October 01, 2014

kovemmat kädet

Arttu lähti eilen kotimatkalle. ja Sebastian tulee ylihuomenna. taas pari päivää hengähdys (ja siivous) taukoa. sain aika hyvän nuhan, mutta nukkumalla viime yönä melkeen 11h olen saanut sen jotakuinkin hoideltua. nyt pitää enää rasvata niistämisestä kärsinyt nenä kuntoon, siihen menee käytännössä toinen päivä tai pari.

kollega töissä (helsingissä) on sairaana joten otin vastuulleni hänen release management hommansa tällä viikolla - uutta ja jännittävää - vaikka silleen vähän tuttua kun testaajana tietty olen prosessissa mukana. mutta nyt olen itse se ihminen kenen kanssa yleensä olen tekemisissä :D tänään kuitenkin regressiotestailin 7h putkeen ja sen jälkeen olin jotakuinkin silmät ristissä. se on yllättävän vaativaa kun kokoajan keskittyy jokaisen visuaaliseen elementtiin ja miettii että onko tää se lopputulos mikä piti olla. sitten vielä tunti englannin opetusta, en ole raaskinut lopettaa tunteja yhden oppilaan (Seyda) kanssa joka on tosi mukava. pitää ajatella sitä taskurahana... 

soitin verotoimistoon kysyäkseni jostain ja tuli esiin että olen ollut ulkomailal yhtäjaksoisesti yli 3 vuotta. verotoimiston tyyppi oli sitä mieltä että 2014 ja siitä eteenpäin olen vain rajallisesti verovelvollinen, jolloin mun ei tarvitsisi muka maksaa veroja enää suomeen duunistani. vaan siis turkkiin. öööö. kuulostaa ensi ajatuksena kivalta, niitähän vois olla sitten maksamatta mihinkään, teoriassa. mutta noi verot on kyllä vähän sellanen juttu joka voi tulla vastaan myöhemmin. joten voisin niitä maksaa kyllä. sitten kysymys on että mihin. mä olen kokenut täm paikallisen järjestelmän toimimattomuuden niin monella tapaa että vähän epäilyttää. oliskohan veroprosentti eri? kertyiskö siitä eläkettä vai kertyiskö se delleen suomeen? paljon kysymyksiä. mä oikeesti ehkä haluan maksaa veroja suomeen? sovittiin sen verotyypin kaa etten tee nyt mitään, ne saattaa lähettää mulle joskus postia asiasta jos huomaavat, tai sitten voin itse ottaa asian esille keväällä kun saan sen veroehdotuksen. just nyt ei ehkä kiinnosta.

nyt vapaa ilta, yksin kotona osa VIII. aion reilusti katsoa telkkaria ja relata (uudet sarjat Selfie, Manhattan Love Story, Vain Elämää 2. jakso - jos mielenkiinto pysyy yllä - ja sit vielä mitä jaksaa...Good Wifen, Foreverin tai Ink Masterin viimeisin jakso). Vain Elämään ekaa jaksoa jaksoin melkeen loppuun asti, olen Vesa-Matti Loirin fani mutta ohjelman hidas on kai vähän raskas kun on tottunut jenkkikamaan ja muutenkin vähän keskittyminen herpaantunut.

/edit Paula Vesalan Vain Elämää -jaksoa en jaksanut kuin puoleen väliin ja Selfietä 5min. olisihan se pitänyt arvata. paras siirtyä tuttujen ja turvallisten pariin.  

September 27, 2014

drought continues


Kadiköy water cuts continue today. should return by 11pm but i have no reason to believe the info the ISKI website ...  glad i filled the water bottles last night.

just checked with doctor that indeed my health check up included an xray for tuberculosis. fuck that, im not getting 'rayed once a year! i understand its still a concern in turkey (22 per 100 000 people in 2012), but i dont want to get x-rays "just in case" (i rather get my cancer from artificial sweeteners or whatever it is thats causing cancer these days).

random: delivery guy moving furniture downhill.

since the landlord and plumbers decided that fixing the under floor plumbing is not feasible (read: too expensive), we just put a marble doorsill in the doorway with silicone. hopefully keeps the water at bay when the next flood hits our kitchen.

Liman kahve's garden expanded, they basically broke the walls between the 3 bars next to each other in the back, so in the front on the street, there are 3 doors and bar signs, but walking through the bar you will find a huge combined garden in the back. below is one corner of it. 

random: public toilet in an underpass (in Karaköy).

breakfast at Van Kahvalti a few days ago. the weather was on our side and the offerings plentiful...   im not a big fan of turkish breakfast but i still got full (bread & egg!).


September 26, 2014

dehydrating but healthy

the other day i went for my yearly full check up, the one my health insurance offers. since im free to go to any hospital i picked the fancy Kadiköy Sifa which is just 200m from my home.

"Yapi Kredi insurance family physician"

i showed up at the appointment and a nurse came to pick me up and took me to another waiting room. from there, another nurse came to get me and drew some blood and got my EKG. then back to waiting room. then yet another nurse came and i have no idea but it looked like a modern x-ray machine...  an image of my chest? for what, tuberculosis?? lol. back to waiting room.
 
then a nurse offered me a urine sample cup. come on, i had not eaten or drunk anything for 12 hours because i was asked not to! she handed me a coupon for breakfast and sent me to the rooftop cafe and told me to come back when i can "perform". fair enough.


the view was nice. after breakfast and peeing in the cup i was finally taken back to wait for the good doctor. she was a nice lady in her 50s. she took my history, checked my blood pressure etc. all the basics. told me to call back in the afternoon for the lab results.

there was quite a bit of waiting involved but all in all i would say the process was like a well oiled machine. for the record, my lab results were perfect :D

restaurant Benzin.not the greatest but we decided to have dinner there.

the vegetarian options at Benzin included "boiled chicken". hmm.


for the past 24h we havent had water...  they are doing some work in the area, supposedly. could be. or the drought finally caught up to the city and they are rationing it, about a month ago it was said that Istanbul only has water left for 50 more days (unless something happens, and something certainly didnt happen). i then calculated that at least all the guests would have left by the time it happened. but now i have Arttu here, suffering with me (doctor is not suffering cos he "gets to" spend so much time at the hospital, where they have water).
im thinking tomorrow we need to splurge on a spa or something if the water is not back.

new shows started this week!
Scorpion - slightly adolescent....ok, very adolescent "smart guys save the world" drama
Madame Secretary - "serious political drama" with the hero woman & US saves the world take on it
Forever - very cheesy crime solving series with an immortal guy as the Sherlock, visually neat though

Shark Tank and Amazing Race start tomorrow as well :)

sunday will be our 4,5 yr anniversary! thats a LONG time :)

September 23, 2014

the things people want and need



I just noticed Married at First Sight (US) has aired! i was really waiting for it...  and i find it great! of course there is some of that reality tv effect, cameras following people. but the individuals are genuine and you really see them getting to know each other, starting from the wedding. and the sociologist and psychologist occasionally make some comments. and i can see how and why they matched these specific individuals. it still might not work of course, because not everything can be calculated, but im surprised how much they have considered things. im hoping that out of the 3 couples at least 1 stay together after their 1 month experiment (i could just google but i need to see it for myself). in addition some of this stuff actually makes me realize new things. like how ive always looked for a partner that has a stable family background (which hopefully makes them stable, willing to commit and trusting) since i didnt really have that. well i have been aware of how i look for security, but lets say that some of the things in the show gave me some new angles to it.

Kate Bush: Wuthering Heights - very awkward song but for some reason i enjoy it today.

September 21, 2014

erätauko

muutaman tunnin breikki vieraiden välissä...Arttu tulee myöhään tänä iltana ja espoolainen perheenisä lähti aamusella. puuh. ja eilen join ehkä just sen yhden pina coladan liikaa joten tänään on henkinen krapula. jolle mun pitäs keksiä joku toinen termi koska se sekoitetaan aina "morkkikseen". mutta teknisesti oikeaa termiä on nihkeä lähteä muuttamaan. mulla on serotoniinitasot jotenkin aika herkät vissiin, ehkä ei yllättävää kun on taipumusta masennukseen. vaikka nyt olenkin ollut jo muutaman vuoden hyvin "epämasentunut" :) lääkärikin on töissä joten saan kärsiä ihan yksikseni huonojen juomatapojeni seuraukset.

iltapäivällä ostin 2nd farkkuhameen yhdeltä toiselta ulkkikselta. hups, tarkennus on jossain vähän muualla.








September 19, 2014

feb 7th - april 13th 2015!!

finally booked flights to Melbourne!!! we were quite antsy when the process seemed to drag on and on... we waited for the exact date confirmation for like a month. anyway now its official, doctor is going for an ICU observership to one of the biggest hospital in Melbourne. the hospital is known for its big and developed ICU so its cool. im super excited for him. maybe more excited than he himself?? or maybe im just excited that i can tag along :D once the dates were confirmed yesterday, i rushed to book flights. the schedule is a bit tight, doctor was not given much time by his own hospital for the "move", the flight itself takes a day, australia is 7h ahead time wise, and finally i booked one day later because the price difference was quite substantial (330e). now, we will arrive in Melbourne at 9pm and the very next morning doctor should find his way to the hospital...  ill book a hotel near the hospital for the first night or 2? yes, im the family organizer.

i feel strange, like if we were traveling to space. its just another country for gods sakes! but so far, oh dear...  i guess its the 2 month thing that makes it so special, im really excited to get to experience an interesting country for a longer period.

of course im worried Malaysian Airlines will go out of business before the trip, but based on quick googling, experts seem to think theyll stay in air at least until next summer even if all goes wrong. they have had other troubles staying in air though, lol... 

things to be thankful for on this glorious day:
  • my shoe size is not 39 or bigger
  • i read and write fluently - when needed
  • my friends dont (seem to) mind my dozens of typos
  • with my acrylic nails, i dont need to worry if my cleaning day is right after my manicure day and so on...
  • my bf is happy with whatever i cook and my housekeeping (which says a lot! about him, that is)
my friend "family man from espoo" arrived to istanbul yesterday. and just round the time his plane landed, it started raining crazy, and it lasted all the way until evening.....  i also wore a long sleeve shirt and tights for the first time after summer yesterday...summer is officially over :(  

September 14, 2014

ei täs mitää

vaihdoin yhden vanhan kouluaikaisen kaverin kanssa pari sanaa facessa, me vaihdetaan kuulumiset ehkä pari kertaa vuoteen. hetken mielijohteesta, kun lomailusta puhuttiin, niin sanoin että voisi tulla käymään täälläkin joskus. hän tuntui innostuvan tästä ihan oikeasti. siis silleen että mahdollisesti toteuttaa tämän. saa nähdä tietysti mutta hassua, ikinä ei tiedä. toki se, pääseekö kaverit käymään riippuu monista seikoista eikä pelkästään motivaatiosta, esim. työtilanne ja muut sovitut lomat tai menot, ja tietty se iänikuinen rahatilanne. ja motivaatioon vaikuttaa varmaan että kiinnostaako Istanbul muuten kaupunkina jne. mulla joku tuttu oli käynyt täällä lapsena ja se reissu oli ollut jotenkin ikävä - en tiedä oliko se oikeasti pääasiallinen syy miksi ei tule, tuskin, mutta jokatapauksessa se oli hänelle turn off.

täällä alkoi päivällä yhtäkkiä sataa kaatamalla, ja silleen sivusuunnassa että tuli suoraan ikkunaan. keksin mielestäni loistoidean eli hain ikkunanpesusuihkeen ja suihkutin pikaiseen ikkunoihin ja sitten ikkunat kiinni (muuten ovat monet sepposen selällään koko kesän). ja tietysti sade sitten samoin tein lakkasikin... se on tällä alueella se tyypillisin sade kesällä, yhtäkkiä tulee vettä kuin saavista 15min tai ehkä tunti, sitten se on ohi. ikkunat kyllä kuivui nopeasti tietysti myös, mutta ei ne musta yhtään puhtaammat ole. live and learn.

historiankirjoihin eli blogiin merkitsen nyt että tänään tein hyvin ison "ostoksen" - mutta ihan mälsää kun en kuitenkaan kirjoita julkisesti että mistä kyse. vois pitää samoin tein privaa päiväkirjaa kun ei mitään kerran voi oikeesti kertoa??? ei kavereiden riitaisista avioeroista eikä omista satunnaisista parisuhdehuolista saati mistään muusta herkullisesta. ainaista "ostin ikeasta X" ja "turkin pääm...presidentti on tyhmä" jne. jaa joo...

parisuhteista sen verran että olen miettinyt ehkä tavallista enemmän viime aikoina että millä mittareilla niitä oikeen "mitataan" ja mikä on hyvä suhde ja millaista oikea kumppanuus on. yks ystävä kysyi et kun meillä tulee pian 4,5v mittariin ni et miltä se tuntuu, onks aika "kulunut siivillä". en tiedä kuuluisko sen kulua siivillä? sanoin et no ehkä tää tuntuu 3 vuodelta, mutta jos tuntuukin 4,5 vuodelta niin ei se kai ole huono. se vaatii ainakin mulla aikaa et oikeasti alkaa luottaa...liekö jonkun ainoon 16-vuotiaana kotoa muuttanen lapsen syndroomaa? miksi se onkin niin vaikeaa, se luottaminen siis?? mut et ei tähän pisteeseen pääse vuodessa tai parissakaan, mä luulen. suhteen pitää marinoitua. sit pitää olla niitä vastoinkäymisiä jotka vahvistaa, tai muita kommervenkkejä, niinku lääkärin taannoinen ensi-apu visiitti ei-omassa sairaalassa.

lääkäri muuten sanoi etten ole enää niin mahdotonta matkaseuraa kuin aluksi, siis en ole enää niin s*tanan takakireä :) mutta bulgarian reissu on nyt aika tarkkaan plänätty! osan reissusta meinaan tehdä töitä etänä, nyt kun suomalaisen työnantajan osa-aika hommat taas jatkuu aktiivisemmin. lomat lomailtu jne. jos hotlan pihassa on uima-altaan vieressä joku kiva pihakeinu niin eiköhän ne hommat siitäkin hoidu, ei tarvi edes huoneessa istua. vai vaikuttaakohan lomamaisemat siihen kuinka velho olen bugien kaivamisessa?

looking for hobbies i guess


Linux fanboys never accept the fact that Windows is simply more practical for MOST people. just like Android, iOS and Lumia etc...  there is a place for everything. and especially the fact that the world pretty much revolves around PC FOR A REASON (not by accident) - Linux people are in denial about that; "but there is a work around that..." "GIMP is a great alternative to Photoshop" "i have a virtual Windows for using that.."...  basically, for a normal person, it seems like life just gets much harder. ok, the normal person will also f*ck up their (PC) computer, download a virus and is therefor occasionally miserable. thats why Mac is an ok option for a lot of people too! Linux, however, i insist, is only for specific needs of specific people. that being said i am thinking of installing Ubuntu on my old MINIPUPU, as a hobby. i think the more tolerable weather (25C) has activated me somehow and i am now in search of stuff to do...  playing with Linux could be one of those things.

Life of Crime wasnt that bad of a movie. actually it was quite ok. i can carefully recommend it.

today 2 guys came to work on the floor disaster. i didnt want to stress about it so i turned my back on it and figured whatever will come, will come. 

finished! better than i expected, actually. we got an invoice too! ok, we did have to ask for it, and pay more of course... but its still pretty historical to get one from a handyman. so we will now deduct the this from our rent.
 he also filled the holes in the kitchen floor. not pretty but decent, does the job. no wonder flats are thoroughly renovated so often here, with the type of things that are being done, and the quality of those things...  it makes sense... 

after the holes and couple months of pondering and a few dozens visits to the flat, nothing will be done to the faulty plumbing after all. so eventually, we can expect another flood. yippee.


also our (mine, eh?) IKEA order arrived today. i got one fitted sheet and one duvet cover for the double duvet we have. it IS difficult to have single and twin size duvets...  we should really switch to either. but im not sure what to do.

September 10, 2014

turkkilainen lattia


ehdin viime viikolla tavata Hanna ja Melisan,  mikä ihan kiva, koska sit perjantaina tuli eka vieras niitä sit riittää seuraava kuukausi+...  voi jäädä muu sosiaalinen elämä aika vähälle. Melisa on muuttanut joten kävin tarkistamassa sen uuden kämpän, ja tosi kivahan se oli.

mietin välillä sitä että olen ehkä viettänyt aika paljon aikaa internetissä osittain sitä kautta  ulkomailla, mutta olen tutustunut aika ihmeellisiin tyyppeihin myös. satoihin varmaan. ihan livenäkin. facea selatessa tuossa luin yhden entisen työkaverin postausta, se oli mun kollega kun opetin englantia, emmekä sen koommin nähneet - eli ei mikään läheinen tuttu. vaihdettiin pari sanaa joskus tuntien välissä siellä koululla. vähän ennen mun lopettamista tyyppi vaan antoi mulle käteen skientologien "raamatun" ja olin et "aijaa...". oikeastaan uskontoa ei silloinkaan mainittu, se vaan puhu siitä et haluaa antaa mulle tällasen kirjan.....   ehkä jotkut asiat sillon loksahti paikoilleen. anyway, luin sitä kyllä mielenkiinnolla. aina kannattaa selvittää mistä on kyse. ei siis olla hirveesti oltu tekemisissä mutta facebook mahdollistaa kaikenlaista. saa seurata puolituttujen elämää. ei pääse unohtuu kuinka erilaisia ihmiset on.

 mut siis joo, mulla on näköjää facessa myös yhden ystävän ex-poikkis, jostain vuodelta ...2004. tavattiin sillonkin ehkä kaks kertaa. mikäs siinä, seuraillessa mihin sitäkin elämä vie.

vesivahinkolattia-asia on edennyt silleen, ettei se ole juuri edennyt. tietenkään. kovasti joku on aina tullut katsomaan ja todennut että joo, ensi tiistaina tai lauantaina, tai joku toinen tulee, kunhan...   ja mitä tulee siihen itse ongelmaan eli keittiön ali menevän putken korjaamiseen, niin yksi setä kävi ja teki reiän lattiaan ja totesi sitten että joo ei, ei voi korjaa, ja lähti. reikä on hieno, silti. no mutta joku lattia-setä nyt kävi repimässä "hieman" tiellä olevat laudat sentään irti (jotta ulko-oven saisi auki) ja lupasi palata myöhemmin uusien lautojen kera...  katsotaan.

eka

ja sit...



 what?? "joo ei pysty."



ostin tänään uuden taulupohjan (kanvaasi suomeksi?). sain edellisen söherryksen valmiiksi kun joku FB:n buy, sell & swap ryhmässä tarjosi taidetta vastaan pientä import-ruokasettiä: possumakkaraa, joku pieni viinapullo ja vaahterasiirappia. makkarastahan mä lähinnä olin kiinnostunut, joten kaivoin maalit esiin ja voilá. ei tarvia miettiä mitä sillekin tekis, voi hyvin aloittaa uuden. en oikeen tiedä miksi maalaan, en suoranaisesti koe siitä inspiroituvani tai mitään, mutta ehkä saan siitä jotain koska kuitenkin vapaaehtoisesti siihen ryhdyin. 
näyttää sinertävältä ja jotenkin tasapaksulta kuvassa :(


mä olen vähän fiiliksissä siitä että Tarja lähtee pitää jotain luentoja Harvardiin :) :)


edit: syyrialaiset perui tulonsa tänään, päättivätkin mennä Libanonin Brasilian suurlähetystöön sitten tms. no ei haittaa, pieni hengähdystauko on ihan paikallaan.


September 04, 2014

in paradise

my favorite energy drink, the blue Monster (i used to be Team Sugarfree Red Bull but doctor got me swayed) was sold out in this area for a long time, i think about 3 weeks or longer. first it disappeared from the opposite kiosk, and they kept saying "tomorrow, tomorrow", but no, it didnt appear. i got anxious. then it disappeared from other shops, within days. i panicked, i admit. but there was not much to do. i guess i had signs of withdrawal? within 2-3 weeks i had already accepted the fact it was gone for good. and i blamed the marketing, ie. the title, "lo-carb"*but i was still grieving. then, suddenly, it reappeared. the day before went on holiday. so we had to re-stock, just in case...

*most turks (even in the targer market) wouldnt know enough english to understand the term lo-carb, and the ones that do, dont care, lo-carb is not a big thing in turkey (thank god). in Bulgaria i saw the same product named as "lo-sugar" or something...  that would be better. finding sugar free drinks, besides the goddamn cola zero, is hard in turkey...

the day we left on holiday i also got my new wallet in the mail. i was going out for groceries as i found it stuck in the door, outside. bloody postman didnt bother to buzz himself in...  i guess i need to bribe him properly next time. (thats also my Taloustaito magazine right there which i have canceled long ago but somehow its still coming).

so i bought this leather waller from eBay... unknown brand (Lichtfield 1642), but i never had brands anyway. it gets too thick with the normal amount of cards and cash...  its kind of weird. i like it but im not sure how i feel yet.


this Linkin Park song sung in 20 different styles thing is real cool. the guy has this cool stare, he keeps the eye contact all the time. obviously, he is also talented...    the different styles really remind me why i dont like some bands! i watched his Katy Perry Dark Horse cover video too and omg, just 5 seconds of "Slipknot" give me a headache. it is possibly my most disliked band ever.
today i went out shopping and found this skirt at Koton's sale (20tl/7e). it has that tacky turkish effect but at the same time i found it quite fun and i think i can mix it with a sleek black top and still appear...  decent. the white is like...rubbery applique (not fabric), i think that also drew me in, its different. lets see.

from bulgaria, i bought a 4 eur bottle of apple vodka, some fridge magnets, and pork pate and food stuff: 

i have stooped to the level of Bachelor is Paradise, "an excuse for reality TV singles to hook up in hot tubs". its not as bad i thought...but well, its...  just another step down from Bachelor/ette, which is not Emmy-TV to begin with..  Guardian described Bachelor in Paradise well! i think i the american dating culture is fascinating to me, that and the "small talk" culture. i cant get enough of observing it. i dont think i really "get it". but i just keep watching.

September 03, 2014

charging batteries for hosting

so im slowly recovering from the holiday. in the last night i was grinding my teeth, doctor said. i guess i was stressed deep down. stressing 24/7/365 is my super power, no one can take that from me...

now im getting back to work, doing a ton of laundry and getting ready for a MONTH of guest hosting. jesus. i really do enjoy people coming over but every one, right now? i do want them to come, but it will be tough. and expensive. i need to find some ways to eat home cheap and still take friends to nice dinner places, perhaps awkward but i really cant eat (and drink) out for a month...

actually 1 of the guests is from syria, not a friend really, an acquaintance. he hosted me through couchsurfing in Damascos, at his familys home - who all treated me well and even shared their food with me. last we talked over a year ago his family was still safe, but i guess things have changed, apparently a lot, it sounded bad. a year ago i also learned that he is actually (ideologically) supporting the president. so, umm, woah. i did want to ask why the nice president isnt fixing things for him but its not my place maybe, i have my (strong) opinions and thats that. he said he is sneaking out of Syria, coming to Istanbul to try an get a refugee visa to Brazil. so i agreed to host him for a few days as i have a break between the finnish friends. the selfish me obviously wanted those days for some alone time but this was a moment for self reflection....  how do i treat a person who treated me well and whom i think is wrong in his views? its not like a nazi soldier or something. its only a 100 yrs ago that finland was divided in 2...  (although we rather not talk about it). anyway, my conscience says i should help out.

this article "talking to strangers makes you happy" made perfect sense. its something that i realized in turkey. mostly turkey promotes talking with your neighbors, shopkeepers, the shopkeepers cousin and your brother in laws uncles friend...  but there is plenty of talk with strangers too. and i have noticed all of that makes me happier.

im surprised that in 2014 the travel apps are still so offline-unfriendly...  thats the one thing a traveler often doesnt have at a critical time: internet. doing research before and being able to save the crucial maps and stuff? TripAdvisor and Foursquare both have some save functions but it only seems to work on Foursquare with cache (not after restarting the app), so, not really. TripAdvisor app barely opens without internet, isnt that embarrassing? Foursquare should be also clearer - perhaps its the generally new UI that confuses me?? there should be a "save" button everywhere on a travel app. i realize that can be confused with "save as a favorite" though, so its difficult. but id expect more. i used these apps every day the past 10 days and im not impressed. where Foursquare tumbles... nevermind, ill post about that another time.

thank god the True Blood saga came to and end. it was bout time, only some 4 seasons late...  and what a horrible ending, some things just... uff.

my favorites these days:
Hozier: Take Me To Church (spotify link)
Paolo Nutini: Iron Sky (spotify link)


August 29, 2014

buuuulgaria!

bulgarian holiday has been...average because ups and down, of course :) i took doctor to Plovdiv because my past experience there was positive, and sure enough, so it was again. bulgarian cities have more or less of the soviet infuence in the architecture and perhaps culture. service culture is...well, 50/50, they might or might not smile to you. anyway, we arrived to Plovdiv at 6am and walked around with our backpacks until we found our hotel. super central. then we sat at a park bench for an hour before they would check us in (they were almost empty, so this is the soviet service culture im talking about). Plovdiv is green and full of pedestrian boulevards, i think it makes for a good visit, day or two. there is not much to do of course, unless you count the roman amphitheaters and that....  i dont. anyway, whats interesting is that bulgaria probably has more wifis than any other EU county ive been to. not only does every cafe and restaurant have their own wifi, but there are free wifis available in the public areas too. perhaps this means the mobile operators are not offering very good deals to bulgarian residents?? i dont know, but im happy to be "connected", with or without nokia.

i had not been to Varna before, and we both found it a pleasant surprise. the center looked more old-europe than soviet and there were a few shops and so on. the proximity of the beach, trendy beach bars and relaxing pedestrian streets took us by surprise too. it was simply enjoyable.

in general i find bulgaria an interesting mix of things. its not polite to describe a country by comparing and referring to others but its just SO convenient! so, bulgaria is;
  • soviet (some architecture, behavior, service culture)
  • turkish (some hassling, food culture, charging money for beaches indirectly etc.)
  • "euro" (shopping opportunities, brands available, foreign restaurants, english spoken widely)

ive have had some bulgarian foods now but nothing very impressive. im not a big food connoisseur of course, so that doesnt mean much. what i ate so far were like greek gyros, turkish kebab (using pork) and some hot pots. meh. but ok, i didnt come here for the local cuisine, i came for cheap sushi and pork, and thats what i got! until...  enter St. Constantin and Helens, the "peaceful holiday resort". someone could have just told me its DEAD :D there are so few  restaurants offering so few decent foods  its not fun anymore. quiet it is, i give them that. and green, as are Plovdiv and Varna, I like that. but i dot think i will be returning. the lively & international restaurants of Varna are just 8km away and we are sitting here at 10pm wondering where to get a bottle of water. the resort has seen its best days (about 30 yrs ago) so now what is left is mold, rust an russian tourists. or bulgarian. or romanian. how would i be able to tell the difference?

anyway, the poolside and a comfy bed make up for a lot :) i will return to istanbul on monday - not really looking forward to a 9h bus ride but oh well. doctor will go to the opposite direction and continue to Bucharest for a couple days. 

August 20, 2014

travel reads?


i pretty much missed the chess olympics which ended a few days ago. now im listening to the videoed matches...  while translating. work work work!

and i need to get my laptop ready for the trip so i can work while on the road. cant wait to eat bulgarian pork...  i also contacted friends and acquaintances in bulgaria for tips, i think we are all set.

the fall is going to be crazy busy, we have friends from finland visiting like every week...  turkish airlines has flights really cheap (around 185e) right so maybe that is motivating even the first timers to turkey. i hope i dont get too stressed with people hanging around constantly...   anyway im always happy to show friends around, reminds me of the things i love here.

women demonstrating. the demonstration was about the women ISIS have captured in Iraq.

a friend is moving out of the country in a year and while visiting her, she prompted me to go through her extensive book collection and pick anything. i found these two interesting enough; Gloria Steinem: Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions - good old feminist basics. and An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison. 

August 15, 2014

Australia is waiting

yeah the heat and humidity are getting to me but officially i will NOT complain. i mean at least its hot and not cold??

i did this website translation, or the first batch of a bigger project, and dang, exactly 14 minutes after sending the first files i get an email from Paypal that my payment has been sent. thats the fastest salary ever. now im happily working on the 2nd batch...   its a kind of website like "soourceforge.net", where you download software...

yesterday we got a confirmation from Australia that the teaching hospital over there welcomes my doctor and one of his colleagues for a 2 month observership at a time of their choosing. which is really...amazing :) so i am looking at flights! we had originally thought january to february as the flights were cheap for that period but today the flight prices have been going up and down sporadically.... however the ultra-cheap flights by Malaysian Airlines are available at least this very moment! some extra excitement if we choose to fly with them? lol.  turkish airlines just started direct flights to Melbourne but they are 1650 euros a pop, lol, no way.

Melbourne just happens to be one of the most expensive cities in the world...uff. but we started saving several months ago when the idea sparked. so we should be ok. 

i decided to fix my eyeshadow and blush with instructions that can be found online easy, you just need 70% (or higher) alcohol, thats the short of it. it worked, too :)

mixing the alcohol in my mac blush


 my Lumene eyeshadow a few minutes later. messy, yes, but the left side which was brokwn is now pretty neat!


new earrings from Six (outlet). 

last night i dropped over at a cafe where this turkish lady was selling 2nd hand clothes. i got a lot for 20tl/7e.  after putting it on, i understand this white shirt is difficult, it will require a top underneath and well, then its not a summer short anymore. oh well. 

this grey piece is actually a mystery, short bt with a huge neck piece. i think ut look awkward but maybe i will find a way to wear it, in october, when the weather permits. 
 a bit boring but colorful cardigan.
brown short sleeve knit dress. i didnt try it on of course and now im wondering if its too big...   i will find out in november or so. right now ill just enjoy owning a new dress...
 

August 14, 2014

lentil soup is The Thing

the restaurant we often eat at, owned by the municipality. its a cheap & cozy albeit tacky :) the waiter has become very friendly with us. the photo is from a couple weeks ago, but the same kitty - slightly bigger - was there again tonight. and as playful as ever.

i came up with an astray solution for the balcony. a porcelain shoe, used to be a flower pot (gift!). i put some water in and its perfect!


on the wall of the armenian orthodox church (near our home);

"we are women, angry, and after you
-anarchist women"
"

August 07, 2014

prices for a greek holiday


it was annoyingly difficult to find the general price level in Bulgaria. in the end i found this "cost of living in Bulgaria" - which has useful numbers even if you r just visiting. the site has other countries too, so yeah, very practical. but still, odd that the exact info was generally hard to find, why wouldnt sites like Trip Advisor host this time of content? i then checked and its the same for other smaller countries...  i should definitely remedy the situation when it comes to Greece, while i still remember... so prices and costs for a holiday in Greece (limited areas, i know Kos and Rodos or Athens may be more expensive):

  • Greek bed n breakfasts/Inn's in Halkidiki, Sarti, Lesbos high season prices, mid range 30-55 euros/night (a double room with a kitchenette and probably a balcony, A/C)
  • Greek hotel rooms in Halkidiki, Sarti, Lesbos (double) can be around 45-90 euros/night in high season, higher end if pool. although on Lesbos islands most places have a pool so prices are lower. and there are always fancier resorts that charge whatever, but i doubt those people are counting their euros then...
  • bus tickets (Thessaloniki) 0.60 euros
  • Thessaloniki-Sarti bus 18,30 euros (bus timetable and prices updated at KTEL website)
restaurant prices in Greece (mid range restaurant, bars)
  • appetizers 4-6 euros
  • salads 4-7 euros
  • main dishes (meat, chicken..) 6-10 euros
  • fast food (gyros, souvlaki...) 3-4 euros, hamburgers can be found for 1-3 euros
  • beer 3-5 euros (local-import)
  • house wine 0.5l jug 3-5 euros 
  • cocktails 6-7 euros, can find a mojito for 5 euros but its unlikely to be very good
  • wine bars in Thessaloniki (tested 2) had a good selection with per glass prices from 2 to 8 euros

3 appetizers, a salad and 2 main dishes as seen below were way too much, we couldnt finish. this set might have cost 45 euros including 2 beers, a wine and ouzo - but as said, it was too much. a greek dinner with one appetizer, one salad and one main dish (all shared), with 2 beers and a jug of wine should come to about 25-35 euros in the parts of Greece i listed.there are more upscale restaurants, and then you can add 5-15 euros on the bill, but most taverns are mid range.

fast food, big enough for a good luch! 3,5 euros. 
 overall i find the price level in Greece quite alright as a tourist. its no Turkey but close.

happiness is having time to write a blog

tasty foreign ice cream in Kadiköy. its a bit pricey, Cold Stone's concept is this premium stuff and you mix things like caramel sauce and wine gums or walnuts in the portion and so... but yeah, it is SO good. 

we were looking at a combined turkey & greece holiday but then realized doctors schengen visa is good for entering bulgaria too. i have been to Sofia & Plovdiv and the experience was good so we changed our plans. so were probably going to Plovdiv, and then to a quieter beach location near Varna. greece is lovely but change is good....  and we can use train to travel some of the way. i usually prefer trains even if they are a bit more expensive than busses.and now im spending hours on picking the best accommodation and planning eeeeeverything.

doctor asked me what was the food like in bulgaria. i have no idea. i remember liking it, having good experiences... and cheap sushi. but thats all. people always talk fluently about the foods they eat abroad...uff.

when i really like a website/service, and im in a good mood, i click on one of their ads (free things are usually ad powered, after all). thats how nice i am!

happiness is:
a toaster that has the defrost and warmup functions
having nice sunglasses survive for a few years (without being lost or breaking)
spotify's pre-made playlists for various moods
having the time to go on picnics and to see friends


looking forward to this Mad Max sequel, although it will not be the same without Mel Gibson. not a fan but a purist of some sort? last week i tried to watch My Man Is a Loser - and i say try because i had to stumble through with fast forward. it was just poorly made...not funny nor interesting. my to see list also has Luc Besson's Lucy and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes pretty high. i would also like easy comedy but they dont make them good anymore...(as proven above). Maybe The Olivia Experiment could be something...

sushi last weekend. 
only a portion of the tasty makis...  we made so much sushi everyone could eat their bellies full and take home some.


doctor and me having another picnic...  im doing picnics like weekly now. the seaside/park is just so close, even for a lazy girl like me. and the grass is perfect, weather is always perfect and i like looking at the animals roaming around (dogs, cats...chicken!). some mezes or other tastu edibles and i am happy to hang out doing nothing for hours. and obviously im lucky to have 'hours' to spend like that, i am aware of that. should add it to the list above...