Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday, February 27, 2009 - 4 comments

Top Ten Things to Do During a Power Cut

Out here in the village, we are pretty used to water cuts. (I swear during the fall there were maybe five days we actually had water the entire day.) You kinda just have to plan ahead, store up buckets for showers, learn to live with piles of dishes on the counter, flush only when necessary, and have the washing machine loaded and ready to go for the minute the water comes back on, cuz who knows when it will be off again.

But these days, it seems like if the water's not off, the power is. Especially on rainy days. I don't know if it's the wires getting wet or what, but when it rains, it is pretty much a given that you'll be losing electricity at some point soon. Tonight was no exception. My first reaction to thunder is to smile, cuz I LOVE thunderstorms, and then to get out the candles.

Power outages, to me, are just part of the "charm" of living here (that is, when I am not in the middle of working on the website!) and are catalysts for adventure. Here are a few of my favourite "Blackout Boredom Busters."

1. Eat up all the ice cream in the save it from melting, of course.

2. Watch an episode of 24 on the laptop and pray the battery doesn't die before Jack does.....Oh, wait. Jack never dies.

3. Roast weenies over a candle. (Did this one tonight....woulda been better if the hot dogs here were yummier, but it still made me happy!)

4. Put a flashlight in your mouth and puff out your cheeks and look in the mirror. Cracks me up every time.

5. Go around to all the neighbours and make scary noises outside their windows. (I have yet to try this, but it sounds highly amusing!)

6. Text your friend in America to have her Facebook your friend in Scotland who you were supposed to have a Skype date with to tell her your power is out and you'll have to postpone. (This happened to me tonight, too! Gotta love technology.)

7. Lie on the roof and look at the stars. (Not in the winter, of course.)

8. Be thankful you have a gas stove and make some sahlep (hot cinnamony milk drink) in a pot.

9. Hope that no cats sneak in the front door when you open it to see if anyone else has power. I speak from experience.

10. Read Leviticus by candlelight. (Did this one last week.....even infectious diseases and treatments for mildew are more romantic when there are candles involved!)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thursday, February 26, 2009 - No comments

Turkey's Identity Crisis

"The Headscarf," while to many merely an expression of faith through modesty, has become in Turkey a political symbol that polarizes the country along Islamic and western lines. Are we Muslim or are we European? Can we be both? This NPR article explores Turkey's "Identity Crisis." Check it out.

(The link thingy doesn't seem to be working, so you'll have to copy and paste - sorry!)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009 - 2 comments

Planes, trains and automobiles. And a ferry or two.

When I am old and have lived through many a decade, I will say things like, “In my day.....” (Fill in the blank – “....we walked to school in five feet of snow uphill both ways with Kleenex boxes for shoes,” or something to that effect.) And when I am old, my grandkids will be saying, “Wow, Grandma, when you were young, it took you a whole day to get from Canada to Turkey on a plane?!?! That’s so long! Now we can just beam ourselves there.”

A week ago I made that trip, and it struck me that while 22 hours was enough time to get my body halfway around the world, it took the rest of me a little longer to catch up. Planes just fly faster than my heart knows how to switch gears. Monday morning I was sitting in Starbucks playing Speed Scrabble with my mom, in complete denial that in a few hours I’d be gone again for who knows how long. Tuesday morning found me on a layover in London meeting up with a couple of long lost friends, checking out Queen Elizabeth’s place in Windsor and stopping in at The Crooked House for a spot of tea and a scone. And Tuesday night, a taxi whisked me across the Bosporus from the Istanbul’s European side airport to my old Asian side neighbourhood where I had dinner with my Turkish family. So many different worlds in so little time!

As always, it was SO good to be back with my family, whom I adore, and who adore me right back. And every visit to Istanbul only serves to deepen the love affair I have with that glorious city. Even though many of my friends have moved away and many of the places I love have changed, there is still something so comforting about the familiar little normalcies there. Like the ritual of getting into a dolmus (shared taxi) and passing money back and forth between other passengers and the driver, telling him what stop they are getting off at, and feeling like a local cuz I know all the stops by heart. Or the faithful presence of the alarm clock guy on his usual corner in Kadikoy, surrounded by all that annoying beeping. Apparently all his clocks still work. :)

Three days, several buses and ferries, many cups of Turkish tea and happy visits with old friends later, I was on the road again, this time on a 12 hour bus ride home to Antalya. I was grateful for the long chunk of time alone, largely uninterrupted except for potty breaks and cups of coffee brought by the helpful little steward and his trolley. (You gotta love the buses here.) As opposed to my whirlwind trip back from Canada (on-plane-off-plane-rinse-and-repeat-get-luggage-show-passport-guzzle-coffee-foreign-currency-which-time-zone-am-I-in-anyway?) the bus gave me time to think, to switch gears, to really be “all here” in Turkey, and to prepare myself for going home.

And you know what? To my delight, I found that this really does feel like home now. When I first moved here a year and a bit ago, I was so fiercely loyal to my beloved Istanbul that I had a hard time really feeling like Antalya was home. But this time, as I reconnect with people and places and familiar things, I am discovering that, lo and behold, I’ve gotten attached. This is good news! I’ve had a fun couple of days roaming the dirt roads of our village and retracing favourite paths through the old city. My mom asked me today if I’ve suffered any culture shock since coming back, and I could honestly say no. Everything just feels normal and right. (Besides the fact that I am down a roommate/best friend, but that’s another story.)

All the old familiar things look fresh and new and pretty to me – water cuts and long waits for buses have their charm. (Ask me in a week and I probably won’t feel the same, of course!) The best, though, is the “welcome homes” from everyone who acts as if I have been gone a year instead of two months. All my wonderful co-workers, the neighbours, my language helper, my photo guy, my Starbucks girl, my favourite restaurant lady, the stray dog that has taken up residence on our porch. It feels good to be a part of a community, to be a piece in a big interconnected puzzle. Or should I say a thread in a colourful Turkish carpet? In any case, it is good to be home.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday, February 15, 2009 - 1 comment

Faith in the Pea Soup

We had some deliciously foggy days while I was home - 19, to be exact. (That HAD to be some kind of record!) The world was shrouded in mystery, and I felt like I was living in a Sherlock Holmes novel. I spent a few really fun afternoons shooting down on the dyke, and Dad did so much in my heart in the process. Even when we can't see five feet in front of us, even when the things we normally count on for our points of reference are invisible, He is there, solid as ever. And so we walk forward, trusting in His good heart.

Sunday, February 15, 2009 - No comments

My City

Even though I have only been around maybe a total of one year out of the last ten, I still call Vancouver my home city. And with great pride. I love to tell people that it has repeatedly been voted best city in the world to live in. And next year, when we host the 2010 Winter Olympics, the whole world is going to find out what we've known all along!

A sunny day last week afforded me the chance to do a little "photo roaming" downtown. Here's a few of my favourite shots. (And in case you're wondering, that second one is the Olympic Countdown Clock - just under one year to go now!)