If only we could have this life.

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Homemade meals in Kapadokya. After venturing up a 90 degree, windy, cobblestone street in our 30-person tour bus we had arrived at a small village in Kapadokya, located in the central region of Turkey. Sidar, our tour guide and much loved wingman for the past two weeks has planned every trip around Turkey for us, including places that are totally off the tourist radar, like small villages, cafes, abandoned historical sites. We even ended up on a cave hike today and he found someone he knew that was happy to see him. So with that background, back to the small village. He met this woman many years ago through travels, and she had invited us to her home and cooked us the most delicious meal I’ve had in Turkey so far. She was fascinating. She spoke no english so Sidar translated back and forth, but she wanted to know everything about us, including studies, hobbies, plans for Turkey. Her mother was in the room as well (probably around 90 years old) who was delighted to share important parts of her life such as her trip to Mecca on the hajj, choosing a husband for her daughter’s arranged marriage, and how she prays five times a day when the call to prayer sounds from the neighborhood mosque right outside their home. The carpet on the floor was hand-woven by this woman, as well as all the other beautiful garments on the low-to-floor couches, which she had learned to do when she was a young girl from her mother. Tradition in this village still stands. Men leave the house in the morning to work, drink tea, and sit outside at cafes and socialize with the other men, while the women’s job is her home. It’s crazy how different people can live their lives from what we’re used to back at home and I was very fortunate to see that today.
Turkish farmer’s market. Selçuk, Turkey. Today we were given a challenge, to practice Turkish in a real-life scenario & to buy groceries for lunch. Each group was given 50 lira & a shopping list, with item & amount in Turkish. We had 45 minutes to go around the market and buy the supplies we needed. 100% everything was fresh. and cheap. 6 tomatoes cost 1 lira (50 cents). 5 loaves of bread cost 5 lira (2.5 dollars). After John & I asked about ten people in the market questions such as “Nerede ekmek?” (Where is the bread?), every single person, without speaking a word of english, would point us in the right direction and sometimes even walk us to the stand where we could find it. To experience a fresh, Turkish farmers market but also learn to shop for a whole meal in which you do not speak the language communicated, was great practice for getting acquainted with how life works here. 

Josef Santos
Found the Williamsburg of Istanbul today in a neighborhood called Moda, Kadıköy. Filled with outdoor türk kavesi (turkish coffee) & çay (tea) cafes, old fashioned bookstores, lots of tattoos and cigarettes and street music. Number one place to go for thrift shopping and antiques according to Burak, our tourguide. Good thing is, its only a ferry ride away from our apartments and school once we settle in!