The last time I really “left” Turkey, I cried for eight days. I cried in the shower, I cried in the bus, I cried at my going away party, and I cried in the airport line, ultimately giving away all of my clothes and comic books to a cleaning lady in the bathroom. (more…)
Monthly Archives: September 2011
In attempting to launch my social venture BALYOLU, I get three general responses.
Response one comes from the village. It’s the Turkish version of this: “KIZ! (GIRL!) Hold-up. You’re 25, not married, and you have no kids…? WHAT have you been doing all of this time? There is this nice young man who has finished his military service. He is even a teacher…” Or there is this recent favorite from an 18 year-old-admirer “REALLY? You’re 25? You don’t look a day over 17! You don’t even have wrinkles around your eyes!” (more…)
“Yiiiiheeeeeuuu!!!!” everyone yells as my arms are yanked down to the ground, then up to the sky, like the slanted poles of a tent. The gencler (young people) around me make the movements gracefully, like eagles swooping for their prey. I look like a floppy fish. The blaring sound of the tulum (bagpipe) at maximum volume is relief to my ears, because I am almost certain that it masks my awkwardly uncontrolled screams. (more…)
Since coming to Turkey, karakovan hives have fascinated me. However, out in Kars, there have only been a few conventional karakovan hives to pique my imagination. This small handful of the old-school-hollowed-out-trunk-style karakovan hive is mostly for show and tell. Because there is neither a tree culture, nor a large bear-attacking-hive culture (and most hives in Kars come complete with a growling Anatolian Shepard or Kangal), there isn’t much use for the traditional karakovan. However, in response to the high demand for karakovan honey comb, many local beekeepers have found alternative ways to adapt a modern box to produce karakovan honey (they instead use rounded frames or mini cubed frame inserts). But this solution aesthetically and culturally doesn’t fully compare to the looming dark Macaheli karakovan hive cylindrical orbs that I have come to love.* (more…)
“KIZ!” I hear Hasan call (meaning GIRL! in Turkish). “Would you like to buy this tree?” he asks me, patting a hefty chestnut. Its rooted deep in the ground with felt-like moss growing across its trunk. I think we are doing our usual family style joking, so I give Hasan my prepared reply, “sure, let me call Barak Obama and ask him to send me a check.” (more…)