Finally a Tourist!

4 Aug

So I saw the turkey again today.

I am beginning to think of him kinda like the naked Indian from Wayne’s World.   You know, like motivational reminder NOT to give up on the journey… {the journey being this blog, if that wasn’t clear}.

So I jotted down notes and outlines today at work.  Nerdy? Yes. But probably essential to my actually keeping up with posting.

This brings us back to Day 5.

My favorite days of the trip were the days we spent being “tourists”-sight-seeing and visiting places.  With everything going on {you know the wedding planning and such} we actually did not get to do much of this.  But on Day 5-we played tourist!

The morning started out in downtown Konya, running yet more errands.  From there, Ilker’s parents started speaking to one another, and we were whisked off to the car.  I had no idea where we were going, but I was really excited when we pulled up in front something important looking {and not a mall}

We went to a memorial for all of the people who fought for Turkey’s independence.  Turkish people have an amazing sense of pride in their country’s history.  I am not sure if it because the country is so young {The Republic of Turkey was established in 1923!} or something else…but it is really something amazing.  It showed me a different side of my husband, as he explained the history of his country and their quest for independence.  It also made me painfully aware of how little I actually remember about American history {and that I desperately need to do some studying!}.

{On a side note, when I wikipedia’d Turkey to see when Independence was established, I learned that many people believe that the Black Sea region, which is where Ilker and I will likely be moving, is believed to be where the the Biblical Flood took place, and where Noah’s Ark now lies.  I don’t think that it is a coincidence that my nursery was done in a Noah’s Ark theme…and then I find this out…do you?}

OK, back to the memorial.  Please excuse the photos I am about to show you.  I forgot to change the settings on my camera, I promise I AM a photographer, and so they are all horribly over-exposed.  Don’t judge me.

When we got out of the car, this is what I saw.

Flags over Turkiye

Flags lined either side of the walkway leading up to this gazebo.  On the left side, which you can see, were just the modern Turkish flag; but on the right side was every flag that has ever flown over the country.  It kind of reminded me of Six Flags over Texas-except for it’s not a theme park.

We next walked over the actual memorial building, once inside, my breath was taken away by this beautiful entry way.

The light and the detail were just breathtaking.  I don’t think I will ever tire of the design and architecture of this country.  It is beautiful and completely awe-inspiring.

Ilker was showing me the plaques were all of the soldiers who fought for independence were memorialized.

And his mom paying her respects further down.

The next room of the museum housed models that depicted life during the journey for independence.  These dioramas not only illustrated the important battles, but also illustrated how people lived.  They showed a very complete picture.

One of the Dioramas

As we went to leave, I noticed how beautiful this courtyard was, with all of the hand carved columns.  I’m telling you people…everything was just so gorgeous!

Then….THERE IT WAS.  Im not sure if I have mentioned it before, but I am obsessed with maps.  Seriously, you thought the peacocks were bad…I can’t stop oggling maps, and wanting to hang them in our house.  So THERE IT WAS.  ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL MAPS I HAVE EVER SEEN!

This bad boy was a mosaic.  And I would be lying if I told you that I didn’t take this picture, thinking I might try to recreate it. {Don’t tell Ilker that though…he give me the major eye roll!}

Back out in the courtyard, we posed for some family photos.

Me & the in-laws

Ilker and his parents

We left, here and headed to one of the places I wanted to visit…to be continued….

My first taste of Konya…

1 Aug

After touring the in-laws house, we headed to downtown Konya to look for some spices.  This was my first time to really get out and explore downtown, and to really experience the CRAZY traffic/drivers that make up Turkey!  While following my Anne from vendor to vendor as she inspected the “goods” and haggled the price…I snapped a few pictures.

Mosque at dusk, downtown Konya

The street where we shopped

Another street, and a food cart {these were everywhere!}

Seriously, everywhere we turned there was a food cart.  Most of them were selling fresh fruits and veggies, there were other that sold corn {!?}, and simit {a pastry kind of like a pretzel}.  Now I understand why my husband gets so annoyed when we are shopping and there is no easy way to “grab” something quick to eat.  This is why I think I will start carrying a husband bag {you know, like a diaper bag for grown-ups} so we are always snack equipped.

There were also people who would walk down the streets carrying trays of tea to people.  No matter where you are in Turkey you will be offered tea {which is not a good think if you are afraid to use the public restrooms}.  I tried to get a picture of one of these guys, but for some reason I never did 😦

Nuts, dried fruits, and spices for sale

After we finished shopping we got back in the car, and pulled out into crazy traffic.  I was starving, and was begging my stomach to stop growling, when the car was parked.  I thought we were making another stop, and silenced a groan!  To my surprise we had stopped to eat.  Ilker told me that we had come to a restaurant that serves the food that Konya is most known for.  {In Turkey, food is extremely regional} I must admit that I don’t have any idea what it is called {actually, I don’t think that I even asked}, but luckily Wikipedia does!!!

  • Etliekmek — some sort of long pizza (with meat or cheese) which can possibly exceed 1 mt in length! Available at a lot of restaurants in Konya.

Famous in Konya!

This was awesome.  You order one “pizza” per person at the table, and it comes out on this long board {that I am guessing is also what is cooked on}.  Everyone claims there “pizza” and digs in.  It tastes fabulous, and is perfect with Ayran, which is a drink of watered down yogurt with salt and a bit of garlic.  Yes, I know, it sounds gross.  However, it is fantastic.  Seriously, I absolutely LOVE to drink it!  Especially in the summer. mmmm…  Still shaking your head?  Well come over and we will convert you….to becoming an Ayran drinker!

One more shot with the Ayran!


On the way home, we saw this bridge all lit up.  And even though it had only been 2 days,  didn’t even have to ask Baba to pull over….he just did automatically so I could get out and take a picture!  Ha…no language barrier there!


Day 4

18 Jul

One of the really cool things about this trip is that it gave me a chance to immerse myself in a new culture.  Even though this culture represents 1/2 of my household, it was pretty awesome to experience it and observe it 100%…and try to take notes 🙂

There were lots of things that I observed that really sparked feelings/interest in me wanting to change some of my/our current practices.

One of these things related to shopping.  Throughout our relationship, Ilker and I have often butted heads with our shopping practices.  Ilker is all about quality.  He doesn’t hesitate to pay a higher price for something that is a better quality.  I, on the other hand, sometimes prefer quantity.  Especially if it includes clothes.

One our first shopping trip, I learned that Ilker gets this totally honestly.  On the fourth day our mission was to find the hubs a wedding outfit.  We went to mall in search of the perfect suit! Ilker’s mom {who I will refer to as Anne from now on} touched every single suit each sales person showed us-judging the quality of the material before Ilker would even try it on.  Only once the material was deemed to be a good quality, would Ilker try on the suit.

It was amazing to watch.

See, clothes are pretty expensive in Turkey…and the mentality is definitely that it is better to buy better quality clothes so that you have to buy them less often.  This is definitely another practice that I am going to start using in my own life…though it will be difficult at first, I am definitely going to start focusing on quality over quantity in our spending.

Finally, after a full day of shopping…my hubby was handsomely outfitted.

After shopping, we headed to Ilker’s parents’ new house to get the official tour! And I have lotsa pictures of that for yall!

The outside of the building

As I just updated this picture in the post, I realized that I should maybe explain the housing situation.  Like NYC, most everyone lives in flats within a condo.  For the most part, everyone owns their own flat.  There are no houses in the cities, only in the villages (which are really more like small suburbs).

Ok glad we got that cleared up…now lets finish the tour!

Courtyard, across from the front door to the building

Entry Hall

Check out all of those built ins!!!

Living Room

The Dining Room...and the hubby's head 🙂

Mine and Ilker's room...notice the clothes on the floor already 🙂

Ilknur's room-check out those awesome built-ins!!

Awesome balcony, with windows, off of Ilknur's room

{I know, I know…I also thought it was unfair that she got the room with the balcony.  Obviously, we know who the favorite child is here, huh?! 🙂 }

The Parents room

This wardrobe was incredible.  The doors slid open pretty much automatically, with the slightest touch.  And lights automatically come on, and there are these different cubbies for organizing.   I mean it was unbelivable!

So, you may have noticed a theme here.  The built-ins and all the opportunities for organization {built in to the HOUSE} made me swoon…and I didn’t know that organization would make me swoon…but apparently it does!  I can’t wait to see house they finish decorating everything and watch the space as it comes along.  I will admit one thing, the idea of ever taking some baby Ozcelik’s there, does make me a bit nervous…did you see all that white?!?

Hello…is there anybody there?

9 Jul

Im sure about all of you have thought that I forgot about this blog project…I didn’t.  Turns out, recovering from this trip took me the WHOLE week.  I went to bed by like 9PM and was up at 5:30 everyday…but my brain was tired, and I just couldn’t seem to make myself be interesting.

Today, though, is a new day…and I am going to try to be interesting!

Before we travel back in time and half way across the world though, I have to show you what I just saw outside my house.

Yes, that is a turkey…crossing the road…seriously!  I apologize for the crappy photo…but I was afraid to get too close….visions of being chased by a turkey danced through my head and well, I would never live that down with my neighbors!

So, I took this as a sign…to continue writing about my trip to Turkey {see the connection?!} but seriously, a turkey crossing the road?! WOW!

Anyway, where was I?  Oh yes, we had just finished Day 1 {the worst day of the trip}, and arrived in Konya at Ilker’s parents house.  It dawned on me that yall might appreciate a map for some geographical sense of where we were and where we came from.  Yes?

So far…we had traveled from Istanbul to Eskisehir to Konya.

Did that help?  I hope so.

So, back to Day 3…this day was very low key and actually we slept most of the day.  The highlight of this day was when Ilker told me he was going to help his mom cut a pumpkin.  I finished the page of my book, and walked in to watch.  This is what I saw!

The family then worked together to peel and cube the pumpkin that would be made into the most delicious dessert!

One of the things that I really took away from this trip is how significant every part of the day is, in their culture.  Families work together to create and uphold traditions, to be economical, and teach and learn.  It really made me aware of how wasteful we are in our house, both with stuff and our time.  It is something that I really took to heart, and plan to spend some time trying to fix this fall.  If you are still around, I think I will also share that journey!

So Day 3, was pretty uneventful-Thank God!  But on Day 4, I go on my first Turkish shopping trip {to outfit the hubby for big day No. 4} and see the in-laws new house {yes! I have a house tour}.  If you’re lucky, I’ll be back this afternoon for that update 🙂








I know, I know

4 Jul

I have totally deserted yall…but there is a reason, I promise!  Turns out, the wordpress iPad app doesn’t let you add captions to photos {at least not that I figured out} and that just wasn’t working for me….

So tomorrow I will resume updating.  I wanted to start tonight, but I am so tired, I promise…you wouldn’t want to read what I have to say…



On My Last full day in Turkey….

2 Jul

I conquered my fear of the Turkish toilet!


….I know so many of you were dying to know that, but it is unbelievable how proud I am of myself!  Woohoo!

A few photos

30 Jun






Some things that I have learned

29 Jun

1. Marrying your hubby for the fourth time will still feel like the first.
2. Never under estimate the power of a good friend. My friend Hatice made my wedding day by being there for me…a familiar face who kept me calm and stayed by my side. I was a lucky girl that she was able to be there!
3. In Turkey, a genuine smile will definitely smooth over any situation! {huge smile while thinking I have no freaking clue what you are saying!}
4. My mother in law and I have similar taste….which is awesome!
5. Most people here prefer using the Turkish toilet?!
6. I don’t crave coffee as much as I thought I would.
7. Food is so cheap here {probably due to the socialism thing} ….but seriously a watermelon is like 50 cents, and 2 pounds of tomatoes are $1.50.
8. Food tastes sooooooo good here, the produce is so fresh and just unbelievable.
9. It is awesome to be somewhere where you are surrounded by mountains.
10. An American bride is a novelty, and everyone will think you are cute 🙂
11. When you spend almost 2 weeks with people, on whom you are completely dependent…there exists very little privacy.
12. My husband is so patient, and has been so wonderful throughout this whole week….seriously, he might be a saint.
13. Even though it wasn’t the first time, my hubby still gets teary-eyed at the sight of me in a wedding dress.
14. It is impossible for me to live out of a suitcase neatly!
15. I keep forgetting that I am in another country, and know now, that I can belong here!

I hope everyone is having a good day!

I’ve lost track of the days…but week 2

29 Jun

I thought I would pop in and let y’all know that I still haven’t conquered my fear of the Turkish toilet! Or the hole, as we now refer to it. On Sunday we spent some time with Fatih and his American girlfriend, who has been here for 2 months. She told me that it took her about 3 weeks to get over herself and use the hole!

This makes me feel a bit better…as I just can’t do it yet. I know I will have to….especially once we live here, but right now it just freaks me out too much!

In other news, we leave tomorrow to go to Ankara. We will visit Ilker’s cousin and his wife, and their two gorgeous children! I am excited to see somewhere new and spend time with more family!


Ps…how bout those Gamecocks?! Woohoo…back to back baby!

A quick update

28 Jun

My dear friends and family,
I apologize for the absence…things here have been busy and Internet connections have been spotty. I will list a few quick updates throughout the rest of my trip and have decided to save full updates until after I get back…as this is really more feasible.


1. We are officially married again! It was really nerve wrecking and a lot of fun, with a hoop skirt, big poufy dress, and a lot of dancing.
2. My henna night was also a blast! It was one of the events that I was most nervous about, as none of the women in Ilker’s family speak English. As it turns out, Ilker’s mom decided to make it a joint henna night, so he was there with me. We danced the night away, and all of the women were so amused by me, I forgot to be nervous. In the end, it turned out that all I needed to do was have fun, and they al forgave me anything else I didn’t know!
3. I have been told repeatedly that I am a much better Turkish dancer than Ilker. Even by the woman that sang at our wedding, and most everyone there agreed with her!
4. Everyone’s expectations for my communicating ability are sooooooo low, that they are immensely impressed by the words I do know…which has been brilliant for my self confidence.
5. 4 very dear friends of our were able to come to our wedding…which made me feel like I did have family there and made me feel so much better! Ilker says they represented my side at the wedding, And Fatih and Hatice were there….who were also at our first wedding in Syracuse! I was also able to meet and spend some time with some of Ilker’s friends from undergrad, and am so excited to get to know them better in the future!
6. ilker’s grandfather danced with me at our wedding….which is apparently a pretty high ( if not the highest) compliment of acceptance.
9. I got two of the most beautiful pairs of shoes for our wedding…..Caroline you WILL be jealous 🙂
10. Ilker got the most fabulous new suit, and I am already trying to find excuses for him to wear it more often when we get home…for he looks so handsome in it. Isn’t it about time for someone else to get married 🙂
11. We have eaten so much spectacular food, that I don’t even know how to describe it. Yesterday on the way home, we had these cherries ( that we just picked) and I swear to you…I have never tasted any fruit so good in my life!
12. Food is so cheap here..I will elaborate more on that later!

Ok, I suppose that is enough for now! I will upload some pictures tonight…hope y’all have a great day!