Monday, 30 April 2007

Secular Meeting (Cumhuriyet Yürüyüşü)

Yesterday over a million Turkish people came together in Caglayan Square to protest the current government in rule and to defend the Republic state and secularism. I was one of the million people walking from Sisli to Taxim with the Turkish flags and chanting slogans.

The situation at the moment is that the modern people of Turkey are concerned that the secularism will be jeopardized as the Islamic party member Foreign Minister Gul has put his candidateship for presidency. As a result, people are worried that if he becomes the president and his party as the ruling party, then the key positions in Turkey will be under islamic dominance and Turkey may become a Middle East islamic country.

To express these concerns people held two meetings; one in Ankara, the capital and one in Istanbul. It is said that about 1,2 million people were on the streets coming from all parts of Turkey. One of the good things about it was that it was done in a very organised and peaceful way. Despite the huge crowd, the police did not intervene at all as it wasn't a nasty protest.

We hope and believe that Turkey will remain secular as it was given to us by Ataturk, our founder, as we are a country that seperates religion from politics and is tolerant to religions. Even though Turkey is dominantly Muslim, there is tolerance to other religions, ie in the area that I live there are many churches and some synagogues, as well as many Armenians and Greek originated people living as our neighbours. And I have no problem with them, indeed we live in peace...

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Back in Istanbul

Back in Istanbul to the busy city life again. I arrived home late night & had to wake up early in the morning to prepare for a busy day as today there was this big company wide event where all employees attended (the Employee Forum). I translated simultaneously in the event for the CEO and the management team. Was a cool event indeed, after the event went for a meal in a nice relaxing place with friends, had a beer, nice way to finish off a day...

23th of April

"The National Sovereignity and Children's Day" was celebrated.
The significance of the day is that the Grand National Assembly of Turkey assembled for the first time in 23th of April 1920. And Ataturk, our founder dedicated this day to the children of the world. Since then, the day is celebrated as the Children's Day and children come to Turkey from all around the world to replace the politicians, ect just for the day.

Monday, 23 April 2007

Back in Samsun

Back in Samsun, it feels like the same whenever I come to Samsun. Life is slow, nice here, no haste, the day feels like 48 hours. Had breakfast with my family, my sister is also here, a complete family gathering.

(From left to right, Juan Pablo from Spain, Natalia from Ukraine & Raina from Morocco)

Also a surprise was waiting for me here. Before coming here I was hoping to see my beloved friends Esra & Özden. Not only I saw them, but also Murat was here for his military service! It is such a coincidence that he was assigned to Samsun. This is like a crossroads where people meet. The other thing is that he works very close to where I stay in Istanbul but we never had the chance to meet, and here we are in Istanbul..

So the old friends gathered back together; Esra, Özden, Murat, Hasan (a friend of Murat's) & Nur (my sister). We went to the beach, to Hurol, the most popular cafe in the beach, as we allways do whenever I come to Samsun & spent a fantastic day together with lots of laughter.

Being close to the water is so good. As the city is built up on hills & slopes, every downhill takes you to the sea, and many houses has a seaview to some extend. Ours has a nice sea view too, being at the top of a slope.

Also whenever you feel like getting some fresh air, or walking, jogging you can go down the sea in 10-15 mins from any point in Samsun. We are so lucky to have that, but as Murat says people here seem to be ignoring the fact that we have that beauty, because if it was anywhere else in the world they would have built hotels and houses by the sea coast & the coastline houses would have worth a fortune & they would have been all glass windowed, etc. I don't see eye to eye with him on this one. Yes, the coastline could be in a better shape and more care could be given, but if you consider it is the whole Black Sea region has that beauty not just Samsun, then it applies for the whole region. Well, Samsun is the biggest and most developed city of the Black Sea region, and we may not be utilizing the beauties as much as we could, we still preserve the nature by not changing it.

One of the best spots of Samsun is Amisos (Amisos is the ancient name of Samsun). We went up there with the cable car climbing up the hills. They built a nice restaurant on the top of the hill with great view. We enjoyed our meals & the sea, it was a bit windy though.

It was soon time for our friend to go back to military house so we said goodbye to them & went to Özden's flat to have some tea..

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Back in Ankara

Saturday, 21st was a looong day. A day starting from 6,30 am, not finishing untill 2am next day, having to take 3 flights in the same day. To start from the beginning, had to wake up at 6,30 to catch the flight at 9:00 to Ankara, after having not much sleep as stayed late at work the day before. One of our directors was invited as a speaker to a conference titled "competition" in Bilkent, Ankara, and I was asked to translate him simultaneously in this meeting. I said OK, and the next thing I know was that I was put in this flight not knowing any detail as to where will it be, what time will it start, or what will the discussion be about, etc. As I was having these questions, luckily I met Eric at the flight, he told me the details and gave me his speech to that I can prepare. I usually have no idea what the speaker will talk about and I'm prepared for any challenge, but this time I read the speech beforehand, even though the speakers usually track off the text, I still had an idea. When we landed, a driver met us and took us to the venue. We had a nice welcome and time to eat ice cream, as one of the biggest ice cream manufacturers was sponsoring the event...

The conference went well, I enjoyed the topic of discussion, but didn't stay for the lunch as I wanted to meet my sister in METU (Middle East Technical University). This is her prep year in the Industrial Design department. Being back in METU was great as I had been there before when I was a student to visit my friends, and when to the same places again this time. The only thing was I was too posh for the students with ripped jeans & t-shirts (as a working girl). I think I'm getting older.. Well, at least I still turn the heads :)

Spend the day in Ankara with my sister, in a beautiful warm day, relaxing, breathing Ankara's dry air, being back in Ankara, my lovely Ankara days came to my mind.. Convinced my sister to come to Samsun, so she will be there with me. But soon it was time to get ready for the flight. My first flight in the morning was from Istanbul to Ankara. The second would be to Samsun, but as there were no direct flights from Ankara to Samsun, I had to fly back to Istanbul, then to Samsun and wait in between the flights! The first & second was ok but the last flight was a torture..

Before going to Esenboga Airport in Ankara, I had planned the times that I needed to take the shuttle & how to go there, etc. But something unexpected happened on the way. I found the shuttle on the planned time, as I went closer a person that looked like the person in charge saw that I was looking for the shuttle and asked me about the time of my flight. I said nine, and then he said the shuttle goes away to pick up people from 2 more stops and takes 1 hour and 10 mins to go for the airport, which was something I hadn't planned for. He said there was one more passenger who missed the previous shuttle, he is going to Germany & we can take a taxi together and quickly he took me to this guy and we were off to the taxi. I didn't panic, but I felt like there was something fishy going on, beccause the guy was too insistant. As we were walking towards the taxi, all kinds of scenarios was running through my mind- like the two guys actually know each other & this is a set up and I will find myself in a bath tube the next day with one of my kidneys gone!!! - I said no, I will call a friend and ask, and i did make the phonecall and then asked other 2 people, I had their confirmation that the shuttle actually takes that long. After all my suspicion and distrust -I was even thinking of texting the number plate to my frineds!- It turned out that this guy was just a taxi driver & he was only trying to get customers, but the guys looked really suspicious, well we hear lots of urban legends so had be carefull. When I was safely transported to the airport, he asked me if I was pleased & satisfied now :)

It wasn't the end of the day, I was early and had to wait an hour for the flight. I had been in Esenboga before but not much was left on my mind about the place, whereas this time I was able to see that it is to international standards compared to Ataturk airport which looked like a bus station to me after Esenboga.

Flight to Istanbul was ok, but waiting for Samsun flight and trying to keep my eyes open was a killer! The flight to Samsun itself was the most unpleasant time of the day, having had woke up at 6,30, being still awake at 11.45 to 12.45 and to 1.30 was a total killer.

Finally my father picked me up and took me home. Home at last, and to bed.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

How To Get Depressed

Working closely with IT people I should have known better in my shopping for CF (compact flash) cards, as I had pittying looks, shop assisstants going "Wow, we dont have those any more", but then finally I had success in one particular shop. I also discovered that the CF cards are more expensive than the SD cards to my suprise (the former is bigger and the latter is a tiny thing) When I asked - how come? they said because the bigger ones are used for the professional cameras with more capacity. Well then I can consider myself as an owner of a professional piece of art, but since that's not the case, mine is just a four year old camera.

Enough of the technobable, had a very difficult and stresfull day at work, dealing with a couple of issues at the same time. Internal clients with unrealistic and unachievable expectations, putting pressure on the our team for the translation of a tender specification. On top of that, the 3 day holiday that I was looking for having so badly was cancelled in the last minute. Instead of that I had a simultaneous job to do for one of the directors on Saturday. Still have 2 more days off (like a normal weekend-but including the official holiday) but dont know where to go. Tried to figure out the flights all day, and do the work at the same time. Had to stay overtime, got home late. Eat, wash, clean, cook, work... Life is diffucult for a girl... I am sooo depressed (like Marvin in the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy)

By the way, found a great article on How to Get Depressed if you still aren't... and to give you some smile. Read it. Whoever wrote it, it's so NLP.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Shopping for Gadgets

As boring as it sounds I enjoy shopping for gadgets once in a while. I like to go in a techno market and look for things, spend time with them, just as much as I like to be equiped with electronic toys at home.. Today was one of those days, but not so enjoyable this time as it had been a long time since the last time i shopped for an electronic device, and I found myself far behind the new developments..

When I went to Israel in December, I took some guided tours as well as toured by Lilly and Effie. I saw lots of wonderfull places and took lots of photographs. On one of these tours when I went to Jerusalem, I was so thrilled by the things that I saw that tried to capture everything on the camera or video, even the stories of my tour guide. Everything was going allright untill it came to the most exhiting places and the battery pack of my digital camera went low and no space left on the memory card!! I never thought it would happen. The battery usually lasts for a long time and there is allways enough space in the card. As the tour guide was talking about the number one places in Christianity, Islam and Judaism, I was trying to make space for more pictures! Finally the battery pack died and I started to take pictures with my mobile phone untill it became full too. First I got frustrated, but then hey, at least I was there to see things with my own eyes, and enjoy it, and that was enough.

Next day solved the camera problem. (Took Lily's old fashioned camera- they still put films in it). Recharged and made space in my camera too. And decided to get a better memory card and an extra battery pack when I get home.

And that day my friends happened to be today :) Tomorrow will talk about how I did it ..

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Saturday, a Sunny Day

Summer is approaching as in many places of the world. We are starting to spend more time outdoors than indoors. One of the places that I like to go on a nice warm day is a cafe called Koza Cafe within Macka Park, surrounded with nature, nice big cushions on which people relax, within the city and away from the city. There is a cable car going from one side of the park in Macka to the other side in Harbiye. But from where I live, the Park is in walking distance..

You can just sit there, read your paper, drink a fresh squeezed pomegranate, orange & grapefruit mix and relax...

Friday, A Girls' Night Out

Most working people must probably have realised that if they spend friday night out or with friends, then the weekend seems to be longer, as opposed to doing the weekday routine. It's like having a 3 day weekend. So that's what we did and met up in Taxim to have a meal after work. The meal was then extended to a beer, and the beer was extended to a bar which we enjoyed.

The meal was in a place called Rio, in Taxim, which looks Brazilian from outside and totally American from inside. The place wasn't at all what I expected it to be, but the food is ok, I had a well done beef burger with chips and a beer, a bit of a tourist place. There is live music as well, spanish music and guitar. Then we went to Nevizade, no need so say anything.. (the alleyway by the fish market). And finally Club 607 in Cihangir. It's a roof bar, with sea view, a nice space.. We asked the bartender to make us a cocktail, and there came a blue coctail in which we thought was malibu, kiwi, orange and cherry. Beautiful taste. It was 2 am when we left the bar while the night was continuing with full speed for the others.

It was nice to know I would wake up mid day the next day, which I did.

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Time to Work

Days of fun are over and days of busy work have arrived early.. Have been very busy this week, therefore not having time to post blogs, as a matter of priority, i put rest before the blog. Each one of us have priorities which determines how we live our lives. These priorities can change from time to time, but you can tell the priorities of people when you look at their behaviour. For example, my friend Halil and I do the same routine at the weekend at home- except he is in Ankara and I am in Istanbul- but with different orders. Every weekend I wake up, put the computer on to say good morning to people, have a shower and then have breakfast. Halil, he has his breakfast first- ofcourse!- then puts the computer on, and then takes a shower. (how do I know that- we talk online). So you can tell my number one is being connected with people. Even food and other things come after that. For me the most important thing is my connection to other people. As a part of this connection, my mobile phone has become like a limb to me, an extention of my body, I keep it with me all the time. I also have to do that as a part of my job, since I have to make myself available when people call, to translate in a meeting, or a presentation; as opposed to some people who put their phones to silent to be never checked. Those are the ones who dont care, they are far from being connected, and may be they subconsciously want to be out of connection by closing the communication channels. So you only have to look at what people do, not what they say as we teach in NLP. That's the key and may be its time for me to change my priorities and put work to number one, well for tonight it sure is as I need to translate a presentation by tomorrow morning. Will start in a minute. After a beer.

Friday, 6 April 2007

Karaoke Night

Next night we went to a Karaoke Bar, in Ortakoy, Princess Hotel. Nice little bar with 2 special sound proof rooms in which you can choose any music you like and shout as much as you want, go crazy and unwind, which was what I most needed that night. Couldnt be better, starting with Ibo :) and continue with Anastasia, singing

"Im outta love, Set me free, Let me out this misery
Show me the way to get my life again, Cause you can't handle me"

Halil, singing away like a pop star, as he usually is. His last night in Istanbul before returning to Ankara after all the partying and so...

1st of April Party

I can hear you say noo not party again! Yes, party all week! I have to tell about these anyway. 1st of April was the first day of the work as Vodafone, so when we got to work in the morning the first thing we did was to go in a red tunnel from the outer gate to the inside at the end of which waited a camera was recording and all the Senior Management standing welcoming the people; when we got to our desks lots of gifts were waiting us, took the time to discover them nivce little things. Worked only till lunch. Then the dining hall was converted to a party hall! Who were there? Dj Funky C together with Burhan Ocal, a famous percussion artist. And 3 well known Turkish characters representing our red, rock solid, restless spirit were invited to give a talk and meet people.

Tan Sagturk, famous ballet dancer, representing passion. There he is, on the right.
He is successful as a dancer but should not talk in my opinion.

And here is the first Turk to climb Mount Everest, also head of AKUT, Search & Rescue Team, Nasuh Mahruki (below). He is a rock solid spirit (I like this one as I'm too involved in voluntary work in disaster relief as a member of Interpreters in Aid at Disasters) For more info see

Sunday, 1 April 2007

After Party

The Party last nite was great fun! The night kind of started when I invited Halil, Hatice & Müge at home to meet my mom before the party. We had Turkish coffee, chatted and did some catch up with the news as I hadn't seen Hatiş and Halil for some time. Then we took off for the party only to get stuck in the traffic of Sisli for half an hour. We had to entertain ourselves in the car for a while. After the last traffic light of congestion we speeded up! Wasnt long till we saw the massive tent built up only for this event. As luck would have it, it rained heavily that night and the patways to the tent was all muddy and wet. We then got in the party with another 2-3 thousand people. Had our first drink and saw other friends that were there.. The CEO then turned up to say a couple of words followed by Candan Ercetin, whose live performance we were watching and listening for the first time and we loved it. She was followed by other famous Turkish artists as Emre Altug, Göksel, Zeynep Casalini, Kerem Cem, Levent Yüksel, Burcu Güneş, Ege and Özlem Tekin most of whom we love.. Really enjoyed it.. There is no way that you could find all of these people together at the same night one after the other in any other place. So was pretty cool. After the party we went to Taxim, Nevizade to eat "Kokorec", midye dolma(stuffed mussel) and midye tava (fried mussels) with ayran. That was one of the best bits of the night. Next morning, which is today, we had breakfast all together in my flat.. Big sunday breakfast after a night out was heaven. The guys are still here :) we are reading paper and having cappucino, chattering away, me writing my blog. That was a nice weekend for a long time.
Will put the pics up as soon as Hati sends them!