Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Se lever du mauvais pied

French phrase of the day

se lever du mauvais pied (seuh leuhvay du mo-vay pee-eh)

I get up early sometimes and meet my friend Max for coffee.  I drag myself out of bed and throw some clothes on and run to the metro (this is quite scandalous here, but being badly dressed and wearing tennis shoes makes me feel rebellious and free). 
Sometimes I drag my feet and run late. And in typical fashion, today, line 13 was so packed that even though I am child-sized, I can't fit in. 
So then I sit.  And then for 11 minutes while I wait through the next 3 metros (for the next slightly less packed metro), I spew an angry diatribe ending in "I am going to punch that metro driver in the throat"

Huh.  I think. 
And I realize,  it is one of those days.  Funny because nothing is particularly wrong. I just have that feeling - like no matter how many shiny pastries or rainbow-pooping unicorns were to pass in front of my eyes all I am going to feel doing is punching people in the throat. 

In french, this is called
    "to get up on the bad foot"

So I just wait it out. 
And while I do that, I look for people who are on my shite list to get in a fight with. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Souvenirs from the edge

When we went to the candy shop with my friend who lives in Istanbul. We picked up the traditional Lokum (Turkish Delights) and he picked up a box of these.


So, of course, we bought some too.
It's a sesame-based cotton candy wrapped tightly and covered in chocolate.
 They're weird.  It's a confusing texture and strange flavor.  I can't quite explain it, but I'm addicted to them and I can't even decide if I actually like them. 

Think circus peanuts.

Monday, February 20, 2012


Do you get anything from this?  

Sometimes I hear other languages and if I listen really hard I hear the root of a word I know.
Other times I listen really hard and I hear Charlie Brown's mom: "wah wah wah".

It gets worse when you actually see the words.  Like when I was in Slovakia and I asked for the word that means "ice cream". After I said "What?" for the 5th time (ice cream is important), they handed me a paper with this: 


And I said "That's not funny. Words need vowels." 

Some languages have grunty/growly noises.  Some languages have gutteral sounds that make you think someone is clearing their throat. 
Some languages make a word for ice cream that sounds like a bee murmuring. 
Turkish, is actually quite nice.  During my stay I found out that the Turks used to use a dialect of Arab for over 1,000 years.  But it wasn't able to accurately make the sounds of the language. "Whereas Arabic is rich in consonants but poor in vowels, Turkish is exactly the opposite." In 1929 they established an adapted latin alphabet.

The Eyup cemetary.  Because cemetaries are cool. 

So you still see Arabic in places and then you see Turkish (like the cemetary).  

And then oddly enough there is English smattered about.  Like our friend's apartment complex. 

 To be fair - he does have a swimming pool.

Yet, so hot in Turkey

It was snowing the first 2 days in Turkey, but I was hot with a capital "H"
b was kind enough to take a stealthy photo of my hotness
Do you like my legwarmers + baskets (tennis shoes)?

Friday, February 17, 2012

cold Turkey?

It is even cold in Turkey

I love Turkey.  
I love that all these different countries are so close together.
I love the moment after you arrive somewhere when you realize you are someplace totally new and things are different.  

My first moment was here at a restaurant, fresh off the plane:

In Frantasyland there are a lot of rules around the table - when you eat, who gets served first, when you can actually get your waiter to come back to your table to order your entrée, plat, fromage/dessert. Dinner takes a long time.
Here, we sat down and 9 plates of different food were instantly laid out in front of us, family style.  And there were at least 4 people moving around our table - pouring water, serving melted cheese on bread and meatballs, taking our meat order.  
Meat order?  Yes, because everyone needs 9 different dishes + meat + dessert.

And then the dramatic change in skyline.  From 10-story buildings(i.e. tall) and catholic cathedrals every 100 feet to a colorful patchwork of 5-story buildings, mosques and minarets.  

The minarets look like lost castle parts.  Don't you think?

And then the call to prayer
5 times a day.
 I thought, it would kill me to live next to a mosque - that noise 5 times EVERY DAY
and then I had to change the idea of noise
I'm not all that romantic about god
but I thought, for them, god sings 5 times a day to come and chat
It echoes softly off all the concrete buildings.  
Ok it was romantic on Saturday morning  when we were walking to the store in the sun 
to get eggs for a lazy breakfast. 

I wish I had a clip of it
My truck-stop, gift-buying sister took one when we first visited Turkey 6 years ago.  

One last big moment that couldn't stop repeating itself - people are nice.  
Some people want to sell you things, but most people don't.  Our last night we got stuck on the wrong side after the last boat to the other side had left (Turkey has 2 sides - 1 is attached to Europe, the other is attached to Asia).  This young guy not only walked us back to help us find out about other boats, but then walked us to the metro and was ready to walk us to the boat. 
And then the older businessman that invited* us for coffee after he heard b & I speaking French on the boat, and then tour guided us for the next 2 hours.

*to invite (and to offer) mean to pay for the other person in French (and my stupid english)

I like Turkey.  Even cold Turkey.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Baby it's cold out there

winter finally showed up after 3 extra months of what could be described as fall
and it was so exciting
for the first 3 days
and now the floor is cold, my genius heated-blanket-under-the-rug won't stop blinking red, and so I am dreaming of carpeted walls again. 
but the snow is pretty.