My roommates have always found my steady supply of bananas quite odd. Here in Turkey, bananas are quite pricey compared to other fruits and I remember when I suggested making a banana pie at a friend’s place, everyone looked at me in sheer horror. It still doesn’t stop me from including it as one of my five a day once in a while.
Apologies in advance for the long post!
January: A familiar red cup to warm up the spirits
I was still adjusting to the Turkish way of life. Tomatoes for breakfast were still a complete mystery to me although I was quite enjoying the other aspects of Turkish cuisine. Since there is nothing much to do in Ankara other than food and shopping, I was exploring the culinary delights of the city and indulging myself in buying whatever I wanted but certainly did not need. Now, I regret that but it was my way of coping in a city where nothing was familiar other than Starbucks. I was happiest when I was sipping my filter coffee sat in one of the comfy sofas at Starbucks – what’s best (or worst) about international food chains, they are the same everywhere you go, down to their playlist. Continue reading A Year in Review
When I’m back home in Mauritius, there is much more I enjoy doing than staying at home usually sitting in the hallway and reading a book – I’m the reason there are carpets and cushions everywhere in the house – and enjoying the silence and privacy which practically don’t exist here in my yurt in Turkey. Although that literally is mostly what I ended up doing during the first two weeks I was back home over summer (or winter in the Southern Hemisphere – that always gets people confused). One of my favourite spots to go to is to Mahébourg, a small “town” on the southeast coast of the island, somewhere I had been going as a child with my dad to watch the Regatta race every year while stuffing myself with all the yumminess from the food stalls there. I’ve had a thing for boats since and working on a boat for some time definitely falls into my bucket list.
Sometimes around this year last year, I was eagerly planning my winter holidays – not the normal/Christmas season but rather the one week off I would be getting in February. Destination: London, a.k.a. my second home. I could barely hold in my excitement knowing that I’d be going back, albeit for a short time, after more than a year of absence. I was looking forward to walking down the streets of London and getting lost as the geographer in me usually does, having hot chocolate at my favourite coffee shop on Fleet Street and see the new tiger territory at London Zoo. None of that happened, other than the getting lost part – I tend to manage that pretty well without trying too much. I had to rearrange my plans when my flight got delayed (that’s the short version, I’ll write about it at some point, maybe) and when the ex-boyfie, a.k.a the-douche-who-I-thought-was-the-love-of-my-life-then-and-with-whom-I-was-in-a-long-distance-relationship – if you’re reading this, well I’m not apologising – decided at the last minute to come down to London from the far North for some cuddly couple time.
We went along with his to-go-to list rather than mine which was more of a where-and-what-to-eat list. His argument was: we couldn’t just stuff ourselves all day long. I should have known then and there he wasn’t a keeper. Just for the record, I did end up stuffing myself all day long either way, so win!
When I chose to study Geography at King’s College London, what I was most excited about was the COMPULSORY fieldtrip in Morocco during my second year which would last a week rather than the whole three years of awesomeness I was about to undertake. If you ask me now, that fieldtrip was probably NOT the highlight of my university days – singing to Barbie Girl on the streets of London was (and that was us being sober) – but it’s definitely up there in my top ten.
The trip had been planned for us down to the T, which meant we didn’t have much to worry about, other than missing the flight – which some nearly did, of course. Or getting stopped at the airport for questioning because we were carrying professional surveying equipment. Yes that actually happened and being one of the few French-speakers, I ended up in the questioning room as an interpreter (should add this to my CV) with my tutor – the responsible adult who was swearing his head off about everything while I enjoyed quite an interesting conversation about Moroccan food with the customs officer who was getting our papers ready. I never did tell him what we ended up talking about, he still thinks it was of the utmost important, but then food is, isn’t it?
Is there a thing as being at the wrong place at the wrong time? Or is it just this thing about being a woman?
About a month ago, during the time E. was in Ankara, I thought we’d walk around and explore the city – which would give me a chance to turn back into being a tourist rather than a local who’s always running around to go to university or work without taking a chance to relax and enjoy what the city has to offer. Even though the first thought that comes to mind when someone asks me what Ankara has to offer is NOTHING. I’ve made it clear to most: Ankara is not my favourite city in Turkey, even though it is where I’ve called home in the past year.
After gobbling down way too much food at my favourite breakfast house in the recently renovated Ottoman district of old Ankara, we proceeded to the citadel which some would say is a must-see landmark. With a city that lacks in terms of historical landmarks and obsesses with ‘modern’ architecture, it definitely can be refreshing on the eyes. So is the panoramic view from above, till you get past what you see afar and notice the settlements within the citadel walls and around.
Breakfast is, hands down, my favourite meal of the day. It definitely is part of my morning routine and usually I plan my time – which sometimes involve getting up quite early – so I get at least half a hour to enjoy this part of the day, catching up with the news over my cup of tea. I don’t think I’ve ever left home without having breakfast, that would be the same feeling as leaving my phone or wallet home. There are many times, as unhealthy as that sounds, I even tend to have breakfast food for my other meals as well, just for the comfort it provides.
Now, what do we call breakfast food? Living with two people of different nationalities, this has become quite the debate in our room. And even when I look back, my breakfast options have definitely evolved over the years and definitely changes given the country I am in. Breakfast tends to be a cultural thing and here in Turkey, you even have special breakfast houses you can go to for the whole Turkish breakfast experience. Hence, my roommates and I have decided to document, as far as possible, the different breakfasts in our lives, past and present and future.
Today was the Turkish breakfast, of course. When I first came to Turkey, I have to say, I was a bit shocked at the options we had for breakfast and instead of eating what was offered at the cafeteria, I used to buy everything from the market and eat in my room. I’ve changed quite a lot since.
Everything happens for a reason. And everything doesn’t happen for a reason as well. When I returned to Mauritius a bit more than a year ago, it was supposed to be for a short visit, after which I was to be Tenerife-bound to spend three months whale watching. Well, it still hurts to admit that this never happened but I ended up volunteering with the Mauritius Wildlife Foundation instead, which was one of the most interesting experiences I’ve ever had.
The end of my summer holidays was marked by a visit to Lisinia, an organic farm and wildlife rehabilitation centre in Burdur, south east Turkey. I had been looking for ways to extend my ‘holidays’ and needed a reality check after my outrageously expensive stay in Dubai. This is when I came across workaway.info, probably was the most amazing discovery I had ever made.
I have only just returned from a one-week-long trip from London and embarrassingly, I have to admit, I barely went out of Zone 3 during the time I was there. Instead, I spent most of my time standing in the cold waiting for Novak Djokovic – for those who do not know who that is, he’s only the current number one male tennis player in the world – to make an appearance and when I wasn’t doing that, I could probably be found watching one of his matches inside the arena at the O2 in North Greenwich.