Saturday, September 25, 2010

"And Under It All, She Was Wearing Really Sassy Leopard Print Ballet Flats"

We're on an eight-day trip to Parts of Turkey As Yet Unseen, and I've been fighting for hours with the Internet access here at the guest house, so I'm just going to slam this thing out into the ether during my three minutes of connectivity (albeit "very low" connectivity--akin to how we feel back in the village of Ortahisar).

My husband's parents flew in from Minnesota this week, and so we've come to Istanbul to meet up with them.  Here, in Istanbul, the lot of us has remembered how much we like a big city; in a way, coming here feels like re-entering the real world after floating around an extended dream.  Don't get me wrong:  life in Ortahisar has its benefits, and it's been providing us with more authentic experiences than we get in Days as Tourists...but for now, during these Days as Tourists, we're just having a really good time.

Let me put it this way:  after seven weeks of Nescafe, I'm currently drinking a latte from Starbucks.  In the States, I don't so much like the Starbucks.  But here?  After Nescafe?  Starbucks is my new boyfriend.

So, yes, we're seeing the sights of Istanbul--yesterday, the palace of the sultans (called Topkapi Palace) and the Grand Bazaar (everybody high five me for bargaining twenty lira off the price of my new wool shawl!); and today, the spice market and the underground Byzantine cisterns.  We'll be here until Monday night, at which point we'll take an overnight bus to the Black Sea coast town of Amasra for a day and a half, and then we'll head to the national capital of Ankara, which has an apparently kick-ass museum (The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations).  Then we'll head back to Cappadocia and show our new favorite places to my in-laws before they head off alone for a few days on the Aegean. 

I'm about to head off for a run here.  Groom ran along The Bosphorous yesterday and saw ten whole other runners, INCLUDING A WOMAN.  So hear this, Turkey:  I'm not the only one.  There's that other gal, too.  Stare at her, wouldya, and leave me alone?

Yesterday, at Topkapi Palace, I spent some time watching the woman in the photos below.  I'm guessing she was on her honeymoon (this palace is a hub for many Muslims, as it houses one of the world's greatest collections of Islamic relics) as she and The Bearded Hubs were holding hands.  Don't tell him, but I saw her hand!  I saw his wife's hand! And it was HAWT.  She definitely seemed to be in charge in the relationship, leading him around, taking off by herself, setting the pace.

Mostly, what I noted, outside of her spirit of independence, was how perfectly the drama of her burka suited the ancient palace, with its ceremonial chambers, treasury rooms, and harem.  Her fabric flew in the wind when she walked, and her presence fit the place ever so aptly.

As she walked around, snapping photos, I couldn't decide if having only one's eyes exposed would set one up to take excellent photographs; essentially, a woman in a burka is always seeing the world through vision the size of a camera lens...or if having only one's eyes exposed would make taking photos feel like yet another veil between the photographer and the world. 

What do you think?  Would the camera be an extension of her usual vision--or might it feel like yet another obstacle between her and the air around her?


Saturday, September 18, 2010

(Apologies to those of you who read this already over at our family's "Turkey Blog," which is associated with my husband's blog of his drawings and comics; occasionally, I'll be cross-posting between the blogs, but other times, like when I need to swear or refer to genitalia, I'll be creating separate, new posts here. This is the case of a cross-post! The "Turkey Blog" is at

"Dolmus Do-Si-Do"

At first, we were oblivous, plopping ourselves down in any available seat, attempting not to sweat on our seatmates.

Little did we know, sweat is not the issue. Sweat can be--is--shared freely. Body odor also comes free of charge.

The issue is gender. Age runs a close second.

In short, even though we've only been here a month and a half, we're now attuned to the subtleties of who can sit with whom on a crowded mini-bus (called a dolmus; we use these to get everywhere, from village to village, town to town...we used one to bring our vacuum cleaner home; we used one to tote our tv home; we used one to bring mattress-sized pieces of foam home).

Our clodhopper tourist days of the easy plop down are over. Now we know.

All power, all respect, all seating hierarchies stem from The Headscarves. Who knew a rectangle of fabric could hold such power?

Well, maybe Betsy Ross did.

However, our family was oblivious to the hidden dynamics that govern seating on the bus. Over time, though, we've clued in; we watched passengers and the driver rearrange bodies until the cryptic code of seats cracked open for us.

Here's how it goes:

Grandma In a Headscarf will always get a seat, even if it means the driver turns over his spot and just holds the steering wheel as he runs along side the vehicle.

Middle-aged and young women in headscarves, too, are assured of seats; bonus inches are afforded to those who enter the dolmus dragging a twenty-pound bucket of just-picked tomatoes.

Once The Headscarves all have seats, the hierarchy loosens a bit. Generally, all women get seats before men do. In the case of a hunched-over grandpa type, though, a non-Turkish, non-Muslim woman might be expected to stand (such as it is inside a mini-van). However, when a non-Turkish, non-Muslim woman enters a full bus, the younger men will hop up to offer their seats.

In other words, first to stand are Turkish men under 50. Next to stand are non-Turkish men who are aware that they should be offering up their seats; the truth is, tourist men usually have no sense that they should be copping to a traditional view of who sits, and so they continue to slump in their seats, backpacks on laps, managing to look pasty and sunburned simultaneously. Tourists get away with such obliviousness. Turks do not. If a Turk fails to follow the code, the dolmus driver or some other older male with a firm manner will reorganize things. Woe to the dreamy twelve-year-old boy who fails to register the entrance of A Headscarf, who fails to leap from his seat and compress his body into a 6-square-inch cower. Woe, too, to that same lad if he fails to hop off the bus and help The Headscarf with her twenty pounds of tomatoes or her burlap sack of peppers stowed in the luggage compartment below. Twelve-year-old boys pretty much have to dance attendance throughout their ride, often switching seats at every stop, from having a personal seat to--at the next stop--sharing a seat with an older man to--at the next stop--sitting on the plastic pink stool that is moved around the bus and lodged into any open space to--at the next stop--sitting up front with the driver to--at the next stop--standing in a hunch on a patch of floor between six older men.

Pre-adolescent children may sit with The Headscarves, usually on their laps once the bus fills up. Girls age 9 and under wear pink shirts that announce "Barbie Princess Carefully Sweetheart" and have their pert ponytails cemented to their skulls with no fewer than 6 hair decorations.

The last rule is inviolate, which means Byron and I choose to violate it all the time: men and women never sit together. Never. If they do, I'm pretty sure someone gets indignant or pregnant or something.

To sum up, then: women sit with women, preferably Headscarves with Headscarves and "moderns" with "moderns" and all women towards the front of the bus; men sit with men, with older men sitting up front by Their Buddy the Driver and younger men in the back where they can compare the nicotine stains on their fingers; the elderly always get to rest their aching backs; tourists crash in and throw off the whole mix; children get tossed on top of a mosh pit of mothers; and adolescents' feelings that no one understands them and the world is against them are confirmed.

This photo is a bit blurry as I shot it surreptitiously, lest one of The Headscarves of Power turn around and chide me for treating her life as a Cultural Artifact.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"Tales from the Harem"

Before we came to Turkey, I read a book of essays written by expatriate women about their experiences living outside the familiar. In many ways, the book was illuminating, as it lent real voices to real experiences and gave me a sense of what I was heading towards. About 15 essays in, though, I realized the women's stories were lapsing into predictability and that I was starting to find the rhythms and topics of the essays cliched. At one point, I actually hollered at the book, "Aw, fer crud. REALLY? Another '...then I went to the hammam for the first time, and it was intimidating until I realized I'd just undergone a rite that initiated me into the private culture of Turkish women' tale?"

Pretty much every essay--and, for that matter, pretty much every memoir I'd ever read about living in a different country--followed a pattern of:

1) move to new country with great excitement;
2) once excitement wears off, cry for awhile;
3) eventually, dry tears, throw back shoulders, and decide to work at becoming part of the new place;
4) some weeks or months or years later, have epiphanic moment, often while naked in a Turkish bath with 18 other women, none of whom have pubic hair while you do, that reminds you people are people wherever you go, and all of this cements your sense of belonging in this new home.
5) stay forever, confident that you've finally found the true home of your heart

6) ...until you maybe return to your home of origin eight years later when you realize ain't no one ever going to understand you like the peeps of your native land.

Naturally, ex-pat writing tends to follow this format because there is a predictable process of assimilation and acculturation that happens in such situations. However, I'd also argue that there's room for a little more critical thinking about who ex-pats are, where they come from--literally and figuratively--and what it is about life in a purposely adopted country that holds appeal. Clearly, it is disingenuous to intimate that there is a simple process common to everyone who consciously decides to leave behind his/her birthplace.  Some are leaving behind a system of government that rubs wrongly; some are leaving behind people who deflate them; some are heading towards love; some are heading towards the adventure inherent in The Unknown; some are heading towards a blank slate that allows for personal redefinition; some are leaving behind roles set too firmly, heading towards freedom from expectation; some are craving the isolation that accompanies living in a place without connections; some head off for no deliberate reason and discover they prefer the people they become in the new place; some discover that they feel competent, capable, complete in a location severed from a place where they felt incompetent, incapable, incomplete; some start out with the notion of traveling, randomly decide to stop somewhere for awhile, settle in without ever making a direct commitment to the place, and a few years later realize absently, "Huh. Looks like some years have passed" before drifting through another decade...or, alternately, wanting to move on but no longer knowing how rejoin the world they passively opted out of. 

No matter how it's sliced, the geographical fix offers up a fascinating study in human behavior.

All of that complexity noted, there is information to be gained from a broad overview--as in the memoirs and essays I read--of certain generalities.

Here's what we've seen in Turkey:  as far as expats go, the vast majority are women who traveled here to see the place, landed Turkish boyfriends, and didn't object to the role that cast them in (the whole Madonna/Whore split plays out pretty radically here, with Turkish men searching for expats for girlfriends while simultaneously planning their futures with Turkish wives).

Here's what I haven't seen in Turkey: expat men with Turkish girlfriends. In fact, we've only encountered one expat male, an Austrian, who has a Turkish wife, and she's notable for being, as people report in hushed tones, "from The East" (...of Turkey, near Iran and Iraq, where the world is a dramatically different place, both in terms of deep conservatism and fighting with the Kurds). She's even more notable for being a Christian and for being, we believe, Kurdish--although this last fact isn't something we can ask outright (doing so would be akin to sidling up to a seeming Caucasian man waiting for a bus on a street in Mississippi in 1952 and asking pointedly, "Are you by any chance actually a Negro?"). That she is the only Turkish woman we've met who is married to a non-Turk seems a minor afterthought.

Our new friend Elaine is 35 years old and on her third Turkish husband (this, in itself, proves how quickly holes are poked into generalizations; she's an expat whom three different Turkish men have seen as more than girlfriend material, perhaps because her commitment to culture, values, and language has slid her into a status of actually Being Turkish and not just Someone Who's Here for The Lovin').  Elaine maintains, based on no small amount of informed wisdom, that people who choose to leave their homes and families, who refashion themselves as expats, are all "broken in some way." In her case, the brokenness lies in her relationship with her mother. In other cases, the break is in self-esteem, aspirations, respect.

For me--not exactly an expat since I'm engaged more in a year of "lark-ism followed by a definite date of return to a place and people I love"--this opportunity is a time of observing people, gawking at beauty, soaking up new sounds, and finding my feet in the sand.  The bonus to spending a longer-than-a-two-week vacation here, I'm finding, is that I don't feel compelled to meet this place with the "Oh, isn't this beautiful, and aren't the people all wonderful?" thinking that is the hallmark of many highly-evolved tourists.

Because a lot of Cappadocia isn't beautiful, and a lot of the people aren't wonderful, it makes me glad to be here.  Once the glossy cover is ripped off, all the best content is revealed--and long-term visitors and expats alike get to appreciate the subtleties.  For example, the other night, I was walking through a highly-touristed village and talking to an expat American woman who's lived in Turkey for nine years; I asked her, "So what do the natives think of all these tank-topped, shorts-wearing, camera-toting beer drinkers?  I don't mean the shop and restaurant owners, necessarily, as it's in their interest to be okay with the tourists.  But what about that traditional village grandma there, in the headscarf, trying to marshal her grandson through the crowds?  Is she just pissed off inside at all these dumb people taking over her space in the world?"

I loved the answer.  American Expat pointed out, "That thinking of 'oh, the natives were so innocent and led such pure lives before the place was infiltrated by Bad People' is always crazily flawed.  It's such a product of an educated leisure culture to want to look at changes in a place and call them 'destructive.'  If you think about the history of Cappadocia, it's all about new people coming in and overriding the way things were.  It's all about one set of ideas hitting against another set of ideas, and new people coming in and settling and adding their own flavor.  The place is a mosaic--and never forget that this was the hub of the Silk Road here.  In all of its remembered history, this has been a place that has been smart enough to welcome commerce, channel it, and weave new ideas into the fabric.  So when you look at Grandma Headscarf there, never think she's upset with the tourism.  The entire foundation of her worldview is about not questioning why the newcomers are here but, instead, embracing them for what they add to the mix."

That right there is totally the kind of explanation that makes me want to put on a tank top and have a beer.  I abhore "pap" and guilt-based thinking, wherein wide-eyed ingenues write essays that exclaim "'...then I went to the hammam for the first time, and it was intimidating until I realized I'd just undergone a rite that initiated me into the private culture of Turkish women'."  Rather, I'm more a fan of the Silk Road line of thought, which makes room for grit and passion and spices and worms and stacks of gold coins rattling around woven saddlebags.

Thus, on the one hand:

It is Unflinchingly-Positive Tourist Thinking that urges me to announce that I luff, luff, luff two village girls whom we've dragged home a couple of times.  With very limited English, they've played ball, taught us Turkish vocabulary, made snowmen of Play Dough, and reminded us that we don't wash our hands enough.  I don't need to understand all the words of nine-year-olds Yasimin and Cansu (pronounced "Jon-Sue") to know they're a couple of class acts:

Cansu's grandma lives next door and wanted to come visit, so Cansu took about eight painstaking minutes to walk her bent-over babaanne up the stairs to our table.

On the other hand...

It is Silk Roadism that allows me to announce that I found the following cadre of neighborhood girls to be a serious pain in the arse.  At first, we tried to be friendly...

...but after only a few minutes, both Girl and I knew that these girls were coarse and raucous and Just a Leetle Bit Too Much.

Fortunately, because we don't subscribe to Shiny Happy People thinking, I was able to walk away from the encounter and whisper into my daughter's ear, "Crikey, but they were annoying, weren't they?  I'm all about dodging and weaving and dropping to the cobblestones when next we see them.  Oh, yea, and good job whupping them in the footrace... Little life lesson here:  if you don't like someone, it feels really, really good to trounce them in some fashion, dunnit?  Just look at how there are Muslims here now in this area that used to be all Christian.  Yea, like that."

From the simplicity of a footrace to the entanglement of religious history, in the space of a thought.  Sounds like an expat essay to me.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

"Ah, But How Much to Tip the Bellboy?"

Book me in for a week; that's all I'm sayin'.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

"Every Time I Visit The Place, I Drag Along Exponentially More Companions.  In Other Words, Because I Don't Know a Whole Lot of Folks Here, I May Need to Request Your Presence at the Kilise Before the New Year"

If my soul were on a quest, last week's sunset run down a long, dusty road could have satisfied that longing. Had I been open to it, I could have been Saved in dramatic Falwellian fashion.

However, since my soul rather revels in the liberties of its heathen state, the long, dusty run was merely cause for a loud "Well, looksie-do at what I done gone and did!"

You see, there's this church.

It's located at the end of a long, dusty road, and the guidebooks tout it as a particularly fine example of one of the earliest Christian churches due to the relatively-untouched state of the frescoes on the ceiling. Heathens or not, Groom and I do like to gawp at pretty paintings, so we decided

--based on our relationship's decade-long experience of my being unable to locate my big toe while he, blindfolded, bushwhacks a course through brambles and bat caves from our house to the next town--

to have him follow the guidebook's instructions and navigate his way to the thing first, after which he could return home triumphantly and translate the directions into Jocelyn-friendly verbiage like "You'll run straight for as long as it takes you to hum the refrain of 'Tainted Love,' and then turn left just as you're starting to wish you had a Kit-Kat in your pocket and follow that until you start daydreaming about how likable Ellen is when she dances at the start of her show. At that point, you'll just need to keep going a little bit further until you see a big rock on your right that looks like Shelley Winters did while she was holding her breath and swimming in The Poseidon Adventure. Just beyond that, you'll see something that looks like Keebler Elves live inside it. That'll be the church."

This was the plan, anyhow.

The reality had Groomeo getting up early, running for an hour and a half, and then returning home to announce, "The Rough Guide doesn't know its copyright from its Library of Congress number; once again, its information is patently false.  I followed their directions to the letter, and no church.  I found nothing."

Because I'm often concerned with peeling a banana or brushing the hair out of my eyes, I sometimes don't track all the details of every situation.  "So your run was nice, then?" I asked in response.  Sensing that might not have been completely the right response, I tacked on, "You sure are handsome when you're sweaty."

Once I cleared my eyes and smooshed the banana around on my soft palate, I did register that Mein Beloved had not found an old church.  Or had not found something vaguely church-like.  Maybe he hadn't found a museum.  But didn't my hair have sensational bounce and volume?

Ten hours later, as dusk considered relaxing upon us, I headed out for my own run (banana-free, but teeming with hair, incidentally), with nothing more than a merry "hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to run I go" dribbling through my noggin.

Thirty-five minutes later, though, the dribble slowed, and my thoughts went more, "What ho?  Is that a Keebler Elf house I see in front of me?"

Yup, seems I'd turned off my brain, clicked to auto pilot, and started moving my feet...directly to the Pancarlik Kilise, featured in The Rough Guide as a remote church worth hiking to if one enjoys a good fresco.  All it had taken was a quick jot up to the village overlook, trailing off onto a path leading through a grape orchard and squash garden, turning left at a T-bone, veering right at the fork, and always sticking to the wider road when a decision arose, finishing out with a hard left at the rusty arrow. 

You know, kind of like Shelley Winters did in The Poseidon Adventure.  Minus the granny panties and dramatic death scene.

That evening, as the sun slanted sideways across the valley, I gasped a little, and not only because I'd arrived at the church after hours and, therefore, didn't have to pay the 4 Turkish Lira entrance fee.  Entranced, I peered through the locked gate of the church and then spent half an hour hiking around the monestary and chapels.

Just as it became fully dark, I dashed into our house and announced to Groom, "Oh my God.  I found God.  Or at least, like, His house.  From back when He was a starving artist."

Emboldened by my sheer luck, His Groomishness followed my directions the next day--particularly appreciating the "look for a rusty sign that will remind you of the color of Ron Howard's hair" tip.  He, too, was awed by the valley and the notion that so many hard workers and followers of...who is it?...oh, yea, Christ...had been there before us.

A day after that, I snared Girl's attention with my tale of fortuitious rambling, and she and I walked the 4 kilometers out.  Ten minutes in, we were stopped by a farmer and his wife who were loading up their daily harvest and about to head home for their fast-breaking Iftar meal.  Pressing a wad of newly-picked grapes upon us, they stroked my Girl's hair and asked her age, which is how she has been greeted by virtually every Turkish adult.  With admirable patience for a ten-year-old from The United States, she forbore the stroking and answered with a smile.

Ten minutes later, spitting grape seeds into the dust as we walked, Girl turned to me and asked, "Is it okay if I just run?"

Speechless, remembering my formative years spent on a mustard-colored couch in the basement watching The Addams Family from a position of Permanent Horizontal, I urged her to cut loose and fly.

Trotting behind her with a fist full of grapes and a camera bag bouncing on my hip, I became lost in a dusty sea of Holy Moments, surrounded by the crags, hummocks, desolate trees, and dappled sunlight that comprise my personal notion of a place of worship.

And then, just past a rusty sign the color of Ron Howard's hair, we saw the sign.

Again, it was after hours. Again, the entrance fee was waived by default, although why the ticket seller would ever want to leave his rustic office is beyond me.

At this rate of savings, we'd be able to afford to have a family-sized pizza delivered that night. If only there were pizza. And delivery.

Alone with the setting sun, we clambered around and through the chambers carved by monks into the rocks carved by the more lasting and forceful hand of erosion.

The main chapel is gated off after hours, but that didn't keep me from shoving my camera through the bars for some snaps.  Outside of the chapel, everything else is permanently open for the climbing.  So we did.

Several nights later, we went back to Pancarlik Kilise, this time with Paco and a new family friend in tow.  This new friend is Steve Farbes, a doctor from England who is in the early months of a five-year journey.  As a tropical disease specialist, hes taking this time to bicycle around six continents to raise funds for a disaster relief organization (Turkey marks Steve's transition from Europe into the Middle East before he eventually heads down the east coast of Africa and catches a boat to the tip of South America, at which point hell work his way northwards to Alaska--thereupon catching a boat to Japan and cycling Asia).

How did we meet Steve so that we could drag him towards a rusty sign the color of Ron Howard's hair?

Well, I do have this leetle problem called jabbering at strangers.  During a year of living abroad. we're seeing fit to reclassify this "problem" as a "boon" because it's already netted us several valuable social interactions, such as the one we scored with Dr. Steve.  You see, we'd taken a day to meet up with our friend Christina and go swimming back at the pension where we stayed our first nine nights in Turkey.  As we were leaving the pension that afternoon, I overheard a guest asking where he could store his bike gear.  Having noted some posters in the village regarding a mountain bike race the next day, I assumed he was a participant, so I hauled my chlorine-scented self over to where Bike Gear man sat nursing the local beer, Efes. 

"Say, are you racing tomorrow?  I've seen the posters and am trying to figure out the race course in the chance that my family and I could get a gander at the thing."

Nope, he wasn't racing--had just seen some bikers training in the village on his way in, as a matter of fact, and that was the first he knew of it.  Rather, Bike Gear Efes Drinker turned out to be Dr. Steve, and, well, you know the story on him already.

After we chatted for a few minutes, I urged him to come visit our village during his stay in the area, to come for a meal, to come disrupt the family dynamic of Just We Four that some days feels unrelenting.  His email and blog addresses in hand, I left him to pick at the skin peeling off his nose and lips.

Two nights later, he biked over to our village, and we all mounted the next Pancarlik Kilise expedition.

The church is notable because many of the painted figures still have their faces intact; back in the 8th-9th Centuries, a split happened in the Christian church regarding the use of "graven images" and "idolatry" (look up Byzantine Iconoclasm for more detail).  Essentially, there was a big disagreement about whether or not any images/symbols beyond that of the cross should be allowed in places of worship.  Those against the inclusion of human representations in churches sharpened up all their pokey things and went around stabbing out the eyes of the figures painted on the ceilings of thousands of churches.

Frankly, such sturm und drang in the name of Who Best Acts Best pretty much makes me want to toss all The Pokers into a serious time-out and then retire to a quiet hillside and stare peacefully at a blazing orange ball of sun as it descends behind a mountain. 

All the better if Shelley Winters' granny panties perch on a nearby rock, enjoying the moment with me in communal silence.

Here's Dr. Steve, acting out the phrase "to crane one's neck" (if you have it in you, I'd urge you to visit his spunky, entertaining blog chronicling his five-year adventure and leave him a comment, as the blog and its comments are his primary contact with the outside world)

Eventually, we headed out of the frescoed church, into the open air, feeling quite fortunate to be in this place at this time,

privileged to cast our intact eyes upon all that had been wrought before us.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

"Forgive the Lack of Originality, But One Feels Compelled to Toss Out the Title of 'Ice, Ice, Baby'"

There is no clearer evidence that Groom and I are adrift in a new place, casting about for moorings, than the fact that we've become The World's Cheapest Dates. Seriously, it takes nothing to delight us.

Case in point: we are tickled-Ottoman by the way many Turks--if they have any desire to do so--make ice. For the most part, ice isn't seen, isn't done, isn't a thing. If a drink is "cold," it's been refrigerated. The idea of "take that cold and up it a tidge, please, 'til my teeth hurt" is purely a foreign, Western, touristic concept.

For business owners whose livelihood depends on making foreigners' wallets pry open, ice, then, is a thing. And, well, yes, reusable ice trays do exist. I saw them in a shop last week. Mind you, I've been in 73 shops in the last few weeks. Apparently, though, the preferred method of Those Who Need to Make Ice is

the plastic bag approach.

For sale, in many stores, is a box of ice bags, wherein small bits of each are sectioned off to make the cubes.

Once I'd heard about this method, I told His Groomishness, "I know this is one of those things that is crazily impractical, and it will make you nuts to even think we paid out money for, but, Toots, I'm charmed by the notion. So if you see these bags, grab a box, will ya?"

He did.

Even better: he was the one to make the cubes.

Even, even better: making the cubes was the best time he'd had since ingesting his first Efes Pilsen a few weeks before. He opened the box. Chuckled. Chortled. Whirled like a dervish. Filled the bags, one compartment at a time, sealing the whole thing off with an optimistic, "Freeze up now, My Lovelies!"

The next day, with no work, school, friends, or schedule to disrupt our thinking, we opened the freezer carefully. Yes. Yes.

As you might imagine, we're now faking heat exhaustion and spritzing our torsos with mock sweat in private, just to make the case for Ice Need.

Because then we get to dive into the freezer, take out the bag of smooth eggs, and tear them out of the plastic...

thus proving that, in a time when we don't speak the language, when we have virtually nothing to give us direction, it all comes down to the odd Holy Moment,

like cracking ice into a newly-bought glass,

and looking forward, in the near future, to doing some cracking with a friend.

How to say, "on the rocks" in Turkish?