Saturday, November 28, 2009

Black Friday

Well, Black Friday in Turkey is a bit different than the states. This year, the Muslim festival of sacrifice fell on Friday (as referenced in a previous post). Jonathan and I woke up to the usual sunrise call to prayer, fell back asleep, woke up an hour later to some more noise coming from the mosque megaphones, fell back asleep, woke up again to cheering, fell asleep, heard the megaphone, heard the cheering, etc., etc.

The day was beautiful, so we decided to head out for a walk before we met some friends for lunch.

Turns out the place where the sheep were being kept is also the place where they were sacrificed. (I believe this was the source of the cheering.) Jonathan walked around there for awhile and I stayed outside. Here are some (graphic) pictures he got:

As we walked down the street on the other side of the sheep, I was looking at something and not paying attention to where I was walking. Just when Jonathan said, "Watch out!", I found myself standing in a pool of blood face to face with a dumpster overflowing with animal guts. My gag reflex kicked in and I quickly moved away, while Jonathan snuck in for another (graphic) picture that also captured my horror and disgust.

We got on the train to meet our friends in a popular touristy area. Some people were dressed up especially nicely due to visiting family. I especially loved this kid working it in his shiny silver suit.

Finally, I took advantage of being in a touristy area and took some pictures of the beautiful day.

The famous Aya Sofia.
The ancient city walls.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Pizza Town

The latest ESL class funny...

So I asked my Level 1 class to split into groups and decide what country of the world they wanted to visit and why. Here's my conversation with one group member:

Jonathan: "What country does your group want to visit?"
Ozgur: "Italy."
Jonathan: "Why?"
Ozgur: "We want to see Pizza Town."
Jonathan: (I thought, Italy... pizza... makes sense.) "Is that a city in Italy?"
Ozgur: "No city. Town."
Jonathan: "A town is a small city."
Ozgur: "No. Not city. Building."
Jonathan: (Building?) "What?
Ozgur: (holds up his hand at a slant) "Pizza Town."
Jonathan: (I think for a second and then the realization hits me...) "You mean the Leaning Tower of Pisa!!"

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Sheep

We stopped by one of the two "sheep tents" outside our house for a couple pics. Hopefully they'll be transporting them away from our neighborhood for the sacrifices on Friday. We'll let you know.

For more info on this particular holiday, check out this website:
Korban Bayram/Eid-al-Adha

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The New Place

We're still getting adjusted to the new place. We LOVE the location. We can find bread, fresh fruits and veggies, meat, spices, and any random piece of houseware we could ever want all within 2 blocks of our house. I realize that most of my readers can find all if this in the same store. But in Turkey, all of those things are found in different stores.'s pretty awesome that they're all super close to us. And much better can you get than a 10 minute walk away from 3 different Starbucks?

On the other hand, our apartment continues to surprise us in ways that, perhaps, aren't quite as charming as our location. We have a shifty toilet seat, Jonathan had to re-caulk the kitchen sink, our kitchen faucet isn't actually attached to our kitchen sink, our mattress is significantly bigger than the frame it's laying on, we can hear our neighbors cooking, talking, smoking, watching soap operas, etc. like it's happening in the next room, our washing machine knob has to be manually turned to move it into the next washing cycle, and there are mosquito guts all over the walls which makes us wonder what summertime has for us. All of these things give our apartment lots of character and so far, nothing has been a big problem.

A couple of weeks ago we turned on our heaters. They're old-school radiators that have hot water passing through them. (One of our recent guests referred to them as her Zen fountain.) Anyway, they work fine, which is great and our guests really appreciated them. (Did I mention we had 7 girls staying with us for the last 10 days?) Well, once the girls moved their stuff, I noticed some curious markings on the walls. And as I looked harder, I discovered the markings were mold. Yes, mold. Mold has, in past two weeks, taken over our entire house. I spent the evening scrubbing the walls and corners where it built up. I think it's because the heater makes our apartment more humid than the old walls can handle. Nevertheless, it's super gross and some of it isn't coming off! What should I do??? Here's a lovely picture of the monster:

I'm sure it would help if we hung our laundry outside to dry, which we often do. But, about a week ago, as we walked to class, we were overpowered by the smell of a farm. Turns out, about half a block away, there are hundreds of sheep being held until Friday when they will all be sacrificed for an Islamic holiday.

Forgetting about the smell, I hung a bunch of towels outside to dry yesterday. When I brought them in, I took a big whiff, expecting the delightful smell of laundry detergent and fresh air. Instead, I felt like I had rubbed my face in a dirty animal's fur. The laundry went straight back into the washing machine and is presently air drying next to the moldy wall.

I watched a clip from The Money Pit with my students today, and I couldn't help but laugh because some of it hit a little too close to home.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

All In a Day's Work

Today, while teaching my beginner class, I asked them to make a list of the 5 things they couldn't live without on a desert island. Here were their answers:

Group 1:
1. compass
2. cigarettes
3. cell phone
4. tea and coffee
5. boyfriend

Group 2:
1. food
2. a gun
3. guitar
4. cigarettes
5. Raki (a Turkish liquor)

Group 3:
1. beer
2. oil
3. harpoon
4. coffee
5. a tractor

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Apartment Tour II

As requested, here's a tour of our new apartment!

Untitled from Sarah Pascual on Vimeo.