Elbow Room

Great news! 

The renter downstairs (bottom floor, flat 1 of 3) has moved out! 

You know what that means? 

We are finally moving out of this flat (3rd of 3)!!! I could dance and cry for joy simultaneously. I’m not exaggerating. 

Of course the apartment will need a bit of sprucing up.  It is, after all, about 30 years old.  Nothing a fresh coat of paint and some new floors can’t fix! There’s nothing like a little renovation! 

Plus I need a side project.  

Meanwhile we are also working to finish the second floor construction, but now that can slow down as other things have been popping up in our lives lately…more to talk about later. 

Check out our new floors! We only put them in the sitting room and bedroom, but we are so impressed we are thinking to put them everywhere… But that costs money. Crossed fingers we can do enough to be able to move within two weeks! 


new floor in the bedroom! It’s amazing how much it brightens the whole room!

Old furniture frames the renter left behind need to be broken down for fire wood… But the kitchen  cabinets are solid! Old floors are ugly, but a carpet can fix that.  Or maybe more new floors? 

Tile Day

Today we went shopping for bathroom tiles and balcony laminate. 


We also looked at Parque for the rest of the rooms, but didn’t settle on anything yet.  I think we can find a better deal. 

We perused other odds and ends as well. 

We did settle on a bathroom design! 

Not the sink or toilet though.  Also too expensive. 

We also bought a nonslip laminate for the balcony. Not in love with the color, but it was the only nonslip option. And I’m a clutz and a half so… 


Slowly yet surely we are making progress on the second floor.  Too slowly. Not surely enough. 

But it’s better than nothing.  

Our New Apartment!*

*disclaimer: neither new nor ours

Sorry,  I needed a catchy title to reel you in.  But I did include a disclaimer right at the beginning,  so no harm no foil,  right? 

So we have decided what to do about our living situation – final word! Kind of good and kind of bad… 

We decided to finish building the second floor flat in my in laws house for our use. 

WHAT!?

I know what you’re probably thinking.  We are never going to be free again! Probably not, but it’s better than the current situation  and it does have some benefits. 

Namely;

 No rent. 

No landlord.  

Close to work.

Completely by my design. 

When I say finish the second floor,  I really mean finish.  It’s been bare bones since the house was built 30 or so years ago. 

And its been used as a kind of storage space ever since. 

But it’s pretty big (3+1, around 130+m) and all ours.  We need to move everything out and pour leveling concrete (which is the hardest part of what’s left to do), install the floors, paint, attach proper fixtures and outlets, totally finish the bathroom, and install cupboards… 

Oh wow,  that’s a lot. 

But the windows and doors are done, electric and water works, so we just have to finish the inside. It’ll take a chunk of cash, but for less than the price of one year’s rent in another apartment we can have our own built up to our specifications. 

I try to think of it more as an empty canvas. 

And at least we are moving in the right direction. 

(sorry for the lack of posts, a lot going on lately that I hope to be able to explain later…) 

Kısmetse olur

If it’s meant to be, it will be. 

Hubby and I like to think that some things in life are just fate.  No matter what you do, you can’t escape it.  Or no matter what difficulties come your way, the good that is fated for you will arrive.  It goes both ways, doesn’t it? It helps us deal with the fact that, for a very long time our best laid plans never worked out. Because it wasn’t meant to be.  Right? 

Speaking of fate… 

We had our first “date” six years ago today.  

I don’t remember if I’ve ever told yall about how everything had to align for us to meet. How a guy from Turkey and a girl from small town South Carolina wound up in the same place at the same time under such circumstances that they ended up talking to each other. I probably have, but it’s been a long time. I might as well tell it again so you don’t have to go sifting through hundreds of posts to find it. 

I had a short blurb about it on my about me page, but I’ve taken it out because it deserves it’s own space (plus no one needs that much information in an about me. It’s just too much). 

The more I look around the more I see stories like ours, but it doesn’t make it any less special to me.  It just reinforces my belief in fate and soul mates. 

Hubby was born and raised in Turkey.  He went through his education in Turkey, took his undergrad in Turkey, then went to the US to better his education. He came to the US and started with ESL in Mississippi and Texas, later starting his Masters degree in Connecticut. 

Meanwhile, I was born and raised in South Carolina.  While he was starting his ESL I was roaming the halls of my high school during junior year,  sneaking wine coolers, and trying to balance my rebellious self with my southern surroundings. After graduating, I started my undergrad at a local campus of USC (as in, the University of South Carolina, not California).  

 He was in Connecticut, and I was in South Carolina.  Hey, but we were on the same continent! 

When things in Connecticut started going down hill, a friend of his suggested giving Clemson a try.  He thought about it long and hard, and said “what the hell”, and moved there for the winter term in 2010. At the time, I was still at USC trying to figure out what area I wanted to study.  Come to find out, my interests best aligned with food science. Only two schools in the state have that major (and SC residents get a sizeable scholarship at SC universities, so I was limited to my home state)… The best being Clemson. 

I moved to Clemson for the fall term, right after my birthday in August 2010. I had been working for a grocery chain in my hometown, so I transferred my employment to the local branch in Clemson.  The same grocery store that my future husband happened to live behind. 

Due to that graduate stress, hubby got sick in September (bless his heart!).  He took a walk with his roommate to the grocery store for some tea and otc medication. While perusing the aisles, a certain messy haired glasses wearing employee sat on the floor checking dates on some product or another.  She was cute, but he was too shy to say hello. 

After I was done pulling expired product and putting back items left by customers at the registers, I was called to clean up a spill at the front. 

Hubby was having a hell of a time figuring out which medicine to buy.  In Turkey, you have to go to pharmacies to get your hands on any kind of medicine.  In the states (at least in SC and FL) , the actual pharmacy window in a Walmart, Target, or grocery store can be closed while otc products like Aleve, Tylenol, Thera flu etc is still available on the shelves for purchase.  Who could he ask? There was an old lady stocking the shelves in this department just a second ago… 

After cleaning the spill in the front, I pushed the mop and bucket to the back of the store, the double doors easiest to reach by cutting through the pharmacy department. As I passed down the toothpaste display, I heard an “excuse me”  from the neighboring aisle. 

The old lady he saw before was gone.  He had picked up two possible options, Thera flu and alkaseltzer cold. But which one would be better? Looking up, he saw the frizzy top of a girl’s red head, lead by a mop handle.  He called out to her, and when she rounded the corner he ran into the bluest eyes he’d ever seen. 

And the rest is history. 

It’s crazy to think about how close to not meeting we could have been.  If he hadn’t been sick that day. If I hadn’t been going down that aisle after mopping.  If my coworker had still been stocking shelves.  If I had applied for a different job instead of transferring to the local branch of the chain I had been working for (which, BTW, I hated that job). If he hadn’t said yes to going to Clemson.  If I went to the other university that had my major. 

If he would have gotten cold feet and never came back later to get my number. 

I don’t believe in coincidences.  

Happy Birthday To Me (2nd Turkey Birthday!) 

Hey yall! So, today is my birthday! 

I’m 26 (whaaaaat?!) 

If you follow me on Instagram (which by now, you should take a hint and follow me!) you know that we celebrated my birthday on Sunday.  I mean,  most grown folks celebrate their birthdays on the weekend right?  

As you see in the title I refer to this as my second birthday in Turkey.  That’s right! I spent my 21st birthday in the Istanbul airport, coming home from my first Turkey experience! This was definitely better. 

Because I’m such an unsocial creature, I opted for a night out with the hubster.  I mean,  since we came to Turkey last year that’s all I’ve wanted, a little alone time with my man.  Yall know what I’m saying. 

We had a very basic evening, starting with a late dinner. We picked up a bag of cig köfte and ayran from my favorite vendor, then went to the sea side to have a little picnic while the sun set. 


Afterward, we had a short stroll to browse for a few items I wanted to purchase.  I didn’t get anything yet though.  I go into phases of wanting to spend money, and then wanting to save it.  Sunday was a save it day! 


After that we hoped on the metro (free fare!) and headed for a nargile/hookah lounge!  There was one specific one we were headed to (we had gone before and it was appropriate.  If you live in Turkey you know that some nargile lounges can be too rowdy,  not mixed gender, or full of weirdos. So when you find one you like you should stick with it!). 

 Unfortunately, we couldn’t remember exactly where it was, so we got off on the wrong stop.  I was a little upset and said to just go home, since the place wasn’t easy to get to.  But hubby insisted we try the previous stop, and rushed me onto the next train. 

We got off at the station, expecting a good 8 to 10 minute walk to our desired lounge.  But lo and behold, three steps away from the station and I got a nose full of hookah smell.  A new lounge opened right beside the metro about 2 months ago (we hadn’t been out this way since February).  Very mixed crowd (women, men, young, old, children even *not smoking*, and hijabis too! ), low hum of conversation, and nice ambiance. Perfect! 

So we sat down and ordered our favorite, apple/mint.  I think it’s my favorite? I’m not sure.  It’s his favorite and I’ve only tried a few flavors, but I really do like apple/mint so I usually go for it! Since I have a very low tolerance now (I used to smoke like a dang chimney in undergrad like 4 years ago, but since then I haven’t smoked much at all) we always share.  Even his tolerance has bottomed out haha. 


I insisted we play backgammon, even though I usually don’t like to play.  Playing anything with my love can be fun, since he is teaching me and getting excited when I make a good move.  

I ordered my favorite ice tea, smoked a bunch of yummy hookah, and played backgammon for 2 whole hours! 

Oh and I won the backgammon matches by one game ;). 

All in all it was exactly what I wanted! The whole way home I was gushing with joy.  Of course hubby was insisting that he should give me more and do more, but unfortunately we aren’t in a place to be able to do anything more fancy. That’s OK, because even if we had 1000₺ to spend on my birthday, I wouldn’t change a thing! 

Check  out my Instagram story later today to watch me make myself birthday baklava! I’m not much into cake,  and I haven’t made baklava in ages! Gotta get my practice in before the next bayram! 

Here Comes The Groom, Dancing To The Tune! 

I don’t know about ya’ll, but my family isn’t very close.  I barely speak to my own aunts and uncles, let alone cousins and whatnot.

So imagine my surprise when a wedding came up (on the Turkish side!) a little like this:

So and so is having her wedding and we are invited!

Who?

So and so, you know, your husband’s grandmother’s sister’s granddaughter’s child!

…right.  So, family.

But it was amazing!!! Unfortunately I missed the kina gecesi because I was dead on my feet after traveling back from the beach all in a hurry for the festivities.  But the wedding was fantastic!

Fantastic, and very different.  Let me run you through the events to show you just how different a wedding in Turkey is from an American one! Honestly, I think the only thing in common is the white dress, the throwing of the bouquet, cake, and signing a piece of paper!

Let me start by saying that we were related to the bride, so everything I witnessed is from the bride’s side.

First off, the close (ish) family met at the bride’s mother’s house while the bride was getting ready at the salon.  Both men and women from the bride’s side were present, and dressed. We were fed pide and ayran (I guess you could be fed anything?) while family members trickled in as they finished getting ready. The last to show up was the bride, in her full gown and makeup/hair.  She was ready to go! She sat in a chair in the middle of the room and tried to eat a bit while we waited.

What were we waiting for? THE GROOM! (check out my instagram for the video).  Lo and behold, I hear drums and some kind of woodwind instrument.  I was rushed to the balcony to see the wedding party (grooms side) and the groom in his full suit coming with musical accompaniment.  

He entered the house and the bride’s uncle (because her father is no longer with us) tied a red ribbon around the brides waist.  They both gave him the respectful kiss of the hand and pressed his hand to their foreheads, as is tradition. Then the bride dropped her veil and was led from the house.  Before getting into a car decked out in wedding goodies (much like the car our couples drive away in, but at the end) they danced together in Turkish fashion (instagram video).  As the bridal procession started to drive away, an auntie on the bride’s side splashed a gallon of water after them, and another threw coins.

Then we piled into a rental bus and off to the wedding salon we went!

After the huge salon was filled, the bride and groom made their entrance. 

 Everyone danced- A LOT. Sometimes it was brides side, sometimes grooms side, but everyone danced! My favorite part of the dancing is that there is a guy with a big drum that gets in there. I wish I had a picture.  It was great.  Sometimes he would be on the ground banging the hell out of the drum.  People would throw paper money (some real, some fake) over the bride and groom, which was collected for the MC who was managing the music (and the very lively drummer!).

After some dancing (slow dancing and also Turkish style), a pause in the festivities was taken for the legal bit.  The couple were sat at a table, and asked if they wanted to be married (like vows, but it didnt sound like our kind of vows?). They both said yes, music played, and they signed their marriage booklet.  Then they cut a cake (like we do), and some more dancing happened.

Eventually the bride and groom stood wearing sashes for money and gold to be pinned on them.  The guests lined up and pinned money, hung gold bracelets and jewelry, etc. on the couple. 

More dancing, woohoo! Including cultural dances that I didn’t know how to do… 

Finally, at the very very end, after dancing for around 3hrs straight, the couple held a large Turkish flag, and everyone sang the Turkish anthem (except me! GOD BLESS AMERICA! :P)

My ears rang all night, and into the next day!

But…now I kind of want one too.

 

 

Husbands say the darn-est things

This tag has made its way through Facebook to me… And I couldn’t help myself! One of the things I wish I could share with the world is my husband. In my eyes, he is the smartest and funniest guy I know. How many times have we had moments that belong in a sit com? Probably close to a million.

Today you get to hear from him! I asked him the following questions with NO prompting from me! I think this will give you a little insight into both of us… Which may be good or bad.

The following are his answers:

1.What is something I always say to you?

Honey!

2.What makes me happy?

ice-cream

3.What makes me sad?

anything can make you sad! You’re that kind of person 😉 like stupid things even (enter his laughing)

4.How tall am I?

you’re so short 😛

5.What’s my favorite thing to do?

shopping, or anything that takes you outside

6.What do I do when I am not with you?

sit around and wait for me to come back 😛

7.If I become famous, what will it be for?

your art!

8.What am I good at?

talking ;D

9.What am I not good at?

math

10.What makes you proud of me?

everything 🙂

11.What is my favorite food?

omg there are a hell of a lot of your favorites… But you can write dolma

12.What do we do together?

watch movies

13.How are you and I the same?

Him: you know the answer babe
Me: But I can’t prompt you, you have to tell me!
Him: No, I can’t prompt YOU! You have to tell me 😛

I don’t know what happened here…

14. How are you and I different?

in every way! ;p

15.How do you know I love you?

you just don’t, you feel it

16.Where is my favorite place to eat?

Briosos in Clemson

Which we haven’t been to in 3 years but alright…

17.How old was I when I met you?

you were young! A little fresh bunny to be eaten. Omg, I saved you!

LOL

18.If I could go anywhere, where would it be?

my heart :*

19.Do you think you could live with me forever?

at the moment? Yaaaa… 🙂

20.How do I annoy you?

you’re being a smart ass and getting frustrated

21.How do you annoy me?

easily (looks at me and laughs) I love you 😀

Well, you heard it folks! Straight from the husband’s mouth.

Drowning

I had a nightmare that I was drowning.

It didn’t start out that way, of course.  Most of my nightmares start with me being unable to control my car in some way, then it rolling off with me in it into some bad situation.

This time, it was into an ocean that was pitch black.  I tried to swim, but the water was thick like molasses.  I knew it was a nightmare because water isn’t like that,  and I know my own nightmare trends (I am prone to aware nightmares/dreams)… But for a minute I couldn’t wake up.  Lifting my eyelids was like lifting ten tons of concrete. 

image

I haven’t been feeling well lately, and I blame the weather.  This sudden heat has given me daily headaches, neck-aches , and a little bit of a stomach ache (but I’m not sure if that’s from heat or something else).  Compounded on top of my already dour mood,  I haven’t been all that pleasant.

Of course, drowning doesn’t help.

I feel like I’m drowning here.  Not in Turkey, but in this over crowded house.  I know hubby is too, but there’s not a damn thing to do about it now.  No one seems to be aware of nor care how uncomfortable we are. 

All.  The.  Time. 

We are always expected to do things when we don’t want to do them.  Expected to dress a certain way and act a certain way and speak a certain way… And you can only put up with it for so long before you explode. 

While hubby tells me to do my best, his struggles are much different from mine.  Yes, he has to deal with his own inner demons and social/familial pressures to provide for all of us (which is kinda bs in my opinion,  why are you looking at us for money when we both are unemployed? Here.  Take all our life’s savings.  Just take it.  We don’t need it or anything.).

But a gelins pressures are different.

Like I’ve told you before, the women in the house are kind of like a maid.  Particularly gelins,  because they are at the whim of their mother in law.  Sure, I can always say no, or not get up to help when I hear work noises, but I’ve heard them gossip about the girls in the family who are “lazy” and “unhelpful”.  On one side,  I don’t really care what they think.  But on the other side,  I live here so I’m trying to not make it too awkward.

With the heat it’s been especially hard, since I live in the same house as my brother in law (BIL) (with no AC mind you), so I have to be full on covered unless he is at work.  Our room doesn’t even have a lock, so I’m always waiting anxiously to have to throw on all my clothes again in case BIL wants to talk to his abey. 

Everything is just accumulating. 

NO I don’t want to clean the kitchen right now,  my head hurts.

NO I don’t want to hang the laundry,  it’s hot and I have to wear all my clothes to go outside.

NO I don’t want to eat!

NO I don’t want to go anywhere!

NO don’t move the stuff I put in our room!

JUST LEAVE ME ALONE BEFORE I DROWN!!!

The in laws will be leaving for the beach soon and we should have the majority of every month to ourselves for the summer.  I know we will be feeling much better then…

But for now,  I have to keep holding my breath.

Flailing my arms.

Trying not to drown.

Mother’s Day (When You Aren’t One)

I have been exceedingly blessed with a different kind of mom.  The kind of mom that had to put on the Dad pants when my father passed when I was one year old and she was pregnant with my brother.  She never taught me how to do my hair, match my shoes to my outfit, or how to flirt with boys.  But she did teach me how to mow the lawn, kick an assailant where it hurts, and how to get by without a man. She did a nearly impossible task,  raising me and my hellian brother on her own… And we both turned out pretty ok.

Of course,  my maternal grandmother picked up on the girly slack.  And she deserves a shout out for that.  I may have never learned how to keep my mouth shut the like she tried to teach me… But I did learn many other skills from her.  She is where I took my knack for art from, too!

Now I have a mother in law to enjoy and appreciate. Sure, she gets on my nerves plenty, but she doesn’t mean to. She’s been willing to help me learn the day-to-day things most people know at my age, but I don’t (because, you know, I just got here…and things are different!).

So I am very blessed to be surrounded by positive female role models… Which is great and everything… But, I kind of want to be one too.

Mother’s Day can be a mixed bag for those of us who want to be one (a mother) but aren’t. It can be particularly difficult for those whose abstinence from motherhood is not by choice. Fortunately, I’m not one of those who are forced to be childless by physical/biological reasons outside of my control. I guess my not being a mother is by choice, but due to unfavorable circumstances.

When we came to Turkey, we didn’t think our lives would be the way they are right now. My husband thought he would be working. We thought we would have a house/ be somewhat settled down. Hell, I even thought I’d be pregnant by now. It seems sometimes like everyone else thought that too. But while my friends (who are first/second time mom’s, or maybe newly pregnant) drink the kool-aid and offer some to me, I can’t really tell them why I won’t drink it. These problems are ours and kind of private (again, don’t worry, not relationship problems. Life problems), so only a handful of people even know about them.

I know I should be grateful that my self-imposed childless-ness is self imposed…but I can’t help but feel a twinge of regret when the mother’s day pictures start rolling through my Facebook feed featuring my friends (who are majority younger than me) with their kids celebrating mother’s day.

Maybe next year?

Wedding or Not…Here We Come.

One of the things I had been looking forward to when moving to Turkey was our big, fat, Turkish wedding.

You know, the one that didn’t happen because our lives were turned upside down.

Well, after I had finely started coming to terms with the idea that our wedding bonanza wasn’t going to happen, my mother in law was suddenly injected with the wedding bug.

Probably because there are two weddings in the family this summer,  one of which is this weekend.

So out of the clear blue,  Anne is insisting we get married this summer.  Like, in a few months.

Uh… What?

 

image

Let me make it clear that at this point in our lives, neither of us (hubby nor myself) want to deal with planning/paying for a wedding.  Neither of us have a job,  we are living with my in laws, we clearly have other priorities. Are we saying no wedding EVER? No… We are even open to discussing early next year (I wanted it to be on our wedding anniversary, like a vow renewal).

But noooo… It HAS to be NOW.  And with literally no warning. I’m sorry if I can’t get behind that.

Naturally, this leads to plenty of fighting in the house.  Anne will kick and cry because she wants what she wants, and hubby will shout and stomp because he wants what he wants.  Me? I want everyone to be quiet.  When I told Anne that this much notice is not enough for my friends and family to make plans,  she wasn’t swayed.  When I said we didn’t want to pay for something so expensive in our financial situation (hell,  we can’t even move out and pay RENT), she said that she’d pay for it.

Funny that,  when they just asked us for money towards a car and an awning at the beach house.  With what imaginary money were you planning on paying for our (expensive) wedding acaba?

What I don’t understand is why it can’t wait another year, once things settle and İnşallah we will both have jobs.  She keeps saying that “oh we were planning to do it when you came back,  next year is too long to wait.”

I have news for you.  We had a lot of plans for when we came back. I assure you,  our current situation was not in them.  We were supposed to have jobs,  a home, maybe even a kid on the way.  But none of those things happened.  And all of them are much more important than a wedding. And oh yeah,  we’ve been married 3 years already,  one more isn’t that much.

At some point OUR (potential) wedding stopped being about us and started being about her.  And it’s making me very frustrated.  Very. Very.  Frustrated. As if we didn’t have enough to stress us out already.