Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Tea and Yogurt

I was making cheese toast in my oven this morning and I realized that there were a few things about ovens in Turkey that are different. So I thought I would share.

The cay danlik. That is the pot you see on the stovetop in this picture. Cay means tea in Turkish. Everyone has one and they are usually sitting on their stoves since they are used all the time. How to make Turkish cay... Fill the bottom part of the pot, or the kettle, with cold water and put loose tea leaves into the teapot on top...about 1 tsp of leaves for each glass of tea you want to make. I usually throw in a little extra as well. Put the kettle, with the teapot on top, on the heat to boil. When the water boils, pour it into the teapot until full and put it on the kettle, which should still contain plenty of boiling water. Lower the heat to medium while the tea brews for about 10 minutes. When the tea is ready pour it into your glass. Only pour a little...anywhere from a fourth to half a glass. They have tea strainers you pour the tea through so you don't get tea leaves in your cup but many people don't use them and just know how to pour it so very few leaves come out. Then use the hot water in the bottom pot to fill your glass. You can adjust the strength of your tea by putting more or less of the tea in your glass. Most people here drink their tea at medium strength. You can also order it acik which means light or kamyonculu which means like a trucker or really dark! And of course you can sweeten your tea to taste. The tea here is generally served with a couple of sugar cubes on the side or with a bowl of sugar cubes. When we are in the states please come by and we will make you a cup of Turkish tea! It is really yummy!

I got this picture off of a website just so you could see what the finished product looks like. These glasses are the normal tea glasses here. The ones we bought aren't quite this fancy...no gold!

Another interesting thing about Turkish ovens is the yogurt setting you can find on them. I have never actually made my own yogurt since you can find it everywhere here and it is very inexpensive. I know that you use about 2 tablespoons of yogurt mixed with about several cups of milk. After that I don't know what to do. The setting is less than 100 degrees celsius but I don't know what the exact temperature is. I have found a recipe for making your own yogurt at home by boiling milk and adding the yogurt to it at www.turkishcookbook.com but it says nothing about the oven.

So there you have it. Cultural lessons from an experienced cay maker and an inexperienced yogurt maker.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Pictures from Esenboga

I had to take a trip to the airport the other day to pick up a volunteer team. I decided to take my camera and get some pictures of the waiting room I blogged about in March. Here they are!

I am standing in the doorway to the outside. I don't know if there are actual doors that can close or if it is just a doorway. They are never closed if there are doors. Anyway... off to the right there are doors that lead outside as well. To the left are a few benches and a small booth selling things to eat and drink. Straight ahead is the sliding door that leads into the airport. In this picture it had just opened because someone walked by on the inside. My friend, Abby, is the girl on the left in the pink shirt.

Notice the people right next to the glass. They are trying to see through it which is next to impossible! The plane we were meeting was the only one coming in for a couple of hours so the room wasn't too crowded.

This is after the plane landed. All of a sudden people came from who knows where to meet the passengers. I am still standing in the doorway to the outside. There is still quite a bit of empty space in front of these guys. When more than one plane is coming in you can't even move in this room!

Just thought I would share!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Lunch Time

I just had to post this picture of one of our coworkers. He was over for a meeting and it ran into lunch time. He, being the timely organized guy he is, had packed a lunch for the day. He took it out and I just about died. It was the lunch you hear about. The one you are supposed to eat. His sandwich was peanut butter and jelly. Both the bread and the peanut butter were homemade! The cookies were also homemade...not the slice and bake kind of homemade but the real thing...chocolate chip. The pretzels and the apple finished it off. I told him I could pour him a glass of milk if he needed it to feel complete. He opted for water. Anyway...just thought it was funny. Who knew a packed lunch could look so good!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

From Anna Grace

As you know Sunday was Mother's Day. I wasn't feeling great so I didn't go to church and I didn't have any special lunch requests. Anna Grace also stayed home from church so we just hung out. I said something about it being mother's day and she went to her room to get me the gift she made for me at school. I couldn't help but smile...well giggle...when I got it unwrapped and saw what it was. There was a cute purple bag and a picture of her holding a bouquet of flowers. I asked her if the letters written on the bottom of the bag stood for "From Anna Grace" and she said yes. I did take it out later that day but it may be one of those gifts that doesn't make it to America. I'm not sure I would be seen out with it there!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Questions answered!

I have had several emails asking about several postings in my blog so I thought I would blog the answers. If you haven't asked a question recently or just don't care feel free to stop reading now!

1. No, I have not lost any weight in the last several weeks. I actually think I may have gained a couple of pounds. We have had guests in our home constantly for the past couple of weeks and, of course, I have to feed them. That also means I am eating! And desserts, too! What would a meal with friends be without dessert? Also the stress of trying to get stuff done before we have to leave is probably causing some problems. I told you I am a stress eater! No fears though. I will be back on track starting Monday when things settle down some for at least 2 weeks. Maybe I will be so busy with packing that I will forget about food!

2. Yes, Will was able to keep his haircut for school. Well, that is, until yesterday. He was stopped by the principal and told he needed to shave it. I'm sure the principal didn't even notice it himself but probably heard kids commenting on it. So this afternoon it is bye, bye mohawk. Everyone thought it was cool, and I know the other kids talked about it. He is a little sad but had fun while it lasted.

3. Yes, I am feeling better about coming back to the states now. I think part of me is ready to leave here because things start picking up the week before we leave and stay steady through the summer. If we aren't here we don't have to help. Is that wrong? I am also ready for a break. Sitting by the pool and doing nothing...not worrying about engaging the culture or working on language or feeling guilty because I am not doing that. I won't be too lazy though. I will engage the culture...smile at the people sitting by the pool near me and know that they won't wonder where I'm from, if I speak their language, or care about me at all as long as I give them some personal space. I will work on my language. I am sure there are new slang words in America that I haven't learned yet! And English spoken with any accent other than Turkish might be a struggle for me to understand. Last time we were home the waiter at the Mexican restaurant we went to said something to us and my dad answered him. We had no idea he was even speaking English since it sounded so different to us. I vow to go to Mexican restaurants and listen harder...and since I am there I might as well have some fajitas or a burrito or something.

4. Yes, Brian is available to help coach any sport. As long as he has some knowledge of it he should be fine. He played croquet, soccer, football, and baseball in his backyard growing up so he is an expert at those sports. Basketball, golf, softball...no problem! He also has some knowledge of kickball, bowling, badminton and after the winter olympic game coverage here in Turkey a pretty good handle on curling. Feel free to ask for his help!

Thanks for reading, and keep those questions coming!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Whose kid is that?

Some friends of ours hosted a "Friend Day" for the boys last Saturday. The day included soccer in the morning, a spaghetti eating contest for lunch, a picnic in the park, and riding an alpine sleigh ride. The boys were supposed to have crazy hair for the occasion. Will asked if he could get a mohawk on Friday after school and we said he could. He stopped at the barber on the way home from school to get his haircut and then came on home. When he showed up at home he kept hiding his hair behind a notebook. I was interested in seeing his hair but he said he was worried I would be mad. He put the notebook down and his mohawk was blue and red! He thought he might be in trouble because he had the barber hairspray it different colors. I told him that I let him get a mohawk...the hairspray was nothing...it would wash out. He definitely had the craziest hair that day! One of his friends sprayed his hair purple and another one had a buzz on half of his head. We have let Will keep his haircut but he isn't allowed to spike it for school. There is a dress code to follow you know! When it is not spiked it almost looks normal. Jacob didn't want to do anything to his hair so he looked mostly normal. He actually needs a haircut...his sideburns would make Elvis jealous!

Will's new do!