Kurdistan and Turkey – Two Worlds

Every now and then I’m reminded of the baby naming laws in various countries, and then I spend the next half an hour looking up all the absurd things parents tried to name their offspring. It makes a good distraction from almost anything. Try it! It’s fun. This article alone occupied me for five of […]

Survivor’s Guide to CELTA

Confession: I check my blog stats all the time. All the time. I suspect that many (most?) bloggers do this. There’s a sense of great satisfaction when one of the numbers clicks up. Someone read a thing I wrote! A stranger in Somalia! A stranger in Belgium! I am an Internet Ambassador! Okay, maybe not […]

Alaska Pride

Winter is creeping into Anchorage. Snow has been perched up on the Chugach range to the east for weeks, ebbing and spreading as the weather toys with us down here in the city- fifty degrees one day, twenty-five the next.  Each day, the sun lingers a little less in the sky and we’re left in […]

Bulgaria: We wish to retract previous disparaging comments

 It’s a beautiful day in Bulgaria. I feel compelled to mention that. I’ve been back in this country for a week now with my boyfriend, Adam. Spring arrived before we did and the air is fresh-smelling and cool. Red and white bracelets adorn the branches of flowering trees- the leftovers of Martenitsa, a uniquely Bulgarian March […]


Two Google Images results for “eastern turkey”After some undefined number of months living in another country, the major contrasts between Old Home and New Home fade into the background. I guess I’ve grown accustomed to rhythms of Turkish life. I get a strange sensation of uncertainty sometimes, indecision- firetrucks screeching up the street and missing […]

Tarlabaşı: ghetto living

Reporters speak of Tarlabaşı like it’s the dark heart of some fairytale forest- you can stroll down “glitzy,” “vibrant” İstiklal, but don’t stray too far from the path. Mere minutes away, it’s all too easy to find yourself in a sunless slum where the trees whisper to each other and the birds are all reporting […]


I stayed home from work sick yesterday. I’ll spare you the macabre details, but I’m assigning direct blame to food poisoning, and indirect blame to the little beast pictured below. Convinced by Deniz (aka Peter)’s adorable purring and very soft fur, I’ve been leaving my window open overnight so he can curl up with me […]

Dialects and conquests

As you can tell, I’ve become very lazy busy and important recently, and let this blog fall by the wayside. Maybe we can start off my first entry in months with a little puzzle? The janissaries sat in their yurts eating shish kebabs, then they washed down some baklava with yogurt. You know I’m up […]

Turkish music – Don’t bother with Tarkan

For the longest time, Turkish music, for me, was a source of bafflement. The landscapes here are amazing, the food is the best I’ve ever had, the language is a maze of poetic possibilities, the population generally so attractive that it feels like they must be cheating somehow. A few months in Turkey had all […]

23; still childish

Saturday was my first day as a 23-year old. I spent most of it sprawled out in bed, feeling like I’d been run over by a truck (note for parents: I was up late reading to the elderly and vaccinating orphans). When I finally emerged into the living room, clutching at my head and keeping […]