September 01, 2015

valuable things

i headed to the european side of the city this morning. the Finnish consulate moved to Levent (imho not a practical location) and is open twice a week for 2h...  i want to register my marriage in finland, so i took the necessary papers there. its unclear if it will go though however since they actually expected me to send the original certificate.. no way am i letting it out of my sight! so the consul took a copy and i sent that... i guess i will find out soon enough.

since Duolingo app got esperanto added, i started the beginners 'course'. i looked into esperanto 10 or 15 yrs ago, but didnt bother with it. now, with an app, giving it 10 minutes here or there seems like fun. not like i will even be able to communicate in this language, but activates my brain cells, maybe.

so i asked myself what is it about music festivals that i like so much. because i am not a fan of concerts per se, it must be the other stuff?? i find festivals enjoyable of course, but also specifically relaxing. okay, who doesn't relax while out and about partying? it's more than that. i love traveling, but relaxing and letting go still remain a challenge. a festival however, with it's restricted area and program seems to enable my 'relax' switch. there is only so much i can plan and worry about at a festival. in fact, if i feel like my phone &  money & passport are safe, the only thing left is to choose which bands or other acts to see. the options are clear - no need to google or ask for tips. the food is there - just look around and pick, while the selection may vary, prices do not that much. there is a deadline so no need to ponder when and where to move (as you do when traveling without a plan). after a day or so, you know the area and your options. that's very nice, for me. yet, you are constantly surrounded by people & activities that all ooze party and life and colors - so there is certainly no chance of being bored. the liberal and happy atmosphere combined with a limited, familiar area and options seems to make a wonderful combination, and i am for once able to let go a little. if we move next year, festivals may not be an option financially. but perhaps the year after that. lets see.

me chillin' in a swing at Sziget. not as drunk as i look, really, just happy :)

its not New Year but recently i have been trying to have or stick to a couple of resolutions. first one is avoiding chicken and turkey meat because they are factory farmed here, of course. free range (whole) chickens are sold in a few places but a whole chicken, really? not to mention the price is consequently through the roof. i have been trying to do this for the past years, but my success has been up and down. lately im much more strict about it, and since red meat is not healthy nor ecological on daily basis, we have more veggie days than before. i dont cook every day of course, but there are vegetarian options when ordering from outside too.

the second one is sticking to non-animal tested cosmetics. around here that pretty much means MAC.  although fairly recently they started selling in China which means they also need to test products sold there...  so, im running out of options. the list of cruelty free cosmetics companies Peta gives me for Turkey is short. and not a single familiar name on it. i do have enough cosmetics to use for another year or so though. hopefully by then i will live somewhere else and have more options.

Chemical Watch: turkey restricts animal testing of cosmetics

August 31, 2015

lalala... "jenni's wedding planning diary"

and more on the wedding...(...!!)   mainly my musings on the process...

prior to our relocation plans, the only practical reason i had considered a 'pro' of being married was giving and having some legal rights, like being the emergency contact etc.  these things are accentuated especially when u live abroad. anyway, we took a few weeks to think about it and then decided that it feels good, so lets go ahead. we also agreed to just 'get it over and done with', go to a register office and thats that. not in a negative way, but arranging a big ass wedding didnt sound right nor did it seem feasible (financially or otherwise).

while we contemplated the possibility of marriage, i googled for places. i looked at Lisbon, but it was too soon in relation to our holiday approaching, and there were some practical issues related to their requirements. we thought about London, but as we are foreigners and doctor is from outside the EEA, we wouldve had to visit UK 2 times, once to 'apply' for the right to marry, and then a month or two later for the wedding. finland was an obvious option, but with so many friends and family there i had a feeling it could turn stressful and one-sided. and actually we started feeling like getting married in a 3rd country would be nicely impartial and whimsical :) although Vienna is not 100% impartial, me being born there. and my father lives there, that was a practical bonus. since we were heading to Budapest in August for Sziget, and its a few hours from Vienna...  and the Austrian requirements were quite feasible... 
what Austria requires for a foreigner's wedding;
  • certified copies of passports
  • birth certificates (with apostille)*
  • proof of residence*
  • certificate of no impediment (ie. paper saying youre eligible to marry)*
*has to be translated to German by a certified translator
luckily both finnish and turkish magistrates could print birth certificates and certificates of no impediment in german directly. i was especially surprised it was possible in turkey, too. in finland i had to pay for apostilles and wait for a week (i did this during my trip in helsinki). in turkey everything was free and they printed them while you waited - u never know when turkey surprises you...  there was a slight setback when the austrian registry office realized id been born there. they then wanted an Austrian birth certificate from me, but once i gave them info where in Vienna i had been registered (my father had to dig deep to remember!), they found it on a computer and it was fine. that brought up the 2nd issue; i had been given my fathers surname at birth. so i had to get a decree from the finnish magistrate about my surname change.... frustrating. BUT considering i learned this on a friday at noon, and with the help of a friend in Helsinki and priority mail, i arranged the paper to the Viennese registry office by monday morning at 9am....  i think i did well. overall, collecting the papers took us a couple weeks, and they processed everything in about a week.the Viennese registry office (specifically a woman named Bettina) was super helpful, speedy in replying & very friendly, we were really happy with them.

to get a certified copy of my passport, i had to get it translated to turkish, the notary could not otherwise deem it as genuine... this is what a passport translation looks like :D

i always said that i would not get married in turkey. i cant rationalize it, i admit its mostly psychological. its like im just trying to avoid the government and everything official, i dont want any more "legal ties" to this country, although i know that being married here doesnt really tie me to anything...  in fact there are perks in being married to a turk, some things get easier and you get gov health insurance via your spouse. if i want to give any practical excuses, id say the paperwork & compulsory blood tests for a foreigner to marry are too much work. and that the registry offices (or 'wedding halls'), while its considerate that they have made them very festive and pompous, are not to my liking style wise. but its possible to have the ceremony outside the registry office too. also, from the get-go, they would force me to take doctor's surname. i could then file a request to have a double surname, which is now possible for women, but NOT men. finally, while turkeys marriage law is generally european (being adopted from switzerland), divorce can be a bit trickier. hoping it wont go to that, of course, just being rational.

(turkish wedding halls, brought to us by google images - fair use?)

having a small ceremony (and keeping it a secret) was a major lifesaver, considering how stressy i can get even over a house party...  in this process i nevertheless got stressed, mainly for the paperwork in june, when we were waiting for the austrian registry office to confirm everything and it was cutting close to their 'registration deadline'. and when we first decided on Vienna and my father called around, we learned all of august was booked and the first available times were in october! wtf! the whole thing started very nonchalantly, "lets just go to a registry office somewhere, sometime...", but when i set my mind to Vienna & august, i got obsessed, as is typical of me. i pushed my father to call around for cancellation dates and considered nearby municipalities and whatnot. then, thankfully, my father got us a cancellation date on one of the days i had requested.

as the ceremony appointment we got was on the 11th, we missed Florence & the Machine who performed at Sziget on the same day. but such is life. we still made it to the festival on time basically.

it was really hard to keep this a secret from everyone. it also felt like cheating, especially when it came to close friends...:( but it was best for everyone, now no one had to think about gifts, i didnt need to answer questions, i couldnt get myself too worked up, no one could be offended about not being invited... (until after the fact...)...and then we had that small house party when we returned home, anyway.

i was never obsessed with having a wedding, but i did know that if i have one, id want Marianne to shoot it. we met through photography like 10 something years ago...and she became an established London based wedding photographer with a distinctively wonderful style. how cool is that?  now, since we chose vienna and a small budget registry office thing, when i came around to actually thinking about photography, that seemed to go out of the window. i decided to ask her for recommendations though, like maybe she would know someone in vienna. no such luck. but within 24h i had booked her after all! so that escalated quickly... in the end photography was the one thing i really wanted to invest in; i appreciate the craft, i appreciate quality photography, i love Marianne's style and it IS nice to have memories that are visually pleasing. whether wedding or otherwise. jenni wants photos!

photography put some pressure on me though, wardrobe wise etc. while at times i was pretty uninterested in what to wear, the thought of it being etched in jpg's made me really think twice. same for doctor's attire. being so photography focused has its price...

which shirt for doctor??!

we both felt like keeping our own surnames was sensible, and rings were not so important either. we can get something later perhaps, something to wear on special occasions...but i dont see myself wearing the same ring every day everyplace. there was no time to try and find suitable rings anyway, im so picky. 

considered these shoes, too. but in the end felt like shoes deserve some more attention, so they oughta be pink! 

picking a dress was hard. finding anything from a shop here seemed impossible so i headed to new or 2nd hand, i didnt care at this point, i got potential dresses for a few pounds + postage and tried my luck. then i took them to the tailor of course, i hate O-necks and babydoll style and nothing is ever exactly how i want it... 

some candidates;

this is my chosen dress, before and after a visit to the tailor (neck & dress part changed). 

August 30, 2015

yay to finding new places

my friend Carilyn just moved to a new flat in central Istanbul (like, the european center). very nice cute place. i went over to check it out last wednesday, she cooked and we had some wine.

ive been thinking about this relocation thing again (surprise!). during summer and when life is smooth and the political situation "calm" (between elections now, not much happening), life in Istanbul and specifically Kadiköy is sweet. aches to think about leaving this. looking out of the window now, with the sun shining, friendly neighbors and a guaranteed 27-32 degrees for at least a another couples weeks or so... not to mention the new Cuban restaurant downstairs that has REAL nachos!! but i know that's only the other side. when i read about censorship, new laws taking turkey back to stone age, police brutality and occasionally the is general unrest... and the car repair shop takes zero responsibility over the shitty repair work...and i find new moldy corner in the house and i know the landlord doesn't give a shit... and the grocery store cashier cannot see their own mistake after overcharging me and will argue it (prolly cos she is half illiterate, but nevertheless).... mmm. yeah.

no country is perfect though. mold is a worldwide problem anyway, and im sure you get to argue with car repair shops everywhere. but there are various 'levels' of these problems, and some countries have implemented structures to deal with them and to protect consumers.

the open terrace of Rock n Rolla next to our home. hadnt been there for like...months? so we had one drink with doctor the other night. 

i wanted to write a wish list for an ideal city to live in. (there is a pre-condition of english being the official language).
  • a developed/western country
  • wide variety of restaurant foods & cuisines available
  • multi-cultural
  • good public transport options
  • decent quality & modern (yet somewhat affordable) housing
  • possibility to live in a central area, with shops/restaurants/life around
  • big & central city (the capital or of similar importance, a hub for business etc)
  • lots of stuff to do, possible acitivities
  • nice weather, long summer
  • processed foods available (microvaweable meals etc)
  • organic/free range etc foods available
  • large varieties of western brands and products (eg. Cheerios, nachos, H&M, bra strap stickers, steak seasoning with fake smoke taste...)
  • good education system
  • good health care system
  • low income gap
  • with decent travel opportunities (=location and & distance...)
  • political and economical stability
  • safety (general safety on the streets plus safety as a country)
  • generally liberal people & attitudes around (relative, but i mean when i wear a mini, men dont stare)
  • fast internets
  • decent variety of alcohol which is affordable
  • decent to good work opportunities in IT & healcare 
  • good online shopping opportunities
 i was also gonna add the metric system, but meh, whatever. 

i think i just described Helsinki? :D minus weather, multi-culturalism (and language pre-condition). maybe the city size...   anyway im not surprised. i bet finns in finland dont feel like they have half of those things, but everything is so relative...  we are never happy with what we have anyway. thats especially a first-world problem.

i hate when this happens to shoes i really like. its not that i used them so much, the fake leather just deteriorates with time...

video: kitties wrestling
tumblr: anonymous essays on female orgasm
hurriyet daily: on the suffering horses of istanbul island

i cooked from the party leftovers the other day. cheese, sausage, tomatoes... 

August 25, 2015

eating party leftovers

Sinquefield Cup 2015 has started. means chess games live streamed with commentary! so far i am not liking the commentators actually, but okay, whatever. it's still fun listening/watching.
before the wedding i got this idea of getting a notebook and titling it "i love you so much because..." and then writing one reason per page.  as a gift to doctor. so i bought a notebook and soon learned it doesn't have nearly enough pages!! :D i had to go and buy another, this time paying more attention to the page count. 96 pages would have to do!

reasons include " are a watermelon specialist" " have good teeth" "... you don't drink like a Finn" " are humble" " are an atheist" " show me a lot of attention & affection" and so forth :)

i think i got this pretty genius idea before our holiday. we were gonna use this large fabric tote at the festival, and i sometimes use them in the summer too. but finding your phone from a bag full of stuff can be hell! also, what if it's at the bottom or side and you hit the bag onto something hard and the screen cracks? unlikely, but...  so inside the tote, i sewed a small loop, onto with i can hang this karabiner, which itself has an ankle sock attached to it...  perfect for slipping in a smart phone :D with the stretch the phone won't drop out, yet its easy to put in and pull out, and the sock provides some protection and the whole system makes it easy to locate the phone. yeah, im a genius, no news there.

despite requests to forget about gifts, we did receive some wedding gifts...   

a friend of doctors gave us these fancy turkish coffee cups. im now sure how they match our otherwise ikea-ish style, but well, there they are.
 a friend living in the UK gave us London related things, this cool iluustrated book and shot glasses among them. she knows we plan to move to London, so that was the theme. very thoughtful and cute, it's nice to have *someone* to "support" our plan!

my stepmom gave me this handmade backpack. she makes these out of aluminium can ring pulls.... seriously cool looking stuff. this bag too is very well designed, with a smaller pouch inside. the bags are durable but lightweight. innovative, ecological and different looking. 
soda can tab ring pulls bag DIY

of course a few people wanted to give a traditional turkish wedding gift, the gold coin. in turkey, its usually cash (bills) or a gold coin - no other options. there are a few different coin sizes - i think this one is from the bigger. no idea of value - too much!

another friend gave this cool frame where we could stick photos or cards to. we dont really do photo printing so maybe cards then...

Buenos Aires Independent Film Festival just made a whole load of films (which theyve previously screened) available for online viewing. awesome!

August 24, 2015

'summer 2015 party' report

our house party was pretty epic, even if i say so myself. but we have witnesses that agree :) the price tag was pretty epic too - i estimated it to come around to turkish monthly minimum salary. but that was a choice we made, wanted to go all out for once and share an unforgettable experience with our friends :)

food wise, i only made a salmon pasta salad, and Carilyn helped me in putting it together. also i accepted one "food donation"; finnish meatballs from Melisa. the rest of the stuff, turkish pastries, mezes, chocolate chip cookies we bought. oh, and i did make some cocktail snacks with foreign cheese :) we also ordered pizzas - even one with real prosciutto - so no one was left hungry!!
on the drinks side of things, doctor prepared fruity jello shots.
i like gelatin too so went for the vodka-liqueur infused gummy bears. berry vodka, cointreau and lime juice (not sold in turkey so doctor hand squeezed almost half a liter...). 24h in the fridge.

i also studied cocktails and bought glass jars to prepare drinks beforehand (make the drink, place jar with lid in fridge, or freezer, if prepping just before serving). i made 23 different cocktails using vodka, gin and tequila as base spirits. now that was fun! import liquor is so expensive in turkey you dont see middle class drinking cocktails...almost ever.
then i made a drink of my own from this finnish sweet & sour, licorice based candy (Turkin Pippuri hot & sour). infused a bag of candy in vodka, in a glass jar. it came out syrup-y, first tasting like cough cyrup, but then giving a sour back kick. it was well liked. i served it in shot glasses.

my cocktail recipes on our kitchen cupboards.

individualized punch glasses, of course...   (plastic table cover makes cleaning easier!)

 our fridge was packed!

 the guys corner...   and pizza leftovers.

for toasting, and pure enjoyment, we acquired 5 bottles of sparkling wine. and our guests surprised us with 3 more, as a gift. somehow they were all finished. for 17 guests, some of whom left early, even i thought this was impressive (considering all the other alcohol consumed, from whiskey to wine to finnish salmari, and the punch and shots of course).

today i have heard reports of extended hangovers. in addition, 2 individuals 'found each other', and exited the party together.... so i consider that a success.

the minus with holding parties is that with quite a bit of focus spent on "hostessing", and so many people, you dont really get to talk with anyone. you exchange a few words here and there but thats about it. nevertheless, i love hosting parties.

i think we went to bed around 4. the last couple hours were dance oriented, were were only a handful of people, getting somewhat drunk, and air guitaring ensued.

the smokers formed another party on the balcony. where my dear friend Carilyn also gave a speech (under pressure from others). it was appropriately short and sweet ending in something like "...and here's to doctor and jenni not marrying their cousins." :D there is a reason she was pushed to say something.

i got off pretty easy hangover wise. i woke up feeling kind of decent, and went for water right away, and as i felt a headache maybe coming on, i made the executive decision to get a hair of the dog. cos once a hangover goes bad, it's pretty hard to fight off. and whether it was that drink, or just luck, my day has been ok. some of our friends stayed overnight in our guest room and were less lucky. i think its also that doctor had me drink water before going to bed...  (reason #127 why i love him).

August 21, 2015

the playlist is ready

i caught a cold on our last day of holiday. i guess the crazy monsoon rains of budapest got to me. so now im sneezing and feeling fuzzy. should be fine by friday? saturday is our house party so i need to be at my best!

doctors mom added me on FB, i guess i am officially family now?

wanting to keep good relations with neighbors here, which in our case means the neighboring shops (pharmacy, butcher, corner shop...), i took the marriage as a good excuse to buy some baklava and then go around offering it & sharing the news. turks get excited over marriages, and maybe a few of those people are semi-traditional so they were pleased to hear we're "official"...

now its time to start cleaning and prepping the house for the party. we just made an rubbish bin from a cardboard box (putting a trash bag inside), practical for the living room where most of the plastic cups etc collect. christmas lights on the balcony for smokers. googling feverishly for cocktail recipies. ordering juices and sodas (the heavy stuff) online, grocery store delivers without charge. 

then once i had all the ingredients and things, i installed a cocktail app and started trying different mixes that i can make. i used a tablespoon and made these tiny teeny little "drinks", just to get an idea how gin works with the suggested ingredients etc. it was fun. and i learned a lot! i wrote down recipes and feel prepared now.


August 19, 2015

Sziget report

back home from holidays! Vienna & Sziget were good, both eventful in different ways. although in our short stay in Vienna i found it really "slow", like, everything closed and even the magistrate was like a tomb minutes before our scheduled thing, we were wondering if we were in the wrong place or something. geez. i know august is a holiday month in Vienna but i got a little annoyed. Sziget was amazing like last time, just much more expensive. i guess they figured they can really cash in on (mostly) european travelers & party people (441 000 visitors this year!). but festival wise it was great. the scorching dry heat (36C) was a bit tough, add dusty air and it can get tiring.

i was a little busy in Vienna with my mind elsewhere so i didnt take too many snapshots which is a shame. kind of knew that going in, but u cant always have everything and thats the way it is. will post something later i guess...

but with Sziget fresh in my mind i have to write it out!

i love train stations arriving to a new country. the smells, architecture and people give you this sense of a new beginning. like a journey is about to start.  Budapest was no exception. although ive been there before, doesnt make a difference. only 2,5h from Vienna!

another thing that gives you an exciting sense of something about to start; the bridge to Sziget which welcomes 'szitizens' in many languages . 

laying down & degydrating in the heat. doctor looking through the program. 

the sunsets were beautiful. 

finnish-swedish comradery. 

main stage. 
 just people.

H&M's carousel. 

relaxing area was relaxing. 
 Sziget beach.

one of the main reasons i love Sziget is the many installations and artsy constructions for people to enjoy.
 Tedx tent.

light tunnel.

our camping area which was very cute in the night.

tent door was better left open to get some air in. on the last night when it rained heavily and we had to close it, we slept very poorly, suffering from lack of oxygen. some seams also leaked and we had troubles keeping our stuff dry (and couldnt, actually). but thats camping life! overall a nice experience. 

nachos and deep fried chicken. we also enjoyed wok, thai, italian bread, NY style hamburgers, hungarian flat bread, pasta and many other tasty things. i think this is *the* music festival for foodies, like a good balance of selection and quality.

one of the theatre shows we enjoyed. 
 the wine yard (selling wine by the jar/bottle)

enjoying late afternoon while listening to main stage.

argentinian Fuerza Bruta's show was cool. 
 i love festival nights, with the bright lights.

at the art area we tried sculpture making and did a musical instrument from an old keyboard. the projects and crafty opportunities are fun to do during the day while sailing between stages and relaxing. a lot of NGO's, organizations and even EU had their own tents.  museums also had representation and activities.
jazz & classical stage was the perfect place to relax and wind down in the noon/afternoon. its does not seem like the kind of music i typically listen to but it was fitting, kind of mainstream and suitable for all.

there was a love chapel, for szitizens to get married. providing a sziget marriage certificate and all. we felt like the certificate we got a couple days earlier was enough so did not re-marry in Sziget (to be honest mainly cos they required you to buy cheap rings as part of the fun, and since we already opted out on rings). 

the "LGBT tent" featured documentaries, discussions, drag shows and cabarets. very cool party atmosphere. 

at the festival we spent some time with my finnish friends who were there, Ella & Sam, and then they ran into some more finnish people and we started all hanging out together in the evenings. they had this huge blue tarpaulin that we spread on the ground and sat on. eventually it got "somewhat" dirty though...

i was not impressed with the festival  line up to be honest, or perhaps it just wasnt my year. i was not interested in Avicii, Ellie Goulding nor Limp Bizkit, even if i recognize the hit songs. but im not a huge fan of live concerts anyway, it suits me quite well to just sit in the back and have the bands play what they play. I did want to see Interpol though and did enjoy the gig.  

back to civilization after the festival, in the city of Budapest. first things first; sushi (probably the only food not represented at the multicultural festival)