July 7, 2014

Turkish Coffee on a Monday

Turkish hot drinks come in small cups. The coffee in tiny porcelain mugs; tea in curvy glass cups. It's not exactly the Starbucks' trente size, but who really needs that much of anything anyway?

Alan and I are finally working on somewhat normal sleep schedule, and we are both feeling better. 

We took a jog (for me a walk-n-jog) along the harbor this morning before breakfast. It felt good to stretch my legs and sweat on purpose for the first time in a while. My left leg wasn't so thrilled, as my Achilles' tendon started tensing about 15 minutes in, probably due to a week of serious lack of activity followed by jogging.

In any case, I'm seated outside a Turkish bakery with a little cup of coffee which Alan ordered for me in Turkish. Good job, Burrito! The gritty coffee tastes good, though incredibly strong and foreign.

I finally ventured out in something that bares my legs and arms, after surveying no clothing scene here in liberal Izmir. In Kayseri I didn't see any legs, and only a few arms, so I followed suite. Izmir is known for being less conservative than other parts of Turkey, and now during Ramadan, it is very clear that this is the case, at least in our neighborhood. We are surrounded by Turks who are eating and drinking during the time when most Muslims are fasting. Actually, I'm grateful that restaurants are open and serving food, as Alan and I don't plan to fast. I'm also glad that I don't have to sweat it out in jeans and my poly-blend blouse. I sweat. A lot.

I'm thinking back to yesterday, when Alan and I tackled the laundry. We did our best to translate the different buttons on our machine, and then fiddled with the dials until it started. We pretty much have to live at half speed or less because of the intense language barrier. It's refreshing in a way, because our jobs are so much about translating for others. I don't mind having a little more ambiguity in my life, and a little less rush.

Yesterday we also went on a neighborhood adventure to the Izmir fair. There were some similarities to the Park county Wyoming fairs that I used to attend as a kid, but alas, no demolition derby. I convinced Alan to go on huge Ferris wheel with me. It cost about 5 buck for the two of us, but spinning high above the city of Izmir was worth every kuruş. The fair itself was surrounded by a fantastic walk path, shaded by carefully grown and groomed trees. About halfway around the loop, we came across at least a dozen stray cats and a handful of dogs. As my camera shutter clicked the little, undernourished cats peeped and stretched, but didn't really get up. I'm a cat lover to the core, and it broke me heart a little to see all of these kitties without homes. We did see what appeared to be some kind of shelter or vet on the fairgrounds, and plenty of little tubs of water sitting out as kitty refreshment, but still. Where are your homes, little ones?

We also saw a black lab who only had two useable legs. Somehow he manged to walk around on just his front two legs, holding the unusable third (no fourth existed) up near his belly. The abdominal strength! True to his lab nature, this dog was happy and eager to please humans. He did his circus walk over to us, sat down, and started panting and smiling at us with soft and beautiful eyes. Alan dubbed this guy his "hero," which I thought was the cutest part. Even more than the mini-kitties.

I've drank my coffee down to the grit paste that remains in Turkish coffee. I wish Özge, my former roommate were here to read my fortune in the grounds. Alan has finished his tea, and is diligently working on Turkish grammar from a book published in the 1950s. I admire his dedication, but I'm going to save my language learner brain for this afternoon when our Turkish classes begin.

Until then, my regards to you, dear reader.
Alan, his tea, and his grammar book
My beverages, from left: lemonade, water, Turkish coffee. YUM.