Friday, June 14, 2013

Some Days Are Perfect

Our days are woven together with the excitement of the new and the familiarity of everyday family life. Turkish culture is one of great hospitality ...

WEDNESDAY - A Day On and Around Bağdat Avenue & Family Time
We started our day on Bağdat Avenue. Turkish Mother, Turkish Mother's Sister and I shopped while Youngest Son and American/Turkish Friend browsed in book store. My Makeover Part 2 (Part 1 was the previous day) continued. I now have several pieces of stylish clothing that fit so nicely!

We lunched by the Sea of Marmara and took a walk along the colonnade where huge houses from the Ottoman Empire faced the sea, the blue bike lane was filled with relaxed riders and children played in the parks.
Youngest Son and American/Turkish Friend are very excited to look at islands through the seaside scope.

Turkish Mother, Youngest Son and American/Turkish friend pick out yummy gelato after our seaside stroll.
We spent the afternoon with Turkish Father's mother i.e. Turkish Grandmother. Turkish Grandmother and Turkish Mother's Sister (kids' aunt) both live off  Bağdat Avenue on the Asian side in city apartments.
Turkish Grandmother's three bedroom apartment is on the 10th floor.
The most wonderful park is down the street. The park has state of the art equipment (some I have never seen in US), sculpted flower beds, a large rose garden, water fountains and a pretty pond. Youngest Son, American/Turkish Friend, Turkish Daughter and Turkish Prince played and played and played ...
Youngest Son is swirling around on the left and Turkish Daughter is finishing her ride on the right - this is so fun!

All four kids, ages 3 1/2 to 11, play tag on the ship. See Youngest Son in yellow on middle stairs. Children have endless energy!

Youngest Son, Turkish Daughter and American/Turkish Son happily walk and chat with Turkish Mother's Sister on the walk back from park.

The evening brought a homemade Turkish feast at Turkish Grandmother's apartment. Once again Youngest Son and I thoroughly enjoyed the ten different Turkish dishes! At 9pm, the whole neighborhood started beating pots and pans and whistling from their apartment windows and balconies to support the protests. Youngest Son, American/Turkish Friend and Turkish Prince happy joined with chorus from Turkish Grandmother's balcony.

Youngest Son holds the pot while American/Turkish Friend bangs it loudly with a spoon.
THURSDAY - The Grand Bazaar
Thursday was the perfect girls' day and I will remember it forever. Turkish Mother, Turkish Mother's Sister and I crossed the Bosphorus on a ferry to get to the Old City. We climbed the steep and narrow streets to arrive at the Grand Bazaar. Grand is the exact right word.

One of many gates to the Grand Bazaar.
Turkish Mother and Turkish Mother's Sister guided me through the hundreds of indoor shops to those select merchants that that they have visited most of their life. We started at the bag and purse shop - let's just say I am set. We were then taken to a secret door - seriously - that opened into luscious scarves of all colors and fabrics. The 23 year old Lebanese/Turkish man who assisted us was incredibly handsome and completely charmed us with his scarf tieing magic.  We sipped on Turkish tea as we played among the silks and cashmeres. We then lunched at a quaint cafe and chatted about our family histories which included sad, watery eyes at some points but mostly exemplified the feminine strength on which we and our families depend.

Our lunch finished with an impressive presentation of Turkish Delight, water with mint & lemon, liqueur and Turkish coffee.
Our afternoon brought a visit to the rug dealer, jewelry shops and general browsing. Turkish Mother's Sister helped me find the rare items with a Star of David. An antiquities shop had some intriguing Jewish pieces from 19th century Ottoman Empire - while tempting were far beyond my pocket book. The day of Grand Bazaar shopping completed My Makeover (Part 3) - Turkish Mother and Turkish Mother's Sister made me feel so incredibly special in a way that only true friends can do.
Handmade pillow cases with vibrant colors at the rug dealer.

The gate we exited from the Grand Bazaar - notice the year.
As we made our way out of the Grand Bazaar and down the streets, Turkish Mother's Sister guided us into the Armaggan which was an art gallery and an upscale department store. The modern art was fantastic.
What do you think? (get it?)
We caught the ferry back across the Bosphorus and browsed the ancient city streets. We made a few more purchases of sweets and finally rested our weary feet with an excellent Cafe Latte.
View of Haydarpasa Train Station from ferry.

Shop is hundreds of years old . I got a walnut and grape confection that I love.

Traditional Turkish sweets ...
And the grand day concludes with a family walk through the forest. Turkish Father, Turkish Mother, Turkish Mother's Sister, all four kids and I listen to the birds, look over the fields of wheat and admire the wild ferns growing under the trees. Peaceful and perfect.
Turkish Father, Turkish Prince and Youngest Son ... no description required.

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