Beautiful Börek

I love Börek. This Turkish dish is simply delicious; I have never had a bad börek. Essentially, it is phyllo (noodle layers) filled with cheese, spinach, or minced meat. The cheese (peynir) is my favorite, but all will do in a crunch. My friend Pia recently took me to Sinem Börek located on ‘Sadri Alışık Sokak’, right off İstiklal Caddesi. If you are like me, finding a place to eat when traveling can at times be stressful. Places are unfamiliar and knowing if it is safe to eat can be a gamble. Whether you live here or are just visiting, this…

I Want To Be a Foodie

I don’t have a natural appreciation for food. Growing up, my stomach only liked plain food and it was quick to dismiss any other types. So even though there are foods that I love, I would never, ever consider myself an adventurous eater. In my opinion, this trepidatious beginning with my finicky insides has soured me on many of life’s tasting pleasures. However, I believe the time has come to change this about myself.  As I begin to get out there and develop my palate, I am hopeful that at the very least, I will be able to develop a…

A Rebrand and Some Brunch

Recently, a friend of mine suggested that I ‘rebrand’ my blog to not only write about my travels outside of Istanbul, but also about what I do in and around this charming place. Within this complex city, there are so many interesting aspects that exploring Istanbul should be considered a full time job. When I tell people where I live, they always ask what it’s like to live in a city with so much history; where the East and West converge. The best way that I can explain my fascination with Istanbul is the constant energy; sometimes when I walk out of my apartment…

Revisit

I’ve officially been on break for a week and it’s been really nice. Maybe China ‘prepared’ me for humidity, but it’s not too bad here right now. I looked at my list from my post in May and after some research, I realized that some of these items were a bit expensive so I am rethinking the list: 1) Take an intensive Turkish language course Yes – 9am to 1pm, Monday – Friday, plus homework. Fantastic but hugely time consuming! 2) Get a swimming pool pass from one of the hotels No. Anyone have an extra $800 to $1,00US to…

Street Art Istanbul

Recently, I downloaded an app called StreetArt Istanbul. From this app, I get a little bit of information about the street artists around Istanbul. For instance, I had no idea that some of the more well known street artists get commissions to do certain pieces. Also, this app gives the location of the art; not such good news because directions are incredibly difficult for me. However, as I was walking around Istakal in the rain this morning, I stumbled upon this great alley with a bunch of street art; mostly painted by an artist named Leo Lunatic. I felt like…

Thugs Need Not Apply

As a guest, I want to be respectful and understanding of my position within Turkey. I want to be sensitive about what I say regarding the current political situation. Just as I would question anyone who might comment on my country who is not from there, I want to be careful and well, polite. However, I want to make one thing clear. The protesters have been called thugs, Çapulcu (which I think means loser), criminals and other inflammatory names by the current administration. From my point of view, this simply is not the case. I have been to Gezi Park…

Grace in the Face of Brutality

“May you live in interesting times’ is a quote that kept going through my mind this week as both sides in this Turkish conflict seem to be digging in deeper to what they each hold true. Well, It turns out that this quote is actually considered to be a curse… yikes. My heart goes out to the people of Turkey who are fighting so courageously for their voices to be heard. Many ex-pats are going to Taksim Square/Gezi Park and discussing how peaceful it is and that there is this utopian community that has sprung up so quickly. This aspect…

Polish Turkey

Last Saturday, the school’s social committee organized a trip to Polonezkoy. For me it’s one of the nicer things about teaching abroad…  there is a built in community of teachers.  This Polish village is about 45 minutes from Istanbul, but you need to hire a bus or car since no public transportation goes there.  Not ideal, but workable. What a lovely day. I was expecting more of a main street vibe, but it was smaller which gave it a quieter feel. There are trails for hiking and biking as well as a Catholic church (which was closed) and a cemetery. From…

Dear Istanbul

Dear Istanbul, The other day someone was telling me that they didn’t like you so much. Look, I understand how someone is simply not a good fit for a place (see pretty much all my blogs on China), but it made me really think about what it is that I like about you. Yes, your traffic is rage inducing and your store aisles are ridiculously tiny. Also, it wouldn’t hurt if people here were more aware of others around them (this is my personal space bubble, that is yours). And there isn’t so much green space; a few more parks…