Survived!

I have survived the first week of school.  It went pretty well.  I missed teaching and the kids.  There is something special about the first week of school, when the kids are a little scared and trying to make a good impression.

A lot of my students from last year have come looking for me and have asked how my father is.  They knew he was ill, but are surprised when I tell them he died.  A couple times little girls have actually teared up.

Being back I knew people might ask how it was to be home and how my father is. What I didn’t expect from people is the comment…Wow you had a really long vacation!  They seemed to skipped over the terminal illness and death thing.   I had a particularly awkward encounter with  my neighbor.  First she commented on my long vacation, I said I went home because my father was very ill—he had cancer.  So then she asked what kind.  I said prostate because I don’t know how to say endocrine tumor in Turkish.  She said, oh..that’s not so bad, my father has that, then she asked how my father was now.  Dead.   I think she has been avoiding eye contact.

On my quest to have a more balanced life, I have been going to bed earlier this year.  It makes such a difference to go to sleep at 10 instead of 12.  It makes the morning so much less painful.  On the other hand, it is a habit that makes mornings come early.  It means that by 9 am this morning, I had showered, blown my hair dry, had breakfast, and walked the dog.  I had tried to sleep in, but to no avail.  I have a wedding to go to tonight.  I will have to take a nap to be able to stay conscious past 10!

Reflections on Turkey

Now that I have been in the U.S. for six months and will be going back to Turkey soon I have been thinking about my experiences when I first went there.  I knew after a fair amount of time here I will have to reassimilate and reacculturate a bit.   I think one of the most obvious, but least problematic issues is the communal culture.  In Turkey, what is one person’s is the family’s, and what is the family’s is the communities. This communal life structure takes time to adjust to.

Because everything is more communal, people will also make comments that would be considered rude in the US.  Goodhearted remarks on clothes, weight, body shape, etc. are considered completely appropriate.  For example, “That doesn’t look good on you.” “Are you gaining weight? You look bigger.”  “Is that a pimple or a bug bite?” Or my personal favorite, after you have been ill, “How is your diarrhea?”

I was introduced to this communal culture when I became Turkey’s “Bride.”  When I moved there I was engaged (I went from girlfriend to fiancé on the trip over.)  That made me a “gelin” or bride.  Usually the woman entering the family is called a gelin, and is called the gelin until she is no longer the youngest or more recently married woman in the family.  It is an affectionate term.  My husband introduced me as his gelin.  His mother and father also called me their gelin.   They would introduce me as “Our gelin.”  Then close friends of the family would introduce me to others, “Oh, our new gelin is American…”  My husband was complemented and told that he had brought such a nice. gelin for Turkey.  I agreed to marry one man and found myself the bride of a nation.

So while I have been here I have been a sister, a daughter and a wife, in Turkey, I will be all of those things as well as everyone’s “bride” when I go back.

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My Roomie’s Wedding!

My sophomore roommate from college was great.  Katie and I were very different.  She was organized, I was not.  We had a line down the center of the room, as long as my things did not escape the line, it was not an issue.  She was an art history major.  Her side of the room was always lovely, as was she.  She had a talent for putting together outfits.  Once, I was going out on a date.  She asked me, “Oh, is that what you are wearing?”  My response was, “No, apparently not.”   She dressed me like a doll, and I encouraged it.

So she got married in February.  I had a very complicated relationship with her wedding.  Not her—Her wedding.

1) I got the wedding announcement and was totally depressed. One of my BFFs was getting married and again I was out of the country.

2) My dad was terminally ill.  I was going to take care of him, so I would be in the country for the wedding.  I could GO! Yay!

3) My dad was SO ill I couldn’t plan on going because his death was imminent.

4) My dad died way before I thought he would.  So…Wedding was on.

My friend asked me to be her bridesmaid.  Through out the entire #1-4 she was awesome.  She told me she would love for me to be in the wedding.  All she asked was to let her know when I knew, a few days before the wedding would be fine.    Katie is amazing in that way.

While I wanted to be there for her I had hesitations. I hadn’t done anything social since my dad died.  But I had already bought the tickets.  It was hard for me because it was only a year and a half ago that my parents walked me down the aisle at my on wedding.

But I went anyway.  And I had an amazing time.  I saw some of my friends I hadn’t seen in five years.   While I was a little sad, I was also so happy to be there for my friend.  Also, it was not my wedding.  It was Katie’s.  Katie’s wedding.  The weekend was not about me—It was about Katie (and Pete).  A woman who we all wanted to celebrate, and share in her experience.    Every moment of that wedding day, I was fiercely glad I could be there with her.

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To start the Wedding Weekend, I flew to Nashville,  from where I made the road trip to Memphis with my friends Kate and Ben.  The weekend started off on an interesting note.

First, waiting for my flight to Nashville, I recognized a woman in my gate.  I knew her from some where, but could not place her for a few minutes.  Waiting for my flight was made much more interesting by sneaking peeks at this woman and racking my brain for where I had met her.  Then I realized, I hadn’t met her…I knew her from her blog.  Yes, at the Charlotte airport was Mr. Lady!  An auspicious beginning indeed!

I got off the plane, and Kate jumped out of her car, there was hugging and shrieking and then Kate started doing both as well.  Then, we got a call from our friend Ben.  He had dislocated his shoulder right before he left for the airport…What should he do?  Well, because the theme of the weekend was “Everyone Loves Katie!” he sucked it up, got on the plane and asked the flight attendant for ice.  We had a sling waiting for him when he got off the plane.  113.large

Every aspect of the wedding was a lot of fun. Seeing old friends, making new ones. Blind Mississippi Morris performed at the rehearsal dinner, blowing us out of the water. Also, it was at Fire Museum of Memphis, where they served martinis that smoked.

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The whole weekend was amazing, and really a journey.  There was time with friends, a beautiful wedding, and I think some healing too.

Two Countries=Two Weddings

Equals two anniversaries!  Last week on 9/19 we had our second wedding anniversary, of our first year of marriage.  One of the benefits of being a bicultural couple, is that you get two weddings and two anniversaries.  Last year I blogged more about the adventures my family went on, than  our Turkish wedding reception.  Which was awesome.   At our Turkish reception we had a live jazz band in an outdoor garden.  Same players, same dress, different flowers, different tie.  And I sang.

At the U.S. wedding Bülent sang me an amazing love song called “Hatırla Sevgilim” or “Remember Darling.”  Not only was it a lovely song, but he has a beautiful voice.

Also, brand new gorgeous husband singing to you–

The stuff dreams are made of…sing

Wanting to be equally romantic, at the Turkish wedding, I sang Bülent a song.

(See look, same dress, veil and suit—different color tie)

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Unfortunately, singing is not my gift. So really, it was very sentimental and romantic—because there was no other redeeming value. When I got up on stage with the band, one of them asked me what key I was singing in. I think the look of panic tipped her off—Key, What key? She said they would just follow me…The song, Üsküdar’a Gider İken, is a classic Turkish folk song. I would recommend listening to it, it is lovely and the rendition linked is great.

It is about the rain in Istanbul, a woman and a man.  Clearly all the essentials for romance.  Also it explains the pink umbrella I am brandishing in the photo.  Yes, at one point I was swinging it around and about.  Very sassily.  It earned me a cheer from the guests.

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So, happy 2nd 1st anniversary baby!  We are on our way to a long life together.  Let’s look at those numbers:

1 year of marriage
3 years in Turkey
7 years of living together
8 years together in total

This morning we made omelets and toast, then snuggled on the couch and drank our coffee, just like almost every Sunday for the last eight years.  And you know what–I really don’t want to do anything else…Perfect.  Just perfect.

2nd Year!

366 days ago I got married.  Today is the 1st day of my second year of marriage!  (Which means yesterday was my 1st anniversary-but I couldn’t post since I had to finish a paper for my Masters)

My husband is actually in Turkey, and I am in NH—So we did not celebrate this anniversary in person together.   We had a romantic dinner before he left for Turkey, and a Skype yesterday.  When I get back we will do something on the date of our Turkish reception as well.

It seems crazy that I have been married a year. But crazy in a good way.  Like Crazy Awesome!  Living with your BFF who also happens to be your lover is a great way to spend your life.

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He makes life exciting.  He whisks me away for romantic weekends and is always on the look out for things I will enjoy.  He knows when I am having a bad day and pre-orders take out for us.  He holds me when I cry and and when I laugh.

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I want nothing more than many more decades with this man, on our own adventures.

Happy Anniversary  Şekerkalbim!

Congratulations!

This Saturday I went to an amazingly lovely wedding.  My cousin Eulalie and her new husband Mike were married in their apple orchard underneath a beautiful old White Ash Tree.

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Eulalie and Mike started dating around the same time as Bulent and I did.  We shared a lot of the beginning trials and tribulations of new love and relationships.  I was so happy I was able watch their relationship grow and be a part of their special day.

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We had a lovely time seeing family and friends.  It has been almost a year since our wedding.  It was amazing to go to a wedding and just be able to attend, as opposed to being the host.  Best wishes to the happy couple for a long and beautiful life together.

No Internet Connection = Irregular Posting

We won’t have internet for the rest of the month.  So posting may be spotty.  That is fine since it gives me the opportunity to post wedding porn!

So the lowdown on the wedding…It was fantastic!

We had a fairly small wedding on the lakeside.  The actually ceremony was under a tent on the shore and the reception was nearby at the boathouse on the same property. We had a small wedding party, just the matron of honor, the best man and a flower girl.  We wrote the ceremony, which included a ring warming, and the whole thing lasted about seven or eight minutes. 

My friends were amazing.  I had one friend drive up from Kentucky the Monday before the wedding (which was on a Saturday.)  My friend spent the week doing laundry and yard work and anything else that we asked, to help prep for the wedding.  My other friends all helped out and decorated the boathouse for the wedding. 

My matron of honor was amazing.  Not only did she arrange the shower and help with invitations and make my jewelry for the wedding, but she also hosted another one of my friends from out of town.  Her husband actually drove two hours to the airport to pick my friend up.  My friends are wonderful and I am so lucky.

There was one small hitch.  My Matron of Honor got a flat tire on the way to the wedding.  She calls, says she already has the tire iron out and shouldn’t be more than 15 minutes late, just then in the background I hear “That’s a might pretty dress…”  Some boys stopped and helped her and she was only 10 minutes late. It worked out fine.  While we were waiting for her I shoved my future sister-in-law out of the limo to start the ring warming so the guests would get too antsy.  Enough with the talking though….Wedding Porn.

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Nazar Boncu pinned to my dress

JULIA N ELLIOT

My brother and me at our home.

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My parents, brother and me at the house.FIRST KISS

First Kiss

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Walking out as husband and wife. (Music: Signed, Sealed, Delivered by Stevie Wonder)

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Walking to the boathouse with my men.

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Wedding cake, which my mother and I made.  She has the skill, I just helped. 

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  View from the boathouse.

More photos coming later, including tales from the Morning After Brunch.  That’s right, my mom threw an after wedding brunch for 75 people and cooked it all herself. And it was tasty!

Negligent Blogger Backlog…

Since I have been back in NH I have been running around like crazy.  I have been seeing friends, cleaning and polishing the house along with all the regular pre-wedding stuff.  A quick run down…

Bacon.  Pork.  Pork chops, pork loin, eggs and bacon, BLTs, etc.

The first morning I was in the States I went out for breakfast with a friend.  BACON!!!

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Also my mom makes the BEST dirty vodka martinis! I have been practicing since I have been home.  Practice makes perfect, and also is tasty!

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Bachelorette party in New York with my aunt and cousins!

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I also took this opportunity to stock up on ridiculously expensive make-up for my wedding.  ‘

BT DUB—Totally worth it!

 

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And a bridal shower.   I can’t carry much back with me to Turkey so my friends organized a lingerie bridal shower.  I will be the best dressed women who has ever gone to bed.

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And then on July 24th, I got married!

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Bulent’s parents are in town for a week, so I will try to update on the upcoming New England adventures.

Getting Ready!

My parents have a very old home.  About 150 years old.  They have been working on it for years.  Each year they tackle a problem or redo a room.  Well, the wedding gave them a little more momentum.  Since I was home last January they have redone..

The upstairs bathroom, the downstairs bathroom and the entire kitchen.  They have also repapered all the walls downstairs and many of them upstairs and refinished most of the floors. They do most of the manual labor themselves, though my strapping younger brother did alot of the heavy stuff.  Better Homes and Gardens meet This Old House.  I am seriously impressed.

So now we are working on the outside.  There has been a heat wave lately so outside work means lots of sweating, swearing and water breaks. So while my brother was on a ladder painting the house (he should get a medal!), I was pulling weeds from flower beds.  I need to be careful not to get tan line because of my strapless wedding dress, thus this fetching ensemble…

073Obviously I am totally glammed up for the wedding!