Monday, January 30, 2012

After these Messages

Blue mosque 8
Remember those TV shows that used to send you to commercial by saying, "We'll be right back after these messages..."

This crazy project I'm working on has finally reached the point where something has to break - and since work (like those commercials) pay the bills, I'm going to take a bit of a blogging break until we hit our deadline.

Until then, here is the song I sing the most these boss' ring tone which seems to go off every few minutes. It's become a bit of a running joke in the team - the phone rings, we all sing, then we start giggling because frankly, we aren't that good.

Michael Buble - Feeling Good Pin It

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Headed North

I'm making a surprise (to me) trip to Switzerland for work in the next few days.

I'm praying it won't be too cold and snowy - I'm packed for life in Turkey not Switzerland, and while I consider myself an experienced packer, a surprise trip like this can find the best of us shivering.

These photos are from my trip in October - and I'm sure the weather won't be this nice - but a girl can hope. If nothing else I plan to enjoy the cheese and chocolate.

I got bored last week and needed some new music and stumbled across Scooter McGavin's list of awesome mash-ups - I fell in love with Mighty Mike's Eden Snow.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

As the Storm Rolls Through

2012.01 Istanbul (5 of 20)
The past few months have felt a bit like being in a storm - at times so dark and cloudy I couldn't see too far ahead, and yet there was always beauty in those bright flashes of light and the ever changing landscape.

2012.01 Istanbul (9 of 20)
Today, I'm just starting to see a corner of blue sky telling me the worst is over. That life will get back into a more normal rhythm, one that includes weekends and work weeks that don't cross the 80 hour mark! I'm excited to find that new normal.

2012.01 Istanbul (11 of 20)
Until the sun peaks its head out again - I'm going to enjoy the last of the clouds as they rush by and look forward to those sunny days I know will come.

Alexi Murdoch - Toward the Sun Pin It

Monday, January 23, 2012

Brunch on the Water

2012.01 Istanbul (1 of 20)
Last weekend we decided we had to get out of the office, so we headed down to a cafe on the Bosphorus for brunch. The cafe was on a wharf out over the water, the view was spectacular and the food was wonderful.

2012.01 Istanbul (3 of 20)
After weeks of non-stop work, I couldn't believe how energised I felt after a few hours away from the computer. And it made me so eager to explore the different neighborhoods here in Istanbul - it seems like they all have their own unique personalities - one of my very favorite parts of living in a large city.

2012.01 Istanbul (6 of 20)
Being this close to the water was such a peaceful way to spend the morning - even if it did leave me wanting to find a friend with a boat so we could sail up and down the Bosphorus! I can see it now - a boat, a picnic and Brooke Fraser singing: Sailboats.

2012.01 Istanbul (7 of 20)
Are you a brunch fan? It may just be my favorite meal to eat out - there is something inherently lazy about it - you don't go to brunch expecting to hurry - you go expecting a relaxed experience, and all that lovely food. Pin It

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Musings

Music Shop
I can't believe I have just 3 more weeks left here before I head home for a break. Istanbul has been a great experience and even though work has meant that I haven't had a ton of time to explore, I've seen enough that I'm already anticipating my next trip. Not only will the days be getting a bit longer by the time my next trip rolls around, I won't be working weekends any more so I'll have time to explore and see more of the city.

Night time walk
I feel like I haven't even scratched the surface of all there is to explore here, it seems that at every turn there is something new that fascinates and intrigues me. I can wait to see and experience more of the art, design and culture.

I hope you have an amazing weekend! Do you have anything fun planned?

AM - What You Hide Pin It

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pieces of Me

I was searching for a photo challenge I could participate in this year. With my work schedule I knew most wouldn't work and I'd give up a few weeks in because I couldn't fit it in, but when I saw Urban Muser's In the Picture Challenge I knew I'd found just the thing.

Not only will the challenge keep me focussed on taking photos and improving my skills, it will force me to do something that scares me - take photos of myself and share them. I've seen other self-portrait ("selfie") challenges out there and have been intrigued but also terrified at the thought of participating. But I've decided it is time to overcome that fear.

Every couple of weeks there will be a prompt for a self portrait - I'll do my best to capture something and then work up the nerve to share it here. Twenty-six photos in a year - even I should be able to keep up.

The first prompt, pieces of me, let me ease myself into the project.

Selfie 12.1.12

At the very least this project will at least help me learn had to use the timer on my camera!

My hands feature prominently is this week's photo, which had me humming an old Dido song, Take My Hand.
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Monday, January 16, 2012

Unobstructed View

IMG_1667 WM
Not long ago, work took me to the main Istanbul City office. I had heard from my coworkers that the view from the office building's cafeteria was amazing - and they were right! It was a fantastic vantage point to see some of the mosques, the aqueduct, the Bosphorus and a large part of the central city.

IMG_1662 WM
One thing I've loved about working here is that most offices have a cafeteria and lunch is served to everyone free of charge. I love not having to worry about packing a lunch, or finding time to go out. But I also love sampling some of the local food and have gotten to know the server in our small office well enough that even though we don't speak the same language, he's figured out I don't eat meat - and always want smaller portions.

IMG_1671 WM
But the thing I like most is that everyone: from the head of the office, to the receptionist, to the cleaning crew all eat together. It breaks down walls in a unique way. It is a custom I think would work well in more places. Of course, it would be best if all office cafeterias' had a view like the one from the City office.

The project I'm working on Istanbul is still taking up all of my time - including my blog commenting time - I miss checking in with my blogging friends so I can't wait til life gets back to a somewhat normal schedule.

Death Cab for Cutie: Unobstructed View

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Bliss

Corner Shops
Are you as ready for Friday as I am? Even though we are working through the weekends right now, there is something about the arrival of Friday which makes me happy. What is your favorite way to unwind at the end of a long week? Do you like to go out on Fridays? Or do you like to spend them at home planning how you'll spend your weekend?

The Corner
Lately Friday has been an evening for me to take a breath and catch up on a bit of entertainment from home, maybe one of my favorite TV shows, a book - or even just a bit of music. Is it possible my Friday night preferences are a sign of my age.

Almost like home
Just when I start to feel homesick, I'll walk by something like this, and remember our world is smaller that it used to be.

A song to carry you into the weekend, Fink: This is the Thing.
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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Local Color

Spending so much time over the past 6 years traveling and exploring new countries has given me a greater love for color, pattern and design. As I walk through the streets I find myself seeking out those sites that are not only unique to the local but that showcase the color, pattern and texture of each city. India was so rich in this way that it sparked my interest in photography. Until I started spending large amounts of time there, I routinely said I was a terrible photographer and had given up trying. But in India I became determined to improve - I so badly wanted to create the kind of photos that would capture the amazing things I saw every day.

I still have so much to learn, but I love knowing that Istanbul is a city full of inspiration that will encourage me to keep trying.

What motivates you to keep creating - even when you aren't improving at the rate you thought/hoped you would?

I heard this song on a TV show last week and it drove me nuts until I tracked it down. I knew it was a cover, but for the life of me I couldn't remember who had released the original - maybe because the two sounded so very different, which for me is a sign of a great cover. Lissie with a cover of Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters." Pin It

Monday, January 9, 2012

Turkish Delight

Sweets Shop
I had heard of Turkish Delight before arriving here - but honestly I had no idea what it was. I've now learned it is a sweet gel made of starch and sugar. It comes in what seems to be endless varieties, some that I like more than others. My favorite so far is a variety filled with nuts and covered in dark chocolate (because let's be honest, pretty much everything involving dark chocolate, or chocolate of any kind, is delicious.)

Sweet Shop 4
You can buy it everywhere - the grocery store, the corner market and in sweet shops - I'm convinced the Turkish have a bit of a sweet tooth judging simply by the number of Turkish Delight and Baklava shops I see.

Sweet Shop 3
Since it is January, and like everyone else, I'm focussed on eating healthy, I'm avoiding making purchases as these shops. Wish me luck.

Have you tried Turkish Delight? Do you have a favorite variety or brand I should try (when I give up my January healthy ways?)

Just for fun, here's what I listened to while I wrote this post: Lykke Li, I Know Places.

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Friday, January 6, 2012


Down the street
A few weeks ago I spent a few days in Ankara, the national capitol of Turkey. I was there for work meetings so I had very little time to explore, but here are a few shots I managed to get. This first one was a winding street next to a restaurant where we stopped for lunch. It reminded me of streets in India and Nepal for some reason.

Dried fruit and nuts at a local market. I'm still trying to find time to visit the spice market here in Istanbul, I hear it is amazing.

Veggie Plate
This may be the best meal I've had here in Turkey yet - an amazing veggie plate. (Yes, Mom, your kid who hated vegetables has finally grown up.)

Looking up - I loved the grid lines and circles, with just a hint of the sky above.

I've been reading through the best of 2011 music lists and I've loved how much attention The Civil Wars is getting, one of my favorite discoveries this year, here's their  Poison & Wine.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year's Decorations - Istanbul Style

In my normal life I live in the suburbs where opportunities for night photography are limited, but thanks to Kat and her frequent posts and tips on night photography, I've been looking for more opportunities to experiment. The short days that go along with this time of year - and living a little closer to Istanbul's center means I've had more opportunities than usual to test my skills. It is clear I still have a lot to learn, but I've enjoyed the process.

Holiday Lights
When the holiday lights and decorations started to go up here I was a bit confused. I knew Christmas wasn't widely celebrated so I couldn't figure out why there were holiday decorations everywhere we went. A few questions later I knew it was for the New Year's celebration - which over the years has adopted more and more of the customs that I typically think of belonging to Christmas.

Marmara Forum Tree
Are you picking a word for the year? Setting some resolutions? I felt like picking a word for 2011 (present) worked well for me - it stayed in the back of my mind and guided my decisions and actions in a positive way. I wasn't even sure I was going to pick a word this year, and then last week as I was doing my daily round of blog reading I found my word - deliberate.

I'm an easy going person, which works well for me since work requires me to move frequently and to adapt to new places, cultures and projects. But it also means that I can get into the habit of letting life just flow along. This year I want to be more deliberate in my choice and see if I can guide my life in the direction I want it to go instead of just coasting along with life.

How about you? Have you picked a word? Set some resolutions?

Here's a little Death Cab, "The New Year."

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Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Eve 2012 - Istanbul

I celebrated the new year with part of my work family in Istanbul at a great restaurant with an incredible view of the Bosphorus. Two Australians, an Indian, a Brazilian, an American and a Swiss all celebrating together in Turkey, a great way to ring in the new year. We joked that looking through our photos this morning might make us feel like we were in the movie "The Hangover." Luckily it wasn't quite that bad.....

JS and CT
At the beginning of the night, nice and normal.







I hope you had as much fun celebrating as we did.

The song that played at midnight for us, that had us all singing along: The Black Eye Peas: The Time.
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