Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
I was in Istanbul again this weekend to meet one of my closest friends, who flew in from Italy. We basically stayed holed up in the hotel to talk, although did catch a few art exhibits. On the ferry back to Hydarpasa train station, I felt my stomach drop like every time I cross over from one continent to another. It’s almost more than I can stand. But as I said good-bye to Europe, a school of dolphins swam by and I felt better, like someone was watching over me.
Posted by kloeamongtheturks at 2/27/2007
Monday, February 26, 2007
“Beware of females from beyond the Bosphorus:
Over 40% of the artists shown in Istanbul Galleries are women… a much better percentage than in Europe or the U.S. Soon hordes of women artist from abroad will seek refuge here to improve their careers. Male artists will relocate to be better appreciated.
"Don’t Count on Museums, Trust Banks Instead:
The Istanbul Museum of Painting and Sculpture has only 17 women hanging in its permanent collection. The Istanbul Modern is just as bad. The Pera did an exhibition, “The Image of Women in Turkish Art,” with only 2 female artists. Your artistic destiny may rest in a bank… some of their galleries have much better records.
"One Turkish curator will live forever. Others will be exiled.
The curator with the best record for promoting women artists will be cloned and his duplicates sent all over the world. The curators who forget women when they organize museum exhibitions and biennials will be banished to the US and EU where such backward ideas belong.
"Find Good Fortune in the Navy:
If you insist on having a museum exhibition, try the navy. 75% of the artists shown at the naval Museum Art Gallery have been women.”
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Tampons are culturally taboo here because they supposedly relieve you of your virginity. Yep, the old blood on the wedding night sheet thing. But does that mean that married women also have to suffer? Five days out of every 25 or 30 you should have a wad between your legs in addition to the cramps and bitchiness? No wonder Turkish women shave it all off “in the name of cleanliness.”
You can now find OBs, thank God for small miracles, at a major supermarket chain, although they are horribly expensive. But OBs are like non-absorbent corks with no applicators, and here in the land of iffy to non-existent t.p. in public toilets (imagine having to dig through your purse for a Kleenex with blood all over your hands, got that lovely picture?), I still obsess about how many tampax I have left each month, until a friendly shipment arrives.
**In Turkish toilets traditionally you use water to clean yourself. Can’t quite wrap my mind around that, but anyway…
Friday, February 23, 2007
I’ve been encouraging a few Turkish art students to come and study in the U.S. One, in particular, has great work, and has spent time in Europe so his eyes are opened to the wider, wilder artworld. He’s interested in an institution in SoCal for grad school, but the process is tough. Applications full of acronyms, money problems, language tests, multiple options—the American system is just so different it’s like a heroic quest for this young idealistic Turk.
Two American students have also arrived for the Spring semester. In their late 20s, confident, art majors, these women will be in my classes and I’m anxious that they set a good example for my Turkish female students. But they are having troubles navigating the system here, in understanding roommates and friends and “The Turkish Guy.”
In a certain respect I feel vindicated—this is why it’s so hard for me in Turkey. Even students, with their uncomplicated lives and minimal needs, are confounded and hurt. This is why our policies fail in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, the cultural gap is present in almost every interaction. It takes time and patience we might not possess to understand.
Take care of yourselves. Kloe
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Some cool and funny little sights and moments walking around Istanbul. This man told me I'd shot a triple portrait, then invited me to look at his glasses.
Don't you just dig Halloween plus Christmas in February?
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Monday, February 19, 2007
Air France is so much better than Delta. Free movies, six or seven to choose from whenever you want them to start, free champagne and wine, good food, gorgeous stewards and stewardesses who call you Madame. French is just too beautiful. 10½ hours SoCal to Paris. Only drawback is waiting at Charles de Gaulle (for five hours), a very uncomfortable place.
I noticed a definite change once surrounded by Turks again, how playful they are, even strangers waiting for a plane are joking and enjoying each other.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
You’re lying on your bed under an open window. It’s February in SoCal and the Santa Ana winds are blowing from the desert. The trees stand out against the sky, so clean, and the mountains that ring you as you drive to LAX are blue (when normally you can’t see them). Even if you grew up here, you’re impressed with this air and color and heat.
When/if/where will I see the people I already miss?
SoCal to Paris to Istanbul. Can't get more romantic than that.
See you back in Turkey.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
What makes a person take risks? Like to move to another country, switch careers, make major changes to our lives? We can go through years of relative calm, and then what happens? Boredom gives away to one risk, which might lead to another? Do we get high on the drama of change? Does life feels more real when there is the possibility of failure?
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Monday, February 12, 2007
Have been shopping for three days straight. Saw my lovely hairdresser today, am highlighted and destressed now. She’s better than a psychiatrist. Plus new clothes! How can it be possible to be so empowered by the way I look?
Plus, while visiting my aunt today at work someone recognized me. From elementary school.
Posted by kloeamongtheturks at 2/12/2007
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Americans are so funny. They joke with friends and complete strangers alike. Turks are probably funny too, but I miss it because of the language barrier.
The food here is greasy and sweet. And we are fat, fat, fat.
The roads are perfect.
We have way too much.
The grass is green and there are lots of birds.
We don’t greet each other formally like Turks do, with a kiss on both cheeks and “How are you?” “Fine, and you?” We should do it, it’s nice.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
1. From our Anatolian City, 6 hour bus trip, in which the driver smoked (drivers are exempt from the no-smoking-on-public-transport rule) and a very violent movie was shown despite half a dozen kids on the bus. Stayed overnight in Istanbul.
2. Taxi to airport in plenty of time. Waited on the tarmac for an hour before take-off. 10 ½ hour flight to NYC, waited another hour on the tarmac. Missed connecting flight, along with 20 other Turks.
3. Stayed in airport hotel, had a GREAT hamburger and martini in the bar watching a black debutant event (girls in crowns and dads in fedoras), Persian barkeep, white jocks, too-pretty Asian girls eating peanuts. Made friends with a fellow traveler-in-distress, a Turkish guy from Bursa going to SoCal to study English for a few months. Must take him museum hopping…
4. NYC to Salt Lake City. And you guessed it, mechanical problems, another 2 ½ hour delay.
5. Salt Lake to SoCal.
Istanbul to NYC: 5191 miles/8354 km
NYC to SoCal: 2429 miles/3909 km
Total travel time: 59 hours
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
All over Turkey, in cities big and small, high school students and young adults are studying in dershaneler, or private night schools. This photo was taken in Bursa from our hotel room at 6pm on a Sunday evening. What are they studying? Most probably, English. It is the key to success. In university entrance exams there is an English test. To get ahead in almost every profession, you must have English. Turkish has no future (this is what Turks tell me). How can that be for a national psyche, to believe that your language may die?
However, most Turks who do know English are afraid to speak it with me. They think I will judge them. When of course, coming from SoCal, where almost everyone mangles English, I am the last person to judge.
Tomorrow, in fact, I’m going home to Spanlishland for a week, so I’ll be posting from the other side of the world when next I write. Hasta la vista, baby.
It was taken in Kutahya, a center for porcelain production in Turkey.
Today, in the space of a few hours, two galleries called to offer me shows. Unfortunately, the dates are both for March. I paint fast, but not that fast, to have enough to fill two exhibitions simultaneously. What to do? When it rains, etc...
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
We also went to Bursa for a few days. Turkey’s fourth biggest city after Istanbul, Ankara and Ismir, Bursa is a big shopping mall, but also an important historic center. Photo above is one of the tombs of a Pasha from the 13th century, surrounded by his wives, etc. Turks were visiting and praying in front of the tomb. The local specialty is Iskender Kebap, which is sliced pressed lamb in tomato sauce over flat bread, then doused in herbed butter, served with grilled green pepper and yogurt. Not exactly low calorie, but quite good.
As a side note, we’ve outgrown budget hotels. Our regular two-star dive in Bursa, which had served us well before kids and with babies, no longer cuts it: no wireless, no comfortable lobby (where one parent can get away), no storage in the room, no kid activities. Plus it’s not that cheap (about $80 per night). Better to spend more for more comfort. Duh!
Monday, February 05, 2007
We’ve been on vacation for a few days with another family, half Turk, half Thai. Their younger child is Kid.02’s best buddy, and they are so cute together, like twins. It’s shy-guy’s first real friendship and we are relieved he has found someone. We went to another thermal resort so kids could swim (what else is there to do in winter here, tell me, please!) The highlight of the trip was taking two hikes in the snow. On the last day we saw a pack of wild boars running in the hills (they were being chased by village dogs). Then it turned toward us! Luckily the 20 or so pigs didn’t get too close, but if we’d been one minute later we would have come face to face with them on our path. How ironic, to almost be attacked by angry pigs in a Muslim country…
Sunday, February 04, 2007
Friday, February 02, 2007
As someone who has been obsessed with food and her body almost her entire life, I find it very interesting how my kids eat. I have one kid who is a young foodie, who started noticing how food tasted and commenting on it at age 3. Unfortunately, this kid also overeats because he can’t stop himself. He tries everything, and likes almost everything, and isn’t really into physical activity. My other kid could care less about food. I sneak him whole milk and extra butter, but he’s the type that has to wear a belt cause his pants fall off him. He does like dessert, though.
In both my and my husband’s families we have relatives who are thin and others who are pretty overweight. So genetically the kids could go either way.
My own attitude toward food is complicated. As an ex-dancer (who was told by a ballet master at age 12 that developing breasts were fat), I am almost never satisfied with my body. Having gone through two pregnancies in which I gained 45 pounds each time, I have gradually gotten my body back (altered, it’s true), but with lots of work (I do understand why many women just can’t do it). I subscribe to two philosophies:
1. NWC= Not Worth the Calories. If something isn’t really good, I generally don’t eat it.
2. The First Bite is the Best. A neighbor and I realized one day that this is the way we eat: the first bite is really the only bite you taste. The first sip of coffee is the best, the rest is just warm. The first taste of chocolate is divine, the first bite of each thing on your plate is almost enough. The rest is just eating for energy.
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Men and women don’t mix here much. If one man is with women friends, it is fine, but if a few men are added to the group, the sexes drift apart. The other day I came into a group of people on couches, and I sat down next to a man (with whom I wanted to talk), and was politely directed to sit with the women. And these were highly educated people! Parallel conversations then continued within the group. Another example: at a parent meeting at the grammar school, couples came in the door together, but most men dropped their wives off in the front of the classroom and went to sit with the men in the back. Reminded me of when I went to summer biology class at a Catholic school, girls on one side and boys on the other.
For the benefit of my Turkish readers, in America it is common, at a dinner party for example, for guests to sit boy/girl/boy/girl, and many times you don’t sit next to your partner. I like it like that.
BTW, in my next life I’m coming back as a man, but I'm sure you guessed that.