Posts from Turkey : 2010


In 2010 I was getting ready to move back to Canada after two years living in Ankara, Turkey.

That particular blog itself did not get much further than 12 posts – a few pre, and a few post moving back to Canada.

But here they are!

Getting Ready to Come Home:

The Weekend of Ice Cream, Mangal and Bird Boy


Friday was a long day. We had exams. My day was made longer by flawed communication with students desperate for help before another string of exams.
This started on Thursday night with phone calls around 9:30. Living here, more often than not, answering the phone to an unknown number results in multiple call backs and a frustrating string of Do you speak English? I don’t speak Turkish. Please stop calling !
But I did make contact. Unable to make sense of which number belonged to which student I relied on vague text messages, such as, I will meet you at 4:00 in front of our building (who I was meeting, I wasn’t sure). After a phone call back to what ended up being someone’s mother (I’m not sure how this worked at all) I met two of my students, finally, after work.
They met me with ice cream, we had some tea, they asked me when I was getting married and why I used a razor to shave my legs when it’s obvious I’m doing a bad job (multiple cuts from cheap razors). One of the girls invited me to her summer house. Another suggested I meet her cousin. She also told me her boyfriend was crazy. I asked them if they wanted any help, but I think they really just wanted to hang out.
Did anyone learn anything? Their exams were not any better than before…
Saturday began with a run. It’s now too hot to run after 10:30 a.m. but I tried anyway, to mixed success.
A trip to the grocery store resulted in another encounter with stick/bird boy. The original lost boy I most often come into contact with this kid while walking my friend’s dog. He always has a large stick, he always jumps out of the bushes, he always asks if the dog likes sticks (Yes, but not large ones being thrown around by small boys). Anyway, his other hobby, apparently is hanging out in the grocery store, sans parents, eating the samples.
Grocery stores here have a motherload of free samples, to the point of obnoxiousness. Sample ladies will throw things into your cart and jump out from behind the shelves. During the course of my short shopping trip Bird boy ate yoghurt, cereal, juice, soup … Maybe this in itself is a learning point, to take advantage of the free samples in life.
We tried to have a bbq. The men that “protect and serve” the compound said no. They wanted us to take the bbq in our car away. What car and to where we didn’t know. Paul decided the next best place to have the bbq would be in the taxi stand across the street from our compound. The taxi drivers donated news papers to help fan the flames, supporters honked and smiled (we really could have used a sign that read “Honk if you like BBQ’s!”) and the protect and servers threatened to call the police (they didn’t, or the police decided not to come).
We moved to the front yard and had a picnic after the food was cooked. Bird boy came back, with a bird. There is nothing more creepy than a small child with a small bird and no inclination of what the small child was planning for the small bird. Luckily Beth was there. She leveled with the kid – “You’re freaking people out”. I like to think the bird is ok. Hopefully bird boy is ok to.

Allah Allah!

I’m on day 3 of mysterious food poisoning …

At the medical center yesterday the doctor said “I am thinking you are ready to go back to Canada now.”
I think I am. I think I am mostly because I miss having a bathtub and easily accessible ramen noodles and McDonalds chicken nuggets ( I don’t know why I want to put junk back into my body after essentially doing a master cleanse…but I do. Badly)
I miss calling sick into work and people believing you (or even not believing you) but it counting towards a “personal day” and not requiring a doctors note.
I want my mom to be able to come over to my house, or to be able go to my parents house when I feel crappy vs. receiving frantic skype calls filled with concern over my health (from Facebook updates my mom can still keep pretty good tabs on me) and the situation between the U.S. and Turkey, Israel and Turkey, and Turkey and its Kurdish population.
When I was home last year for a week I wrote:
On the other side of the Pacific (or Atlantic, I suppose depending where you are coming from) I am up again at 4 a.m., or 2:00 p.m. Turkey Time.

Back in Canada I ve noticed some things:
– People do not take as good care of themselves
– People do not take as good care of their stuff (maybe because we have so much)
– The recession has hit most things, ie. most things in your average retail store are 50% off – which, of course, makes me wonder how much these goods actually cost to produce and how much price gouging goes on in better times
– I hate Air Canada
– North America knows how to make junk food – well
– We are boring because we are lucky enough to be boring – stable government, stable currency (more or less) healthcare, social welfare … it’s more fun when you have no idea what tomorrow will bring ( and more stressful)
-The ketchup is sweeter
-My parent’s neighbourhood has gone baaaad. Or because I live in a compound I haven’t come into contact with homeless people/people on bicycles in 6 months.
-I love my friends. I love my friends that drove an hour and a half to hang out in my living room and dissect our current romantic situation(s)/that time in high school we ….
– I love the mountains!
-I love the ocean!
-I love talking about: yoga, west 4th, kits snobs, yummy mummies, the gays, Davie street,Mixed Martial Arts … with people who know what I am talking about.
-I actually don’t hate my mom’s dog. She is quite interested in what I am doing, more interested than my younger brother.
I love Vancouver, but …
This was over a year ago and Turkey time is coming to a close in a little over a month.
I miss things from home,
still …

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