İplik (n.: yarn, thread, rope) Finding my new favorite local yarn store

… Or perhaps this should be titled “Yet more proof I’m an eighty year old trapped in a twenty-nine year old’s body” …

So if you didn’t know this, I love textiles and fibers.  I think this might be why I started knitting in the first place really, because who needs that many scarves/hats/mittens/sweaters?  (I still have yet to master the sock, but I have a whole list of Christmas gifts that need to be handmade so I just might give it a go this fall.)


I started knitting after leaving the US, so have had to learn new vocabulary in each place I’ve lived since — as well as learning these terms in English! — about knitting and fibers.  In Germany there were some lovely yarn stores with great supplies, but I was so spoiled I didn’t know that I should have stocked up.  Bosnia had some okay fibers, but not such great needles and such.  And a lot of the yarns were mostly acrylic so I would stock up at my favorite stores stateside any time I made it home.

Yarn store #2 and 100% wool!

I assumed moving to Turkey there would be lovely yarns: wools, silks, angora, cottons, Oh My!  When I started doing my online research (ravelry’s forums rock), I found a lot of complaints about lack of quality yarns.  I decided I had to get out and check for myself, so I went to Kızılay which is the part of town most people suggested.  And it makes sense since Kızılay is really what most people consider the heart of Ankara.  I found tons of stores!

So not all quality, but something to be said about quantity, no?

I found the stores that were recommended by fellow bloggers and ravelry forum friends as well as a few more.  I must say that the vast majority of the yarns were, sadly, acrylic in nature but there were a few nice wool or wool blends to be had.  I would compare the stores and selection I found to a local Hobby Lobby or Micheal’s store in the US.  Not where I want to go just to peruse and enjoy the fibers, but they’ll do.  Especially because, unlike Micheal’s or Hobby Lobby, these stores are SUPER affordable.  If I’m buying not great yarn for super cheap, I’m not so upset about it being not so great…  But even the wool was rather reasonable.

My new steal! (And bad flash.)

Then as I was walking to my bus stop to return home after a fun afternoon of perusing (but impressively not buying), I spotted a sign that led me to a basement level store that was having a sale.  The selection was the same as the others except for a bin towards the back of the store filled with unwrapped yarn loosely balled together into skein-like shapes.  I asked how much they were and was told they were sold by their weight (40 TL/kilogram).  When I asked what they were (fiber-wise) and why they weren’t in wrappers I was told they were meant for export but were colors the company didn’t want to send and were cotton-acrylic blend (75-25 respectively, which I am pretty sure was just a guess).  While I have plenty of stash yarn and a project list that’s already too long, I couldn’t help myself.  I pulled out a blob of beautiful, soft purple yarn.  Turned out to be four skeins weighing about a fourth of a kilo (meaning 9.5 TL or about 5 bucks!).  Now I get to find a new project to use it on!


İş bulmak (v.; to get or find a job) or ‘I get to do what and get paid for it?’

I did it.  I got a job.  (Another 30 off the list and an unexpected one at that!  I am grateful that it will save me from spending all day and night attempting macaroons… which I feel is more of a full-week project.  Don’t worry, dear reader, I’ll post failed attempt pictures so you can laugh with me.) Not a full-time or serious one, mind you… But a job that pays pretty good money.  And will actually be quite fun (I think).  I was emailed about an international preschool looking for native English speakers to teach and while I’ve never been a teacher before there was an opening for the Enrichment Teacher.  Which is basically the fun teacher who does art, ceramics, cooking, and goofs off with the kids.  I figured I can goof off with the best of them so I sent an email to learn more about it.

A small aside here: yes, I know that my previous work experience could have landed me a full-time, more serious job elsewhere that would make more money.  However, as I said to a close friend (and former colleague) when she was shocked that I would seriously consider working in a preschool: either way I’ll be working with childish people prone to temper tantrums, but if I take the “real” job, I don’t get paid for finger painting.  Nor would I get to call them on their childish behavior.  Whereas at a preschool that would literally be my job.  So will I miss some of the seriousness and importance of the old style job?  Yeah, probably.  So I wish I were doing that instead?  Not really.

So I start the Monday after next.  I’m already scouring Pinterest and the web for fun art project ideas, but if you have any favorite websites, art stores in Ankara, or projects in general for little ones — I’m all ears!

**I am scratching this off the list, but plan to continue pursuing teaching yoga as a more full-time job.  Since this position is only a few hours in the afternoons, it shouldn’t hinder my ability to get a good yoga schedule in still.  I feel justified scratching it off the list since it surpasses the minimum income I would have required of yoga to qualify under “get a job”.  (Also because I didn’t really do any of the other specific tasks on the list yet this week (see above about last minute plans to make macaroons)… but we should all take note of how good I have been about my word of the day and photo a day.  Haven’t seen these?  Check out my twitter feed in the right hand task bar… just over there —->)

Pazarlık (n.: bargain, haggle, deal). My lost skill.

Once upon a time there was this young, somewhat broke, college student.  She was studying in a foreign land and did not pack the appropriate clothing options.  She was an American college student so she wore jeans and t-shirts on fancy days and pj pants on normal days to class.  But in this strange new land her peers wore Dolce and Gucci to class.  Daily.  She knew she had to find a way to fit in and not be so American… so she did what any normal person would do: went shopping.

In this magical land there were bazaars where she could find nice clothes cheap (and some fakes…) — especially if she haggled with the guy standing on top of the mountain of clothing shouting out his prices.  Our heroine went back to her dorm and spent lots of time studying up to be able to yell back that he was asking outrageous prices and that she demanded a better deal.  And you know what?  It worked.  She was able to get amazing deals on all sorts of things once she learned these basic skills.  She learned some from books, but mostly from watching the locals argue over quality, quantity and prices.  This is also how our heroine finally learned her numbers (up to the equivalent of about 30 bucks because anything more than that was just too much anyway so she wouldn’t need to understand the answers).  (Don’t worry, she has since learned the rest.)  She got so good at this haggling/bargaining/negotiating that she even did it for food sometimes… and we’re not talking about at the market.  We’re talking restaurants.  And pathetically, it worked.

The heroine would have gotten a better deal than I did. Though it should be mentioned I still love this bag. And got a good deal. Just not great. Because I’ve lost my touch.

The story should end, “she kept this skill and lived happily ever after.”  But it doesn’t.  I have no idea what happened, although I suspect it was that I got a job with a pretty nice salary and got lazy about it, but I can no longer haggle with the best of them.  I feel guilty sometimes trying to beat someone down even by a few dollars.  And I always believe their sob stories these days about how they’d lose money if they gave it to me for that price.  Which we all know isn’t true, but I can’t help it.  It’s pathetic really.

I bet she is a better negotiator than I am.

Pazarlık is part of the buying process definitely for any large item, but even for small things people are almost always willing to negotiate.  Especially if you’re at a ‘pazar’ (or bazaar in English, but basically just a big place with lots of vendors hawking their wares).  They don’t feel like you’re insulting them by not just agreeing to the first price they say and at worst you’ll pay that price… it’s not like they’ll increase their asking price if you try for a lower one.  It’s just strange how much I’ve changed in my views on it.  I really do think laziness is involved since Turks treat bargaining like an artful dance that sometimes is just long and exhausting to us (re)novices.  Either way, I love me some pazar action.  Even if it is insanely crowded and loud and crazy.

And it was crazy.

Yürümek (v.: to walk) 1305 miles to be exact…

I do a lot of walking these days.  I have been really since last April when I up and quit my old life and sold just about everything I owned including my Jeepus Maximus.  For those of you who never knew Max, he was awesome.  Despite his large (by German standards) size and not so useful in the snow rear wheel drive, Max was the coolest.  And the only car I ever bought all by myself (and got what I considered a pretty sweet deal on him).  We parted ways and I’ve been carless since.

Sarajevo was easy enough to maneuver without a car — it was only 7km by 1 km — and the hills made me less than enthusiastic about learning to drive Mr. Awesome’s  manual transmission Jetta.  (The Jetta doesn’t have a name by the way, which just makes me nervous about said Jetta… good cars all get names…)  Since there really wasn’t anywhere I wanted to go that I would have driven to in Sarajevo I never really pushed the promise to teach me to drive… Ankara will be different (and Jetta will be named).

But in the meantime (our car is still being held hostage by customs, but it actually hasn’t been that long and we’re filing the paperwork to have him safely returned to us), I’ve been walking (and busing and taxing).  A lot.

And just when I started thinking, “my God, I walk a lot!” I ran across this guy.  He’s planning to walk across Turkey.  From Kuşadası to Van.  On foot.  Actual walking.  Generally, I think things like this are crazy but he seems to have a really cool plan (and is a writer so I’m sure will write a really cool book about it).  He’d love for people to join him in his walk and while I’ve been training (haha — my walks to Starbucks probably don’t count, eh?) I don’t know that I’ll be able to join him.  But you should if you’re in the area.  Or just donate to it because, well, it’s pretty cool isn’t it?



Yükseklik: (n.: height, elevation, altitude) I’m not afraid of no heights!

The first of my 30 in 30 is complete!  This past weekend we had a friend in town for the long weekend (happy bayram!) so we took an overnight trip to Kapadokya.  Early (very early) Sunday morning we went on a hot air balloon adventure over the incredibly unique geography of Kapadokya.  It was awesome.

These little ‘fairy chimneys’ are all over the place thanks to *really* old volcanic ash being eroded by wind and rain.

I had been there before, in 2005 when I was studying abroad my sister and I backpacked through the super cool sites of Turkey.  Sadly, at that time hot air balloon rides weren’t as popular and were thus very expensive and not even offered to measly students such as us.  Now the hot air balloons themselves are a tourist attraction.  At one point Sunday morning, over 80 hot air balloons were floating over the canyons and plateaus at the same time.  Which apparently makes piloting more difficult, but it does make for lovely photos.

I can only imagine how cool this looks from below.

I’m not really terribly frightened by heights… I find them exhilarating, but I do get that scary knot in my stomach when I realize that I could fall from the height.  The balloon experience was so graceful though that I wasn’t really as frightened as I thought I would be.  So while it wasn’t facing a fear, per se, it still was an amazing experience and I’m glad it was on the list.

I’m the second shadow from the right. Okay you can’t really tell, but trust me.

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