Friday, March 25, 2011

Official Flexibility

I've often joked about how rules in Turkey are flexible and I've shared with you how I once got out of a parking ticket; but this takes the cake:

"Due to the university exam that will be held on Sunday, March 27, daylight saving time throughout Turkey will begin one day later than the other European countries, i.e. the clocks will be set ahead at 3.00 a.m. the night of Sunday, March 27 to Monday, March 28."

I share this with you somewhat reluctantly, as it is becoming more and more embarrassing these days to tell people I live in Turkey -- between the Blogspot/Blogger ban and this ... I shall say no more.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


After three months of grey skies and cold rain, the sun has been shining for five straight days in Istanbul and I once again love the city. I’d forgotten that it could be green and blue and beautiful, instead seeing only the traffic, the grime and the crowds. But now I’m reminded of why I was excited to move here in the first place.

I can't promise I won't ever hate the city again; but I hope I never become blasé about living in Istanbul, the fifth largest city in the world!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Blogger Ban

I have been too annoyed about Turkey's all-encompassing Blogsot ban to write about it over the past two weeks. But someone else has said everything I'd want to, just so much better. Click here to read his post on the matter.

Monday, March 14, 2011

"I Can Survive Without Tomatoes"

Don't get me wrong -- I love tomatoes. But nothing compares to the way Turkish people love tomatoes. I think it's fair to say many have them at every meal in one form or another. Case in point:

Husband: Should I use up all these tomatoes in the salad? They're going bad.
Me: Sure!
Husband: But then there won't be any left for tomorrow.
Me: That's ok. Besides, I'm going to the supermarket after work tomorrow. I'll get more.
Husband: But what about until then?
Long silence, while I think about how to answer this. I won't need them at breakfast or lunch; I will have bought more before dinner.
Me: I can survive without tomatoes.
Long silence, while he thinks about how to answer this. After all, there won't be any tomatoes for breakfast or lunch.
Husband: Oh, that's right. You're not Turkish.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Schools in Turkey

I don't think I'm the type of mother who needs her child to attend the best school or to be the top of his class. However, recently I've had a taste of how nerve-wracking it is to be that kind of parent.

In Canada, I think it's pretty safe to say that whatever school you send your child to, public or private, he will get a good education. He will have the chance to go to university. Unfortunately things aren't so simple here. Yes, Istanbul is an improvement in many ways over other parts of the country. But still, some public schools have class sizes of sixty kids! Teachers' methods are usually archaic. Facilities are lacking. Private schools, on the other hand, while boasting impressive facilities, do not always deliver the quality of education promised. Classroom discipline is often nonexistent. Which leaves us with one final option, an international school. While the chances of my child's classmates' parents being like-minded are much greater, an appealing factor on its own, I worry about the transience of the student body.

And so, overwhelmed with choices, I find myself poring over school websites, making lists, taking notes, planning school visits ... And stressing over the fact that in the case of some Turkish private schools, I'm already too late getting my fourteen-month old son on the waiting list for kindergarten! In short, I find myself overcome by the fear of sending him to the wrong school that I'm entertaining outrageous notions -- quitting my job and homeschooling?! Opening Turkey's first Waldorf? Moving back to Canada?