New Years Resolutions 2017

As 2016 draws to a close I find myself looking forward more than back. I dont particularly care to reflect on the previous year, as it has been a real struggle for me. 

 Honestly, I’m  just not happy.  I’m not.  I don’t want to call it depression because I never went to the doctor for a diagnosis (mostly because I don’t have a history of depression, so any negativity is just situational right now and I don’t want to medicate for that). I can’t really pinpoint when I took this turn, since it’s been just a constant stream of disappointment and struggle. 

On top of general money moods, I’m angrier, swearing more, praying less, feeling ungrateful, picking fights, being petty… 

 I know it’s mostly related to my living situation.  Having no space to call my own, no privacy, no ownership of my life. Not to mention my grandmother passed away somewhat suddenly last month. 

I’m not ready to talk about that just yet. 

And of course I haven’t seen my family for over a year. We talk, but it’s not the same. 

Turkey is wearing me down. 

I’ve found myself pushing against the Turkish language, the culture, and even sometimes I won’t eat the food. I don’t know how to describe this feeling but to say I’m not me anymore, and I don’t like it.  I don’t like this homesick, hate my life, and hate everyone around me feeling. 

But I let myself be a victim of my circumstances, and no one/ nothing can affect me if I don’t let it.  

So in 2017 my resolutions are these:

1. Boost my imaan : I need to make an active effort to reconnect with my religion. A religion I actually chose myself. I thought being in Turkey would make it easier, but I think it’s been harder.  Either way, I need to get back into prayer and listen to more religious lectures. 

2. Count my blessings: Every day I want to reflect on at least 3 things I should be grateful for. Even the small things, like hot soup on a cold day.  When I start looking for the good instead of the bad, I know my mood will improve. 

3. Take control and live NOW: I’m going to do more to have more of an influence on my own life.  I intend to start that by moving out of this flat before winter is over, but that’s a post for next week. And instead of waiting for things to happen, I will take an active role in my fate and live in the now. 

4. Swear and complain less: In the states, the majority of my friends don’t swear terribly much.  I also made a concerted effort to not swear either. But here… Well, I have been seriously slacking.  And all I ever talk about are the bad things that are happening to me and how miserable I am (sorry,  friends) .  No more! The occasional venting is ok, but I don’t want to complain more than once a week. Let’s be honest, cold turkey isn’t going going to work. 
I know it’s cliche to make resolutions, but it’s something I need to do.  Be it December or June, positive changes are never a bad thing… 

What are your resolutions? 

What Did I Eat?! 

Last Sunday hubby, BIL, and I went out for the whole day! We cruised all the holiday deals to find hubs some winter boots, winter dress shoes, a nice jacket, among other things, for an event coming up soon.  We really nailed it on the shoes and jacket! 

While we were out we stopped at a tiny hole in the wall restaurant (literally a hole in the wall, which I’ll post about separately) for fish sandwiches. So. Good. And fritter style! It’s been forever.


 Afterwards, we went to smoke hookah/nargile because we were feeling feisty.  Unfortunately our adrenaline didn’t last and we got tired very fast.  Subsequently, we rushed our smoking and ended up feeling not so good. Hubby’s head was spinning and I was choking on it and my stomach burned.  Not to mention the service was terrible.

Otherwise, a good day.  

And then Monday came. 

My stomach was on fire! It wouldn’t stop burning and flipping as if I’d be sick immediately.  I drug myself to work though, and couldn’t even make myself eat at lunch, for fear of vomiting.  Same for dinner.  Didn’t touch it. I drank marjoram tea to try and help settle my raging insides, but it only helped a little. 

Next morning I ate one plain scrambled egg.  Breakfast was one bowl of soup, and a spoon of erişte. I still wasn’t feeling too good. Zero appetite and stomach pain (but more boiling than burning this time). Had a bowl of soup for dinner and my stomach was bloated to that of a 6 month old pregnant lady. 

What the heck did I eat?! 

Yesterday I managed a few spoons of every food at lunch and dinner.  But still no appetite. Just today I finally had enough of an appetite to enjoy my food, but still half of my normal meal.

Besides stomach anger, you don’t want to know how else my insides were punishing me.

I have no idea what I did.  At first I thought it was from the nargile, but four days of unease?! I thought it might have been the fish, but we all ate the same thing and only I’m suffering. 

Why me? 

Season of Salad

While summer is usually when you’re looking for something cool and refreshing like salad, most greens flourish in the winter months. 

 I’m a huge lover of salad.  All salad. Beet salad, bean salad, potato salad, cease salad, dinner salad, chicken salad…  Come at me bro.  One thing I had never tried before coming to Turkey, however, was boiled celery salad. 

And was I missing out! 

What is actually found in Turkey is celeriac, a type of celery grown for it’s root rather than the stalks (the latter being the one we know and love in the US).  There is a slight taste difference (in that the celeriac has a stronger flavor) and I think I like celeriac better. 

Much more interesting! Because: salad! 


Ingredients

1 celery root/stalks, chopped 

1 carrot, chopped

4 cloves garlic, grated 

Salt to taste

Olive oil to taste

Lemon juice to taste 

Preparation

1. Boil the chopped celery root and stalks (or just the leftover stalks if you need the root for something else) and chopped carrot together.  Boil until soft. 

2. Drain the water (which can be reserved for soup if you like). Let the celery and carrot cool in a bowl/on a plate. 

3. Grate your garlic onto the boiled veggies.  Don’t limit yourself.  The only thing better than 4 cloves of garlic is 5 cloves of garlic. Add olive oil, lemon juice (from a lemon! That preserved stuff is gross), and salt. 

4. Mix well and serve luke warm or cold. 

Afiyet olsun! 

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.  

I’m still here! 

I’m still here guys! Don’t worry! Got some posts coming up soon that are worth a read.  I try to save you from my constant moping due to my loneliness during the holiday season, hence the lack of posts. 

But I’m alive, and they are coming! Don’t lose faith in me just yet 

Teachers Day

My first Teachers Day (Turkish observed) was Thursday! 

It happened to fall on Thanksgiving! And TEOG (a national placement test for 8th graders),  so I had a short holiday Wednesday and Thursday.  

Typically students give gifts to their teachers as a thank you for all they do.  Sometimes it’s just flowers, and sometimes it’s some niiiiiice stuff.  One teacher got a tea cup set from English Home! Dang! 

Of course I got a whole lot of nothing.  Not even a flower! Since parents don’t get to meet the native teachers we don’t really count… İ cant lie,  I was a bit sad when everyone else was being lavished with gifts while I sat in the teachers room all by my lonesome.  

Since we don’t celebrate teachers day in the US it shouldn’t make me sad.  But what can I do? 

At least the school gave us gift boxes! 
We also were treated to a night out at a fancy hotel on Tuesday.  Service took us from the school in the evening and we enjoyed a social evening of dancing, eating, and (for everyone else) drinking! 

I was sick but tried to make the most of it. 

But in all honesty, I was in it for the sales! Every shop had a special teachers day campaign. I got new shoes and replaced some of my makeup that I was scrapping the bottom of the bottle for. 

But no matter what, Thanksgiving was on my mind. We again couldn’t do anything because of our living situation… And it’s making me homesick. 

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…) 

The Obligatory Election Post

As an American blogger (particularly  an expat one) , I’m required to post about the election this week. 

Am I scared? Some. 

Am I angry? A bit. 

Am I disappointed ? Yes. 

Am I surprised? Not really. 

I mean, after the initial shock,  I sighed and shook my head.  America has always had an unfortunate undercurrent of all the -isms . . . Racism, sexism, exceptionalism , and a number of phobias and bigotry.  I’m a big girl and I can acknowledge our downfalls as a nation. 

At first I thought that these election results meant that these horrible things had reached a majority and were socially acceptable now. I was even worried about my own safety when I return home this summer. But then I talked to some people who voted for trump. They didn’t vote for him because they agree with him, they did it because they hate Hillary and the current system.  So instead of being directly terrible, some people just lack empathy and are a bit ignorant to the concerns of the minority. 

It’s better than being hateful. . ? 

So I have hope still that my country won’t fall into total disrepair.  Will there be setbacks? I think so. But hopefully we won’t crash and burn.  

Now it’s up to the rest of us to kick into high gear, write our representatives , and keep up to date on every bit of legislation that comes across the executive desk. Make our voices heard.  We are not a nation of jerks . We are just angry. 

I am American,  hear me roar. 

Knee Jerk Reactions

Whenever something bad happens, you tend to have that initial “knee jerk” reaction. A reflex, if you will.  My previous post basically covered hubby’s reflex to losing his job. 

You know, the “we can’t move out now” , “we will move to new city” , “everything sucks” kind of stuff.  

Well, we are trying to take a few days to step back and really evaluate the situation and the best next move. 

For both of us.  

At the moment, moving out is back in the table, taking some time off to take more professional/technical courses, and other personal development stuff is also a possibility. 

While nothing is clear right now, the only thing we can be certain of is that we have each other- and that’s what matters. 

Prayers and positivity appreciated.  

That Was Fun While it Lasted

Well,  hubby lost his job. 

We knew the company wasn’t doing too well when his pay checks were coming later and later.  They finally decided to shut down that division of the factory.  

Pretty bad timing, considering we were looking for an apartment. 

Notice the use of past tense.  Were looking.  Were.  As in,  we were looking before, but now we are not. 

And we are indeed not looking. Not because we found a place, but because hubby lost his job.  Even though we could afford a place on only my salary, he has been applying to new jobs in other cities (read: Istanbul and Ankara, where he has more options. Never mind my own job).  He doesn’t want us to move out on a lease when he may have to move for work (because I clearly can’t live alone).  

Nevermind my f***in sanity. 

His parents are trying to finish the second floor of their house (which was built like a three flats apartment building), which they intend to “give to us” when it’s finished (and by give,  I mean have us pay to complete and thereof pretty much buy).  With no heating. In,  maybe,  March? 

So in the meantime I will continue to lose my damn mind in this overcrowded flat, serving as both a teacher at school and a maid at home.  Basically miserable everywhere. 

I think I’m going to be sick.