Saturday, March 31, 2012

Bebek Catwalk

Last Sunday was beautiful. I finished work early and came rushing home to meet Abby for a waffle. The line was insane. 

Yeah, all those people were in line. We waited over 40 minutes for a waffle, but it was worth it. We were able to watch the beautiful people of Bebek as they strutted their stuff on the first gorgeous day of spring. 

Let me tell you, Bebek brought the bronzer. And the sports cars - that's a Ferrari in the background there. Now expensive cars and general fanciness are pretty standard for this neighborhood but man, Sunday was like one big catwalk. 

I'm pretty impressed. And the waffle was awesome. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Janky Cab

Look at this janky cab.

We decided that someone probably built it from scratch in their garage and/or is driving it ironically. But seriously. They couldn't even get the right color yellow, and it has racing stripes? Come on. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Drum Roll...

This sign has been driving me crazy. I finally remembered to ask a Turk what it means. Now it's your turn to guess.

Does it mean...

a) Do not enter

b) Short term parking

c) No trucks 

d) Low wires


Click here for the answer. Not as intuitive as you would think, huh? 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Balcony

Yesterday I was sitting on our balcony in the sun, resting my feet on our window ledge, getting my tan on. I moved my feet and immediately saw how dirty it was. In a single moment, I was spurred into action. I rounded Abby up and we had One Hour of Group Cleaning. We scrubbed over 5 months of dirt off of that baby.

And now look how she gleams! We found out today that if this new renter decides to take our place we might move out in as little as two weeks, and I honestly got sad. As much as I hate The Hill, the high rent, and the white furniture, this place is really nice, sunny, and warm. I'm going to miss it. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

House Hunters

We've been looking for a new apartment, and like many house hunts, this one comes with an emlakçı (real estate agent). Our emlakçı comes with a lot of books and this scary thing:

Today felt a lot like House Hunters International. We looked at three apartments. Here we go:

1) A furnished apartment. 1250tl a month. Two balconies, one of which is huge. It's bigger than the living room. The kitchen, however, is tiny. To give you an idea of the size discrepancy: the refrigerator is on the huge balcony. Also the sink/toilet is in a different room than the shower. Awkward.

2) An unfurnished apartment. 1100tl a month. This one was small and kind of gross. The layout was awkward. I honestly don't remember much about this place other than the stairs smelled like cat. Yuck.

3) An unfurnished apartment. 1400tl a month. So much sunlight! A huge living room (that faced a super busy street)! No balcony, and the people who moved out seem to have taken the light fixtures...

We're going to see another emlakçı tomorrow in a different neighborhood but so far, these are our options.  

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Kuzey Güney

Everyone says that watching tv in Turkish is a great way to learn the language so I started watching a show called Kuzey Güney, and oh man, it is good. I'm learning so much more than Turkish. 

It's got moments of loooove like this:

Moments of shocking revelations like this:

And it's got moments of "oh baby" like this:

The guy in the first and third picture is Kıvanç. He's like Turkish tv royalty. He's great looking and a surprisingly good actor. Here's the premise of the show: there are two brothers, Kuzey ("north") and Güney ("south"), and 3 years ago some crazy stuff went down. First, the girl in the first picture chose Güney, the guy in the second picture. On the surface, he's cute and charming while Kuzey (first and third picture) was a big, immature doofus. 

Then, one fateful night 3 years ago, Güney accidentally hit and killed a pedestrian. He had a bright future at university while Kuzey was a bit of a disaster, so their mother asked Kuzey to take the fall. And he did. The show starts 3 years later when Kuzey gets out of prison. 

There's a lot of brother-tension and feelings of resentment, jealousy, and guilt, but there's also the loooove triangle. It turns out that Güney is the jerk and Kuzey has been rejected by everyone close to him and just needs somebody to love him. 

Sigh. I'm a sucker for a tortured soul and washboard abs. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Hunger Games

Grace, Abby, and I went to see The Hunger Games tonight! First, we were super excited that the movie opened here today; I thought it would have some sort of delayed international release. I was supposed to work until 9pm, so we planned to see it tomorrow but then I didn't work until 9pm, so we went tonight instead! We went to Egg and Burger first to start the American evening off right and then walked to the theater. 

We didn't think that many Turks would be interested in The Hunger Games; only a few people that I've talked to have even heard of the books, and they just started advertising the movie last week. We didn't bother to reserve our seats ahead of time (sidenote: when you buy movie tickets in Turkey, you buy an assigned seat). We were right - not that many people were at the movie. What we didn't realize is that the theater would be tiiiiiiny.

Seriously, guys, there were 9 rows. NINE. Each row had 8-9 seats. I was so surprised. We ended up sitting separately - it was the only way to avoid sitting in the front row. I'm just picturing the jammed-packed mega-theaters in America that hold hundreds and hundreds of people (I'm imagining each row holds 20 people and then there are at least 25 rows) and wondering which of these two extremes is more ridiculous.

Also, Abby's row was full of tween boys. Awwww. So the movie: very true to the book but a little too fast, especially the cave stuff. I did not pick up on any chemistry between those two. And then it ended. But I like the characters, especially Katniss. I liked watching her think. She thought well. And Effie and Haymitch were perfect. Overall, I'm satisfied with the movie and very happy with the night. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Istanbul Party Boat

The Bosphorus Bridges are almost as iconic in Istanbul as the Hagia Sophia or Blue Mosque. They are especially significant for the modern Istanbul. They're big and beautiful and colorful.

The bridges light up at night. For hours, they interrupt the darkness of the Bosphorus with a gentle light show.

Day and night tours up and down the Bosphorus are really popular, and last night we saw a party boat lit like one of the bridges.

I got really excited because it combines a lot of my favorite things: parties, boats, lights, Istanbul references, parties, lights.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Imma Creepster.

Look. I know this is creepy. I know. But this apartment across and one floor below us has an awesome sunroom.

There's a full dining room table, a couch, and a chaise lounge. It's usually not creepy when I stare longingly down onto this room, but this morning when I took a picture, it was kind of creepy. 

I'm just so jealous of their sunroom in the morning when the sun filters in. I'm also jealous at night when they entertain guests and they all lounge in this white, comfy, glass room...

That picture isn't great but neither is this one...

I'll continue to gaze covetously from my window until we move, or at least until spring fills in that tree between our land. Ahhh...

Ps - It's hard to take peeping tom pics with an iPhone...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I Can't...I Just...Wow

Oh snap! Chris brought these bad boys home last night. They're called "gold bags", and I can't...I

The outside is kind of like chocolate phyllo, really thin but also a little chewy. I don't know what exactly it is. The inside has thick pudding/custard stuff. And there are chocolate chips involved.

He bought two last night and let me have one. And I was like, "I can't...I". Tonight, I went to the same restaurant, and they still had them! So I bought 4. The goal was to bring one for him, one for Abby and two for me! But then Abby wasn't home sooo that meant 3 for me, right? But wait.

As soon as Chris came home, I saw he had also been back to the restaurant. He bought 3, intending to give me one. So between the two of us, in two days, we basically bought this restaurant out of these babies. I wonder what they think of us. 

I ate all four of mine already. Sorry I'm not sorry. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

DIY: Nature's Gushers

I made my own pomegranate seeds today! And when I say I made them, I mean I freed the seeds and then ate all of them!

I got the instructions off the internet but basically I made cuts in the outside shell and soaked it in water for a bit.

Then pulled the casing/shell off. The seeds sank so I scooped the stuff off the top of the water and drained the rest. Then spent a couple hours munching on them. Best 3 lira I've spent all week. 

I sure have come a long way from the days when I didn't even know what the outside of a pomegranate looked like. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Fish Are The New Stars

Fish are the new stars.

They remind me of the time that I complimented this girl on her cute fish necklace and she gave it to me. She was drunk but swore she wasn't giving it to me just because she was drunk. Sometimes I wonder if she woke up the next morning wondering where her fish necklace went. Anyway, I loved it and wore it quite often for a few months until I forgot it at one of JFK's security checkpoints.

You might be surprised to learn that the JFK Lost and Found is staffed by really nice people. You probably won't be surprised to learn that I never saw that necklace again. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Cities Are Weird.

Last Saturday, I visited our friend Karen's apartment way out in the suburbs of Istanbul. This is a picture of the sun setting over the high rises of the suburbs. 

Even an hour outside the city, there are huge apartment buildings. The only difference from the buildings in Istanbul proper is that they are built taller and more uniformly into complexes with more amenities. For example, Karen's complex has a swimming pool. When she graciously let Abby and me stay with her last August while we were looking for an apartment, I definitely did not take full advantage of her pool. Regrets...

Swimming pools are crucial to my summer, and I might have to pay to use one this summer. That'll be weird. Cities are weird...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


From the natural formations to the modern structures, this city is beautiful.

This chunky sauce stuff tasted like the back of a convenience store smells.

What can I say? You win some, you lose some. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Bad Customer Service Unites Us All

This is unofficial transcript of an encounter I had at Clinique while trying to buy new foundation. It took place entirely in Turkish.

Katy: Hi. I have this *shows her old foundation*. It's too light. I need a new one but darker.
Woman: What number is that?
Katy: One. But it's too light. Maybe a two or three?
Woman: We don't have anything that light.
Katy: What do you have?
Woman: We don't have anything for you!
Katy: Ok, when will you have it?
Woman: A month or two. I don't know.
Katy: Are there other Cliniques?
Woman: Yes.
Katy: Where?

(The woman begins listing every mall in Istanbul. I cut her off after the first three.)

Katy: Do they have light colors?
Woman: I don't know. Maybe.

Moral of the story: I now know enough Turkish to get bad customer service! It's almost like being back in America...

Monday, March 5, 2012

Delivered Eggs

A couple weeks ago I wrote about how we borrowed an egg from Egg and Burger for our cookie dough. We didn't go last week nor did we make cookie dough so we're definitely overdue for both. Tonight, Abby and I decided to make cookie dough. She's been working really hard on a translation, and I've been surprisingly successful at doing nothing all day, so we decided we earned ourselves a treat.

We got halfway through the recipe when we realized that we didn't have eggs again! So frustrating! It was 11pm and neither of us wanted to wander out into the world and see if anything was open. So Abby made some phone calls to some shops in Bebek that specialize in foreign foods. She found one that was open and ordered a carton of eggs - for delivery. How awesome is that??

While she was on the phone I had her inquire about Fruit Loops - I just had a hankering. They had them! But they cost 25tl. *Low whistle* I didn't buy them, obviously. 

Anyway, Turkey comes through in the egg department once again. If you count these two stories with the YouMurta/yumurta pun, I think you'll see that it's been an eggcellent two weeks! 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sooo Punny!

I love Turkish-English puns!! I'll give you a second to get this one:

Does it help if I tell you that the Turkish word for 'egg' is 'yumurta'? Plus the play on YouTube. Awesome. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Extreme Makeover

So we are moving out at the end of this month. I think. I hope. Our contract says we stay until the end of May but we're ready to go and our landlord is ready for us to go. 

So yeah, the plan for us and our landlord is to spend March lining up a new tenant, and the realtor is coming tomorrow morning to show our apartment for the first time! Chris, Abby, and I spent an hour or two rearranging our furniture back to how it was when we first moved in. And look at what a big difference it makes!


Those are before and after photos of our dining room, which was once the room where Niko lived. We moved the bed and the wardrobe back to Chris' room. 


This is our living room. It's really long, and the space is awkward to fill up, especially because it's hard to make the furniture face each other but not block the view of the television. 


This is a view of the room from the television when we took the table out and moved the couch further back. If we move the couch all the way against the wall, it's like a quarter of a mile to the tv. So we left about 2 or 3 feet from the wall to the couch. 

Ehh? What do you think? I'm excited to see it in the morning when all the light comes streaming in those windows. Did I mention that our apartment has almost solid windows for three of the walls? I will miss that about this apartment.