Gallery

“Soğuk” stories V: One night in Urfa

Thank you Nicéphore Niépce for inventing photography! When memories start to fade away in our overloaded “hard disk” pictures work like a “Refresh” button!

I sat cross-legged like a Turk and smiled to the camera as I knew that one day this picture will steal a smile and give me back my memories.

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And it did. It took me back to the summer of 2012. To my first traditional Turkish evening. In Şanlıurfa. And I decided to take you with me. I won’t hold your hand… but hopefully I’ll hold your imagination. Ready? Imagine yourself entering a 450 year old konuk evi (guest house) in Şanlıurfa. The perfect place for tarihi kokusunu arayanlar (those who are seeking the scent of history) as stated on the Harran guest house’s website. And I was one of them, proud and somehow overwhelmed to be in the place where diverse people, histories and identities meet, in Mesopotamia, the so-called cradle of civilizations… A strange, nameless feeling embraced me and made me realize that we don’t have enough words, and sometimes living our dreams simply paralyzes our thoughts. My introspection was interrupted by the tempting flavors. I must say that South-Eastern Turkey’s history smells delicious. And spoils your tastebuds with its domatesli ve patlıcanlı kebap (tomatoe and eggplant kebab), bostana (Turkish gaspacho), salata (salad), lebeni çorbası (youghurt soup).

dscn0857After dinner I found out that preparing  çiğ köfte (raw meatballs, yes the meat is actually RAW, is not cooked) requires artistic skills. It is believed that çiğ köfte was invented in Urfa in the time of Abraham. Nimrod (the king of those times) wanted to execute Abraham by setting him on fire and ordered to collect all firewood in Urfa for this purpose. As a result people didn’t have firewood to cook and ate raw food. One day somebody found a way to make meat tastier by adding bulgur, herbs, spices and kneading the mixture. I mentioned above that making çiğ köfte is not an easy task. See the aşçı (cook) in action:

dscn0863The best çiğ köfte is made by dancing on the rhythms of the davul (drum) or on the davul 🙂 .

dscn0871And here’s the result:

dscn0874Well, çiğ köfte is not my favourite, and not because is raw meat, at the time I didn’t even know what I was eating! Actually it doesn’t even taste like meat… It’s like a strange combination of herbs and spices worth to try at least once!

The hallucinating combination of flavours, the rhythm of the drum and the traditional Turkish music made the evening unforgettable.

img_2951And prepared us for the next level: Halay (Anatolian folk dance) which is quite simple:  people form a circle by holding each others little finger and the leading dancer waves a handkerchief.

img_2961Dancing requires energy, and the best ‘fuel’ to boost your energy are taltılar (sweets), elbette (of course)!

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What do we do for peace?

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We all want peace and still…we do nothing or too little to make it possible. The very meaning of the word “peace” has been shifted from the sphere of reality to a utopian dimension, making it the dream of the hippies or naive idealists and abusively inserting the notion into unreliable political speeches. Therefore, peace is seen as an illusion or a lie. We don’t believe anymore in peace just as we don’t believe in fairy tales. Consequently, we refuse our right to peace and to a fairy tale-like life.

Today is the International Day of Peace and its theme is the right of peoples to peace proclaimed by the 30th United Nations General Assembly Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace in the context of the Cold War and directed especially towards the elimination of the nuclear war threat. The current international situation (see the boiling Middle East, the Crimean crisis, Sudanese civil war and so on) shows us the limits of our efforts to ensure peace and urge us to reflect on a few questions:

  • What happens if our right to peace is violated?

Usually the international community or the concerned parties play the diplomacy card. In other words they negotiate untill they find a common ground. If they fail, the abusive state is subjected to economic sanctions. Will the abusers suffer? Too little. Will they be stopped? Unlikely. Economic sanctions do not have the power to improve the situation of citizens, but they do have the power to worsen it. Economic sanctions violate the right of citizens to development by refusing them the access to resources, and therefore violate their right to peace. It’s an unfortunate paradox which instead of solving the problem deepens it. Of course, if the economic sanctions are applied only to stop the import of weapons the situation can be slightly different. But still they cannot restore peace.

The worst scenario used is bringing peace by war. We don’t (want to) live in George Orwell’s Oceania and still we use(d) the famous slogan “War is peace” from 1984. Think about the results of the so-called “preemptive wars” of the US and you’ll see my point: You can neither prevent a war by war, nor end it. It’s a contradiction!

  • So, What happens if our right to peace is violated?

Most of the time nothing …

  • Why?

Because although we have the right to peace, we are not bound to exercise it. The right to peace is obviously not an obligation, it’s a choice, while international law is still not powerful enough to ensure the respect of the right to peace. Of course, we have the Geneva Conventions of 1949 which regulates the conduct of conflicts and protects civilians, but they don’t make war unlawful.

  • What do we do for peace?

Celebrate International Day of Peace in line with the activities proposed by the UN?

Anyone, anywhere can celebrate Peace Day. It can be as simple as lighting a candle at noon, sitting in silent meditation, or doing a good deed for someone you don’t know. Or it can involve getting your co-workers, organization, community or government engaged in a large event. You can also share thoughts, messages and pictures to commemorate Peace Day on social media.- http://internationaldayofpeace.org/

It’s not a bad idea to help others, to meditate, but do large events like concerts, Peace day selfies really help? I agree, they raise awareness, they set a trend for a day and from tomorrow on everything goes back to “normal”. Shouldn’t we celebrate peace every day? And not only through shapes without substances… Today peace might be on the crest of a wave, what about tomorrow? Will we return to our selfishness or continue to promote peace and love? Unfortunately trends are changing… and as Jimi Hendrix said only “When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.”

What can you do for peace?

  • Educate yourself- read as much as you can and always keep your mind open, don’t fall for absolute truths,
  • Find a positive role-model (mine is Gandhi),
  • Inform yourself– know what’s happening in the world,
  • Raise your voice, show that you care,
  • Develope your emotional intelligence,
  • Put yourself in the shoes of others,
  • Search for your inner peace– a peaceful person cannot be attracted into useless conflicts,
  • “Be the change you want to see in the world (Gandhi)

Not today. Everyday!

Çay lav yuu because…

dscn0460I’m an ardent story reader, and sometimes, on this blog, I pretend to be a storyteller. A story reader or teller who works better with çay (tea) especially with Turkish. I love to tell stories… although I usually tell them in Romanian, which by the way is not even my mother tongue, and still, is my native language. Now, probably you think that I drunk too much çay prepared with something stronger than water and ask yourself quite disappointed:

  • Why am I reading this nonsense post?”

Why? There’s always a “why”. And before your “why” arrived I had launched my own set of “Nedenler” (Whys). Don’t be afraid to get yourself lost in translation, soon it will be all clear whether we talk about the questions or the answers (just scroll down). Here’s the list:

  1. Neden yazarım?
  2. Neden bazı insanlar bunu okur?
  3. Neden kendime “neden” diye sorarım?
  4. Neden tüm “nedenlerin” cevabı bilmek isterim?
  5. Neden Türkiye?
  6. Neden Türkiye yerine İtalyadır?

Well, because every question is a boş çay baradağı (empty glass of tea)… excepting one. One single question, question no. 5 is a çay dolu bardak (full glass of tea): Why Tukey? which you can enjoy by clicking here. Şerefe! (Cheers!)

And to eliminate the initial confusion, my mother is Hungarian and my father is Romanian, so I do use to speak “fele apă fele viz” (apă=water in Romanian, viz= water in Hungarian, fele=half in Hugarian, it’s a way of saying “I speak half Hungarian half Romanian”), while on this blog I speak “half su half water”(su=water in Turkish). It seems that I’ve created even more confusion… I guess I’m pretty good at confusing people.

“Calm down baby and drink a çay!”- (never) said my inner Turk-“Then start with the beginning”

Hah! He can be really hilarious! I’ll continue with the beginning… as question no. 5 already had a head start. So…

  1. Why do I write?-Because my words flow like çay in the empty glasses… and there are still too many glasses to fill! Writing is a way to “exorcise” all my uncertainties and fears (together with jogging). Is a way to discover myself and the world surrounding me. It’s a way to (re)create my inner word and peace. Shortly, I write to understand myself. Who knows, one day I’ll figure out who I am! 😉
  2. Why do some people read this?– This glass cannot be filled by me. So, there is a boş çay baradağı and I cannot do anything about. Only you, my dear reader, can…
  3. Why do I ask myself “Why?”– 2 “whys” in the same question? Are you nut? I’m definitely not a nut (dried fruit)! Just in case… 😛 So why why? Because I am the girl with the “whys”! I’m hopefully in love with “why”! Obsessed! I need to know all the reasons and if I don’t, my mind will enter its storyteller mode and bomb me with unlimited possibilities of answer to “Why”. Sometimes I wonder how efficient and inefficient would I be without my dear “Why”?… (note: “Why” is quite important in social sciences)
  4. Why do I want to know the answer to all these whys?-Am I afraid to die stupid? Just a little bit…but please, don’t tell anybody else. Still a glass of çay can temporary work instead of the answer. Or another challenging “why”.
  5. ———————————————-> (scroll up if you missed it)
  6. Why Italy instead of Turkey?– now that’s a really really tough one. A short clarification to understand where does this question come from: those who have visited my blog at least once must have realized that I’m in love with Turkey or at least that this blog has many thing to do with Turkey. If you did not realize that,  but you did read my blog, it means that I’m doing a really awful job and I should stop writing right now. A consolation: I might be the worst writer ever, but at least you can find from time to time some great pictures here… and the name of my blog Turkish Delight Bazaar, should work as a hint. Now let’s get back to business. What all this has to do with Italy? I’m not an Italian, although I do spend some time in Italy, given that I’m studying there. As I told you before I’m some kind of “mixture” (just like Turkey), lost between my Hungarian and Romanian selves: People, especially foreigners tell me that I look like a Hungarian because of my light complexion and blonde hair, but everybody back home believes that I physically resemble more my father’s family, which is Romanian… Moreover, my way of being is considered more Hungarian than Romanian (?!), well, sometimes… Are you still there? Ya sabır ya Allah! (God give us patience!) We still haven’t reach our destination. A glass of çay would be welcomed now, you know what I mean. So here’s a Romanian-Hungarian girl, crazy about Turkey but studying in Italy… Guess what she’s studying? About TURKEY! Now can you understand this dilemma/trilemma…? I’ll give you a short solution: Kader (destiny). There’s an assumption that if you can explain something shortly you truly understand it. Well, not all the time… But I have plenty of time to understand. As for  Kader let’s say that he came before Turkey… And I love Kader almost as much as I love Turkey. So much that I’m considering to open an Italian boutique in my bazaar. Italy doesn’t have çay but it has the best latte macchiato and cappuccino to fill the empty glasses, amazing gelato (ice-cream) and pizzzzaaaa! Mamma mia! It’s impossible to resist! So enough with the “whys” for today!

Moral of the story: I need more çay (or cappuccino?) in my life, more dolu bardaklar!

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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“Soğuk” stories III: Hasankeyf… my love!

dscn0633Oh, Hasankeyf! Forgotten cave town of Eastern Turkey…you are haunting my daydreams and memories. Testimony of the past, secret of the present … I was enchanted by your calls to prayer, colourful bazaar, rainbow spices, medley of flavours and smiling people…

How time flies, but still keeps our memories alive, held captive in a picture, an object, a flavour or a perfume… All we need is one look to trigger the sparkles of a false déjà vu…

It has been two years since I discovered this otherworldly place, which seemed rather the product of an imagined book written in a surreal time, between now and then. I instantly fell in love with its sunbathing hills, dusty paths, ancient rocks, mysterious caves and warm turquoise Tigris, which carries the secret of this place far away… to an uncertain future or maybe to a new, yet undiscovered past…

I fell in love with its playful, friendly children… whose dreams can change the future and memories the past… who know more than they can ever guess… but unheard stories pass away…

DSC00178surrounded by the children of Hasankeyf

Fell in love with the mystery of the around 4000 caves… some of them 12.000 years old… can you imagine what would it be like if these rocks could speak…?
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I fell in love with this bazaar… guarded by the proud minaret of the Rızk Camii… which has been calling people around to prayer for around six centuries… never loosing its unifying voice… its fate and hope…

 

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I fell in love with the Tigris river… so quiet… melting its refreshing water in the hot earth…

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Hasankeyf, I fell in love with you!

 

Sun, I got you Güneş…

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Sun, I got you Güneş… even though you were trying (denemek) to escape (kaçmak) from my camera (fotoğraf makinesi)… and catch the train (tren) for your daily (günlük) travel (seyahat) around the world (dünya)…  I got you! I got you to hold my breath (nefes) while enjoying your breathtaking (harika) goodbye (hoşçakal).

I got you to make me smile (gülmek). I got you to remind (hatırlamak) me how beautiful you are…how precious (değerli) is your light (ışık) which dawns on us and brings us to life (hayat)… I got you to enlighten my dreams (hayal) hidden (saklamak) in the approaching night (gece)… I got you to give me a last (son) drop (damla) of energy (enerji) for today (bugün) and to prepare (hazırlamak) me for a new (yeni) day. Confident (inanan) and hopeful (umutlu) that you will show me the “tomorrow” (yarin) in an optimistic (iyimser) light!

Oh! You’ve got me! I’ve written this post under the influence (etki) of… music (müzik)

Thank you Sunset (Gün batımı), Cher and Sonny for inspiration (ilham)

Extract (seçme) from the song (şarkı):

Babe (bebe(ğim))
I got you babe
I got you to hold (tutmak) my hand (el)
I got you to understand (anlamak)
I got you to walk (yürümek) with me
I got you to talk (konuşmak) with me
I got you to kiss (öpmek) goodnight

Sun, I got you Güneş… in my curtain (perde)…

İyi akşamlar!

Lyrics source: [1]