Musings on my adventures around the world and my ties back in Texas as well as some of the the ideas I have to adapt and create to keep those places close to home.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Word Search

Looking through one of our booklets for the Lise Prep program (and English language program for students who don't have enough to go directly into grade 9) G and I came across the word cloze. Now we were thinking that it was some obscure Australian term having to do with the order of operations in math. Turns out that a cloze procedure is a "fill-in-the-blanks" activity where the learner uses clues from the context to supply words that have been deliberately removed from the text. (from LinguaLinks Library) You learn something new every day.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Quote of the Week

In compassion and grace be like the sun
In concealing other's faults be like night
In anger and fury be like dead
In modesty and humility be like the earth
In tolerance be like the sea
Either appear as you are, or be as you appear


Summer's End

Well I dropped my mom at the airport on Sunday (poor mom, her flight was a three hours late so she spent the night in New York instead of making it home) and then came back to campus. It's a bit of a shock to be at meeting already, starting the day after I got back to campus. It's good to be back, and at least in my own space and unpacked finally (yeah, new floors in my lojman! The fake wood makes it seem a lot cleaner and open). I realized yesterday as I wandered around school saying hello to people just how many people left last year. There were not so many people around for me to greet. I guess the flip side is that there are lots of new people to meet, including three or four in my department.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

a brief escape

Mom and I decided to take a trip up the Bosphorus today. We thought it would give us a nice break (after a month I'm starting to need a break from walking) and as you already know ferry rides are a favorite of mine. Little did I realize just how far up the Bosphorus we would go. We chugged right past the 1st bridge and the beautiful Ortakoy mosque and weren't even half way along the route when we passed the second bridge and Rumeli Hısarı. We stayed on until the end of the line...and the end of the Bosphorus. As the ferry arrived ın Anadolu Kavağı I could look over my shoulder to the Bosphorus and look ahead to the Black Sea. I had no idea we'd go that far, or that the trip would really take us out of the city. Anadolu Kavağı is just a small town - fish restaurants for the tourists on the waterfront, small winding streets of houses (with military housing???) going up the hill and a ruined castle up on the top. Just enough to fill the three hours before a ferry left. So we walked up the hill for the view from the castle, enjoying the breeze and the extensive sight of water, then took the road back down (avoiding the cemetery we'd passed through on the way up) to find lunch. After some fried and some stuffed mussels we were ready to head back to the ferry and claim a rail side seat to enjoy the trip back down the Bosphorus. A great way to spend our last full day in İstanbul.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Railroad Museum

As I sit and sort through my pictures from my trip to Selcuk with my parents I'm reminded of just how I spent my morning. After racking my brain and the Lonely Planet for something dad would enjoy we ended up at the Railroad Museum. Home to something close to 30 steam locomotives, as well as the personal pull car of Ataturk (father of modern Turkey) it's supposed to be the second largest railroad museum in the world. I believe it! If there had been many more to look at I'm not sure I could have stayed interested. Dad sure was, though. Even at the end he was bending over to look at a part and trying to figure out how things work. I guess that means I succeeded in my mission to find something he could enjoy. The guy who drove us from the hotel was a bit surprised that we could spend so much time looking around, but admitted it was nice to see people actually interested and not just walking through (although the ground were quite a beautiful setting to walk through). I have to say I can't really tell much of a difference between a 1918 locomotive and a 1956 locomotive - but at least trains hold that little kid magical quality that let me climb up in them and imagine a different life. Turns out mechanical minds can be quite entranced by steam engines!


Anyone who knows me will wonder what in the world I'm doing posting at 3 in the morning. Frankly its a testament as to how much I love my family. I'm up doing laundry, of all things. We were supposed to get back to my apartment around 9:30 this evening but when an 8:00 flight doesn't leave until 11:30 your timetable gets set back quite a bit. If only we didn't need dry clean clothes for tomorrow. And to compound the annoyance, my place still hasn't been re-floored which means all of my stuff stays packed up in boxes until the end of August. Sigh. Soon, my rambling mind will be quiet and I can go to bed. Just have to wait for the washer to end. Happy Birthday to me!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Mary's House & Seven Sleepers

In my second trip to Selçuk in less then a month I at least have managed to see several new places including what is believed to have once been the blessed virgin Mary's house and the grotto of the seven sleepers. I have to admit that the first was a bit disappointing but mainly because there were so many people there. A carnival cruise ship was in port and by my estimation there were something close to 54 tour buses in the Ephesus region due to it. Mary's house is actually a small chapel built on top of the site revealed to be the location of her house in later life by visions of a nun in Spain (?). It would have been the quietly reflective spot I was looking for if they hadn't just herded us through the chapel. Literally. I didn't even have time to stop and say a prayer. Kind of disappointing. I imagine when there are not so many people around you might get a few seconds longer to soak in the location but not today. At least people were quiet once they got into the mountaintop spot. It is enough for me to say that if other Marian sites of pilgrimage are that way I have no desire to visit.

The seven sleepers grotto on the other hand was almost completely empty. Of course there is not a whole lot to see there (although the gözleme was quite good for lunch). Reputedly it is known as the location where seven young Christian men went into caves/tombs to avoid persecution only to rise again several hundred years later as a testament to the resurrection philosophy of Christianity. Basically all there is to see is some ruins of the church built atop where they were said to be entombed, an early Christian cemetery and possibly the tombs where they were sealed. At least we were free to discover it without hoards of people around.


So it turns out I was wrong. There are billboards in Turkey. We've seen a fair number around Izmir and Selçuk. So it turns out they just don't exist in Istanbul. Maybe it's because all available space there is taken up by buildings so the only place left to advertise is on the side of thos said buildings. Even around here though there are not very many. And I have to admit I like the unmarred views on the roads. It makes it much easier to enjoy the natural scenery.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Military Museum?

Yesterday we decided to go to what I thought was a military museum in Istanbul. I thought it was something dad might find interesting and I'm working hard to include him in my plans for outings. The sign on the building as we passed it on the bus was mili saray depot muze. For some reason I thought this meant military, perhaps its proximity to the naval museum was what mislead me. If I'd thought about it I would have realized that saray means palace. Turns out that this was basically a museum which was a storehouse of many of the things that came out of the numerous palaces in Istanbul. Housed in the former kitchens of Dolmabahce Palace it was a place you could poke around in for about an hour. Which we did. Luckily dad found enough interesting random things (a 3-d picture maker, old telephones, some guns) along with the hoards of candle sticks and porcelain to keep him interested for a while. Its one of those random finds which just isn't quite what you were expecting.

Family Perspective

It's always fun to introduce people to a place that you've gotten to know. I find it interesting to see the things that make an impression on them and am sometimes bewildered by the questions that they ask. Yes, I've lived in Turkey for a year, but there sure is a lot of information that I don't know. My parents are visiting right now, and it's great to have them around. Dad especially is super inquisitive about how things work and some of his observations have given me pause to think. Before his visit I never noticed that Istanbul doesn't really have billboards. All advertisements are either plastered onto the side of a building (and there are some building where the entire face is an ad) or strung as a banner between trees or poles. After watching for two days I think I've only seen two billboards, and they're not exactly of the gigantic size you'd see on the side of an American highway. Dad's questions have also made me realize I know very little about the shipping business, the types of boats and even the current relations between Greece and Turkey. I guess I still have plenty of things left to learn.