Saturday, March 29, 2008

Answer: stomach flu and rain
Question: what are the two worst things to bring along on your vacation

Our week-long meandering car trip down to the idyllic and as yet uncrowded southern coast of Turkey was, let's just say, not our best ever. Darcy managed to get sick in the car and in the middle of the night so both the car and the hotel room were quite fragrant. Poor thing. The only sunny day we had she spent with fever and in various stages of sleep. Knock wood, no one else managed to pick up the bug. She has recovered nicely as well.

To Lucas, it was the best holiday ever because the small B&B we stayed came complete with a 6-year-old boy to play with, free of charge! The only drag was that Bora had to go to school each day and wasn't available to play 24/7. I took the two boys to the nearby beach one afternoon. The sun was shining, we were in a small cove, steep hills on either side and across the water. I was sitting on a rock, enjoying the warm sun on my face as I could hear the gentle tinkling of bells on the sheep nearby. And then this...

Do you know Watch!! And I'm Optimus Prime...ime...ime!

My quiet reflection was ground to a halt by the echoing shouts of two little sets of ribs and shoulder blades, one topped by stick-straight blond hair, the other by a mound of brown curls. Two little bodies racing through the still-chilly water, oblivious to the cold. The milky white one and the toasty brown Meditteranean one. Gorgeous. They couldn't have had a better time. Together they fought the dark forces of evil in the courtyard of the B&B, each getting stuck in the tree and after crying and examining their war wounds, climbing right back up again.

Unfortunately, their powers were not quite strong enough as the dark forces of weather conspired against us and the rain appeared. Being the off-season, there wasn't much to do if you weren't out and playing in the water, on a boat, or hiking around. After much debate, we decided to cut our losses and head back to the big city. We still had a few days left at home to chill out and just relax.

Back to school and work on Monday. The itch to do some serious spring cleaning has struck and I am driving everyone nuts by furiously emptying closets and creating piles of stuff everywhere to go through. I am making progress and will soon have closet closure!

If you ever find yourself in southern Turkey, about 40 minutes south of Marmaris, we can highly recommend Jenny's House in Selimye ( Jenny and her husband Mehmit, their son Bora, along with their family, run a beautiful little B&B with spotless, comfortable rooms, amazing breakfast and a great little village to explore. She also offers dinner if interested, and the food is delicious and a real bargain. We hope to go back again soon!

Friday, March 07, 2008


I have these moments, very infrequently, where I will be in the middle of what is most likely a very normal situation and suddenly have a momentary glimpse of what I’m doing and where I am and think, How did THIS happen? Not exactly an out-of-body experience, though that would be interesting. It’s more of a combination of wonder and usually appreciation, though occasionally mixed with annoyance, depending on the circumstances.

I have one about a week or so ago, when i went out early in the morning to grab a loaf of bread from our local newsstand because I had forgotten my list at the grocery store the day before. It’s was early, about 7 a.m. and quiet. Quiet except for the swishing sound of young men washing cars. Out where we live, in our compound and the neighborhood nearby, some of our neighbors employ men whose job it is to take care of “stuff.” And one job they have is to wash the cars on a daily basis. Not a simple bucket and sponge scenario, but a hose attached to a broom and loads of soap and water. Every day. Can you imagine how much water they are using? Not only is it environmentally criminal, but with the cost of house and garden water rising constantly, it must be obscenely expensive. Let’s just say I don’t see them using “grey” water or a tank of rainwater they’ve collected. Different strokes for different folks.

And I thought, for just a moment, How did a little girl who grew up in a small town in the middle of nowhere, where we used to wash our big ‘ol station wagon in the driveway once in a while when we wanted extra allowance go from there to a place where our neighbors have staff who wash their multiple cars every day??

I remembered a time last year when the kids noticed the daily car washing of our neighbor and I used it as a math lesson. They both thought this would be a great job and we tried to figure out how much money they would earn if they washed cars all day and charged what they charge at our local tire garage/oto yikama (car wash). The predicted salary we calculated, to them, sounded like a fantastic wage. I decided not to ruin their dream with the harsh reality of adult perspective.

This feeling of surreality (I do realize that this is not a real word but sums up nicely what I’m feeling at the moment) has continued with a quick trip to Dubai, where I am at the moment. I trailed along with Matt on a business trip at the last moment. IFC has this nice benefit where Matt earns “spouse points” for every night he’s away from home on business. Once he’s collected enough spouse points, he can trade up for a better spouse. No, just kidding. Once he’s collected enough points, I’m allowed to go along for the ride. Or, as I sometimes think of it, once the spouse has had enough of the draining, frustrating, mind-numbing job of being a single parent while the other spouse is away and is just on the edge of losing it, along comes a free business class trip ticket to salve your open oozing wounds. I think you have to earn 200 points, which translates to 40 weeks away from home. Oy!

So here I am in Dubai which, to me, looks like a cross between a enormous construction site, a movie set and Disney World. In the middle of the desert there’s a ski slope, large swaths of green, and intricately shaped man-made islands full of luxury villas, the scope of which I could have never imagined. The place literally oozes money. Luckily, one of my pals from Istanbul moved here last year so I am balancing the bizarre with a great big healthy dose of catching up with a good friend.

And, I have to admit, with the sun shining, no one to worry about but myself, and wait staff scurrying nearby to bring me a drink by the pool at the slightest glimpse in their direction, I appreciate this brief dip into surreality.