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??



To-Run List

I am a big fan of making lists because lists make you feel productive. A friend of mine (will remain nameless) even puts meals on her to-do lists because well lets be real –  it’s not on there to remind her too eat, but rather because you know you will eat so at the end of the day you know you completed at the very least one thing off your list – and again to be real – it’s the most important thing (:

Anyhow, one of the bridesmaids from the wedding this weekend informed me of a new race that is upon the Big Ten Network. Now I am already signed up for a race this coming Saturday so unfortunately cannot take part in this inaugural race, but it is one that I want to keep on my radar for next year. This got me thinking – what other races are there that I know I want to run, but have let fall off my radar? So I figured the best thing to do is compile a list – so here goes the “To-Run List”

1) Big Ten 10K –> I-L-L-I-N-I  –> thanks for the heads up Peterman (:
2) Istanbul Marathon –> already planning for it – first marathon
3) Tough Mudder 
4) Color Run –> sister mentioned this to me
5) Glo Run
6) Warrior Dash
7) Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon
8) Disney Princess Run 
9) Be on a marathon relay team – any marathon
10) Travel to another country with the sole purpose of running a race

What are some races that you hope to one day run in?

Cheers to running


Student turned Teacher

Still a Turkish student but as of today I am also an English teacher and I can cross Teaching English Abroad off of my Bucket List!!!! Success success success! I felt into a pretty sweet deal of teaching a few hours of English a week while here and I couldn’t be more thrilled for the opportunity (:

The English school is pretty much neighbors with my Turkish school so I don’t even have to go far for work – quite fantastic. Today I had two students – Ahmet and Aydan – both who are finishing their Masters in International Relations at Ankara University – quite awesome because at one point we just chatted about our thoughts on Turkey and Foreign Policy – ahhh how it delighted me. Hearing what they thought about Turkey’s position on a global scale as well as their opinions of the hot question of Turkish accession sure did bring a smile to my face.

I taught for 2 hours and will see them again next week and will be getting more students too! Another adventure in Ankara.

As for yesterday’s absence of a post – apologies, but I left at 8:30 and wasn’t home until 11:30 at which point I was pretty tired and still had Turkish homework to do. While it was a long day it consisted of Turkish language class, thesis research at my new favorite cafe (Aylak Madam) and then meeting up with two friends for dinner and ice-cream. This ice-cream was heaven sent – caramel, pistachio and tiramisu – delish. Glad I ran today /: Funny story though was one of the girls was craving chocolate and there was none – she sounded like a sad child when she asked in Turkish “Is there chocolate?” “Cicolata var mı?” – the answer of “no” “hayır” was not what she was wanting to hear.

Other success story that I will give a pre on but will be written about in a different post (right after this one) is that I successfully made banana bread!!!! Now in this case it’s not a matter of being able to make banana bread – that is a skill I mastered long ago – rather the fact of the matter is mastering the conversion of measurements and using a degree-less oven to actually bake the bread. Not only do I think it tastes great, but the host daughter had 2 pieces – upon me coming back from my run she said it looked too good not to take a piece and then she had to have another – woot woot! happy turks all around.

I enjoyed a piece after my run (10km another feel good moment) – it definitely hit the spot – my family is going to soon realize (if they haven’t already) that I consume an abnormal amount of bananas – and I add them to everything possible.

A nice heads up that there may or may not be posts for Friday and Saturday since I will going on my first weekend trip to Diyarbakir – the city of Kurdish culture in Southeastern Turkey. Depending on internet options will determine whether I can give updates – but I can promise photos from the trip sometime next week (:

Cheers to crossing things off one’s bucket list


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 (:


Turkish Measurements

Today I decided to venture out to the big grocery store to see if I could find flax – sadly that quest is still not over ):

However, my spirits were changed when I got a Turkish cooking magazine and a complimentary summer desserts book for 6 TL – such a steal! I definitely wanted to see what the Turks read about in their food magazines and of course wanted some of their delish recipes. The pictures alone were drool worthy. Not to mention the magazine is great Turkish reading material since it expands my vocabulary (food vocabulary is super important) and its another way to see grammar in action.

Now the one thing I started to notice when reading through all the enticing recipes was that they label the measurements “turkish tea cup” and “water cup”. I was thinking – do they mean this literally??? And you bet they do and for no other good reason than the fact that every Turkish household has these two items without fail. I emailed a lady I work with for confirmation and found this fun little article as well that explains it all very well.

Different ingredients with precise gram measurements in a tea cup and water cup – too bad my host family doesn’t have a digital scale…

I marked a few recipes that I want to try out – whether I get the chance here or will wait till I go back home for a visit in about a month is to be determined but no fret when I do get around to making some new recipes I will be sure to share.

I went for a nice 5 mile evening run. For the most part it was a good run – I tend to zone out when I run and thankfully I snapped out of it right when a little knee-biter on a scooter was aimed right for me. I swerved but so did he so we were literally 1 second away from crashing – pretty sure he was a fifth the size of me – one collision I think I would have won but I am so glad we didn’t because explaining my apologies to the family would of been stress inducing.

Also, by the end of my run my head was spinning because the whole time I just convert miles to kilometers and to meters and back and forth for no reason at all except to count in my head. It makes absolutely no sense but ever since I was little I have had this thing with counting and I just can’t seem to kick it…especially when running. ARRRRRRGGGGG – I guess things could be worse though. Really the US needs to join the rest of the world – it would make everything a tad easier. Don’t even get me started on Celsius and Fahrenheit. That’s making my counting and mathematical equation problem pop up more throughout the day since everything here is C and I have to convert to F. Really 30 C does not seem nearly as hot as 90 F – man oh man. Head is spinning.

Favorite song while running these days

Ohh and on my walk home there was music blasting in the street and then there were HUGE Flower Girl Mobiles. Here are some pics with my iphone – kinda blurry but they were huge moving float things in the shapes of flowers with girls sticking out of the tops. Reminded me of the Barbie Cakes my mums made for my sis and I when we were little tikes.

When I came home my host mom heated dinner up for me – I don’t know how she does it but she makes the simplest things taste amazing. Tonight was a yogurt and rice diet soup, a bean salad and a vegetable omelette – but not an american style omelette. Wish I would have taken pictures but I devoured it. Running is so necessary here.

Prepped cherry overnight oats for tomorrow – host mom went to the market and she bought more cherries. The cherries here make you want to eat a whole kilo – they are that pristine and way cheaper than in the US. In fact, all the produce here seems to be much cheaper than the US – good for healthy eating.

Cheers to measurements and miles…kilometers


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

First Run in Ankara

Today was an enjoyable one. One thing I look forward to is that even though I will have a routine once I find my rhythm, I will experience something new everyday. This morning Azusa (the Japanese exchange student staying with the same host family) and I went on a little run. Not until I was running did I realize how hilly Ankara is. Illinois – flat, Ankara – not so much. I guess I’ve been tired too so didn’t really think about it. Our run started off going up a massive hill, definitely wasn’t ready for that. However, the hill brought us to a gorgeous park that I ran around a few times. It has a great view of the city (will take camera with next time) and even has outdoor exercise machines that were quite busy. Not sure how long or far I ran but if anything it felt super nice to get out and stretch. The park itself was a constant grade change too. A lady walking said “yavaş koş yavaş” meaning run slow, slow – but there was no slowing me down. Gotta burn all the Turkish food calories!

The other big activity of the day was that I went and met up with a girl who I graduated from undergrad with. She has been in Ankara the last year teaching English at a university to elementary age students. It was great meeting up with her  – especially in all places like Turkey (: She is a bit on the outskirts of the city so the trip involved metro and a bus but it was for the most part easy to navigate. Azusa came with and was able to speak Japanese with my friend which I think was nice for her because she has mostly only been able to converse in the little English and Turkish she knows – sometimes the brain just needs a break!

I got some good Turkey travel tips and will definitely be putting those to good use. Hoping to plan a trip to another city for not this weekend but the following – maybe I’ll meet someone at school who is interested – in the very least Azusa would probably be up for it.

Lastly, and quite possibly the most important – dinner was phenomenal tonight! Dolmas – stuffed leaves and oh were they good. There were plenty left too so will probably have tomorrow and will try to get a photo. We were all just too hungry tonight. Even asked my host mom if I can make them with her sometime and she had a huge smile on her face. Glad I went running this morning and got a good amount of walking in.

I leave you with a picture of my dinner from last night – köfte (meatball) sandwich – super delish! Had half for dinner and the rest for lunch. Can’t beat a 4TL (about $2) meal that lasts for two meals (:

Afiyet Olsun – Bon Apetite!


and last but not least a hilarious GIF that I is adequate for my situation – except my host mom thus far has been pretty great and not scary at all – she is actually quite the painter and quite adorable (:

Cheers from Ankara