Saturday, February 28, 2015

February 2015

For a short month we were really busy.  Sam is still playing basketball twice each week.  His physical condition has really improved and he's giving his teammates and trainers lots of opportunities to practice their English.

I'm still teaching English a couple of evenings a week.  Work is slow for Cam, so he comes along most nights and provides another voice in the classroom.  Nicole volunteers once each week in their pre-school room during English hour.  She also had an opportunity to teach English to a grade four class and a grade 7 class this month.  

Water, water everywhere.

Demolition complete.

Big news this month is the rebuilding of our retaining wall. They aren't finished yet, but the crew is making good progress. (see below)  All the cement for this project is being hand mixed on the ground in the lane and transported by wheel barrow.  All the rock is "recycled" from the old wall.  

There is a lot of work going on in our lane.  The neighbours two doors down are getting new sidewalk tiles and the neighbours on the other side of them are getting a new roof.  Both work crews arrive randomly and leave piles of debris.  

The roofers also appear to have acquired our watering hose (and broken) our hose reel.

February 24, Johanna flew back to Canada to go to work.  She filled her own big suitcase. I gave her my big suitcase and she could have easily filled another one.  We stayed overnight with her in Istanbul. I took her to the airport at 6 a.m. for her 8:10 a.m. flight.  

Istanbul traffic is legendary.  One reason is the huge number of transport trucks moving goods in and out of Europe.  The license plate from this truck says it's registered in Iran, you can see the yellow plate written in Arabic on the trailer door.  Sadly the license plate is less visible.

On the way home from Istanbul, we stopped at the Florya Mall so we could get some bacon from the Macro Centre.  This little grocery store sells all the regular Turkish products, side by side with grocery products from home we don't see in our local Kipa (grocery).  Among other things we got some Cheerios, a bottle of HP, a container each of mint jelly, and horseradish and two packages of bacon. The prices are about what you'd expect for "imported" groceries.  We all enjoy Turkish food, but it's nice to have flavours which remind us of home.

We have a cast iron Dutch oven at home.  Cam has been "YouTube learning" so he can use it when we go camping this summer.  When we found one for sale at The Macro Centre, we couldn't resist.  

Saturday, February 14, 2015

When the Family Ride is a Motorcycle

This couple and their daughter are going home from the market on Valentime's Day.

He's got the groceries and the stroller carefully positioned on the handles of the bike and she's got the sleeping baby.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Snail mail - or another exercise in patience.....

One of the less straight forward aspects of Expat life is maintaining contact with people and hobbies back home.  Our family reads voraciously, but English reading material is hard to come by and is quite limited in variety.  We have a network the accumulates our snail mail and forwards it to us.  This is effective, but can be quite slow.  We are only now (Feb 6) reading our Christmas cards most of which were mailed in mid December.  Flyers and catalogs are typically expired before they get to us.

For example, a friend from Manitoba sent me copies of a couple books he'd written and had published as a Christmas present.  They were post marked in Lynn Lake MB Dec 18, 2014.  They arrived here in near perfect condition, but the books had had quite a journey. Lynn Lake MB to Wimborne AB via Canada Post, where they languished for a time, waiting on enough mail to accumulate to justify a mail dump, Greyhound to Cowtown where they languished a week waiting on a decision whether to have them and the other mail hand carried over by the next person bound this way, or sent via international courier, FedExed from Cowtown office to regional office in Ankara, Turkey, then forwarded by Yurtici Cargo (local courier) to Gellibolu. The local courier called me at 10:30 this morning. I was home with the package before 12:30.... Hmmm, I wonder if MapQuest can add up the distance?....

Well, MapQuest wasn't much help ( intercontinental distances and Turkish language defaults complicated that issue). SWAG will have to do...

Lynn Lake to Wimborne +/- 1100 km
Wimborne to Cowtown +/- 150 km
Cowtown to Ankara Turkey +/- 600 kph x 13 hrs = 7800 km
Ankara to Gellibolu +/- 700 km
Gellibolu to Saros 35 km

Total estimated distance 9785 km, or 6116 miles via pick up truck, car, bus, truck, train, and airplane. Of course, not including how KOO might have made the trek to the post office in Lynn Lake - like the antique Famous Black Cat for instance.....