Bucket List: Paragliding in Turkey

During my Kurban Bayram Holiday there was one thing that I wanted to do –> Go to Fethiye and Paraglide. Not only was I set on this my travel buddy Emily (Gonz) had her heart set on it too. We … Continue reading

The Nanny Diaries: Istanbul

I give you round two of the Nanny Diaries: Istanbul

I have been opened up to an entirely different world in Istanbul via baby-sitting. No there are not leprechauns with pots of gold at the end of rainbows (although that would be pretty fantastic), but rather the life of children growing up in the city and participating in extracurriculars.

I always wondered what it was like to be a swimmer. I always viewed it as hours upon hours of lap-swimming in an overly chlorinated pool to exit prune-like, but maybe I was missing something…nope not missing something. My babysitter duties of taking my little friend to swim practice proved that my theory was close if not spot on. If I could go back in time I would still choose the Saturday morning soccer game days with 10 fields squished together, orange peels acting as pseudo mouth guards and being saturated like a sponge with sweat. Yep those were the glory days. Now the little ones look to be having fun in the pool – but when you get to the golden age of 10 it seems that life as a swimmer starts looking bleak. Kat – at what age does swim practice become really dreadful? (:

So my mornings are passed at the pool/sports center chilling sweating in bleachers – really it is like a sauna in there. The parents probably sweat as much as the kids (do you sweat when swimming??) I pass the time with academic readings or small chit-chat with the other parents. Not to mention the whole “my child is the best” is a worldwide phenomenon – not just within the US. Oh and Malcolm Gladwell – yep his books are popular here too as one of the fathers was reading Blink which lead to a long conversation between the two of us – until he stopped mid-sentence to cheer his son on…what this is all showing to me…not ready for parenthood and I am blessed to have two awesome parents who saw me through 18 years of sports practices – sunshine, rainfall and snow –> you guys rock. So maybe when it comes to the winter time swimming is a better option?? Nope – that’s when you do basketball or volleyball – until you realize you are too short and then you find the glory in indoor soccer.

Post swim practice means scrubbing my little friend down to the bones so that chlorinated fumes stop wafting off her, the 10 minute hair blow-drying session (that’s more time than I have been spending on my own hair) and then it is the adventure of hailing a taxi and getting said driver back to the right apartment. I’m nervous enough to hail a taxi, but with a 5 year old in tow – well you gotta move quick. A toss into the taxi might be required on times, and a few head bumping into doors has maybe also happened…maybe…no tears though so I think I am still in the clear. Probably thinking I am a horrible babysitter now, but really I am quite excellent. I have it all down from the big city travel and fall crafts that incorporate paint to being an excellent swing pusher and tent builder. I should definitely go put those on my CV right now.

Cheers from the babysitter


The Nanny Diaries: Istanbul

So I think I have mentioned this already, but just in case I haven’t I got extremely lucky and scored a baby-sitting gig for my semester in Istanbul. The family is quite wonderful and the little girl is adorable.

Now finding bathrooms in Turkey can be a challenge. That challenge gets upped by about 86 times when it is a 5 year old who need the bathroom. When a little tod tells you they gotta go potty it’s pretty much an immediate need. Call the emergency squad and bring out the flashing lights because it’s a do or die type of scenario.

How do you make that already difficult challenge that much more challenging? Well I can answer that. You are on Istanbul’s equivalent of Michigan Avenue. The situation calls for an immediate scanning of your surroundings and picking the one location/restaurant that is decent enough looking that it won’t be an awful bathroom and where the people look friendly enough to let your little pal use the bathroom without being a patron.

So there we are shuffling into the restaurant and when I first asked if there was a toilet the guys looked super skeptical until I pointed down to my little clinger and they gave me pity. However, there was a line and it was a one stall type of place. Thankfully those in line let us jump ahead . Women of every nation can relate and that would of just be downright mean if they didn’t let the little one go.

So, now I find myself asking my little pal if she needs to use the potty all the time. Really didn’t think I could overuse that word, but I certainly have.

ps it took about 10 hours of hanging out with my little friend for her to say other things besides “I gotta go potty”. Little steps, little steps.

Cheers to living out a nanny diary type of life


Yoga…in Turkish

Last Monday I went to my first yoga class in Turkey. Now I am not a newbie to yoga and thus was looking forward to not only getting a good stretch every week but also credit for doing something I love. I went with a friend and in passing she made the comment of “I wonder what downward dog is in Turkish” too which I responded, I don’t know but I dont think we will learn it since the course is in English (while I am at a university in Turkish, my courses are in English, except for my actual Turkish course)…and now my yoga class. I was completely wrong in making that comment because the yoga class is taught in Turkish. The actual title of the course is Yoga and Relaxation Techniques. The latter of which I am having difficulties with since I am just trying to figure out what she is saying. By the end of the first course I had picked up on a lot of the yoga vocabulary, but not without having to awkwardly glance up from the pretzel twisted poses.

Now yesterday I attended my second yoga course which I definitely enjoyed, but am still wondering if it will be as relaxing as I hoped for. While it provides a good stretch, it is definitely not like the courses I attended in the states, but thankfully it is not as intense as the yoga I experienced while in India.

Sidestory: In the winter of 2011 I found myself in India for 3 weeks. At one of the places we stayed 6am yoga was offered. Now you are probably thinking I must have had an experience equivalent to that of the pray section in “Eat, Pray, Love” because I was in the yoga capital but my experience was the complete and utter opposite. The yoga instructor I will never forget because his pot-bellied figure will forever be ingrained in my memory. Resembling something just shy of a buddha you would expect kind and soothing words, but instead he was mean. I remember his comment to one of the girls of “why are you fat – you are Indian” and I just wanted to say “look whose talking” but instead I was experiencing bodily pain because of the position he had somehow managed my body to be twisted into with his probing. Needless to say I only got up early a few mornings for yoga while there and it wasn’t just because it was yoga in the outdoors in 45 degree weather.

So yes my Turkish course is relaxing, but I am still super nervous in it. Now the teacher knows I am a foreigner (most of the students are Turkish and thus understand her ramblings that are somewhat philosophical), but I am not sure I am gaining as much out of the course as I would like. However, I at least was in the right course.

Yesterday when working on breathing techniques the gal sitting next to me inquired whether or not this was Latin Dance to which I was super confused and said no it is yoga. To that she goes “oooohhhhh that makes more sense – I wanted to dance” to which I couldn’t hold back the chuckles and the two of us found ourselves in a fit of laughter with the teacher staring us down which just sent us into another round of giggles.

So I guess my decision lies with whether or not I will continue on with yoga in the class like structure or figure out another more successful way of improving my relaxation techniques – something that is definitely necessary.

Caught Running

Friday I have no class. It is a beautiful thing. I thought I had to do something productive with this past one though so started my day off with a run along the Bosphorus. Now the hills through campus down to the Bosphorus are a tad steep and I will probably be without knee caps or something by the end of it all, but I am too eager to get down to the waterside to walk down. So by the time I got to flatland (something that there is not much of in Istanbul) I had hit a good pace and had zoned out into my own world as is normal for me on runs. However, I might need to stop doing that because it got me a little tangled up. Yes, literally tangled up. All along the Bosphorus are amateur fishermen and there seem to be a lot more during the cooler hours of the day – naturally. Well one guy just happened to be casting his reel and got an early catch – me! Yes, my shirt got caught by this random dude’s fishing rod and let me just say it was quite the sight with me screaming because I was startled and him confused and apologizing in Turkish. Now I was glad he got my shirt and not my skin – looking for the positives here.

So yes – lesson learned – zoning out when running along the Bosphorus will lend me good tales. To continue or not to continue??