Christmas is Here!

Whee!  I love this holiday.  While I don’t do religion, I do really like the warm fuzzies that come with Christmas.  I love dressing up the house, buying gifts, baking sweets with tons of yummy spices.  We do live in Turkey and while they do not generally celebrate Christmas, there are Christmas trees EVERYWHERE.

Turkey celebrates the New Years with gift giving, decorated trees and lights and garland.  When I feel the need for Christmas cheer, pretty much every mall is a great bet!  All the malls and stores in the main shopping districts are decorated with greens and lights, probably more so than in the States.  It really is lovely.  Trust me, I know.  I spent five hours at the mall(s) today shopping.  You can see my efforts under the tree.  Another great aspect of Turkish culture is the service industry.  In EVERY STORE they offer complimentary gift wrapping.  Sometimes it is not ornate, but it usually is very nice, especially for those of us who are less gifted at the cutting of paper and folding of corners.  My wrapping efforts look like a preschooler’s, you know, lacking general gross motor skills.

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We also hung our stockings for the FIRST time ever! They are hanging our by Ataturk.  It is pretty normal for most households in Turkey to display a portrait of the founding father, and ours is no different.  There are three stockings.   One for Bulent, one for me, and one for the dog.  Hers already has some bones in it.  Growing up my family always hung a stocking for the pets, because Santa loved them too!   I thought that our puppy deserved the same.  There may even be a wrapped present under the tree for her.

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I apologize for the quality of the photos.  I took them with my phone.  I could have gotten up, gotten the camera, retrieved  the cord and downloaded the photos, however, I am exhausted from all the shopping.  Two malls, four floors each.   That’s a lot of shopping.

I Love the Pazar!

Pazars are great. They are the open air markets that sell fruits, veggies and household stuff like slippers, pots and pans, etc.  There is a large one I got to on Sundays, however I saw a smaller one today in a different neighborhood.  Pazars are not normally mid-week so I decided to stop by.

This pazar is smaller and has fewer choices, but because there is less traffic since it is on a Wednesday instead of the weekend the prices are a bit lower. pazar

3 loaves (or pieces) of bazlama bread, a huge bunch of mint, a giant head of lettuce, a large head of mesculin, a bunch of parsley and a kilo of Ankara pears.   All of this cost 8  lira, or $5.   A super bargain.  I wall be going back to that market for fresh greens, especially since it is so nice and quiet.

A note: I just discovered fresh bazlama bread at the pazars.  It is now my favorite food.  It is so soft and fresh, kind of like a chewy English muffin.  I will endeavor to start making it myself soon.  Though, for one lira for 3 pieces it may be cheaper just to buy it.