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.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey treats teachers terrific

One of the things I really appreciate about this country is the amount of respect that exists for teachers. It is a profession that is truly appreciated here. To show that appreciation every year there is a Teacher’s Day (November 24) set aside to recognize the contributions that teachers make to the future of the country by educating its children. As Ataturk said the "new generation will be created by teachers."

This year I received one carnation, two roses, a television (!?! Special gift from the school) and enjoyed myself at a special dinner. Another advantage of being a teacher here is that you get reduced admission or free admission to many of the sites. I’ve heard this might be changing across the country but it is still true in Istanbul. I have to admit I really appreciate being able to explore what the country has to offer without having to pay for it all (and I especially appreciate it the third time I go somewhere because I have to take my guests there). Mostly though, I just appreciate the recognition and thanks that the day brings.

I highly encourage any of you who have children, or who have teachers to thank them for the job they do. It doesn’t take much, but it will make their day just a little bit brighter.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Natural bounty
Originally uploaded by ccarlstead
I'm always thankful to have the chance to celebrate Thanksgiving, even when it has to occur on the weekend and not exactly on the day (After all we will have school on Thursday). Today went over quite well. We had about 60 people show up to celebrate thanksgiving which means that we had an amazing spread of food. And I have to admit I did a good job decorating using all the color I could find walking around campus. What an lovely evening! One more thing to be thankful for.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Why it pays

Today I realized again why it pays to develop relationships with certain sellers in Turkey. When you consistently take people to them to buy things, not only do they like you and refrain from harassing you. They also give you good deals, and make sure your friends don't get ripped off. But better than that, sometimes you get free goodies! Today I managed to get my (second) free salt bag :) Isn't it pretty?

Salt Bag

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Ultimate Color Test

When you are at peace, you are:
Energized and innovative
When you are moved to act, you are:
Giving and warm
When you are inspired, you are:
Spiritual and humble
When your life is perfectly balanced, you are:
Light hearted and funny
Your life's purpose is:
To live a passionate life

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

In honor of Veteran's Day

I give you my great-grandfather as a cook in the army. (I know, I'm a day late, but Veteran's Day isn't exactly recognized here in Turkey)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ataturk Remembrance Day

At 9:05 on November 10, 1938 Mustafa Kemal Ataturk died (from cirrhosis of the liver). The founder of modern Turkey made an enormous impact on the shape and development of Turkey as a nation. It is in great part due to his ideals that Turkey currently bridges a bit of the gap between the west and the Middle East. There is no denying that he is a man whose legacy is clearly visible.

What amazes me is that 70 years after his death the country not only remembers him but publicly mourns him in unison (in unison!!)on the anniversary of his death. At 9:05 in the morning sirens and bells go off around the country and everyone (and I mean pretty much everyone) stops and stands still and silent for a minute. Cars on the road pull over and park and people emerge to stand on the shoulder. Classes stop and silence descends upon a normally roudy school. I haven't been in the countryside on this day, but from what I've heard the same happens there. The whole country holds its breath and remembers this man.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Success is

Success is
Originally uploaded by ccarlstead
going to the local market, finding a computer store, being able to explain that you need a new end put onto your internet cable in Turkish, and getting it home to find that it actually works! Yes, I had a good trip to Kurtkoy today. Living abroad has taught me to redefine what makes a day or a trip successful. It is the little things that really do count.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Today when we arrived in Taksim square it became clear pretty clear that *something* was going on. The question was what? There was an tank right in front of where our bus stopped. Half of the lanes of traffic we blocked. There were more police buses then I had every seen before. As I continued to walk along I noticed police on top of building with their guns (we laughingly referred to it as the police fashion show), there were two to three times as many police out as would be normal for the typical Sunday protest, and the police were holding their guns in such a way that implied an eminent shooting. Despite all of this I never did see anything that warranted such a large show of force. There was rumor that there had been a bomb threat (turned out to be just that, a rumor) but things weren't blocked off that much. Turns out (at least as far as I can tell) that the opposition party to the ruling party had requested a protest, been turned down by the government, and claimed they would hold the protest anyways. The police show was to keep them from being able to do so. I have to say that if they had shown up, I'm pretty sure the police would have been fairly successful. They were stationed at the top of every side street, periodically along Istiklal, armed with gas and guns. It could have turned ugly. Thankfully it didn't. Just another peaceful day with a large show of force.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Weekly Quote

Silence is essential to being human.
-LeVar Burton

*you can download a lecture he gave at Wellesley College from iTunes U for free. Entitled Reading Rainbow, Roots and Star Trek.*

Donate water by playing

I just found a new online game which donates water for your correct answers, and seeing how it is a geography game I have a feeling I will be hooked quite soon. Check it out.