Hello!

I can’t believe my last “real” post was about America…last summer! I’m almost a year behind. I’m just going to cut the excuses and do a quick wrap-up of some highlights of the past year. If I try to do individual blog posts, I know I’ll never do it! I hope I don’t leave anything out…

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Last summer I took a Turkish course and there was a very affectionate cat who liked to “help” me.

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At the end of the summer, we managed to squeeze in one more vacation. Some friends of ours invited us to go along with them and I was a little nervous at first because we had never traveled together, but they were great to be with. Look at that water! The first picture is a place near Marmaris, in the south of Turkey, and the second picture is near Cesme, on the Aegean sea.

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The Turks really take care of street animals. Everywhere I go, I see food and water on the streets, and some people go so far as to build houses for them. The picture on the left is one I saw in a park, and the picture on the right is my recreation. Our favorite garden cat, Sophie, went right in and I swear she didn’t leave for 3 days! Sadly I think when she went out for food or the bathroom, another cat went in and neither of them like each other’s smell so no cat ended up using the boxes so they just got soggy.

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View from our living room.

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Thanksgiving at Heath and Veronica’s in Switzerland. Back in August I found incredibly cheap tickets to Zurich at Thanksgiving time, so I spent Thanksgiving there. It was so fun to be all together, and Veronica made a delicious turkey. There was also a sleepy Jenny to play with and watch.

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My little Christmas tree in Istanbul.

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This year I went home for Christmas and it was so special to be there and to partake in the traditions I love and miss – tromping in the woods for a Christmas tree, decorating it, gumdrop cookies, going to my aunt and uncle’s for Christmas Eve dinner, everyone gathering at our place on Christmas day, popping Christmas crackers…the list could go on! I’m so lucky to have such a wonderful, positive, and thoughtful family. The more people I get to know, the more I realize how lucky I am. Thank you guys!

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Sometime in January, Cengiz and I headed out to Trabzon to visit his family. I only stayed one night because I didn’t have more time, but it was nice to see them and also to see the scenery. That top picture is a Trabzon specialty, and I can’t remember exactly what is in it but it’s something like butter, a special cheese, and cornmeal. It’s so good and hearty!

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The Bosphorus

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Mom and Ellie had planned a trip to London in February and Heath, Veronica and I decided to crash it join them. February was not the best time for me to be in London because I think I was chilled to the bone for 2 days, but it was great to be there and see everyone. I think the highlight of the trip was high tea at their hotel. UNLIMITED sandwiches and cakes!! A dream come true!

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In early March, I “ran” a half-marathon (13 miles/21km) down in Antalya. It was a great course – nice and flat, and the temperature was honestly perfect. I really hadn’t trained enough so I was kind of miserable. At the 3rd kilometer, I got a horrible side stitch – any of you who have run know how awful those were. By the 10th kilometer I had to start walking. It took forever, my body ached, but it was a great experience and I’d like to sign up for one in the fall, because trying to train outside in the winter is no fun at all (or, it just doesn’t happen!).

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Ugh they are just so cute I can’t handle it! Peter and Tarcin are doing just fine, they pretty much just sleep all day and night, and clean themselves and each other, and poop. Not the most exciting animals but they are quiet and soft!

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Ahh, Badem, one of my favorite little restaurants in Istanbul. It’s a tiny family run place with very fresh and delicious food.

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I also went to a tea at the Pera Palace, a historic hotel where people used to stay when they arrived on the Orient Express. I went there with Anna and some of her friends and I was quite pleased with it, plus the atmosphere is very nice.

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Annual tulip photos!

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You can still find some old wooden houses in Istanbul, especially in Balat. This one looks like it’s seen better days. I can’t imagine what it takes to upkeep it.

Ok these are the photos I’m going to share now. That was surprising easy and painless. Hopefully there will be another post soon!

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