Blog Archives

Why I Spent So Much Time on Facebook


I am about to stop using Facebook. And not because it is bad. Quite the opposite, actually.

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Why I Don’t Want To Give My TEDx Talk

Phosphate loaded energy efficient manure cakes stacked on top of each other in Kars.

Phosphate loaded energy efficient manure cakes stacked on top of each other in a village in Kars. Photo by Cat.

There are the classic reasons why I don’t want to give my TEDx talk: public speaking is terrifying, traveling to the venue and preparing takes a lot of time away from my work, and the whole process is stressful. These are not exactly reasons actually, more likee surmountable excuses. But I have other reasons that have taken me months of introspecting and writing drafts and quizzing my friends and watching hundreds of TED talks and even working with a speaking coach to truly understand.

These reasons are complicated, and I still haven’t sorted them out into a neat list. But this is how I feel. (more…)

God Pities the Foreigner


I am a foreigner.

I was born and raised in the US, I immigrated to Turkey when I was 21 and I have since fallen in love with the country and stayed. I worked hard to learn the language. When I arrived, though I couldn’t count to 10, I was placed in a classroom of people who had been studying for 3 years, because beginner Turkish was cancelled. There was not enough interest. Classes were from 9-1, I had private tutoring from 2-4, and I watched Turkish movies and rehearsed Turkish songs from 6-9 pm. It was nearly 12 hours of Turkish for over 6 months. I went through three schools, and on the weekends I sat and did homework with my boyfriend’s family, who kept a cautious eye and a bottomless bowl of fruit next to me at all times. Read the rest of this entry

Don’t Start With Why – The Advice I am Glad I Stopped Taking


It has been a year since we successfully completed our Kickstarter campaign. A year since we pitched Balyolu and won awards at two business plan competitions, and a year since we began venturing out into the field. And it recently dawned on me that this phrase, “a year,” means that Balyolu is almost officially past the big statistical survival hump.

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How the Powerful Bow: to the Hajis, Plates, and Boots with the Fur

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I feel comfortable.

Sitting in boarding lounge 101 for the morning flight to Kars, I am listening to loud remixed music and pounding away a grant application on my keyboard. I am coming off of two months back in Istanbul, the US, and Europe where a computer and a pair of earphones are my office no matter where I am. They require no roots other than outlets and extension cords.

I feel exposed.

I look up and see a line of old women shrouded in white veils, their white skirts and white shirts are tucked into white vests and white shawls. Their eyes are a grey murky color of old and they pour searchingly and judgingly into mine. I imagine what I must look like to them, a human wrapped in white cords of capitalism instead of white fabrics of Allah. Reminder: I am not in a world of my sleek Apple products. (more…)


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