Sunday, August 2, 2015

Homebodies

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Happy Sunday!! Mike and I have been kind of homebodies this week.  We haven't had Turkish lessons, so we've had a lot of free time, but we've stayed close to home and tried to really finish the last little bits of unpacking and hanging.  I think it's safe to say that we're officially completely moved in.  Maybe?

Mike has had a few errands to run, such as applying to another school, getting tested for chicken pox (apparently that's a must when you move to a foreign country?  I don't ask questions anymore. I just go with it.) and trying to help our car pass customs (they couldn't find the engine number), so he's had  a somewhat busy week, but there has definitely been a lot of downtime. 

Applying to school here is nothing like it is in the United States. Long gone are the online applications months in advance.  Applying to school here involves going to the campus, getting a number and waiting for it to be called, meeting with an admissions counselor to go over your application, and finding out a few weeks before the semester starts that you've been accepted or denied. Needless to say, it takes a little bit more time then applying in the United States.  

We did venture out and try to make friends on Thursday night.  We joined this website called InterNations, which is a social media website for expats.  They were hosting a "White Party" at a beach club where everyone was supposed to wear white.  We boarded the ferry to cross over to the other side of Izmir and were greeted with this view of the sunset. 


Izmir from the ferry 

We were one of the first few people to arrive and grabbed a cocktail table.  This type of thing where you have to put yourself out there and introduce yourself to complete strangers is totally NOT my idea of fun, but we're desperate for friends, so I committed.  Most of the people who showed up were significantly older than us, but we did meet a couple who were only a few years older.  The husband was from India and the wife was Turkish.  Most of the people there were Turkish, which kind of surprised us. We also met a travel writer named Engin Kaban who has the dream job of travelling the world and getting paid for it. Pretty awesome.  Overall, it was a little bit different than we expected, but it wasn't terrible.  We'd probably go to another event if they had one. We're kind of desperate for friends, so we'll do anything. 

We didn't have any plans for the weekend and had contemplated going somewhere, but never committed to anything (although Snoop Dogg was DJing and hour away and we seriously considered going for about 2.5 seconds).  It's almost 100 degrees here every day which makes being outside for any extended period of time almost unbearable.  When we went to Bodrum, it was the same way and we ended up spending half our time in the hotel room in the Air Conditioning.  So, we kind of decided to lay low and save our time and money for when it cools down a bit.  

Instead, we decided to venture out to the big market here in Izmir, Kemeralti.  It's a hike from our house and, as mentioned before, it's a little toasty, so by the time we got there, I was a puddle of sweat and glad to see that it was covered.  That being said, it was totally worth the hike.  There were tons of stands to buy clothes. A custom suit anyone?  Knockoff polos?  We got you covered. 

While we didn't buy clothes, we did buy spices.



And lots of chicken! Three and half kilos for 34 TL, which is a little less than eight pounds of chicken for $12.00.


While we didn't buy any fish this time, mainly because we don't know how to clean and cook it, we know where to come when we want to.


And if there was any fear that this wasn't fresh or true meat, many of the stands had the head of the animal frozen right next to the other pieces of meat.  Don't worry, I spared you the picture...this time.

Today, we have hung low as well.  Sunday is surprisingly quiet here.   Considering 98% of the population is Muslim, we figured Saturday would be the quieter day, but Sundays are almost dead here.  There isn't a brunch scene like in Arlington (RIP Sunday morning Eggs Benedict....).  We found a smaller market closer to our house, which doesn't have the meat selection or clothes, but their produce was on point (or On Fleek, as the kids these days are saying).

We had already stocked up on fruits and vegetables, but we did buy 15 eggs for 5 TL ($1.80).  It's literally (yes literally) a block away from our apartment, so we'll be back, probably every Sunday. 



I wish I had more to report, but we've been pretty boring.  We're getting a little desperate for friends.  Whenever we hear people speaking English, our faces light up.  Luckily, we've got a few weeks of travel ahead of us to cooler temperature places, so we'll be busy and preoccupied.