Impulse Buys, House Slippers and Oral Exams

Something has overcome me this week because I keep on making impulse buys. Tuesday it was fresh squeezed orange juice (get my vitamin c dose). Yesterday it was towels (important – right?) and today it was almonds (protein source). Now while none of these are a waste of money I realized that I can’t get too into impulse buying or I will start wasting money (no bueno). Not to mention I will have the impulse to buy baklava or dondurma (Turkish ice-cream) every time I walk buy a stand (and they are like every 20 ft) and not only can I literally not afford it money wise, but I would start putting on weight in a heartbeat (the 20 ft to the next stand is not nearly enough to burn off the honey saturated calories that make up baklava).

House slippers. House slippers. House slippers. The Turks love them, the Germans love them (family experience), but I do not love them. In fact there is nothing I love more than being able to walk around barefoot – inside and outside. Outside is not an option here, so I do inside but to the great dismay of the host family. It’s one thing we do not see eye to eye on – they are always concerned that my feet are cold – but really when it is so warm out, my feet are sweating – not freezing. If it were winter I’d be all about the house slippers (or at least my wool socks). I do try to wear my flip flops that I only where indoors when I am home – but I forget – it’s hard to change habits (especially ones that you don’t want to change). So for all you who are able to run around barefoot – I am super jealous.

Today I took the first of four of my exams to go on to the next Turkish course. It consisted of reading a passage, answering some questions that were on the passage and then answering some personal questions. Then the teacher went around and you had a nice five minute conversation with her about the passage, the answers you scribbled down and lastly it was a free flow convo that you would have with her. Pretty much throughout the past month she has been collecting information on us so asked random questions about what she did and didn’t already know about you – kinda cool. After you were done the teacher would just rip the passage up – so awesome! Nothing says finished like ripped and thrown in the garbage paper. Pretty sure I nailed the speaking – tomorrow is writing, reading and listening. The latter is what I am concerned with. Sometimes the listening exercises are super easy, while at other times I feel like I’m listening to a foreign language and not Turkish…catch my drift….

I stumbled upon this song in my outings – has a nice little ring to it – best part is that the Turkish singer’s name was translated into Tokio Hotel – super wrong since it is Fudan Ara. Yok Yok – No! No! – as in something can’t be found. Var is its opposite.

My host family has caught on to my love of bananas (I may have mentioned this) but it is super cute because the other day the dad went to the market and made sure to buy me bananas and he told me that he bought them for me. However, he ended up buy TWO bunches – like 20 bananas – haha. Needless to say the house is not short of bananas – and if I can’t eat them fast enough (on top of all the fruit they buy – it’s sooooo good though) then I’ll just make some banana bread again – since it went over so well the last time (:

Said good-bye to two of my students today because it is now crunch time for them and their exams. I learned quite a bit about the Turkish education system, Turkish culture and that gas in Turkey is either the first or second most expensive in the world – 20 TL a gallon – that’s almost $12 – complaining about $4 back in the US seems trivial to that. They got a great laugh from the expression of shock that canvassed my face when I heard that – almost choked. You can get a 5 kebaps for that price!!!!

Lastly, before I head to the park for my run – Germany vs. Italy Semi-Final soccer game tonight – O.M.G. –> Of course I am cheering for the motherland – Germany, but my heart aches for Italy too – my home for 5 months 2 years ago. Last night’s game (Spain v. Portugal) was quite the hanger – kept me up way past my bedtime – gotta get to bed at a decent hour tonight since I have exams tomorrow. Grrr to being an hour behind Europe.


Post run necessary inclusions for the day.

1) Record for run in Turkey 7.5 miles – host dad gave me a high five for this – and I wouldn’t have realized this if he didn’t ask me how far I ran

2) A boy hanging out in the park decided to run alongside me and try to strike up a conversation (mind you he was wearing jeans) – he last a good mile and a half before I tuckered him up – valiant effort but super awkward and I don’t wish that upon anyone – let a gal run in peace. Thanks for the security guard for saying something too (:

3) I saw a cat attack a bird – I was in shock

4) Besides jean boy (with a super loud step mind you) my other entertainment was the equivalent of Michael Jackson on roller blades – ohhh it was good.

5) Host mom invited myself and the other student to their summer house in Bodrum (on the sea) for the Bayram Holiday (in August, post Ramazan – Ramadan) – hoping I can make it work with my language courses (:

Happy Thursdays from Abroad


Türk Babam – Host Father

The homestay is no longer a sanctuary of women – the host father has returned and I had the great pleasure of meeting him. He is a gentle and kind soul just like his wife from what I can so far tell. Best thing yet, he speaks clearly and slow enough for me to understand (:

I enjoyed a lovely dinner with him and the host mom – the daughter and fellow student staying had not returned home yet. Was able to carry my side of the conversation for most of the dinner – except there was one thing about what they are doing tomorrow that I didn’t catch – guess Ill find out soon enough (;

The dad was super impressed when I was talking about my running with him. Definitely will be nice to have him around. If anything to make me feel good and productive.

I wanted to bake banana bread today, but was stumped when it came to the oven – yes I know it is Celsius here and not Fahrenheit, but what about just the numbers 1-10 on the dial????? hmmmm asking the fellow student who is not here anymore who made banana bread here what she did – meeting up with her tomorrow.

Had a run – but I must say it was quite rough. My legs felt like lead – the usual feeling on the third day of three days straight of running. Decided to just do a short run and follow it up with a serious and long stretch/ab workout. Funny thing though – one of the older gentlemen who was running last night saw me again today and when saw I was done running he did a gesture of like WHAT! come on don’t be done running yet – haha. If only my body was up for it.

There was a soccer game going on while I was running that I watched for a few minutes post but naturally there were no girls playing. I might have to figure out pick-up games at university in the fall because I certainly miss my Intramural days – forever CFFC love.

Still loving Turkish class – one great thing about all the nationalities in the class is everyone has different specialties from home – today the guy from Libya shared with everyone baklava – so delicious (: you can find it all over Turkey, but regional and country varietal differences do exist.

I’ve survived another day and have yet to melt away – I think my body is finally acclimating to the heat…just maybe

Cheers to new acquaintances and in this case family members (:


Blazing Trails

I was invited to go on a run today with another gal and was told it was a nice place so there was no way I was gonna turn down the chance to be introduced to another place to run in this great city where those places are few and far between. Getting to the run spot required a 10-15 min metro ride, but once we were out there and running it was all worth it. Now while I would love to run all my runs out there because I felt like I was out in the middle of nowhere and not in the city, for time that won’t be possible. Definitely will be a great place for weekend runs though (:

We ran for about an hour (split it up with going to see some horses about half way through and to drink water). It was super hot out there so we wanted to stay hydrated. The horses were a great little break.

He really wanted a close up (:

Running partner with the horses

Now an hour run isn’t bad but when it is in Ankara heat and up Ankara hills it starts feeling a little different from my cooler and flatter runs back home. I may be a tad tight and in need of a good stretch to say the least.

The afternoon was spent doing a bit of thesis work and Turkish homework. I also have been on the hunt for Flax – I found many gluten free items but no flax of yet – come on Turkey you are the hub of seeds and nuts and all things delicious – thinking I may have to find a bigger store…

siz = without so glutensiz is without gluten (: un is flour

I may just have to try these cookies some time saying that they cost less than a dollar

Got some good Sunday Skypes in with people back home (Happy Father’s Day Skype with the FPU (Father Parental Unit) and the family since I booked my ticket home to my friend’s wedding in about a month, three friends who were chilling out on a relaxing Sunday in Chicago and naturally the boy) and before I knew it the night was coming to a close.

I did have a funny conversation with my host mom because she while she was making “Diet Soup” for dinner tomorrow I was prepping overnight oats for breakfast – she was super intrigued – especially by chia seeds – and I didn’t know the word for thicken so I went to grab the dictionary and before I knew it she was trying the chia seeds and was like hmm yes good. haha such a great woman. She just makes you feel good about yourself – every morning she says bye my dear/life (in Turkish of course) and it makes me feel like I am in elementary school again (in a good way though). When she came home I was making the salad for dinner and she was super excited. I was informed by my running partner (who stayed at this homestay) that she would make banana bread and they absolutely loved her for it – so that is something I am thinking of making this week – who can resist banana bread – it is just sooo great (:

Cheers to all the dad’s near and far – enjoy your day



A Sunday in Turkey

Sundays are days you should take for yourself – or so I think. That is the philosophy I lead my day with today.

When I woke up I decided to go for a run. Now I was told there is a good park to run at that is at the next metro stop. So I set off walking about 3km to this park. When I got there I just started to run through the winding paths. However, I managed to stumble right into a running track about a half mile in!!! I first saw two guys running and then noticed that they were on a track! I was over joyed. One because I wasn’t the only one out running and two it was a place I could run without getting stared at. Running outdoors isn’t big here and running as a female is even more jaw dropping. With all the bread they eat here and all the other delicious meals I’m being served I gotta run or else I will soon be an oompa loompa – not good.

It was hot out, but the shade helped to keep it cooler. Sadly I don’t think Ill be able to run in shorts here – at least in Ankara – so it’s just me and my running tights for the time being. Post my run I headed out on my 3km walk home. All in all an exercised filled morning that still has me grinning because finding that track was like finding gold.

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Pictures of my new running spot (:

Expect more slideshows in future posts – makes my job a little easier

When I got home I met Selena who was suppose to be staying at the home stay for the rest of June but decided to move out to a private dorm for these last three weeks. Seems like a great girl – hoping to go for a run with her and learn some of her spots. She was over-thrilled in meeting me because I too run and like me she is in Turkey on scholarship. I’m the first person she has met since she has been here (5 months) that is in a similar situation to her.

For the rest of my Sunday I decided to go into the city center and find a nice cafe to enjoy a drink and read my book at. Extremely relaxing. I went to one of the streets that is just lined with Cafes and not just at street level but 6 and 7 stories up too! Crazy busy out today. I settled on a place called Bourbon Coffee and enjoyed myself a nice cold and tall choco-caramel – twas delish and made me thankful for running this morning.

They served it with a little treat and a little vase with flowers – I can quickly get used to this (:

The rest of the evening will be spent on thesis research and Turkish – gonna get my smart on.

Cheers from abroad