Yok (adj.: not existing; absent; unavailable)

Yok is a word that, like many Turkish words, has many uses and different meanings based on the usage.  At its core, it means ‘does not exist’.  But with that definition only, Turkish seems rather odd…  If I were at a store and handed the cashier a 20 TL note for something that cost 2 TL, the cashier would most likely ask me if I have anything smaller (I say “most likely” but it’s almost always the case and usually accompanied with a rolling of the eyes… what is it about making change in the Balkans/mid-East?!).  The appropriate response would be, “Yok.”  That is not to say that smaller bills don’t exist anywhere, just that they don’t exist in my wallet.  Same thing goes for asking about siblings, pets, homes, etc.  So a good additional definition for us English speakers would probably be “not have”.  Especially since when using yok, it is generally paired with a possessive pronoun — spoken or implied.

Today’s subject of yok is aptly applied to our running water tonight.  Su yok (there’s no water).  Despite having lived in Turkey before and having grown re-accustomed to resetting our clocks every other day or so due to (usually) quick power surges, this evening I find myself thoroughly frustrated with the lack of water.  Was I cooking/doing laundry/showering?  No.  I was just rinsing dishes which I don’t mind not doing, but the idea of being without water, for however short a time, bothers me in an almost irrational way.

Why irrational You ask.  Well, because there is nothing I need it for this evening.  We have almost a full 19 liter bottle in the kitchen since we don’t drink the tap water here so it isn’t as though I won’t have water if I need it.  I suppose it’s just because I didn’t expect this when moving from still war-torn Bosnia (yes, 20 years and still war-torn) where we always had potable, running water to what the World Bank and IMF rank as the world’s 18th largest economy based on GDP.  (Yes, I used Wiki again…)  Or from what most people would consider a luxury apartment — even by Western standards.

I find that I am more annoyed with myself and my frustration than I am with the lack of running water.  Why can’t I just go with it?  Why does it actually bother me?  Why can’t I just take a deep breath and realize how incredibly fortunate I am for everything I have?

And just like that… the water is back on.  I know it was probably an issue with the city supply or a water main nearby, but some days, when things like this happen, I feel like the universe is giggling a little.


Eşyalarımız nerede, kanka?! (slang, roughly: Dude, where’s our stuff?!)

So perhaps more of an American slang saying than a Turkish one, but I think it’s fun and very appropriate right now to translate roughly to Turkish anyway.  [Please correct me if my translation is really rough and doesn’t make sense by the way.]

Where on earth is our stuff?!  That is the question.  We’re pretty sure we know where some of our stuff is.  You know, the stuff that was supposed to be waiting for us here before we even left Sarajevo.  Obviously it was not.  Instead it was sitting in a storage unit in Sarajevo until we started harassing people about it last week… so now we have been told it has arrived and will begin it’s wait in Turkish Customs.  Let’s all hope that it doesn’t take as long as the worst case scenarios we’ve heard.

That stuff was the stuff I assumed I’d have within two weeks of being here.  It has now been three and I am so so so sick of the ten articles of clothing (not counting undies, I brought lots of those to be on the safe side… but why am I telling you this?) I brought with us.  First, the jeans are useless in this heat.  As are the three long sleeved shirts I brought “just in case”.  And my work out clothes?  What was I thinking there?! (Okay, actually I was thinking that I was teaching up until the day before I left Sarajevo so it made sense, but still… if I had to trade my running pants for an extra tank top — I’d do it.)  Needless to say, I probably need to go buy new clothes so that I can throw away the three shirts I’ve been wearing in constant rotation since, oh, say July 3rd.

And if you haven’t figured it out: this means LOTS of laundry.  I hate doing laundry…

As for the rest of our stuff — DUDE!? — we have no idea.  We’ve been given an estimate of tomorrow or Monday for it to be ‘here’.  In the vague sense of the term… here could mean Turkey, Ankara, not the Balkans, etc.  We’re not really sure.  We also aren’t sure about the estimated time of arrival, but we’re both holding onto the hope that it really will be here (as in Ankara) in the next few days and released by customs in the next few weeks.  Preferably less than two when our first (hopefully) house guest will be coming for the long weekend.

Pislik (n. gook; mess; crap)

To say our new master bathroom is spacious would be a bit of an understatement.  I paid a pretty penny in college for a studio apartment with the same (maybe less) square footage and definitely worse insulating and louder neighbors.  The bathroom is not only open and spacious, but full of storage and equipped with his and her sinks.  Which I love.  Despite the ridiculousness of having motion sensor faucets — who does that?!  However, perhaps my favorite feature of our new master bathroom is that we have a separate bathtub and shower.  I know this seems small and sort of silly, but the separate bathtub is also a huge jacuzzi.  And not that awkward triangle-shaped huge.  Okay, well it is triangle-shaped in the sense that it fits into the corner, but the inside isn’t that weird shape.  It’s just a seriously over-sized, big enough for two larger-than-average tub shape.

Ever since we were sent photos of our new house back in March, I’ve been planning my first relaxing, long, hot, bubble bath in our two-person jacuzzi.  What I didn’t know before we got here was that at night, from our bathtub, we have a great view of the Atakule tower (yes, I know that’s redundant — ata tower tower, but most of you readers probably didn’t know that).  Atakule is probably the most famous building on the Ankara skyline* as evidenced by its presence on the Starbucks Ankara mug.  Oh yes, yes I did just use Starbucks mug selection as a standard for famous architecture.  Anyway.  At night, they light up Atakule in different colors and I decided on our first night here that it would be a really relaxing focal point during a long, hot, bubble bath with cheesy chick music playing in the background (yeah… I know, but who doesn’t love Norah Jones?).

So last night despite the ridiculous heat, or maybe because of it, I decided to take my awesomely relaxing bath.  I filled up the tub with hot water, I had my ‘relaxing bath’ playlist ready to go (yes, I actually have a ‘relaxing bath’ playlist and yes I used lowercase letters because they feel more relaxing), some body wash that can double as bubble bath until our stuff gets here, and slipped in to enjoy the view of Atakule.  The tower was even lit up in relaxing greens, blues, and purples — the stars were aligned!

Blurry, but actual photo of Atakule from my tub

And then… I turned on the bubbles and jets.

Sounds great, right?  Jets would help massage sore muscles, bubbles would… well, I don’t know what they’d do really, but who doesn’t like bubbles?  (Little tangent here, but am I the only one that hears the fish from Finding Nemo?  And was his name really Bubbles?  Wiki says it was, but I’m generally suspicious of using Wikipedia as a source.)  So anyway, this is when the relaxing should begin, right?  Right.  But did it?  Of course not.  This would be a pretty ridiculous story if it did… I mean, why would I have such a lead up to “and it was.”  Plus the title would make no sense.  It’s as though you don’t know me at all.

Instead of awesome relaxation from the water jets and bubbles, I got scum and gunk flying at me.  Disgusting.

It was, to say the least, not the wonderfully relaxing plan I had in mind.  I should step back here and admit that the first time I tried to use the tub, I couldn’t because the drain was clogged.  I bought some awesome drain cleaner at the store and took care of that problem.  Okay, now I’ll admit, I should have known from the yucky gunk build-up in the drain that perhaps turning on the jets would be a bad idea…  but I didn’t.  So instead of sitting and enjoying my playlist, bubbles, and the view, I ended up scrubbing the bathtub and having to take a shower afterward.  Needless to say, I was unhappy.  And not relaxed.

(*)Mr. Awesome helped write this post.  Because he played the “what’s-that-word” game with me to get to skyline and afterwards demanded a co-author credit for this posting.

Taşınmak (v. infinitive: to move; to relocate)

Mr. Awesome and I have unpacked our three suitcases, gone food shopping to stock up on essentials, and done some orienteering (okay, walking but orienteering sounds so much more adventurous) to get settled in our new home.  It’s a bit odd to say “settled” since we currently have no furniture and will probably wait a month or two for the bulk of our stuff to arrive, but Ankara feels like home already.

Puppy dog is adjusting well and loves that we have a park as a backyard.  She even seems to be okay with the elevator ride up and down from our twenty-fifth floor apartment.

Yes, we know how screwed we are if the elevator goes out.

The view from our bedroom

As silly as it seems, I’m loving the ability to have food delivered almost as much as the availability of Starbucks.  Of course the best part for me is finding out that I do still remember quite a bit of Turkish, though admittedly it’s a bit rusty, and so I can interact with people much easier and with less stress than in Sarajevo.

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