Tag Archives: people

Expat Thanksgiving

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To celebrate Thanksgiving – and to soothe our mounting pumpkin pie cravings after having taught about Thanksgiving for an entire week – Danielle and I headed down to Gaziantep. There are six other Fulbrighters posted down in Antep, and another 5 assorted American and Turkish friends also converged on the city for us all to celebrate our collective first expat Thanksgiving. Danielle and I were also pleasantly surprised by how close the city was – only three and a half hours by bus from Malatya – which is wonderful considering the amount of sights within the ancient city center that we missed out on.

This time around in Antep, we saw nothing of the city itself as we immediately headed down to our friends’ apartments on the outskirts of the city by Gaziantep University. Once we had all assembled, with friends coming in from Osmaniye, Sivas, Malatya and Gaziantep, we made an executive decision to skip Antep cuisine (a horrible crime, I’ve been assured) and instead eat at a local Syrian restaurant opened up by some wealthy refugees. I assure you, I love Middle Eastern food in America; however, this restaurant was truly the first time I have ever been floored by the cuisine. The combination of having it cooked authentically with the intended regional fresh produce made it outstanding. I just wish I remembered what the name of what I ate was… Or what it was, besides chickpeas.

Thanksgiving Prep
I am confused by kitchens

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“Home” for the Holidays

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Last week I had been feeling a little homesick. I’m not really sure why, but it may have been due to the approach of the holidays and students talking of visiting their families, the gradual approach of fall, or the knowledge that this would be my first Autumn and Halloween spent outside of the country. Whatever the case, heading to Amasya helped buck my spirits up, as well as the knowledge that I would be spending Kurban Bayramı in Ankara with my old Turkish host family from last year – the same host family I had tried to visit two months ago.

Home for the Holidays
Ankara has a bad rap amongst Turks of not being beautiful – bah!

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The Kindness of Strangers, Urfa

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Besides seeing the sights of Urfa, I spent a surprising amount of my time in the city also conversing with the locals. Usually, it was just polite pleasantries, although I did have three long drawn out conversations with locals who I believe – for the most part – meant well deep down.

My first such encounter was during lunch on Friday. I was having a small lunch in a cafe at the Balıklıgöl complex when a man came over and sat at my table. At first we were just making chit-chat about what I thought of Urfa and what I was doing in Turkey. Then, very quickly, the man steered the conversation towards how he would love to take me around the province in his car and show me the sights.

It was all okay, he reassured me. He had done the same thing with a couple from the Netherlands that morning, and they loved it! When he still sensed I was hesitant, he pointed towards two men sitting down in the distance. “They’re police officers,” he said. “They’re my friends and we will ask them what they think of me. They will say I’m trustworthy, I know it.”

After we finished lunch and walked over to the men sitting down, they did indeed seem to be off-duty police officers and they did vouch for Yilmaz’s supposed trustworthy credentials. So, I followed Yilmaz to the El-Ruha hotel which was directly outside of the complex; he wanted to show me the hotel since it was built on some ancient caverns that the hotel had turned into dining rooms – it was really cool, and surprisingly swanky.

Urfa Cave

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Mehmet’s Kindness

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(Mehmet’s Kindness picks up from where The Kindness of Strangers leaves off)

Gorged from the unexpectedly massive lunch of Turkish kebaps, we made our ways towards the bus stop to catch a minibus towards Battalgazı – the site of Old Malatya, which still contains old Roman walls and other historic artifacts. Our end goal was to see an old Ottoman caravansary as well as an even older Seljuk mosque, Ulu Camii, from the turn of the 13th century. It was on this minibus that we met Mehmet, who was collecting money from passengers to help out his uncle, the driver.

Kervansaray
The renovated Ottoman caravansary.

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The Kindness of Strangers

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As rough a day as I had on Friday – my Turkish completely failed me, my bank account got closed out, and my internet ceased to function (compounding the other two problems) – Saturday was the exact opposite.

There is a type of a mini-bus/taxi hybrid, that functions like a subway, in Turkey called a dolmuş. These buses always look extremely sketchy – small white vans, sliding side doors, tinted windows and clusters of people huddled in the back – and stop when someone waves them down on their route. As Danielle, Fabio and myself were on the way to the univerity’s main gate to ask whether any buses were going into the city center on Saturday’s, we saw a dolmuş and hailed it.

Yeni Camii
A cool mosque in the center of the city… It really has nothing to do with what I’m writing, it just looks nice.

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A Tale of Two Cabbies

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“Gülüm Sokak, Basīnevleri,” I tell the cabbie as I rush into the first cab I see. I’m running late, and I only have 15 minutes to get from one side of the city to the other to meet my old host family for dinner – a massive feat, Ankara sprawls in every direction for miles.

Ankara sprawl
Ankara seriously goes on forever in every direction.

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Speaker Bras

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speaker bra
Photo credit at ilovemybra.com and instructables.com

Few things get people as excited in this world as music and breasts. Try and argue all you like, at the end of the day everyone – regardless of gender – will always love to rock out to their favorite tunes, whatever they may be. As for boobs, I always assumed that only guys really ever paid attention to them, but, much to my amazement, I was told on Monday that girls can have boob envy just as much – if not more – than guys.

So, both genders enjoy – or at least spend a lot of time thinking about – music and breasts. If only there was someway in which these things could be combined…

Well, fret no more! With Speaker Bras all your dreams can come true!

How often have you been enjoying a romantic moment with the date of your dreams, only to wish that you could pipe in your favorite mood music? Ever felt the need to spontaneously dance, only to have a lack of music keep you down? Or maybe you’re trying to find the perfect gift for your kinky girlfriend, but edible panties just seem so boring!

Speaker Bras fill all these needs, and more! With these amazing items, your favorite music will never be far from your chest. These can also be doubled, for the more adventurous of you, as tension relievers! Just put on your favorite dubstep song, turn up the bass, and enjoy the amazing release provided by your own Speaker Bras.

Gentlemen, watch out! Coming soon – Speaker Jocks  – for the man who has nothing to hide.

Speaker Bras – because music is best when it comes from the heart.

Crouching Cougar, Hidden Poontang

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It was 4:30 in the morning, and my friend Rosh and myself were standing outside McCormick’s (maybe) Irish Pub in SoBe. The weather was balmy and fresh and a temperate breeze was slowly idling it’s way down the streets from the ocean. Although bars were open until 5 am, the bouncer made us wait outside because of the cups of water we were holding.

“Where you kids from? Here for Spring Break?” the bouncer casually asked us, ready for the night to be over.

“Yeah, we’re from Jersey.”

“Oh? I heard you kids have a nice shore up there” he smirked.

“Yeah…yeah, we do.”

As the conversation petered out, the bouncer turned his attention to a woman standing next to him that I had failed to notice before. She looked exactly as how you would imagine a modern party girl to look – except Time had taken a sledgehammer to her. Hard. Her face was a leathery husk over a body tanned hundreds too many times.

“Look at these youngins,” she said to the bouncer in a voice like gravel scraping over asphalt. “Tryna act like they know how to party.”

“Hell, not everyone’s got the experience you got,” he playfully chided her.

“Not like they’d know what to do anyway, I bet” she responded. The two of them laughed and she punched the bouncer in the arm. Old friends are adorable.

“Yo, Rosh!” I tried to say nonchalantly, “check it, your favorite. MILF!”

“Nah, she’s not a MILF. Definitely a cougar…yup, cougar!”

I looked back at her – definitely a cougar, and on the prowl.

Suddenly, both the bouncer and the cougar were looking at us.

“So,” she said, “you guys looking for weed or a good time? You could come back and smoke with me, I got plenty” she rasped. A chill descended over us.

“Nah, uhh, we’re good” Rosh and I said in unison.

“Hah! See, I told you, these kids wouldn’t know what to do with me.”

“You guys

missing out,” said the bouncer. “This cougars got claws.” The two of them roared with laughter as Rosh and I slowly sidled away.

I ended up seeing the cougar again two nights later, at a different dive bar in SoBe. Somehow, out of the four nights I spent there for Spring Break, I managed to see her twice.  It must have been a sign…