Hello strangers!

I can’t believe you are still checking here! What a dedicated reader you are – thank you so much! This has been a very busy spring (spoiler: getting married and moved last week) but no excuses. Winter time in Istanbul can be a little dull but let me see if I can do a quick roundup of some things I’ve been up to.

I think the highlight of the month was getting to take care of a cat, Baykus. Having grown up with cats, I really miss animal contact but I don’t want to make the commitment of getting my own feline friend. A friend of mine put a shout out on facebook to see if anyone can take care of her friend’s cat for a few days. I responded a couple of hours later, and she was still up for grabs. I played and played with this super friendly, fluffy, and affectionate cat, and I cried all day when she left. Who wouldn’t – look at her!!

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I love Turkish breakfasts made by Turkish women. Whenever I make them, it just isn’t the same, but they know how to make things not only taste good, but look good. Above is kuymak, a traditional Black Sea dish that is made with cheeses, butter, and corn flour. Super stringy and delicious!

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Santa put a really cool mustache pencil in my stocking a couple of years ago – it’s a huge hit with my students. I also got a fortune telling pen – you ask a question, push the button and a little thingy inside of the pen whirls around and settles on an answer like, “Without a Doubt” “It’s Unclear, Ask Again” and unfortunately, “Hell Yeah!”. I have two 7th grade boys who discovered it and now run around the institution shouting it. I hope I don’t lose my job.

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I left my phone unattended for a minute and I came back to find Baturay, a 6th grade student, messing with it. I quickly checked to make sure he didn’t write anything on facebook, and after checking that was in the clear, I quickly forgot about it. Fast forward a couple of days and I’m waiting at Little Caesars, browsing through pictures to pass the time, and I came across the above picture. It’s the equivalent of the giving the middle finger. If I had been drinking something there surely would have been a spit-take; I laughed out loud so hard.

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In October, when I went to my friend Auni’s wedding in Baltimore, I stayed in a place that I found on Airbnb. It turns out my host was coming to Istanbul in March so she emailed me a bit before she got here and we managed to meet up. She was traveling with her aunt who was a recovering alcoholic so I think she was anxious to get out and have a beer and see some nightlife. I took her to Nevizade Street in Taksim which was packed, even on a Wednesday. I think she really enjoyed getting to see the more realistic part of Istanbul and the alive vibe you get from that part of the city.

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Remember how every three months I would go to Cengiz’s shows and do all of the classes and take lots of pictures? Unfortunately I’m not allowed to go anymore because I’m not a Les Mills Trainer, and I’m pretty sad to say this least. This time around, when the master trainers came from France, Cengiz’s and Sem’s “rank” was promoted to – I actually don’t remember the title name – but they are now the highest ranked Les Mills trainers in Turkey. They can educate other Les Mills trainers with 2 and 3 day trainings and in May they will go to Slovenia with some other trainers from Turkey for some training. Cengiz will also go to France to do some special training and hopefully connect with the world’s top trainers – we’ll see!

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This was breakfast this morning. In the pan, there is oil, peeled and finely chopped tomatoes, seeded green peppers, a little bit of red onion and salt and paprika. I also added some grated cheese and you can add eggs if you want but I felt like fried eggs.

That’s it for now! I haven’t been taking too many pictures but now that spring is coming hopefully I will start getting out and taking some more. I’ll update you on other exciting events in the future post!

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