A day in the life of anyone can bring with it the good, the bad, and the ugly. A typical day for most adults is probably something like this: Get up. Go to work. Grab a quick lunch. Work some more. Head home. Eat dinner. Go to bed. Of course, there’s room for a little variation, a stop at the market, an hour at the gym, take in a ball game, maybe head to a restaurant.
My life now is anything but typical. The fact that I can work from home online, while becoming more common, is still not all that usual, and very uncommon in Turkey. I have Turks questioning me about it all of the time. They just don’t get the concept of not leaving the house, spending all that time alone.
But there is something very special about this type of life. It allows me to make my own schedule and mix things up a bit. For example, on any given day, I can spend the day alone, with a group, or in a crowd. I can stick to work, add some rest or sport, or add a dash of creativity. And in Ankara, I can always have old-time country type experiences mixed in with modern big city feel.
How do I do that? Let’s take a look at my day yesterday. I woke up and had my morning coffee on the balcony like I always do. (Rest). then I had decisions to make, roads to take, paths to choose.
First, a quick clean-up of the house and turn on the desktop. (Work). Then, a quick blog post (creativity) and emails. A few hours spent working on the computer. (Time alone).
Noon. I decided to take a walk. (Sport). I ended it with tea at the Pastane where I had a nice chat with an elderly neighbor and a young neighbor, a few friends, and a German woman who is thinking of moving here. (Groups, Old-time country experiences in a big city, Rest).
Carrying the bags of my neighbor, we walked home arm in arm. (Old-time country experiences in the big city.) I excused myself from her invite to more tea, and got back to work. (Time alone).
A few hours later, I headed out to the university. Driving there was a mess with everyone back from holiday and starting school. (Big city). On campus, I met someone new, a foreign woman who was donating fabric for my new passion, making rag rugs. We discussed things like rugs, crafts, life in Ankara vs life on campus. (Groups, creativity, big city vs. old-time country feel.)
My hubby and I then headed over to the Dikmen Pazar. There is nothing like an outdoor fruit and vegetable Pazar to give one the old-time country feel in the middle of a big city. There were hundreds of folks there pushing and pulling, filling bags, calling out “How much for . . .? ”
I really got a kick out of one simple moment though. There was a large crowd growing around a table where a man was selling tomatoes for 50 kurus. Hubby headed over with my request for 4 kilos. I was busy wondering what I would do with almost 9 pounds of tomatoes. I figured I had time to plan, since that crowd was not diminishing fast. But this seller had a different method. He filled a bag with tomatoes and then he held it up and yelled “Four kilos.” My husband was the first to grasp that he was offering the bag, instead of taking orders. And grasp he did.
The pazar always brings many high points for me. Negotiating prices. Deciding what to do with the tons of items we buy. And most exciting, learning about fruits and vegetables that I have never encountered before. Here’s one I saw at a pazar in Bursa recently:
PAZAR = old-time feel in a big city, crowds, creativity, work, and sport! Sport? Fighting those older ladies is not easy!
One more score at the pazar. My kanka has decided to make her own jams. Last week we found parafin wax together so she could seal the jam properly since she couldn’t find mason jars she wanted with the two-part lid. Last night, I at least found the right sized jars for her! Local shops were only selling big ones, but the pazar dealers had what she needed.
Back at the house, we went for a dinner of leftovers and of course, a fresh salad.
I had a little time to rest, and then it was back to work. A conference call. This is the one downside of working for a U.S. company. They schedule conference calls on U.S. time. It was 10 pm for me, and bi-weekly!
Overall, it was a great day. But like I said, any given day anywhere can provide a little good, a little bad, and a little ugly. Ugly had to rear its head.
On our drive from the university to the pazar, we passed an accident scene. A bicycle was under a car on what was pretty much a highway. The people involved were no longer there. To the right of the road was another bicycle, which pretty much indicated to me two kids riding together, because we rarely see bicycles in Ankara. I don’t believe the kid had a chance.
Making matters worse, we passed another accident scene on our way out of Dikmen. This time it was a delivery moped, the top of the bike wedged under the car. I can only hope the driver flew from the bike first and landed somewhat safely.
The interesting thing was that during the conversation with the foreign woman on the university campus, and before seeing the accidents, we had discussed how dangerous it was to ride bikes on campus. We both found that disheartening because campus really should be a safe little microcosm in the world. But of course, drivers are drivers, especially when buses, dolmus, and taxis enter campus. But I had started to dream (creativity) of what I could do (work) to make campus a safer place for bikers. On my drive home, those dreams disappeared. I just don’t think it’s realistic. Not here.