Sunday, March 23, 2014

Going to the Mall and Expat Life

Cam had a fifteen minute errand for work one Monday earlier this month.  Unfortunately it was a ninety minute drive from our house.  Fortunately, at least for me, he was willing to drop the kids and I at the mall in Tekirdag.  A Turkish mall is much like a Canadian mall.  There is a movie theatre, food fare, grocery story, hardware store. tech store (or two), a toy store, arcade and lots of clothing and shoe stores. There were no North American movies showing at the theatre, so we planned to eat and shop and hang out.

There were two nice surprises in our day though.  One was that on the main floor, a sport organization had set up a skating rink and was giving local children lessons.  That was fun to watch and though I hoped our kids would leap at the opportunity to skate, there wasn't really an opening in the arena's schedule!

There seemed to be some pretty decent skaters among the teachers.

A group of boys are waiting while the girls are on the ice.

The boys resting in the massage chairs.

The other surprise was that the wife of a colleague of Cam's from one of the service companies Cam employees, agreed to meet the kids and I for lunch. She and her husband have been expats for almost ten years and have literally lived all over the world.  It was interesting to hear her stories and get a peek into how the other half lives.

The company her husband works for and others like it have many North American and European expats working for them.  This means there is a built in infrastructure to deal with expat needs.The companies have a system for dealing with the housing, medical, and even the recreational needs of their expat employees.  The other positive side is that when a new family arrives in the city, there are other expats to ask the questions that the company can't answer.  Where can I buy my favourite brand of ...? Where do you get your hair cut ...? Which butcher has the cuts of beef my family likes ...? It makes us envious since we've had to figure those things out entirely on our own.

The downside of their experience, from my perspective, is that their tenure in any country is temporary.  Because of the demands of the work, they can't elect to stay in places they are enjoying. Every couple of years they move on to new countries, new cultures, new languages and new friendships. The other downside is that there is no pressure to learn the language or get to know anyone outside of the company. 

In our situation; when this particular work is complete; we expect to return to Canada and take up more or less where we left off.  We will have been able to more than scratch the surface of the culture, its history and people. While I can't say we have made any life long Turkish friends, yet,we have begun to be acquainted with the locals. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Gelibolu History

This grave in the median in Gelibolu has recently been referbuished 
so the lettering is legible.  A quick translation:

Gaffar (name)
Baba (father)
Turbesi (tomb)
Ruhuna fatiha (to the spirit of Al-Fatiha)

This isn't the only tomb in an odd place. There are others in the median and one built into a sidewalk about a block or so from this one. Just another reminder that this little town has been a town since before 1354.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Munich in March

I expected snow, instead there were crocuses and a little rain.

We went to Munich for a doctor's appointment for Nicole and expected to be in the country less than 24 hours, so Nicole didn't take her camera.  Because our visit was extended, she took most of the photos we got using my camera.  She got some great shots.

Nicole and I found an opera themed pizza place run by somebody's Italian grandfather.

We took the train which was quite easy and reasonably inexpensive. It had German and English announcements except when it was really important information,  like: we're not stopping at the station the Canadians want to get off at!

Alte Pinakothek Art Museum We saw many paintings by Rueben, Rembrant, Durer and others; some the size of a sheet of computer paper and others 15' wide and 20' tall (at least).

Odeonplatz     Bicycle tour in the square.

Munich Residence - A group of buildings, home to the royal family until 1918.

One gold motif of many from the royal theatre.

More buildings at the Munich Residence.
We went inside this really big baroque style church called Theatinerkirche at Odeonplatz.
Inside the Theatinerkirche

Inside the Theatinerkirche

Inside the Theatinerkirche - a big painting like those in the art gallery.

 In the centre of town there are quite a few streets which are closed to automobile traffic.

Rathaus (town hall)  at Marienplatz




Rathaus Glockenspiel dates from 1908


Monday, March 10, 2014

Rabies Protocol in Turkey

What I know so far:

5 injections of vaccine (abhayrab) in a 28 day period at your local government hospital (Devlet Hastane). 

There is no charge.

If you do not return to the hospital for all 5 injections, the hospital says they will send the Jandarma (police) to get you. (We didn't and they didn't.)

Good luck getting the human immune globulin injection which is part of the North American protocol; it is not available in Turkey.  However, they do offer an equine version, if the dog dies. The HRIG or the equine version should be injected into the wound as soon as possible after the bite.

When you go in for the fifth injection, you may be told it is unnecessary because the dog has been checked and is ok.

In North America only four vaccinations are recommended so while this complies with North American standards; this statement is beyond ridiculous.  First of all in our case, no one knows which dog bit Nicole, since there was a pack of five dogs and all three of us were attacked and the owner was not present.  Secondly in a country which is rife with allegations of bribery, pay offs and scandal at the highest level; it seems impossible that we are expected to believe such a statement.  

Saturday, March 8, 2014

International Women's Day or How to Get Girls in Turkey

We went to the grocery store on International Women's Day or perhaps it was the day after.  As usual, I sent a girl and Sam down the block to the bakery to buy our weekly loaves.  This gives those two a chance to use some Turkish, pay with Turkish money and saves us a stop after we've finished in the grocery store.  That particular day, it was Johanna and Sam who headed to the bakery.

Nicole and Cam and I went into Kipa.  Cam went one way to fill his cart with water bottles while Nicole and I went together down the refrigerator aisle.  We were separated by a few feet when one of the young men who works at the store came to me with three carnations in his hand.  He gave me one and then headed in Nicole's direction.  I watched him make the presentation and then head towards where Cam was shopping.

How sweet! I thought, the store is giving all the ladies flowers to celebrate International Women's Day. However, when we got to the cash register I noticed that none of the other ladies in the store had carnations ... only Nicole and I.

The young man in the meantime had hidden himself away, so Johanna didn't get a flower when she and Sam returned from the bakery (I gave her mine).  I chuckled all the way to the car where I let Cam and the kids in on the secret.   

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Yousef Karsh

So, I've been researching artists from the last couple of centuries as part of a social studies unit.
Today's artist was Turkish born Armenian Yousef Karsh who became a Canadian in the early 1900s.
He was born in Mardin Turkey, but because of the intense persecution of Armenians in that era his family moved to Syria. Two years later he was sent to Ottawa Canada to live with an uncle. He apprenticed to a portrait photographer in Boston and went on to photograph many famous people in images we still use today.

This picture of Winston Churchill is one of the most widely used photographs ever taken.
It was taken directly after Karsh plucked Churchill's cigar from his mouth and walked back to his camera. It should be noted that after this photograph was taken, Churchill said that Karsh could take another picture. In this second image, Churchill is smiling.

A Self Portrait

Eleanor Roosevelt

Grace Kelly posed for Karsh shortly after her engagement to the prince of Monaco.

Emeric (Jimmy) Saska, part of a series of photos taken in the Ford Company of Canada
Emric Saska