Beach-less Week at the Beach 

If you follow my Instagram,  you’ll know I just got back from a week at the beach! 


 But I never actually got to… You know… Go to the beach. 


The struggle of being a not-fully-functioning adult is that you are at the whim of your caretakers. For the weekdays, they were my in laws.  Love them to death, but there’s only so much old folks can do before they get tuckered out. I got to look at the water but not actually put my feet in the sand. 


Hubby joined us on the weekend, but he slept the majority of the day so we couldn’t go to the beach then either. We did spend the entire night (until 3am) out on the town, but still no beach! We went back Sunday in the afternoon to beat the traffic. 

It was still a lot of fun! 

But hopefully we will get another chance soon. The summer is still young! 

A day at the beach- Turkey style

Recently we went to the beach

And it was quite an affair!

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The whole side of Anne’s family came to this event, including cousins who came all the way from Antalya!  This beach trip was a day long outing, arriving at 9 am (which was actually later than we intended) and leaving after sundown.

Upon arrival we scouted out a picnic space, where we quickly corralled the cars and formed our own private space, with a beautiful view of the ocean.  Laying down mats and blankets, a large sitting space was formed and the piknik tüpü (small propane tanks) were fired up, and tea was quickly brewed.  Well, as quickly as tea can be brewed in Turkey and still be deemed acceptable.

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The night before we prepared loads of gül börek with lor (cheese curd) and herb filling.  These, along with boiled eggs and olives, served as our breakfast.  It didn’t take long for the kids to run down to the ocean front and begin swimming.  But we had to be very cautious of prickly sea urchins, which this beach is known for!

The adults (including myself) stretched out with pillows and found our own leisurely activities to enjoy.

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While I read my nook in the shade of an olive tree, Hubby and is uncle enjoyed a few rounds of tavla (backgammon).  Later, I took part in a few games of okey (rummikube), which I actually prefer.  I know tavla is supposed to be, like, the national board game of Turkey- but I just can’t get the hang of it. My family back in the states used to play tournament Rummikube at family reunions, so I’m much more familiar with that game.

Before dinner we went down to the beach and enjoyed a brief swim.  After noon the water gets rather choppy, and the wind will chill you once you get out of the water! This is particularly true for me, since I wear a whole swimming costume to keep everything covered.  I had the great pleasure of escorting Hubby’s youngest female cousin who is around 5 years old, into the water.  She insistently wanted to show me something- but all I could understand out of her mouth was yenge…at least I’m not the only one who struggles to understand her slurred words!

Returning at the beginning of dinner preparations, the ladies of the family-led by Anne- fussed over my wet clothes and bundled me into the back of an uncle’s van to change.  How do these people have loads of clothes everywhere? How do they know what to bring? Turkish mysteries…

For dinner we enjoyed loads of mangal and köfte, along with a delicious salad consisting of chopped lettuce, peppers, onion, tomato, cucumber, salt, lemon juice, and olive oil.  As the men cooked over the grill, the women prepared the salad and broke the bread, making sure everyone got their share.  I apologize for the lack of pictures, but I was rather busy stuffing my face.

Lastly, watermelons and melons were sliced, along with cookies, sunflower seeds, and other munchie things.  All the while the kids were running back and forth from the ocean to our picnic shelter.

Listening to the adults speak, I did get a little upset that I couldn’t understand much of what they were saying- but they were sure to include me in their jokes, and make sure I felt welcome.

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We were the last to leave the area well after dark- saying selams and görüşürüz as the large pack of over 20 people went their separate ways.  I love the depth of family in Turkey, and how important it is to stay in touch.  Unfortunately, due to jobs and school, summer is the only time everyone can get together.

Until next year!

Greetings from Izmir!

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Wow, it seems like forever since we landed in Izmir at 1am on Wednesday morning- but today is only Monday!  Upon landing we were greeted by my in-laws and some cousins and whisked away to the beach…where there is no internet.

But that’s ok! We have been so busy managing the garden, visiting the beach, and seeing family that we haven’t had time to miss it.  Here is a teaser of what we have been up to in the last five days…
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We will be staying at the internet-less beach house until October, so I can’t be sure about my posting schedule.  The posts will come eventually though! Especially now that we are trying to figure out my residency permit stuff and what not. Ah, to be an expat…

My Muse (weekly photo challenge)

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There is something about the ocean that inspires me.   Regardless of a storm far out at sea, the tide stills comes in, goes out, comes in, goes out… it doesn’t change.  Any particular shell that washes ashore could have originated in another part of the world, but now it is here.   All the while the tide goes in, goes out, goes in, goes out.  It is a comfort to me, knowing that even though some things change, others always stay the same.

Photo challenge: Off-season

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While we were in Turkey we visited a nearby beach town that was common for the locals.  It was off-season, so it was too cold to get in the water…but no one was there.  We had a long walk down the beach discussing what our future was together, and how we would move on from where we were at that moment.   Even though we went back to this place several times, and during the actual beach season, this trip will always stand out in my mind.

Some places/ things are better off-season.

National US Maritime Day

  Yesterday we took a day trip to the beach, and it happened to be US Maritime Day…how appropriate!

picnicThe water was still too cold for swimming, but we did wade around up to our calves.  Most of the time was spent lounging under the umbrella on the shore.  The temperature was a comfortable mid 80s, with clear blue skies. A great day for a drive and a siesta in the shade!  The sound of the ocean is so relaxing!

Beachbum Sunny

As is the norm for any of our beach visits- I got plenty of looks for my curious bathing attire.  Yes everyone, I cover most of myself- but is that a bad thing? I don’t have to worry too much about sun exposure, I stay cooler (especially after getting in the water, the suit stays wet and the breeze keeps me very cool), sand doesn’t end up in naughty places…why isn’t everyone donning a full body get-up?  And no, it doesn’t hinder my ability to swim at all; it feels just as light as wearing nothing!

tide beach

I won’t lie, this wasn’t the most beautiful beach I’ve been to- but I do love the sand of Floridian beaches.  The view at the beaches in Izmir were outstanding- but the ground was  much more rocky .  The same goes for South Carolina, where the beaches have more pebbles than sugary white sand.  However, any beach in the US will trump Turkey in one category- public bathrooms.  In the US they are free.

   Hopefully we will be going back to our favorite beach before we leave the state (pictured below).

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A Trip to the Oldest City…

If you’ve been following my Instagram, then you would know that the hubster and I took a trip down to St. Augustine, FL to see the historic city!  For those of you who didn’t know, St. Augustine is the oldest city in the US.  It was colonized by Spain before England began their colonization of the rest of the east coast.

It was a beautiful and perfect day for the trip! In St. Augustine it was blue skies and mid 70s.  Just driving towards the ocean gives me a thrill, what about you?  Fortunately for us, we managed to snag a parking spot just as a car was pulling out.  Did I mention- FREE parking on Sundays?!  That’s been my experience in most cities, but it is still exciting every time!

StAugustine  We arrived in the old city around 11am, so we wanted to do a little walking around before lunch time.  We were able to park in the heart of the historic downtown area, so going left or right led to adventures and beautiful sites, either way!  Even though we did procure a map, I found that wandering aimlessly still resulted in many things to see.

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After a good deal of walking we decided to settle in a shady, grassy space and enjoy a picnic lunch that I had prepared.  While eating out when you travel is a lot of fun, we decided we would rather be frugal for a meal and splurge on a treat later in the day.  We stopped by a small shop and purchased cold coke and wandered into the Plaza de la Constitucion, where we enjoyed our very Turkish picnic of boiled potatoes, eggs, fresh tomato, and cheese.  I probably should have prepared some borek, but in all honesty I was too busy Saturday to do it.

Plaza de la Constitucion

While walking around we saw several historic sites, such as the St. Augustine cathedral, old city roads, historic houses, and a monument to the discoverer of Florida- Ponce De Leon!  We eventually walked to the coast where we saw the Bridge of Lions, an old spanish ship memorial, and simply took in the beauty.  A pod of dolphins made a quick appearance, but disappeared into the water before we could take a picture…

Bridge of Lions boatsSt.Augustine cathedralLions of the bridge
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 St.George streetBut of course we saved the best for last… the Castillo de San Marcos, aka Ft. Marion.  This location has been designated a national park and is the home of many stories and lore about the old Castillo soldiers and, later, the Civil War.  It was hard to believe that someone had climbed the same steps and touched the same cannons 450 years ago that we had touched that moment!

drawbridge cannons castillo courtyard Shadows of history CastilloAnd at 2.30p we were able to watch a weapons demonstration!  The reenactors marched on to the gun deck with their muskets and in full uniform with a drummer tapping out the beat.  After a giving a brief history, they proceeded to show us drills for musket use and cannon firing!  They called the commands in old Castillon spanish, but some of the words were similar to present day spanish. (Edit:  I intended to post videos of the drills, but APPARENTLY WordPress only lets people who pay for premium do that so…thanks a lot, WordPress.)

weapons demo

Shop talk

After the demonstration we had decided we had enough fun for one day.  We both walked away with a sunburn (and a hijab tan line for me..) and ice cream in our hands, but it was completely worth it!  Even when your life is full of uncertainties and problems, it is very nice to be able to take a day off for yourself and just enjoy what you can.