Home Again and Back

Last Sunday I flew home to the US for a whirlwind visit.  We had many plans to do many things.  While  was able to do most of those things, we had to plan and re-plan ad revise our plans.  This was because of the snow! DSC_0055

I love snow and I miss snow so I didn’t mind.  My parents have so much snow that the mounds from pushing off the deck are snow several feet higher than the four foot deck itself.  The snow now needs to be lifted and thrown.  DSC_0039

When I was home I was lucky enough to see a lot of my family, including several cousins, my parents, grandmother and my darling  brother.  My parents thought it would be fun to take a trip to New York.  One of my aunts lives in NYC, so we headed down to see her.  It was lovely.  My parents and I took the Acela (fast) train from Boston.  It was wonderful and quick, only about 3.5 hours.  There was one small issue though.  On the way home it took 7 hours instead of 3.5 to get back to Boston.  This was because our train derailed less than a mile outside of Penn Station!  We had to be evacuated from the train, they built a staircase and shoveled a path to transfer us from one train to another.  We then had to go back to Penn Station and get on the next train a couple of hours later. No one vas hurt and it certainly spiced up the story.  Why was your train late?  Oh, no reason– it just derailed, slid off the tracks and we were evacuated.  (It was only the first two engine cars actually, but sounds better that way.)

Train wreck aside, the visit was wonderful.  I had an amazing time just hanging out with my parents, going snow shoeing and shopping.  It was so nice to spend time with my family and friends, I really enjoy these trips home. I think the time with my family seems so precious because it is so limited.

I am now sitting in an airport waiting for my plane back to Ankara.  I am happy and excited to be going back, but also glad that the plane has no rails to have issues with.

Visit to Eskişehir

A few weeks ago, before my life was consumed with correcting exams, processing grades and nailing down details for my upcoming wedding, we took a trip to Eskişehir.   It is about an hour an a half on the fast train.  The train was great.  It ran frequently all day, was clean and convenient.

The city itself is fun, but certainly a day trip—no need to stay overnight.  We walked around all day and were able to see most of the city.  Eskişehir has a university and was considered to be a supporter of Ataturk as the city sacrificed itself during the Independence war, holding off the invasion of the British.  The city was razed then later rebuilt.  I was very surprised considering it liberal past, that there was such a conservative religious community.  While religious people aren’t against Ataturk, and those who support Ataturk don’t deign religion, there tends to be a correlation between liberalism and Ataturk supporters.  Most of the women I saw in Eskişehir wore headscarves, a few did not, but they were the minority.  Though the closer we walked to the university the fewer “covered” women we saw.

The first stop was the creek that runs through town.  Now it is touristic and cute however, twenty years ago the creek apparently was rancid and stank and the cafes by the waterfront were ramshackle.  The current mayor has done an enormous amount of renovations in town and it has made a huge difference.

POR CREEK

The next stop was boza, a fermented (nonalcoholic) wheat drink.

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It was slightly sweet, and very thick.  You could eat it with a spoon.  The shop sold only boza, and you could sprinkle cinnamon on top if you wished.  It apparently has a lot of protein and vitamins and is healthy—though caloric.

FIRST WITH BOZA ESKISEHIR, MAY10 I was not nesaccarily a fan, though I could see the appeal.

Later we went to visit the city’s real attraction.  The restored Ottoman Style houses.  P5010037

The Ottoman style houses have been preserved and restored.  The neighborhood has turned into a tourist area with cafes and chai houses, though many locals still live in the houses, above the businesses.

RENOVATED OTTOMAN TOWNHOUSES

From Ankara it was a fun, inexpensive, quick day trip.  The fast train takes only an hour an a half to reach the city.  Everything in within walking distance from the train station so there is no need to tax about.  The round trip train tickets are 32 liras for one person.  It was a very lovely trip and a fun weekend activity.

train