Istanbul’s Got My Digits S1 E3

Istanbul’s Got My Digits S1 E3

So last week’s cliffhanger left us all wondering how my IKEA experience was going to go… Here's how it went down. We all met on campus and our service bus driver, Ali, whisked us off to IKEA.  Along the way I was informally coached as to how the experience is.  Apparently it is the same everywhere: You get there.  You freak out. You forget you made a list. You develop low blood sugar. You have no concept of time. You leave.  You get home and have a field day putting stuff together…

That is basically what happened.  I ended up taking pictures of things there, but you are supposed to write down the big-list items so when you get to the end where you pick up the large stuff that needs assembling, etc. it will be easier for the IKEA peeps to find.  Unfortunately the 2 things I needed the most weren’t available or sold out: a dish drainer and a rolling kitchen island thingy to move around- as I have a small kitchen. 

In the end I feel that I chose well.  Everything was needed and nothing was superfluous. I got an unexpected set of 4 dishes large and small and bowls.  As well I got some stemless wine glasses.

As I’m settling down for a while here I’m almost certain, I don’t want to just buy crap.  I was at Mega Mart yesterday looking for a toaster.  Just a simple toaster, but I couldn’t find one that wasn’t made in China.  I’m not sure why I was driving to find a non-PRC made toaster, but I was so… I left empty-handed… I'm sure most all of what I've purchased for my home has been from China so I'm not sure why I was feeling so high and mighty yesterday...

Besides looking for a toaster, I went to Taksim to pick up another bag of my stuff from Gaziantep and Tunis that I’ve been storing in my friend’s basement.  This proved to be taxing for sure.  I decided to take 2 bags; one a shitty, small rolling duffel bag and the other a fairly flimsy plastic zipper bag for household storage.  Things started off good, although it was a super hot day so I already had that element working against me in terms of walking the stuff from Cihangir to the metro station in Taksim.

Mission accomplished and all went smoothly to the last exit- Haciosman.  As  departed the station and was at street level making my way across the road to where the dolmuşes are waiting, suddenly the handle of the rolling duffel bag broke… Annoying because I had the plastic bag neatly atop that so my scheme of things was ruined.  Now the duffel bag was seriously heavy with… yes you guessed it… books…

The handle was now only like 7’ long so I couldn’t use it to roll the bag as I would have to hunch over too much.  I had a decision to make: grab a taxi or just hunker down and make my way to the dolmuş. I opted for the latter because I’m tough like that, or cheap… It was only a short way to carry the bags.  I made it and made my way to Büyükdere.

Now came the difficult part of the journey; I had a 8 minute walk back to my apartment, yet not an easy one.  Of course a hill is involved- at the very end.  I made my way across the coast road but knew I wouldn’t be able to carry the rolling duffel much longer.  Then I got smart.  I reached into my bag and took out my re-usable grocery shopping bag and tied it the the remaining part of the handle of the rolling duffel.  Voile!  A new handle that I could grab and walk with.  I made it with much difficulty and the rest of the day I was completely exhausted.  I managed to make my way out for a durum (Turkish wrap) and bubble water, but nothing more. 

In other news, work went well last week.  I’m not one to talk about work in this blog, but I’ll just say that I’m happy in that department and look forward to a good year at the university.  There is an ice skating rink there as well as a pretty huge outdoor pool, and all the other nice things that add to the experience. As well, I’m surrounded by Turkish co-workers so can work on my Turkish!

It’s rather late today as I woke up at 9am.  Because I was down for the count last night, I passed out early, so woke up early- at 4am. I did a w&b and then played around on the computer a bit and then passed out about 6 am. That extra 3 hours of sleep helped.  I woke up just in time to gather my marbles a bit and listen to the church bells ringing at 9:30am.

I forgot to mention that yesterday morning I got up and went for a run at 7am.  It was already quite warm too.  I made my way to Tarabya along the coast.  At one point there were loads of men fishing in one specific area of the promenade.  The security dudes at my complex told me that fishing season had just opened last weekend so all were crazy with fish on their minds. 

There are benches in this area spaced apart so plenty of places to just hang out, but people seem to bring folding chairs as well.  They really make a day of it here. What I really enjoyed was to see some females there too.  Here’s some scenes that I took in:

  •     A man and woman on a bench that had 2 pieces of fabric they placed to sit on.  He was         baiting his line and she was watching on and gazing at the Bosphorus. She had this         amazing baby blue sparkling hijab on and it shone in the sunlight and dazzled my eyes.          On my return route she was standing up next to her man watching him just do his thing.   

  •     I think I saw the doctor at the university out power-walking.  At that point I was sitting on         a bench just watching the world go by.  I was ready to turn around because I knew I had         a long way to go back but thought I’d try to catch up to him.  Nope.  He was walking way         too fast and I wasn’t wanting to run to catch up with him.  It just felt good to already spot         someone in the community that I (barely) know outside of work.

As I’m still settling into my apartment, I’ve been enjoying nesting and such.  I unpacked my mystery luggage (I haven’t seen this stuff for up to 4 years) and it was like Christmas- a white, snowy Christmas… By this I mean that those 2 bags were full of (some of) my winter clothing that has been in storage.  One bag was dedicated entirely to books and tights!  All of this delighted me and now I’m really looking forward to the colder months here in Istanbul :)

Most of the books were books on Turkey: archaeology, literature (Nazim Hikmit, etc), and history so this was especially exciting for me.  I still really, really can’t believe that I am living here finally.  It’s been such a long journey to get to this point, and that 8-year journey has in fact been fantastic. 

Yesterday was so exhausting that I made no plans for today.  I’m out here in the courtyard with the cat tribe.  I have named two cats so far: Popolo and KeaPuka. Yes this tribe will all have Hawaiian names when I get through with this task… They all look pretty well taken care of.  They certainly all get fed by the neighbors here.  I’m not sure at this point if the females are getting fixed, etc but for as many cats as there are here I don’t notice any in heat.  I’ve only seen 1 adult male with (huge) balls.

There is a light breeze. The sun is blazing high up in a cloudless sky. I might just divert my ‘do nothing today’ plans and take the dolmus to Altınkum Beach (Elmaskum Plajı) to jump in the water. 

My coffee is finished and so is this post :)