Monday, October 30, 2006

Ders Var

Gave in and am taking Turkish lessons, again… The other students in the class put us to shame: from Slovenia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany—all speak multiple languages. Turks aren’t snobby about Turkish, and most are complimented when you make the attempt to communicate with them, even if you badly mangle it.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Happy 83rd, Turkey!

It’s Turkish Republic Day. Hugs and kisses to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk!
love, Kloe

Some Things Never Go Out of Style

Kids and Hubby constructed a fort out of a washing machine box. Great GameBoy den.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Back to Reality

We’re back in our gritty, cold, intellectual Anatolian City. I did enjoy the beach in Antalya—the water is much warmer than in SoCal. And now I have a nice tan to get me through the Turkish winter.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I Won't Cover Up

I spent the entire day on the beach, away from the headscarves. I feel strangely oppressed by these religious women, as if in rebuke to my own dissolute and wastrel lifestyle. They are obviously dedicated to their families, but I feel so badly for them. I’ve got to get over this.

It’s as if I’m Seeing the Crisis of the Turkish Family under a Microscope

We are at a resort on the Mediterranean, one of those all inclusive deals popular in Europe. Lots of Germans and Russians here, besides Turks. At poolside are women in headscarves, fully dressed in long skirts or pants and tunics, sitting next to their husbands and children who are in swimsuits. Playing next to them are prepubescent Turkish girls, topless, a sight you’d never see in the States. And next to them are retired couples, drinking raki at noon. All these Turks at this resort are bucking tradition, which dictates you go back to your home-place to honor and visit your relatives.
There is a commercial (for a chocolate company) on t.v. here that aims at this guilt, showing a nuclear family driving to a bayram beach holiday. They see a billboard advertising chocolate, and how happy their elders would have been to see them. So the husband turns the car around, away from the sunny vacation, back to family. But the writing’s on the wall.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sugar Holiday

We are in Antalya for the Sekar Bayram (Sugar Holiday). I’m glad to be away, when Turks visit each other and trade sweets for the three days at the end of Ramadan (curious connection to Halloween…).
I know this isn’t a very good photo, but I’m pleased because I just took it in the lobby of the hotel, downloaded it, and am writing this now. Two nice employees helped me find power cause I was almost dead. So see? good with the hard.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

It’s Very Hard Sometimes

Today I was in line at the grocery checkout and the woman ahead of me was three lira (about $2) short on her bill. She started pulling food out of her bags, the good things she had bought for her young son, who was standing next to her watching. I felt so bad I gave the checker the three lira, just so the little boy could have his Cars Cheerios. But the woman refused my money and left.
It’s these types of situations that make living here hard. I think I am being clear or kind, but I am misunderstood. I make an invitation to friendship because I am alone here, but there is no response that I can recognize.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

More Paintings

A knitting series on paper, related to previous wound paintings.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Started Painting

A portrait series, large.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

More Kitchen Woes

We just replaced our kitchen counter, which was badly damaged. Picked out a sink with the drain on the left side, and look how it was installed. I saw it and just went to bed. Only men could do such a job, in which the remaining counter space is big enough to cut a cucumber, but only if perpendicular to the wall. (Later they came back and added more counter for me, so we made lemonade out of lemons, pardon the cliche.)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Some Things Just Don’t Get Thought Through

Our kitchen balcony lock is really tough, so I asked our kapaci (literally doorman, the super) to put on a chain lock to use instead. But…

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Our Lojman

Here I am in the garden under our apartment. We live in a beautiful, secluded spot! However, the heat has yet to be turned on, and I’m freezing my butt off…

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Random Observations on Ramadan

Many people in our City don’t fast, but are respectful of those that do. So no eating or drinking in public or right before Iftar (because people are waiting those last long minutes in restaurants). This makes me realize how often we eat on the streets here.
Who doesn’t fast: school children, teachers (at least at Kid.01’s school), menstruating women (this seems fair).
Some Turks do a fast only for a weekend.
We visited a family and they served us tea, cake and cookies. Only later did I realize the hosts were fasting. Now that’s hospitality.
Ramadan is used to sell stuff, like Christmas or the Fourth of July.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Living as a Minority

Being blond and blue-eyed, I am both the SoCal norm and its ideal. Among the Turks, I’m a minority. I stick out so that people stop me in the streets to ask me where I’m from. Although this is a somewhat heterogeneous society, it’s nothing like the “rainbow” that is SoCal. Then again, I’d say Turks admire blond people, so I’m not experiencing what many minorities do in the States.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

No Guac in Sight

I do miss my carne asada burrito.
PS: My Name is Red is one of my all time favorite books: art plus religion plus love. Congrats to Orhan Pamuk on the Nobel Prize.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Negatives and Positives

List made at a low point in Kid.01’s initial adjustment to his Turkish school:
1. My Turkish school
2. No friends at recess
3. Missing Grandma, Abuelita, Zeydah and GramGram
4. I don't speak Turkish
5. Friends.01 not at my school
6. I have to wear a uniform
7. School is too long
8. School is boring
1. Eating doner
2. New toys
3. Mommy's work
4. T.V. at home
5. I am friends with Friend.01
6. Traveling with Mommy and Daddy
7. Dessert
8. X-Plane
9. Snow
10. Turkish Coco Pops

Monday, October 09, 2006

Speaking of Knitting

I am in heaven here!!! Wool is cheap and plentiful. I'm a rather new knitter (my peasant roots have been sprouting: am also into chickens, but more on that later). I knit for relaxation and to occupy my hands during those long after-dinner conversations with tea and chocolate.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Tomato Heaven

Turkish produce is incredible because it’s local. We’re eating tomatoes at almost every meal. Tonight we ate lentil stew with homegrown potatoes and yogurt. The kids ate mini hotdogs. I made my second attempt at brownies, but still not right…

Saturday, October 07, 2006

City-Dwelling Turks have the Right Idea

Some Turks have gorgeous country houses. We spent an entire day with a gentleman farmer who is a dentist by trade, drinking beer, eating nuts and ending up with a stuff-fest bbq. Kid.02 has decided he loves kofte (Turkish meatballs).

Friday, October 06, 2006

Pastrami Summer

The weather here in Turkey is so lovely now, warm and windy, with some rain. We know that soon it will be very cold here. Last winter was especially bad in Anatolia, but any winter will be hard for a SoCal girl like me. I’ll have to knit lots of sweaters and scarves, a pleasant duty!
Here I am in the countryside outside our City.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

AnkaMall (I’m not making that name up)

We visited the newest and biggest mall in Ankara. Yes, there is a food court with fake palm trees. And yes, there is not one, but two Starbucks.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Small Natural Disasters Make their Day

It poured in Ankara one late afternoon, and while waiting to be picked up for an Iftar invitation (the fast-breaking dinner during Ramadan) our hotel flooded. The kids thought it terribly cool to have the street become a river, then have the river run into the hotel lobby.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Surrealism Sells Well in Turkey

Our first art opening in Turkey. Old artist friend, Polish. Kids, as usual, claimed child abuse, although Kid.01 liked the Doritos.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Traffic Sucks in the Capitol

Well, Ankara is just booming. It’s shocking how much the city has changed since we lived here 11 years ago. I’m grateful not to have to deal with the big city stuff with kids this time. Being from Suburbia, it would be another kind of culture shock to live in concrete mayhem, where every day you are in danger of being run over in the streets.
Happy Birthday, Sis!


We've lived in Turkey twice before. Once Before Kids (what was that like again?) and once three years ago for a semester. So living here is not entirely new to us. The biggest change is that the kids are in FULL IMMERSION Turkish schools. Like jumping into a very chilly pool.
Here I am helping Kid.01 write in his journal during a visit to Ankara.