boiled. 

The great thing about Bodrum Mantı is they give you half the meal for free. Ok, yes, you overpay for the drinks but as long you're getting something "free", it's worth it, right?

After the mantı they serve a quarter of a waffle with ice cream and raspberry sauce. It's so good. And even though it's tiny, it's quite satisfying. They also have Turkish coffee and tea for the excellent price of free. When the roommates go to bond, we eat, talk, and then linger over our Turkish coffee and practice telling each other's fortunes. It's so crazy but we always see a return trip to Bodrum Mantı in our futures. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

26 Hours Of Shame

Abby's home! She was supposed to get in last night around 5pm but she didn't show up until midnight. I was, maybe, a tiny bit worried about her but when she told me her tale, there was only laughter and gentle head shaking. First, this charge form:

Her story went like this:

Abby flew from Iowa to Denver and then from Denver to Frankfurt where she was supposed to catch her flight to Istanbul. Well, she missed her flight in Frankfurt. When she landed, on time, in Frankfurt, she looked at the board to find out which gate to head to next. She saw "Istanbul" and headed to the corresponding gate, where she waited for about a half-hour until boarding began. When she finally got to the front of the line, the ticket agent pointed out that she was trying to board a Turkish Airlines flight and she had a Lufthansa ticket. Then he told her the Lufthansa gate number.

She says now that she should have gotten food and gone straight to the gate but she didn't. She was tired and grumpy and decided to sit down to eat. Then came her fatal flaw: she started reading.

When she finished, she walked to the gate but didn't see "Istanbul" posted on the board. She encountered an angry German or two who first interrogated her concerning her whereabouts and then informed her that her flight had left 20 minutes before and she would need to go to a help counter to get a new flight. And we all know how this part goes: that counter sent her to another counter, which sent her to another counter that was conveniently located in Germany.

Yes, Abby had to go through passport control and enter Germany in order to get out of Germany. That's ironic, right? Her new ticket sent her to Munich and then on to Istanbul. In Munich, she landed in the domestic terminal and had to transfer terminals. When she got to the passport control agent in the international terminal he asked what she had seen during her visit to Germany, and she was forced to admit she had only been in the country for a few hours and was just trying to leave.

She finally got back to Istanbul late last night with two huge suitcases and a tragicomic story. It's good to have her back. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Today I will show you a magical Turkish food that America should immediately adopt. It's called lahmacun (lah-mah-june). On menus it is often translated as "Turkish pizza" but it is so much more. First of all, it's cheap. One lahmacun costs 2tl ($1). I usually eat two, bringing the cost of my meal to 4tl. Yes. When we order-in, this is how it comes:

Folded in half, it's a thin piece of dough, or the "crust" of the "pizza". But when we open it,

Ok, it looks exactly like a really thin pizza. There's a tiny bit of sauce but mostly it's a mixture of meat and finely diced peppers baked on top. But here comes the magic.

Oh yeah. Put some tomato slices, lettuce, and some parsley in the middle. Squeeze a little lemon on top, and wrap it up like a burrito!

And then you eat your face off. It's a pizza wrap but with actual fresh vegetables. And no cheese. It's tastier and healthier. One of the many reasons I love this country. The waffles are on the list, too.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I Want You, I Need You, Oh Baby, Oh Baby

Today we'll start with a little puzzle. No cheating! What do these three things have in common? We have a bottle of vodka, a sugar-free Red Bull, and headphones. Any guesses? 

These are three things that I don't want unless I don't have them. I bought the bottle of vodka from duty free on my way back from Dubai because every time I passed a store here that sold alcohol all I could think about were the drinks I could make if only I had some alcohol. Alcohol is so expensive here, and I refuse to spend a lot of money it. So when I got it for cheap at duty free I bought it! And I haven't even opened it yet. 

The same goes for the Red Bull. I walk by stores that sell Red Bull everyday, and before I had one sitting in my fridge the temptation to buy one was really high. I just wanted one. So about two months ago I bought one, and it made the desire for it go away just by sitting in the fridge.

Finally, today I wasn't planning to listen to any music on my way to work. It takes me about 50 minutes to walk there, and sometimes I don't wear headphones. It's no big deal. About a quarter of the way to work I happened to notice that I had forgotten my headphones, and all of a sudden it became very important that I listen to music. I knew exactly what song I wanted to listen to at that moment; I knew exactly what I was being denied. I also knew that I didn't really care if I had headphones or not. 

It was weird to feel that immediate shift of wanting, needing, something as soon as I found out I couldn't have it and at the same time, to know that it's not that big of a deal. When I got home I didn't rush to my computer to play THE song that I had so desperately wanted earlier. 

I don't really know if I should blame this on our "meaningless, consumer-driven lives", AKA advertising, or if it's something biological. All I know is just having these things near me soothes my urge to throw a tantrum like a small child. Am I crazy? Does this happen to anyone else?


(Also, the title comes from here. TTIHAY FTW.)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Spoon Noir

Today, whist searching for The Elusive 59H, which I have discovered is now 59C, I stumbled across a large market in Arnavutköy. 

In this picture, it looks like there is only stuff but the entire market was full of fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and fresh fish. The market also had wooden spoons!

Now why would I notice wooden spoons? Well, we've had some problems in the last few weeks with house guests and wooden spoons.

Our first wooden spoon came with our apartment. It was so sweet and light brown. Abby's sister brutally killed it in a cookie dough frenzy. She claims it was an accident. It never saw it coming, and it didn't suffer. Our second wooden spoon was purchased within the week. An obviously cheap imitation, it could not replace the hole in the drawer that our first wooden spoon had left behind. Sadly, as hard as it tried, it went the same way as the first. This time Niko's friend was the culprit. He said they had been doing a lot of cooking that week; the new spoon was probably under a lot of stress. After a few days of physical and emotional torment, the second spoon snapped. 

Now we have a third spoon. We're trying to treat it well, trying to keep the pressure for it to be like the others down, trying to treat it with the respect it deserves. We can't let this happen again. If we can't take care of spoons, how can we take care of ourselves?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Kısmet (Fate)

Kısmet is the Turkish word for "fate" or "destiny". It is used in Turkish in much the same way as in English and can be said when something goes right or wrong. "It's fate!" 

When I consider my current living situation, I am tempted to call it fate. I live with two Fulbright scholars and a graduate of Oxford; two of whom I had never met before I moved here. My roommates are so smart, it's insane. When I graduated from Princeton I was completely ready to get away from smart people; my brain hurt from trying to keep up. Somehow I ended up still surrounded by brainiacs.

In a nutshell, Abby and I went to Princeton together and knew each other tangentially. She received a Fulbright and got to know Niko, another Fulbrighter. THEN, Chris joined the team because Abby had taken a class three years ago with one of Chris' friends who then introduced him to us. Abby is our glue. 

I'll let them all tell you their individual stories but I can't help but think it's fate that I'm living with three roommates whose passions are so different yet pursued with the same fervor. It really is remarkable. 

Now that I've thought of this great idea, I'm going to try to convince them to let me write a blog post about each one individually. Stay tuned.