Forever in my heart…

So… here I am… with less than 24 hours left in my beloved Turkey. I’ve already cried with my Turkish Mom, run all the errands, packed my suitcase (ok, for the most part), and have a night planned with the gang. I can honestly say this is the worst PCS – evah. We’ve been so lucky and so incredibly blessed with great friends, a family who made us their own, and amazing experiences. Frankly, even random people on the street will be fondly remembered. Thank you and Çok teşekkür ederim to everyone (ok, mostly everyone) who crossed my path in the last two years… you’ve made a difference and your going to America in my heart!

Adana Mosque at sunset.
I will miss this incredible site, the culture, Turkish food, and most of all the ah-mazing people.
Seni seviyorum (I love you).

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The Copper Cleaning Guy

So… on our way to Mt Nemrut last weekend we stopped in one of the market towns famous for copper. On our way out of the market we saw this man cleaning copper. First he fires it, then brushes it, and finally dips the clean item in water, making it sizzle. Good to know for future reference. Our tour guide said she felt sorry when she saw him working at this age because it was likely that none of his sons took over his profession.


Notice the green flame


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Sunrise at Mt. Nemrut

So… we finally got to Mt. Nemrut – as far into Eastern Turkey as we’re going to get. I knew the first day we walked into Suleyman’s (the travel agent) office and saw the poster of the giant stone heads that was somewhere we wanted to be. The stars aligned, the restrictions were lifted, and off the Gutieschlers (that’s us and our neighbors…) went. The only disappointing aspect of this trip was that it was canceled the week my mom and step-father were here due to snow. I wish they had been able to go with us.

We left the hotel at 3 am to reach the summit by sunrise.  And by reach I mean walk up a steep, uneven rocky path for about ohh say and hour or so… in the dark… maybe more, I don’t really remember. I was concentrating on not dying. For my runner husband and friends it was no big deal, for me with asthma and a wide end it was a pretty big damn deal. But worth every breathless minute!

From one of the Mt. Nemrut websites: “In 62 B.C., King Antiochus I Theos of Commagene built on the mountaintop a tomb-sanctuary flanked by huge statues (8-9 meters/26-30 feet high) of himself, two lions, two eagles and various Greek, Armenian and Iranian gods, such as Hercules-Vahagn, Zeus-Aramazd or Oromasdes (associated with the Irenic god Ahura Mazda), Tyche and Apollo-Mithras. These statues were once seated, with names of each god inscribed on them. The heads of the statues have at some stage been removed from their bodies, and they are now scattered throughout the site.” Simply amazing, like hanging on the edge of the world, knowing that you are simply a tiny fleck in the big scheme of things. What a perspective.

The heads in front of the thrones

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Chickens and ducks in a box…oh my

So… Here’s something you don’t see every day. Or maybe you do and I’m just in the wrong place. Anyway, I’m walking along a street in Adana the other day and there is a box on the sidewalk…chirping. I investigate, only to find this…the chicks pestering the crap out of the ducklings. I had to laugh. Not sure what they were doing there, probably for sale. But it made me smile and lament how much I will miss Turkey and all this random awesomeness.



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So… my Mom and stepdad  are hanging with me in Turkey for a few weeks. I booked a trip to Antakya or Antioch (ancient city with the first established church – in a natural cave) – a pilgrimage, if you will. We boarded the bus way to early in the morning, but it was totally worth it.  Our day started with a scenic drive between the mountains and Mediterranean to the cave church in Antioch where the disciples hid/lived/and held services and baptisms.

Entrance to the cave church

Alter and statue of St. Peter, added much later

Tunnel to the "dorms" or living quarters of the cave, which was destroyed in an earthquake in the 16th Century

Natural spring water that came to the surface: the only water source for the disciples including for baptisms.

Our trip also included the Archeological Museum, a trip through the winding narrow streets of the ancient city, and the grand bazaar. More to follow later. For now I’m gonna need some sleep.

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March? Already?

So… my bloggyiness has been in serious decline for the past three months. After such a tough Fall (thesis, husband near the brink of death, traveling, some changes, etc.) a break was in order. But I’m back… ready to enjoy what’s left of my Turkey time. It’s sad, but true, our tour here is coming to an end. I will leave with lessons learned, a boatload of pictures,  and a pure love for Turkey, its culture, and people. What could I have possibly been doing with all this time you ask?  Well… as my friend’s daughter would say… just chilaxin’. I’ll get back to a daily grind, but for now how about I share a few pics I’ve snapped over the past couple of months?

1) Golfing:  I’ve done more in the past few months than I have for a while. We’re actually taking golf lessons from the pro here and mr. juliafizz is so MUCH better than me. Drat!  This pic was from one day out on the course by myself just enjoying the beautiful day – ohhh and I hit the ball on the green on the third stroke. It’s kind of a big deal, it may never happen again. Notice the breathtaking Toros mountains in the back that make up this awesome backdrop.

Yes... I have purple balls...

And of course, after the “rainy season” EVERYONE  is happy to see the sun.

Turtles sunbathing by the lake on #4...

Even the fish were hanging near the surface on this first really beautiful sunny day…

2) The village: I went with a couple of girls to the village market a few times where we found free-range chickens and cats, just hanging out, mostly in garbage cans.

Guess what? Chicken butt!

These two were just lolling about… with about 14 of their friends. By the way the one lounging over two cans wasn’t really searching for anything, just hanging.

Yo... what's up?

So… that’s enough for tonight. I’ve missed you. xoxox

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Happy New Year!! 365/365!!!!

So… this is it! 365 of 365. WOW. I can’t believe I actually finished this. Tonight has been so awesome, celebrating with my chosen and Turkish families. (Ok – Still celebrating… I’m getting some peer pressure to hurry up with the *&@%# blog!) So I should probably get on with it…. today’s picture might require some splainin’. So… apparently it’s a Turkish tradition to get red underwear for New Year’s Eve. But … the key is that someone else has to buy them for you. Our Turkish Anne (annn-ayy) (Mom) gave us each a pair when we went to have dinner with them tonight.  She told us you must put them on three minutes before midnight and take them off three minutes after midnight. We didn’t have time to change… so this is what happened.  So… I’ll get back to celebrating and you do the same!  Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun — or HAPPY NEW YEAR!   Thanks so much for following my cockamamie blog.  From now I will just post as the mood strikes or I find something interesting to share.  XOXO

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Skittles and Jello 364/365

So… Skittles vodka and shots of Jello. Yes. This is the prep for a New Year’s Eve celebration with our chosen and Turkish families. Looking back on this year I can’t believe the amazing (and a few not-so-amazing) people who’ve crossed my path. I am truly grateful for most of them! Yet I can’t help but think about people I will miss this year.  XOXO to all! Meanwhile back at the lab – this is what’s going on…

Guess what we're making ...

Separating the Skittles

Into the vodka bath they go ... which doesn't look like much... but those are German beer steins...

Waiting to finish the last layer...

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Wedding 363/365

So… I got to play papa-paparazzi at a friend’s wedding today. Of course, I won’t post the bride, otherwise she might not continue to be my friend. Yikes!

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Turkish Tea 362/365

So… How is it that I have neglected Turkish çay (chai or tea) in my blog? It’s such an integral part of the culture. My friend drinks at least 8 of these cute little cups a day. It’s an art form really. They boil the tea and water separately then pour them together. If you get the right blend, it’s a little cup of heaven.


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