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.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Things I hate

Foreign Office
Originally uploaded by ccarlstead
While I quite enjoy living in Turkey there are certain things that drive me crazy here. The first few backs at the end of the summer always highlights what those things are. I guess once I"m back and in the grove, they don't bother me as much....although some of it is things I only have deal with once a year - which just makes me that less patient. Almost done with those at least.

Things I hate here:
1. The entire ordeal of going in person to renew my residence permit. It was bad enough Tuesday when it took us 7 hours to go apply for the extension. Today's 4 hour trip just to pick up the darn things just about drove me crazy. The ridiculous part is that really todays trip was 3 hours in of driving and around 40 minutes to actually pick up the residence permits. This is what happens when the foreign office clear on the other side of town.

2. Sitting in traffic. Although that isn't so bad. I'm just not used to again yet. It reminds me I'm in one of the largest cities in the world. What did throw me for a loop today was watching a line of traffic back up on the shoulder of the highway. Excuse me? You're supposed to be going forward. They just decided backwards was the quickest way out of the traffic. Of course there was one person who just turned completely around and drove forward amidst all those people who were backing up. There is a reason I don't drive here. I'll get used to it again once I've been back awhile. Its amazing your ability to ignore the things you really don't want to be seeing.

3. Transfer exams, Responsibility exams and Average Raising exams. Transfer exams actually weren't too bad. At least they only lasted 40 minutes. But I still don't understand why we have to give students a chance to increase their average if they didn't do the work during the course of the actual school year. Basically says it doesn't matter if they work during school or not. That goes double for the chance they have to pass a class they failed by passing a single exam (of course most won't succeed at that - still they shouldn't have the chance). It wouldn't even be so bad if it weren't for all the forms that have to be correctly filled out at the right time (before, during and after exam). Of course its all in Turkish. Sometimes I think I could be signing my life away and would never know it until its to late. You want my signature? Okay...

At this rate I'm quite looking forward to having students again. At least then I'll be immersed in the craziness I'm familiar with and should theoretically be able to control.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

One of my photos

Rugs for sale
Originally uploaded by ccarlstead
My day was made today when someone contacted me and let me know that one of my photos was used on a New York Times page (Freakonomics on buying a carpet). You can see it here. This seems like such a bigger use/accomplishment then when one of my photos just gets used on a random blog.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Turkish Wedding

Civil wedding ceremony
Originally uploaded by ccarlstead
Last night I went to my second wedding since coming to Turkey. This was for a fellow Wellesley alum that has moved to Turkey to marry her (now) husband. As she didn’t have anyone coming to represent her side I thought a trip off campus to attend was the least I could do to help make her day. The nice ting was that I at least now had a much better idea of what actually goes on during a civil wedding. Let me tell you one thing – it is quick! The entire process basically consists of the bride answering the following three questions: What is your full name? What is your father’s name? What is your mother’s name? Then the groom answers the same three questions. The bride then answering yes to is she wishes to become Mrs. so and so and the groom answering yes to if he wishes to take so and so as a Mrs. Sign your name here and “You are now married.” The entire thing takes maybe 7 minutes. Of course it was a tad slower last night since the government official was actually asking Helen her questions in English but there is not much to the exchange. Of course just because the ceremony is over doesn’t mean that the celebration has even begun. Food (salad, kofte and various meats, rice) is shared, a bit of dancing and then the cutting of the cake. All in all a low key but lovely celebration of one couple’s start for a life together.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Quote of the Week

In the end,
We will conserve
only what we love,
We will love
only what we understand,
We will understand
only what we are taught.

-Baba Dieum
Sengalese conservationist