Downright Frothy!

I was out of toothpaste at school so popped into the local drugstore (which doesn’t have any drugs–medications are found at pharmacies) to replace the travel size tube.  After lunch the next day, I opened the new tube to clean my teeth.  The flavor can only be described as soapy.  What the heck?  And why was the paste as frothy as just-whipped meringue?  I showed the tube to a Turkish co-worker who burst out laughing when she read the label.  “What?” I asked, “What is it?”


The yucky paste on top; the Signal brand is the replacement.

“You brushed with SHAVING CREAM!” she said, still laughing.  The story has illicited the same response as the story has been shared several times amongst the staff.

I suppose I should’ve taken a closer look at the label.  The word “men” might’ve caused me to take a pic in my translation app.  But I’ve never seen a tube that shape and size contain anything other than toothpaste. Lesson learned.


Hello Again

Wow!  It’s been a few months since I posted–sorry to be hibernating for so long. The maternal side of the family had three deaths in the last four months; these tragedies (two were young men) really made me rethink what I’m doing and what is important in my life. There are so many things to see and opportunities to explore in our wonderful world but in the end, family always come first.

Ankara had much more snow this winter than in 2015-16.  Living at about 3,000 feet means our school gets white snow.  Should be obvious, right?  Ankara sits in a bowl surrounded by tall hills; the pollution from coal-burning stoves means snow hangs over the city until a brisk wind blows through.  When coal dust mixes with the frozen precipitation, gray snow is what floats down to  the ground here.

Although I am on spring break in Amman, Jordan, enjoying the sunlight and warm weather, I’d like to share a few pics of snowy days on the the campus where I reside.

Happy spring, all!



Now in my second year in Ankara, I’m making an effort to see more of the city on the weekends.  Last Saturday, friends and I took in two museums, the first being the Ethnography Museum of Ankara.

So many interesting objects relating to the culture of the Republic.  Upon entering, the eyes are drawn to a roped-off area where Atatürk’s casket rested for nearly 15 years.  On November 10, 1953, the 15th anniversary of his death, Atatürk’s casket was moved to the newly-completed masouleum at Anıtkabir.

The Ethnography Museum includes woodworking, metal work, ceramic and beautifully inscribed books.

Just outside the entrance doors is the State Art and Sculpture Museum.  Mostly paintings with a small number of sculptures.  A nice place.

Yesterday found three of us taking a bus downtown, then relaxing with a cup of cappuccino. A 15-minute walk took us by cafes, tea shops, a bookstore and numerous retail shops before arriving in Kızılay, the heart of Ankara.  From there we taxied to the old part of the city where we stopped in at the small, privately-owned Erimtan Achaeology and Arts Museum.  A hidden gem amongst the old buildings of that area.  The artifacts within are exquisitely curated  and the lighting showcases and further enhances enjoyment of the objects.

One last comment on the Erimtan–the toilet area might be considered a work of art.  Really.  So of course there must be a photo.  Notice the clean lines of the ceramic that is found in each of the individual stalls, found tucked behind the staircase to the museum’s lower level.  No separate area for men or women–it’s first come, first served in the establishment.


Our final museum of the day was the Gökyay Chess Museum, where a collection of 540 chess set and boards can be viewed.  Here are but a few of them:

This set set is made from folded playing cards. You lose a piece, you buy a new deck.

I found the the set above interesting — Saddam Hussein vs George W. Bush.  Notice Condaleezza Rice, Tony Blair, and Donald Rumsfeld in the back row behind the pawns (Bush).

A few more:

We flagged down a dolmuş (like a shared taxi in a large van) and stopped for dinner prior to reaching the university campus.  I was exhausted. The weekend went by far too quickly.

September Vacation

Yes, that’s correct–a vacation after only eight days of teaching this school year.  Monday through Thursday this week was Eid-ul-Adha, a Muslim holiday known in Turkey as Kurban Bayram.  This is the Feast of Sacrifice that commemorates Abraham’s sacrifice of a ram instead of his son, Isaac. Genesis 22  More information about the festival can be found here. Turkish holidays

My friend Claudia and I opted for four days in the small town of Ölüdeniz which is on the southwest coast of Turkey.  The Flamingo Hotel has an appropriately-themed pool around which we spent a couple relaxing days.

Paragliding is a top attraction in town.  I didn’t partake but the three friends who did all said it was an amazing experience. 

A stroll through town on the way to the beach

And the beach–the early bird gets the worm or in this case, the chairs and and umbrellas closest to the water.  For a fee of  15tl (~$5.00), we swam and sunned for an entire day, giving up our spots only for a late lunch.  The sandy beach gave way to small, smooth rocks near the sea.  No barnacles to be found, thank goodness.  The water was warm and had enough wave action for a bit of body surfing.

My beverage of choice was cider, trying a local offering (Sevilen, which is sweeter than I prefer but quite refreshing) and Wagners from Ireland.

This last pic sums up the vacation: sun, sea,  and one happy lady.

Antique Market

Goodness knows I don’t need more objects in my Lojman, but that didn’t prevent me from checking out an antique market here in town.  This market operates the first Sunday of each month with an organic fruit and vegetable market beside it.  Five of us from school headed out at 10am to get the early bird treasures, refillable bags dangling from our arms.  This is what we saw: 

We wandered, we bargained, we bought a few items and we stopped for tea.

It was amazing to see some of the items for sale such as these street signs.  Why did they come from?  Pilfered from a construction site? Never reused after a new project took form?

It was time for lunch and we decided on a köfte meal im Ülüs, the old part of Ankara, then back across town to a small coffee and pastry shop owned by friends from campus.  The Syrian goodies were fresh and home-cooked.  Saturday’s visit to the same shop resulted in a big wedge of lemon cheesecake calling to me.  Sunday there was no dilly-dallying around as my favorite dessert was in the display case–espresso cheesecake.  So yummy and guilt-free!  

Welcome to Haçettepe University.
It was 85 degrees that day.  The heat and amount of food and beverages consumed made me sleepy on the drive back to campus.  It was a nice outing with friends.

Under the Weather

Yesterday was a stay-at-home day as I awoke with Turkish tummy.  Ugghh.  Three hours later  I was weak and dehydrated but the worst was over.  The rest of the day was spent on the couch, mostly sleeping as I didn’t have the energy to hold and read a book. What a wasted day. A kindly neighbor bought bananas and rice for me (moms out there – remember the BRAT diet for children with similar health problems?) and I began my transit back from the realm of the unwell.

Despite a restless night, I now am feeling much better.  Not going out for a three-mile  walk today but at least I’m in an upright position.  And to start the day off right, a wonderful surprise greeted me when I opened the curtains.

This friendly cat had climbed up a tree to my second-story balcony and found my little doormat a good resting place.  The loud purrs started as soon as I drew the curtains and kept going through the petting session.  This encounter made my day.  

Family Time

 It was a very busy summer and I didn’t do a good job of updating this blog.  The first five weeks were spent in Austria, Czech Republic, and Ireland in two professional development courses from which I earned 13 credits. Glad to have the academics behind me but the experiences during both courses were outstanding.

The final two weeks away from work were in Seattle, where it was a whirlwind of activity every day.  I visited weekly meetings of six Rotary clubs, attended three coffee Meetups, and marched with the colors in two Seafair parades.  And I did get some family time in.  Someone special visited from San Francisco which was a blessing.


The night before I flew back to Turkey, my twin sis, brother-in-law, and I attended a backyard bbq complete with Western band at a cousin’s home.  Good food, good music, and family time–a wonderful way to end my visit to Seattle.

We don’t have much skill at horseshoes but ain’t we got style!