Category Archives: European Travel

Summa, Summa, Summatime

Oh my word this summer has been delightful! There’s something magical about spending your days at the local parks, soaking up vitamin D, sipping tea late into the night with neighbors, and taking lovely family walks along the sea. I’ve never loved summer like I’ve loved this summer. Perhaps it’s also because spending time with an 18 now 19 month old is magical. Her thirst for adventure and learning all about the world around her is contagious. I get to be her tour guide to the world, and it’s so much fun!

This summer I turned 29. I’m not as excited about 29 as 28. 28 seemed to me to be the sophisticated number in the 20s, not too old, not too young, just right. Really the Goldilocks of the decade. We had a fun day of celebration nonetheless. I’m not one to argue when my husband gets up early to make me breakfast, lets me go to the cafe alone for a bit, and takes me out for Mexican food. And, he bought me Season 2 of Call the Midwife!┬áHere I am with my favorite senor and senorita.

bday1bday2bday3

This summer Ellie passed the 17 month, 18 month and 19 month mark. I can’t believe how much she’s learning daily and how excited she is about learning about the world around her. She wants to know the word for every item on the planet and will shout, “that, that, that!” until I tell her what it’s called. Then it’s, “plane, plane, plane” or “water, water, water”. She won’t move on until I acknowledge what she’s saying.

She’s starting to the get the hang of speaking in sentences. She combines words on her own for example she said, “pine cone tree” or “Mommy bag”. But this week she also said, “Mama, I want help please.” Life is so much easier now that I have a child who can communicate all of her needs. She also can walk up and down our 4 flights of stairs if I hold her hand. My back is saying, “Amen!” to that. She loves praying, giving cheers with her cup, having her daddy throw her in the air, and playing with other children. She’s the most delightful little thing I’ve ever laid eyes on, and she was such a fun little friend to spend my summer with. We had tons of fun and now are full of plenty of vitamin D to get us through the winter.

Scott was awarded an academic grant that will start this fall. Since we hadn’t done a proper vacation since coming to Turkey one year ago, we thought it time. The end of August seemed ideal because that’s when Istanbul is the hottest. We found a great deal for a cheap place to stay, so decided to go for two weeks. Boy am I glad we did! Both Scott and I slept, and slept and slept. We had a lot of catching up to do. We didn’t have internet at the place we stayed, so both of us read tons of new books. A dream come true for the Rank family. We also delighted at taking Ellie to the beach almost everyday and see her mixture of fear and adventure as she chased the waves. Scott taught her how to build sand castles which we dubbed Ft. Rank, Ft. Rank and Ft. Rank, of course. Here are more photos than you bargained for to give you a glimpse.

vaca1

Getting our feet wet

vacay2

Ellie singing “row, row, row your boat” to the Black Sea.

vacay3

Our Turkish girl. I caught her with this loaf of bread!

Entry way to our apartment

Entry way to our apartment

We bought E glasses for $1. She loved them and wanted to wear them all the time, even indoors.

We bought E glasses for $1. She loved them and wanted to wear them all the time, even indoors.

Working on Ft. Rank

Working on Ft. Rank

She had a blast!

She had a blast!

Running with daddy

Running with daddy

Trying to catch up

Trying to catch up

Simit seller walks around selling simit. What a perfect snack! We ate several daily.

Simit seller walks around selling simit. What a perfect snack! We ate several daily.

Me and my sweetie

Me and my sweetie

Ellie puts on the charm to make friends and to get their food.

Ellie puts on the charm to make friends and to get their food.

Her first hot chocolate. As  you can imagine, she liked it.

Her first hot chocolate. As you can imagine, she liked it.

We took a trip through a pond on a paddle boat. Here is Scott being a typical dad guide..."now Ellie, if you look of yonder in the East you'll spot...."

We took a trip through a pond on a paddle boat. Here is Scott being a typical dad guide…”now Ellie, if you look of yonder in the East you’ll spot….”

Scott is teaching Ellie about a proper duck face so she'll be ready for facebook someday.

Scott is teaching Ellie about a proper duck face so she’ll be ready for facebook someday.

She's showing me what she learned.

She’s showing me what she learned.

And, you never know when you'll see some cows out in the country. Ellie loved them.

And, you never know when you’ll see some cows out in the country. Ellie loved them.

She didn't like the water at first, but slowly she did and by the end was begging her dad to take her out into it.

She didn’t like the water at first, but slowly she did and by the end was begging her dad to take her out into it.

My summer buddy

My summer buddy

This is Ellie's smile when you tell her to smile for the camera. I found her in this basket. She helps with laundry.

This is Ellie’s smile when you tell her to smile for the camera. I found her in this basket. She helps with laundry.

And, cheese anyone?

And, cheese anyone?

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Blessed, Culture, European Travel, Food and Drink, Our Daily Life, We love this land

Life is Never Dull

Living life in Istanbul is many things, but dull is not one of them. Everyday it seems that something seemingly out of the ordinary happens, and I thought it time I document some of these things before they become so normal I forget there was a time they weren’t.

The other day I was walking to the seaside with my friend, Zeynep. I was pushing Ellie in the stroller and we walked along enjoying the beautiful day and conversation circling around topics with a depth that only friends of 9 years can share. Out of nowhere a woman approached and asked while looking at Ellie, “Eleanor, isn’t it?” My friend was amazed. “You are famous in this neighborhood?!” The truth is no one gives a lick about me, but Eleanor with her big blue eyes, darling dimples and charm that would sweep the queen off her feet definitely is a star in our neighborhood.

Two days ago I was buying milk at a grocery store. Unfortunately, their card machine wasn’t working. So, they told me to just come back later to pay. Could you imagine this happening at your local store? Another local store I know keeps a list of the people who owe him. It’s like pioneer days. I love it!

Another time I was walking down the street minding my own business. (I realize all of these sentences sound like I’m about to tell a joke) A woman ran out of the local print shop with a roll of tape. A few days before this incident Eleanor and I were strolling down the street and one of the front wheels came off her stroller, unfortunately, not for the first time. I popped into the print shop, bought some tape, and taped that bad boy with all the gusto I could muster. In my joy at solving our problem I left the tape in the shop, thus the reason for the woman running with the roll of tape. I employed one of my new language learning strategies on her. In these early days, instead of learning verbs and nouns for opposite things, I just remember one and then negate it when necessary. So, in this situation instead of saying to her, “Oh, I forgot it!” I simply said, “Oh, I didn’t remember it.” Genius? Why thank you.

Today new adventures await me. I wonder what shenanigans this happy girl and I will get in to.

Leave a comment

Filed under Blessed, Cultural Mishaps, Culture, European Travel, Our Daily Life, Pregnancy and Baby, To learn, Uncategorized, We love this land

Aunt Deb’s visit

My sweet friend just visited us for a week and it was a lot of fun!

Super aunt! Ellie adored Aunt Deb and thought life was extra fun when Aunt Deb gave her a bath instead of Mama.

Super aunt! Ellie adored Aunt Deb and thought life was extra fun when Aunt Deb gave her a bath instead of Mama.

 

On market day you can take home one of these bad boys if you wish. Bigger than your head!

On market day you can take home one of these bad boys if you wish. Bigger than your head!

It was fun to have a  friend visiting on Ellie's birthday. We took her to the park and introduced her to the see-saw.

It was fun to have a friend visiting on Ellie’s birthday. We took her to the park and introduced her to the see-saw.

 

Everyone always thinks we are sisters.

Everyone always thinks we are sisters.

 

Deb is so pretty!

Deb is so pretty!

 

I took her to a pro-volleyball game one night. This is where all the tall Turks are hiding!

I took her to a pro-volleyball game one night. This is where all the tall Turks are hiding!

 

And, of course, you can't leave Istanbul without gobbling up profiterol. Yum!

And, of course, you can’t leave Istanbul without gobbling up profiterol. Yum!

 

We were sad when we had to say goodbye. My sweet friend Elif took Deb to the airport.

We were sad when we had to say goodbye. My sweet friend Elif took Deb to the airport.

 

Ellie was all tuckered out after a really fun week! Thanks for visiting Deb .Come again soon.

Ellie was all tuckered out after a really fun week! Thanks for visiting Deb .Come again soon.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Blessed, European Travel, Our Daily Life, We love this land

Home in our home

We are in our home and growing to love our neighborhood. One big highlight is a refrigerator magnet that I have from a local grocery store. It’s magical. I call the number on it, inform the guy that I really, really would like him to bring me some milk, yogurt, cheese and cucumbers, and then he does! Right to my door!

I wrote a little bit more about our new neighborhood on Istanbulmoms. If you are interested, head on over to check it out!

2 Comments

Filed under Culture, European Travel, Our Daily Life, We love this land

In 2012…

I gave birth to the sweetest little girl in the worldhomebirth

Took that sweet little girl on many planes, across several continents including two trips to America

Wrote on Budapest Moms for a time with my very own column

Moved from Budapest, Hungary to Istanbul, Turkey

Made some very sweet friends while learning to call this place home

Started IstanbulMoms

Moved into a sub-let for several months

Drank approximately 2337 toffee nut lattesstabuckschristmas

 

 

 

 

 

Sold earrings that I hand-made at a Christmas Fair in December

christmasfair

Moved into a more permanent rental

Bought brand new appliances for the first time in my life! Not to mention (used) furniture

Finally painted the walls in one of our homes- it really feels like ours now!

Learned Turkish fluently- not! But, hopefully I’ll make good headway on that pursuit in 2013.

Here’s to, hopefully, no big changes in 2013. Please God. Please, please!

2 Comments

Filed under Blessed, Culture, European Travel, Our Daily Life, Pregnancy and Baby, We love this land

My old blog

I was reading my old blog today. Wow! We used to be so young.

youngyoung2young3

Leave a comment

Filed under European Travel, We love this land

Exactly!

I received this card this week and I framed it. It was a lovely reminder of the rightness that this place and time is for our lives despite the fact that it’s really tough. It also was a reminder that there are others that believe that we are where we are supposed to be and are doing what we should be doing. I’m thankful for those that love us and are walking with us on this fantastic and interesting journey!
I just spent the better part of 2 hours planning a lesson to help a young woman dominate the TOEFL exam (an exam to determine a student’s ability to succeed at a university that utilizes English for instruction). I didn’t get around to studying much Turkish this evening which is a shame because the more I study the more I realize I don’t know and need to study. Maybe I’ll watch the news after I blog. Last week I learned “patlama” which means explosion. It came in handy in class when I was able to articulate to my teacher how I felt when the lesson was over- brain explosion- beyin patlama!

We’ve had wonderful guests this week, 2 of my best friend’s husbands, who are also my friends. I’ve been having fun stuffing them with Turkish breakfast and one day pumpkin pancakes thanks to sweet friends who sent over maple syrup and other goodies from the USA!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday I got a taste of celebrating the “Turkish Christmas” with my friends Elif and Selin. Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos, but Elif took one of Ellie getting gobbled up by our new Turkish friend Sezan who was also with us. It was a lot of fun and there was much tea and baklava involved. Yum. Yum.

And, big news. Today was Ellie’s first swing ride! Here she is with her little buddy Joel. Now, if they get married, not to jump the gun, but wouldn’t this be the cutest slide show picture ever?!

 

1 Comment

Filed under Blessed, Culture, European Travel, Our Daily Life, Pregnancy and Baby, Teaching, We love this land