Gallery

Turkey through Zeynep.’s eyes

Now that’s what I understand by the expression “a picture is worth a thousand words”! I found Zeynep. on Flickr… I was so enchanted by her pictures that I couldn’t help but share them… I just love these people. I love the way Zeynep. catched the spirit of Turkey… She took me back to Turkey and made me miss it even more… You should definitely check her albums here. She takes really amazing pictures not just of Turkey but of other countries as well. Enjoy my favourites:270402454_bd97aa763d_o

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Zeynep.

Zeynep.!

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Hit the road, Iulia!

e50bb0597a5b9ae903c1b00180a49f93Road take me as I am… Follow my dreams’ map, teach me your secrets and never ever let me stop before I’ve reached my destiny… Hot sunny day, baby kittens playing in the garden, familiar faces, smiles, a quiet village, Romania. The same place where twenty years ago a little girl was playing a strange “travelling” game, which seemed so true to her: visiting her friends who lived on the same street, but  “in an other country”, according to her.  The little girl unwittingly got her great-grandmother in “trouble”, causing worries because of her restlessness. Smiling and continuing her game even when the old women shouted at her in a funny way “Iulia ho!” (Iulia stop!). The same little girl who tricked her friend into walking eight km to her grandparents’ village, telling her that is close. She was only 5 years old and her friend 7 at the time. It was a ordinary day. the girls were playing with a puppy in front of her house. but… the little girl wanted to travel and they suddenly disappeared, without announcing their parents or other adults. And to make their search harder, and their journey more adventurous, they didn’t follow the road, but walked on the surrounding hills and near the brook. When they finally reached the destination the little girl’s  grandparents didn’t  even believe her story…

How time flies! And apparently everything is different… but nothing has changed. She still has that strong desire to travel. She still has moments when she needs to escape, to disconnect from her daily routine, to change something in her life. To start something new. To renew, improve herself. She hates monotony… While other people are afraid of changes, she breathes changes. She needs them in order to survive. And when nothing changes she becomes dreamy, planning her next steps or slightly depressed, in search of an escape.

I’m sure that I’m not the only one who has these feelings. We all had at least one moment in our lives when we wanted to run away and start again. From zero. Even though this scenario happens never or very rarely in true life, we like to believe escaping is possible, simple and it has the power to heal us… We all imagine a place or already know the destination for our sweet escape. Usually we prefer nature, a quiet place where nobody can disturb us, where we can conciliate our souls with our minds, where we can be ourselves and leave behind all the rush, stress, technology and influences. Usually we choose the mountains, a small village or a desert island. I’m in the last category, I would prefer to escape to a tropical island. I would be the happiest human being if I could do that! I’ve already imagined myself on a white sandy beach, kissed by the breeze. Being waken up in my cozy bungalow by the morning’s light, swimming in the turquoise see, eating only pineapples, coconuts and fresh fish, reading my favourite books in my hammock, enjoying never-ending sunshine. But… if I slice and dice the option of living my whole life on a desert island, my enthusiasm is exposed to serious decline… Precisely because of the reasons behind my escape: routine. Spending some time, up to a month,  on a desert island is divine, but living there, boring. What kind of dreams could I have there? Of course, there are many things to do, but I would exhaust all those activities in, let’s say, 5 years. Moreover, living Robin Hood alike it’s not the happiest scenario for me. I need people. I need to share my happiness with others. So… no thanks!

A while ago I wrote about the reasons why I love Turkey and one of them was my perception of Turkey as an escape destination. Maybe because I stayed there only 3 months and I had too little time to get bored and too many things to discover. And I still have. Turkey surprises me day after day. It has some kind of “sweet chaos”, very different from the usual chaos I’m experiencing at the moment. Although noisy and brightly coloured, if we think about its bazaars and big cities, it can be also quiet and peaceful, if we consider its picturesque villages, hidden beaches and silent mountains. A place where you can learn many things about history, about people, culture and about yourself. A place where you can make everyday a holiday. For me Turkey is like a bazaar where you can find whatever you are looking for… and even things you haven’t known that you need. We resemble each other very much. Me and Turkey. Chaotic and organized, calm and restless… I just want to hit the road to Turkey again, to have the opportunity to debunk my Turkish escape myth. Until I’ll want to escape from it…

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Why Turkey?

Elif Karagoz

This question is haunting me… ever since I’ve started my Ph.D… Initially it was asked only by others, but lately I have been the one to ask myself: Why? Why Turkey? Of course, I had my answers prepared long time ago and served to the curious ones. The logical answers, starting with the motivation and purpose of my Ph.D. thesis about Turkish identity… and continuing with my attraction to everything “oriental”: landscapes, architecture, ezan, perfumes, olive threes, belly dance, music, turquoise, lokum and I can continue the list for 1001 nights… But I’ve always felt that my answer is incomplete, and maybe too logical to catch the essence buried deep inside me… There must be more, much more, and more to discover. And it is. I know it. Even though I’m not sure if I’m prepared to answer, to express myself, to find a way out from my inner labyrinth. It’s complicated! Really it is…

Today I had a “half” revelation. I missed Turkey, and somehow I knew why. I had a “so and so” day, balanced more in the direction of “not so good”, quite unusual for an innate optimist… I instantly knew what I need, a sweet escape… and my sweet escape is Turkey. The real Turkey or my imagined Turkey? I don’t really know and I don’t care! I’m aware about the fact that I might have created my own version of Turkey, a flawless Turkey, just like young lovers do closing their eyes to mistakes and imperfection. So what?  As far as I  enjoy this “image” or “improved” memory and find in it an oasis of relaxation, escape and dream sparkles it doesn’t matter whether it fits 100% to the reality or not…

So why I love Turkey? Besides delighting my eyes and my taste buds, Turkey works  for my soul as some kind of medicine. For me Turkey is synonymous with happy, friendly, welcoming and relaxed people, with contagious good mood, with never-ending holidays and strong human relationships. No rush, no stress, just smiles! People know how to enjoy life and seem to have a balanced lifestyle. They are not control maniacs, and neither antisocial, solitary, overly preoccupied or depressed, a definition which fits more and more the modern man. When it happens, however, to feel in a bad mood, people express their sadness, anger and disappointment, getting rid quickly of negative emotions. And when they are happy they share their happiness with the whole world! No pretending, no hidding. Everything seems to be easier in Turkey, …that’s why Turkey!

Photo taken by Elif Karagoz @Flickr