Hoşgeldiniz to 2013

Welcome to the New Year!  I hope everyone had safe and happy New Years celebrations.  Bülent and I have been so busy lately that we welcomed the New Year from bed, where we had been snuggling and watching movies.  It worked for me!  Start the New Year as you mean to continue right?  I am sure many people are thinking about New Year Resolutions and how to make changes.  I think I am just going to continue the journey I started several months ago, trying to appreciate the good, and live a more balanced life.

It has been a difficult year.  This day last year I was packing my bags to go back to the U.S.  I  had taken a leave of absence due to my father’s health and was supposed to head back at the end of the semester in late January.  I had spoken to my family a couple of days before and I had decided to change my plane ticket on December 30.  It was expensive to change a ticket two days before the flight, but it was the best decision I ever made.  My father’s funeral was on the original date in January on which I was supposed to arrive. 

I had taken the semester off and my school had hired someone to take my place, so I stayed in N.H., grieving and healing with my family.  It was difficult to be separated from my husband for six months, but has changed our relationship for the better.  We are stronger and more united, we know there is nothing we wouldn’t do to help the other…been there, done that.  We have now had bad and trying times and just love each other more for our individual responses to them. 

My time in the U.S. last year was very precious to me.  It allowed me to spend time with my mother while she needed me, and while I needed her.  I was able to get to know my brother as the man he is now, as opposed to the boy he was when I left.  I was also able to get to know his long time girlfriend, who is as lovely inside as she is out.  I went to my college roommate’s wedding and celebrated her happiness with her, and our college friends, some of whom I haven’t seen in five years.   I drove from Texas to New Hampshire, meeting Bülent’s dearest old friends, and visiting mine along the way.   I also went to BlogHer ‘12!

My oldest and dearest friend made me an Auntie—albeit in a terrifying way.  Due to her daughter’s insistence to make a (extremely early) entrance I was able to meet her in the NICU before I came back to Turkey.  

Health wise: Bülent and I went vegetarian (almost six months now) and I joined a gym a few months ago.  The breast lumps have been vanquished—well not vanquished but at least identified as benign.  To top it all off, our dog, Butterfinger, is not letting cataracts get her down.   

The year has been challenging and rewarding.  I am hoping that this next year will be easier, because we kind of need a break.  But we are starting the year off right.  Last year my dad wanted to take our family on a last vacation, a cruise, due to his limited mobility, but he died before we were able.  

Well, we are taking that fucking cruise.  Come January break, my mom, brother and I are going to go.  We are going to celebrate what was, what is and what is to come, because that is what life is all about.  So 2013—bring it on!

Summer BBQ

I LOVE food.  ALL FOOD.  As my husband will attest while shuddering with repulsion and distaste, I will eat anything.  I will try anything once or twice (sometimes you need more than one tasting.)  I have no prejudice when it comes to food and will eat it mild or spicy, hot or cold, offal or vegetarian.   Seriously.  One of my favorite foods in TR is Kokoreç—lamb intestines…YUM!

But, there are some things that I miss.  Like tender, fresh, native summer corn and  Pork, Pork, Pork, Ham and Bacon…

While my husband was here we had a lovely barbeque, including some of my favorite things that I missed the most.


Sweet NH Native Corn…


Salad of Field Greens picked from Mom’s Garden


Homemade Potato Salad


Hotdogs, Hot and Sweet Pork Sausages



Fun Times with the FamFam


Oh Home!

Sweat+Blisters+3 Hours=3 acres of shiny freshly cut lawn


Now I just have to do this every five days for the rest of the summer.


On the plus side…no one needs a gym when you have a yard with an incline like this.


And yes, that is a truck and a trailer parked on the lawn.  It is NH after all.  We also have a car graveyard in the woods.


I will be posting as often as possible, though coverage may be sporadic.  I am at my parents home in New Hampshire, hanging out, visiting family, and prepping for the upcoming wedding…Mine!

Moms camers 030 So in between the bachelorette party, (this weekend),Bülent flying in (next week) my bridal shower, (next weekend) and the wedding (the weekend after) I may be fairly busy.   I will try my best though.  I have some awesome food photos coming so be on the watch.  Happy Fourth!


Family Times Ahead

I looked at the Calendar and all of a sudden we are way into January.  Crazy!  Where did the year go?  January means two things, the first is that my awesome cousin Elizabeth and her husband, Jake, are coming to visit.  It will be amazing and it will be Turkish Foodapaloza.  Jake is totally into food, so I will be using that as an excuse to eat my own weight in just about everything, of course while introducing him to the best and tastiest of Turkish foods.  I will try to record it. 

The second Family Event that January brings is a visit HOME! I will be going home for two AMAZING, WONDERFUL weeks.   I love being with my family, and cannot wait to go home. 

PS: Family I will be wanting Pork. Ham. Bacon. Bacon. Ham.  PORK!  Weird how you always want what you can’t have. 

Fall Foliage

It is fall in Ankara.  The days are warm, the nights are cool.  The weather is lovely.  The leaves are starting to change-sort of.  I think it is because it is not quite cold enough that the leaves are changing color patchily. The colors are not particularly vibrant.  But after living in California for three years, a little yellow on the trees and leaves on the ground feels like autumn to me. 

However, my conception of autumn and foliage has been forever ruined by the standard.  Nothing can ever come close.   Seriously.  My parents have ruined me for fall anywhere other than New Hampshire. 


In the fall our home is surrounded by brightly colored trees.  In front of our home is a pond, and when the light is right the trees across the pond reflect on the water and it looks like they might catch on fire. 

pondThere really is no competition.  As lovely as every place I have lived and visited, truly nothing compares to the gorgeousness of the New Hampshire woods.  Sure the power goes out occasionally.  Yes, your cheeks might feel like they will freeze off in the winter.  Driving home can be a death defying act on the narrow, dirt, ice covered roads.  But…


Really.  There is no comparison.


See this photo?


I receive photos very similar but very different several times a week.  This is the view off the front porch at sunrise.  My mother sends me sunrise photos from home about three times a week.  They are my favorite emails to find in my inbox.

Officially an Expat

I don’t know whether the adjective expat seems cool or obnoxious.  But that is now what I am, no longer on extended vacation.  I am now officially an American living abroad!  Or “yabanci” as Turkish call it…  To summarize, my fiancé is a Turkish American and we came to Turkey 6 months ago to experience his native culture.

Bulent and I came to Turkey in February for several reasons…

To complete his compulsory military duty, introduce me to his culture, language, and family.  It was also an early extended honeymoon, where we got to travel extensively.  We were also keeping our eyes out for career opportunities

We were going to stay for a few months as a trial period, I had never been to Turkey and wanted to see if I was comfortable here.  It has been a phenomenal trip, I have experienced Turkish food and hospitality in spades, and have started learning the language.    We had some opportunities in both Turkey and the US, and for different reasons when we evaluated the situation it made more sense to live in Turkey, for now.   Bulent is applying for jobs and I have  accepted a job at a prestigious prep school.

It was a hard decision, I will miss my friends and family in the U.S. tremendously.  I will have to start all over again in a country where I do not know the language.  There will be challenges, however there will also be excitement.

I will be immersed in a new culture and language, and with study will be able to become fluent.  This is the time to take advantage of our situation and enjoy being young and unencumbered.  And we are doing it.  How many people get to do this?   It is an exciting adventure and I am so glad it has started.

TR Family Vacay 341

Just the right mix, looking for adventure, but trying not to fall off the wall and down the cliff.

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