Thursday, July 31, 2008


Well, I wanted to do a "before and after" thing for the couch, but the "before" shot got mysteriously deleted from the camera. I found this photo from last year, you can see the burgundy coach on the far right:
And here's the after:
Yes, I love Guitar Hero 3.

Camp Pictures

Here are some pictures from the CD that the camp sent us...
The buses arrive - Arda was on bus no. 2.

The coaches greet the kids...

... with "high fives"

and confetti...So the kids have basketball practice 4x daily.
But they take breaks
It seems cold.
You see the kid with the orange shirt in the back? Looks like he's sleeping? Yeah, that's Arda.
Shooting hoops.
They get to choose a 5th activity, and apparently, that was soccer for most of them..
"Disco" party. Arda looks really out of it. Emre looks sad. That's their room coach, Ufuk. "He's really cool." says Arda.
But they do get to watch a movie once a week, after lunch.
Itinerary for the 26 km hike. Starts far left by the tack tagged "Beyzbol Sahasi" (baseball field) and goes all the way to the right where it says "Zirve" (peak). The CD had zillions of pictures on it, and by far, the organization of the hike was what impressed me the most. They photographed the preparation of the sandwiches, the "orientation" where they apparently went over every step of the way, where they would stop, where they would eat, what they were going to see, what they needed to wear, and to bring along.

Yep, they went all the way up there, and that's not even the peak!
He looks happy!
The field day, where they had blindfolded yoghurt eating contests and other stuff that I can't figure out.
Award ceremony - I think Arda got "best sportsmanship" and "best dribble."

And here are the pictures that I took:
The buses arrive...
And here he is... My baby.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


We leave for Bodrum on Thursday. We'll be taking the Sea Line boat, and the cruise will take 24 hours. It was always a hassle bringing the car to Bodrum, so it will hopefully be a practical and cheap considering the gas prices and finding a driver, arranging for his return to İstanbul etc. Anyways, more details on that to follow soon.

Here's a wonderful addition to the stuff I have to face every day, I got stuck in a bathroom stall this past Sunday. I think it tops my "most embarrassing moment" to date - that was when I got stuck inside a size 4 skirt in a clothing store two years ago and had to ask to manager to help me get out. I wear a size 8. Don't ask.

So I go to use the bathroom in a farm where my cool friend Pelin was having a birthday party for her daughter Mercan, Tunca's classmate. The minute I closed the door, the handle broke and I was stuck. Everyone was busy with presents and food and kites and all I could do was just sit on the stall and laugh at myself.

What would you do if you were stuck in a bathroom stall?

Climb on top of the wall, and jump to the next stall, right?

After cleaning the partition of the cobwebs and dust the best I could (what? I was wearing a new outfit) I climbed up, and being the chicken s*it that I am, was now, successfully, stuck on the wall, nearly 8 feet high, afraid to jump down. And there were spiders. And dust. I could totally feel all my allergies going crazy, and just as my hands started breaking out in hives, I saw the guy who was barbecuing right in front of the bathroom.

- Umm, hi, can you help me? I got stuck?
- Yeah, that door handle is broken. (You tell me that now? NOW? I know it's broken. You should have said something when I asked you where the bathroom is you a*swipe).

And with a quick step into the womens bathroom, he opens the door to the stall.

- Well, can you please call my husband? I can't get down. (I've climbed and I can't get down. Yes.)

Burak comes, along with Tunca, who has to pee right then and there, and before any attempts to bring me down, he attends to our wonderful son, who is screaming with laughter at my situation saying "look at mom, look at mom, perched up there like a bird" over and over.

Anyways, Burak brings me a chair, and holds me until I slowly lower myself down. I am so lame and unfit and a coward. With the "stuck in a skirt" situation, I know that I won't even have to see that store manager or the two saleswomen who tried to take the stupid skirt off of me, and they will not know my name and maybe they are laughing at me during their holiday parties , but hey, they're strangers.. With my wonderful family, the "perched on a wall like a bird" comment is likely to continue until I do something even more stupider.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Magic Words

My friend, Ahu, seems to be having a tough day.

I sure wish ViaLetter had ultra mega super fast express service so she could decorate her snazzy new apartment like this:
And then use ViaLetter to send whomever pissed her off a nice little package that contains the letters, K, R, E, and J. Figure it out.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

He's BACK!

Arda has come back home - he looks a bit thinner, tanner, quieter. The past few days we spent basically glued to each other. I started bawling my eyes out when I saw him on the bus. Two weeks. Only two weeks, and he has grown, physically and emotionally. He seems a bit more tolerant, has more confidence. Camp really did wonders for him. He seems a bit tired - probably because of the 26 km walk (not 16, as mentioned in my other post) and the grueling basketball practice 4x daily, and maybe because he is having a hard time adjusting to the heat and smog here (Uludag has a high altitude and the weather is clear as a, well, mountain top, I guess). Pictures to follow soon.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Friends will be Friends

It's time for all our friends living abroad to make their way to Turkey right about now. Mid-July - August is when we get to see people from our past, people who were our "best man" in our wedding, people who bought their first houses and invited us to see it first, people who still live "over there" - some enjoying their dreams, some yearning to come back.

So Thursday, we went to a surprise birthday party in NuTeras. Asyak is a gorgeous friend we met a few years ago - and her husband Sarp managed to get 20+ people together to surprise her. We went to Mikla by mistake at first - no it was Sarp's fault - he told us to meet at Mikla!!! My dad babysat for Tunca, we had a great time, apparently so did they.

Here's Asyak in all her beauty:
We spent Friday evening going to AltınKek for cake & lemonade for Tunca, then walked over to the beach to watch fireworks, very common during weddings in Turkey.

Saturday evening we were in Köşebaşı with my cool friends Pelin and Tolga and their daughters Mercan and Şiraz - Mercan goes to school with Tunca - Pelin & I went to the same middle school for about 4 years.

Sunday we were in Village Park with Cem & Pınar & Duru, then drove around Beykoz looking for houses. At night we went to Feriye for dinner with Burak's sister - I think that restaurant has the best view I have ever seen in the Bosphorus.

We actually spent the whole weekend eating. And with friends. It doesn't get any better than this.

edit: we got an email from another friend, Cüneyt, Sunday evening saying that they're all here in İstanbul as well, so we met them in Reina for drinks and dinner. Cüneyt was Burak's "witness"/best man in our wedding, Gökhan and Selen are one our oldest friends, Seyhan (sans her husband Burak) and Süreyya and Karen were there for a wonderful blue cruise back in 1997... We all see each other (maybe) twice a year, and life goes on, yet things to talk about never cease and our friendship seems to survive the thousands of miles between us all. Süreyya and Karen's son, Morgan, the "firstborn" to the whole group, was there as well and has truly grown up to be a gorgeous, kind, smart and polite young man - so mature for his age.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Blog Traffic Whining

I want this shirt from Despair:
But I want them to customize it by having it say: "More people read this shirt than MY blog."

And this one, for both the boys (wish they came in kids' sizes):
Despair is filled with stuff that I love. And I always crack up at the way they make fun of themselves... Check out the note on their "shopping cart" page, will ya.

16 Kilometers = 10 Miles

Arda did hike 16 kilometers. We spoke last night. The group started with 18 children, hiking up Uludag mountain early in the morning. Only 8 of them made it to the summit, among them, my sweet Arda. They cooled down at one these glacier lakes near the summit, Arda said he only dipped his feet, but one his coaches swam. The hike took about 11 hours, and afterwards all the kids were sent to the infirmary to get looked at - they all were fine.

I am so proud of him. He is so proud of himself.


A few years ago, I was contemplating getting a Vespa for myself. I seldom drive anywhere, usually either walk or take a cab, and with both the boys at school during the day, I thought a cool Vespa would do the trick. I could find a second hand one, and it would be cheaper than taking cabs, and would be environmentally responsible with all the gas prices

One night, while we were watching E.L. Raymond, I told my husband, "you know, I might want a Vespa."

He looked at me, with his incredible lashes and amazing green eyes, and asked:

"Are you so unhappy?"

The cliche of women finding comfort in shopping does apply to me. It might seem shallow, and I am a sucker for shoes and handbags, yet the year was 2002 when I bought my last handbag, and I managed not to buy one single pair of shoes since early 2007. A Vespa, though, now that is what I call a midlife crisis.

I never bought that Vespa. It was not safe to ride around in the treacherous streets of İstanbul, and what if I needed to take the kids somewhere, and everyone would see my butt crack because of the low cut pants I used to wear, alas, no Vespa for me.

The point of all this ranting and reminiscing about the averted crisis, is that yesterday, as I walked home wearing my beloved yet so unfairly not worn often orange and green platforms, I stopped over at an upholstery store and called my husband to say, "I found the perfect, perfect plaid for the single couch."

His reaction was, "Are you so unhappy again?"

No! I am quite content actually. I miss my son, but he'll be back next week. I am busy with my pottery, consulting for friends, having fun, and will be on vacation in about three weeks. Life is good.

It's just that the platforms were hard to walk on, I needed a rest, and the plaid was just what I was looking for. I really need to prioritize.

I'll do a before - after post of the reupholstered couch soon.

ps.: that rocking couch was the first "new" thing we bought for our apartment other than the lamps when we were living in NYC. And, it is only furniture (other than Arda's crib and our bookcase) that I brought back to Turkey while moving.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Camper

My worries have subsided a bit - here's how my first phone conversation went with Arda, after four days of camp:

A: Hi mom
Z: Hi honey, how are you?
A: Great.
Z: Are you having fun?
A: Yeah. We have so much fun here that we don't want to go to bed but we end up falling asleep really quickly. I guess I get tired after all the fun.
Z: (worried that he's totally making that up so as not to let his feelings out) So, what activities do you like the best?
A: We spent the night on the mountain, in a tent last night.
Z: That sounds great.
A: We giggled so much they told us to be quiet like 20 times.
You know what, we have the biggest room in camp.
Z: Who else is in your room?
A: (counts four boys' names, plus his coach) We have the biggest room. It's great. And we get to shower at 6PM every day. Then we play games all night. And we dance.
Z: How about basketball?
A: We have practice, umm, three times I think, but mostly we play. And it's here. I used all my sweatshirts. But they're not dirty. I used my windbreaker last night. And that's not dirty. And my shoes are perfect. They're not dirty either.
Z: Well, it's OK if they get dirty, your coach can tell you how to clean them, or I can send you extras after the weekend.
A: It's OK. I can manage. Oh, I get your emails. And my cousin sent me an email. There was a picture. He wrote that my uncle looks stupid. I laughed really hard. I showed it to all my friends. They laughed, too.
Z: Your brother wants to say hi (I put him on speakerphone)
Tunca: Hi Arda. I miss you (and he gets teary eyed). I miss you.
A: I miss you, too. Are you OK
T: Mom, you speak
Z: Tunca is great. He is going to summer school and swims everyday.
A: Tell him we can't swim here. Maybe this weekend we can swim. I don't know. Tell him there is no pool.
Z: OK. I'll tell him.
A: I have to go.
Z: OK. I miss you! I Love you! We'll talk on Monday.
A: I miss you, too. Yes. Write me emails. I got two emails one day, July 3rd. I got my uncles and my father's as well. I can't write back, though. I don't have a computer.
Z: I'll write to you, don't worry.
A: Bye
Z: Bye honey.

Then I spoke his room coach for a few minutes. He said everything was great, that ARda was really doing well, and he was getting along with everyone.

So I feel better. I still miss him. But I definitely feel better.

Burak also spoke to Arda later, and he said that Arda really sounded happy as well. Ufuk, the room coach, said they have a 16 km hike tomorrow. Yikes. I hope he's mistaken and that's 6km. There's no way Arda can hike 16 kms. I can't hike 16 kms.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

What are you doing now?

For those of you who have experience with sending your children to camp, please forgive me if I seem anxious or weird or downright scared.

Arda has been wanting to attend the summer camp organized by his basketball club for the past two years. Last year, I told him he was too young to go. This year, seeing the yearning in his eyes, I gave in.

He left early this morning. I spent most of the day sleeping, the only interlude being picking up Tunca from school and playing chess and checkers with him. The moments I was awake were filled with questions about what my 8 year old son was doing without me. "He must have been hungry, he only had a bite to eat at 6AM this morning" or "will he remember to put sunscreen on?" or "I wonder if he has fallen asleep yet" or "I miss him."

I know that this is a great opportunity for him to experience wonderful things, to improve his basketball, to meet new people, and to grow.

He certainly seemed ready and eager to go this morning. I certainly am not ready.

This is where he went:

There is an English version, as well.