Sunday, March 16, 2008

actually about turkey

Now I'm writing - with inspiration because I've FINALLY made a couple Turkish friends! Honestly, before I was embarrassed to write anything about Turkey. I felt so "i SUCK!" everytime I went out and couldn't talk with the other playground Moms, just smiling and nodding and holding up fingers to show the number of months Cort is...with no car we haven't explored much...
But today I found the nicest lady, with a two year old who played with Sloane- and she speaks a little English. We chatted and I asked to exchange phone numbers right away- Yay! a friend for me! The kids have plenty but this new world of 'independence' i mentioned earlier has left me feeling like the stereotypical stuck-at-home-suburban housewife. Gone are the joys of our widespread homeschooling community where playdates for the kids mean tea, talk and cheetos for the Moms. sigh.
And I was so eager to have some Turkish girlfriends...and then so discouraged after every walk around the neighborhood and trip to the market with my pathetic lack of Turkish.
Turkey is so Turkish! That's the perfect way to describe it...which tells you nothing...i know. I haven't been to one spot where I might forget for a minute and think that I'm in the States. The streets have no lanes- people just edge in wherever they can and honk like they're in Chicago...but in a friendly way.
The sidewalks are all broken and busted...when there are sidewalks...the workmanship seems shoddy. Houses are few and far between compared with all the tall brightly colored apartment buildings- there are flags, carpets and bedspreads hung out from all the balconies and open windows on sunny days. The bright colors contrast over the muted brown which is the smog and hills all around. On our walks on the no-man's-land side of the street (off into the hills) there are a few ramshackle old homes...they look like they were pieced together with bits of rubble from construction sites; these are totally fascinating to me because I wonder who lives here? Who has built these houses- how do they get water? I think the city has urged everyone into these apartment buildings because it's easier to keep everything maintained that way and I wonder if these people are holding out...not taking the subsides offered? They have small chicken coops and clearly they are feeding the stray dogs and cats who hang around happily nearby. The oddest thing is that one of the shacks has a satellite dish?! They get TV in there?!!!
I smile at the old women hanging out their laundry as we walk past and consider bringing them some banana bread or something- trying to make friends. Would that look like a hand-out? How would that be received? Shall I offer them a job if they could teach me to cook dinner one night a week? Right now it's all ideas in my head because I don't have any pans for baking banana bread in (our shipment is sure to show up here the day before Billie's birthday party).
So, that's a little about Turkey. Still no camera (that was an old shot from the pictures folder on the laptop- from Meg's wedding) so you'll have to see the pictures in your head.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

a month already?

have you ever seen a month go by so fast?! it's especially surprising that time has gone by so quickly when you factor in that we've barely left our house this whole time. I now know like seven Turkish words (we do a word a day as part of our lesson routine now). I perfected my skills at holding bowls in front of TWO kids at once when they're both ready to urp up the pizza they just begged me to make while they have a stomach bug. (Thank goodness Cort and Billie were well that day ...because I don't have FOUR hands). Here's the stomach bug we had "I feel sick...UUUUUUUUUURP.....Can I have some baklava?"
I kept asking the kids to STOP EATING. A new nurse friend gave us a tip- "Sip on a sugared drink...just a sip every 5 minutes."
Being all with the healthiness....there's no kool-aid in the house...we only have 100% juice. So, I make some sugar water tea. But Jackson...ever weary of trying a new food, 'doesn't like the taste'. He stays sick for 3 days and moans and whines and doesn't want to try sugar water. He watches Billie head out with friends, go to the park, Brownies, dance and sing while he lays motionless on the couch all day long.
Which brings us to my next subject...Billie going out. Rapid road to independence since we moved here. When the kids were little tiny tots I really wanted to keep them safe and protected for 5 years, that was my goal. Now we're on the edge of Billie's 7th birthday and they have had a pretty great life thus far. You know Bill and I keep them pretty close to heart but now I'm feeling so good about the little people that they are and the smart, responsible choices that they (well, Billie at least) make we spend a lot of time together. Having no friends and no life gave us a little time to get back to focus on our family time and I have been truly enjoying the kids so much lately.
As we're in an apartment building we can't just run out in the backyard with the door open and be near by. Billie's friends will come to the door, ask if she can go out, she'll get on her coat and shoes, go down the elevator, play at one of the nearby playgrounds (I can see her from the balconies) and then come back up when she's done. This is MAJOR. It's a super safe place with kids all over, Turkish and American but this is a big step for Billie and I'm just bursting with pride at how she's handling it.
It's really wonderful because at 7, when Bill and I were kids, we were able to bike around, meet up with friends and that's something I felt sad my kids would not be able to have...neighborhood independence. Now they have it. Sometimes Jackson is allowed to go with Billie and her friends but I don't think he's quiet ready for supervising himself yet. He's 5, doing 2nd grade work AND he thought it would be a good idea to stick a chopstick into the USB hub on our computer this morning.