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! 

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A day at the beach- Turkey style

Recently we went to the beach

And it was quite an affair!

beach

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!