06 February 2013

Learning the Ropes in Istanbul

Since Lauren just moved back to DC from Baghdad it seemed a good time for me to abandon DC for a change of my own. So, as of two weeks ago I am a resident in Turkey! Well technically right now I'm a visitor because I don't have my resident permit yet but hoping the application for that will go smoothly and I don't get kicked out after 90 days. That would be pretty inconvenient in light of my new lease and all.

Only two weeks and already it's so completely different from my move to Taipei. That was supposed to be for four months and ended up being a year and I easily found an apartment on the school bulletin board. And it came, not only furnished, but with everything an apartment needs, like dishes and cutlery. Thankfully my apartment hunt here was not nearly as painful as I feared, in fact it was easier than finding a place in DC. The difficult is trying to figure out how to live in it!

My place came fully furnished and I'm even borrowing (with permission no less!) WiFi from a neighbor. But it didn't have any kitchen or bathroom things. I got dishes, silverware, good knives, and one pot and one pan...but still need to find things like a cutting board and kitchen utensils. And while my apartment in Taipei may have already had those...at least here I just put my trash out in the hall and someone gets it. I don't have to chase the garbage and recylcing trucks down the street and toss in the bags as they drive by (totally true story-also why I can't listen to Fur Elise anymore).

Kitchen. No oven = me sad
Dining/living room

Guest bedroom

Half bath

Hallway leading to my room

Full bath-with washing machine!

My room
Not really imaginatively decorated but I'm hoping to rectify that soon. And speaking of imaginative...that's what my cooking attempts are going to be like for a while! One pot, one pan, no cooking utensils, and random ingredients purchased from the nearby market... I can't seem to find the salt in the market. I found random other spices but salt, flour, and sugar continue to elude me. I suspect they may be bulk items and will use Google Translate to find out what those words are and hopefully, by repeating them several times to people in the store, will figure out where they are.

However, one of my few Turkish words is the one for 'cheese' (peynir) and where there's halloumi, all is well!

My first attempts are making dinner with a two burner stove I have to start with a lighter and hope my hand isn't engulfed in flames in the process was simple-because I'm not capable of more than that right now. Pesto and sauteed mushroom pasta.

And I'm glad I cooked way more pasta than necessary because one of those little items I don't have yet is a drainer so I'm afraid I lost half the pasta to the sink while trying to pour off the water. I hate scooping noodles out of the sink. They feel so icky.

However a few bumps and bruises later I managed. Mushrooms sauteed with butter, fresh garlic, and pesto sauce over the noodles that didn't fall in the sink. I'm not sure if it tasted so good because it was good (other than being a little flat because of  salt issue I'm having) or if it was just the triumph.

Speaking of food in the market though. One thing that I don't think I will ever get used to, is milk that's not refrigerated pre opening. How is that possible?

And while the water in Turkey won't kill you, it doesn't taste especially good. Kind of like DC water to the 10th power. Which arguably may actually kill you. 10 liters of water is really freaking heavy, doesn't fit in the fridge, and is a little difficult to pour.

My kingdom for a Brita
And while I am happy to discover that I will not have to do without my fourth favorite food (cereal), I was a little bummed to see that all I could really get at this market was Special K and the European version of Cocoa Puffs. I don't really like Cocoa Puffs, never have. I'm a Cocoa Krispies girl. But this seems to be one of the most internationally available cereals. Better than nothing I suppose.

Also apparently here you're not obligated to leave a place in good condition when you leave. Good to know. My point though is that you do not want to see the inside of my microwave. I'm wondering how long it'll take me to clean it. In fact, I'll probably warm up my pasta dinner in the frying pan tonight.

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