Engel olmak (v.: to frustrate; to hinder; to prevent)

From that title, I could be going down a number of roads that lead to rants.  Lately more than usual too.  Or maybe not.  Maybe I’m always so easy to frustrate when things don’t go according to what I think is best… But that’s definitely a different posting for another time.  

Today’s discussion will focus on the frustration of accomplishing one of my 30 in 30 (obviously post 30 weeks).  Alas, I have not braved the learning of the manual transmission.  Please don’t send me a note telling me how easy it is and how much you believe in my abilities.  Intellectually I know all this, emotionally and in reality it’s just not going to happen here in Ankara.  Land of crazy drivers, annoyingly stupid traffic, and hills.  Not. Gonna. Happen.  Luckily, I was able to convince Mr. Awesome of the need for a car I can drive with the helpful expected addition of Baby Awesome (apparently while buses and taxis are safe enough for me, he’s pretty sure that he’d rather his baby not be flopping around in them which is fair).

So we’ve been on a mission to find a safe, reliable, automatic transmission-ed, used car.  Which brings me to being frustrated.  Why on earth do people selling used cars think they’re worth thousands, literally thousands of dollars more than they are?!  I even had one guy justify it to me that it was worth THREE THOUSAND dollars more than the actual value because it’s already registered VAT (tax) free and there aren’t a lot of those cars and so it is worth the extra money.  SERIOUSLY?!  That’s why we buy TAX FREE cars!!!  So we don’t pay the extra money for taxes!!!  

I know the selection will be limited.  I get that.  Silly me with the need for an automatic transmission.  I don’t need something nice and new.  It doesn’t even have to be pretty.  It just has to be reliable and safe.  And four doors (baby seat).  And not a stupid, crazy price.  Is that too much to ask?!!!  My experience of the past month to six weeks says yes.  Yes it apparently is too much to ask.


“You poopy face butt head!!!” or My 30 days without swearing

Funny Reminders Ecard: I do not spew profanities. I enunciate them clearly, like a fucking lady.
That’s right folks.  I fucking did it.  Yes, that f-bomb was totally gratuitous swearing right there but you know what?  I can do things like that now.  Because I made it 30 days without swearing.  And the best part is that I don’t really feel the need to add the extra potty words now which was the whole point of the exercise.  Right?  It wasn’t just to torture me… right?

If you remember correctly, I started trying this whole 30 days straight about three months ago.  I had to restart quite a few times which is why it’s taken SO long to make it 30 days straight.  The biggest culprits for the restarts?  Drivers.  Either as a passenger or as a pedestrian, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve let a swear word out while dealing with the drivers here in Ankara.  I’ve heard it said (by Turk and foreigner alike) that Turks are some of the warmest and kindest people… until they get behind the wheel of a car.  And it’s true!  The utter selfishness and lack of awareness of the average driver here is mind-blowing (and f-bomb inducing).

My other hang up was that we added extra words to the swear words list that I was to avoid using.  Specifically, the use of “douche” or “douche bag” as a profanity.  Apparently it was one of my go-to’s because it caused my restart twice.

I did however begin to use some creative replacements like ‘cupcake’ as a condescending term and reverted back to the first grade by using phrases like ‘poopy face’.  Overall I found that by keeping myself from using swear words, I was also able to somehow keep myself calmer.  Maybe because I knew that getting worked up would cause the swearing or maybe because in lieu of a swear word I’d breathe deeply and try to calm myself.  Either way, I’m pretty happy that I did it.  And I’m happy I don’t have to start over every time I utter a swear word now!

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?



GPS Cehennemi (n.: GPS Hell)

If you’ve ever used a GPS, you probably know what I’m talking about.  It’s when you’re following all of the GPS’s directions and suddenly in that snarky voice she says, “when possible make a u-turn” or “turn left” when a left turn would put you off the side of a cliff or, my personal favorite, when the little icon of the car starts spinning in circles and the directions just say “proceed to street x”, but you have no idea which direction that is because your car is spinning!  If you’ve used a GPS and don’t know what I’m talking about, then you might be the luckiest person in the world or just really oblivious when you drive.  I’m just sayin’…

I never used a GPS until I moved to Europe three years ago.  That’s right, I managed to navigate DC and drive cross-country without a GPS.  Which makes me rather proud of myself.  I bought one because I knew I wouldn’t understand all the street signs — I don’t do German — and didn’t like the idea of getting lost somewhere I had no idea how to even ask for directions.  And now, I’m totally hooked.  Which is really frustrating because I find GPSes (GPSi?) really annoying, frustrating and infuriating.  So much so that I actually named my last GPS so when I inevitably started screaming irrationally at the inanimate object for getting me lost or giving me bad directions, I felt a little less crazy.  Yes, I know that probably makes me crazier but it makes me feel better.  It’s that or going all Office Space on it.

Still of David Herman, Ron Livingston and Ajay Naidu in Office Space

Remember this? Who hasn’t wanted to do this to a GPS? Image from IMBD.com

So add to all these usual frustrations of the GPS that ours appears to be an American GPS loaded with (out-of-date) Turkey maps.  And it cannot for the life of it understand one-way streets or distances.  And one-way streets are an art here in Turkey.  As in sometimes a street that you’re driving on just randomly turns into a one-way…. not necessarily the way you’re driving.  And the grid system here isn’t as grid-like as we silly Westerners are used to.

We went out for a morning drive to explore a few sights and some shopping.  Needless to say, it didn’t go as planned.  Our first attempt was the old fort in Ulus, but we were dashed by construction.  Can I ask a question to all my Turkish readers?  Do you all not have “detour” signs?!  We got stuck at the top of the hill and had to go back down the wrong way on a one-way street and were never able to loop back up to the fort from the other way — no matter how we tried.  Which of course resulted in a very unhappy Mr. Awesome.

So we gave up and moved on to option two: Siteler.  Where rumor has it there are tons of furniture stores.  Even those with unfinished wood where you can buy furniture at cost and then finish on your own (sounds like the best place for a simple kitchen table, right?!).  Our GPS did not take us there.  It tried to take us somewhere way far away… we went along with it until I finally looked at the directions and realized it was having us leave the city and continue on twenty more minutes.  That didn’t sound right!  And resulted in a very unhappy me.

Attempt number three: Ikea.  While our GPS didn’t get us exactly there (what GPS doesn’t have Ikea in it? an obviously outdated one!), it got us close enough to figure it out on our own by following signs.  After driving around, getting lost and turned around for over an hour, I’ve never been so happy to see an Ikea in my life!

And how great is it that all Ikeas are the same? It’s like being home.

Where we finally got breakfast!  Which resulted in happy Mr. Awesome and happy me.  Even if it was machine-made lattes and hot dogs.  Yum-oh!

The mustard was surprisingly delicious!

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