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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

a system cannot fail those it was never meant to protect

This quote (attributed—albeit falsely—to W.E.B. Dubois) came up often while reading the news today. 

The above photograph is via Vox, accompanying this article

Friday, November 21, 2014

istanbul, lately


(meatball making)


(cats napping at a house in the Kuzguncuk neighborhood)

Note: It's one of Istanbul's most picturesque neighborhoods (on the Asian side, in the Üsküdar district), but be warned that the locals are extremely—and understandably—grumpy about having photos of their private residences taken. There's apparently a lot of movie, television, engagement, wedding, etc. shoots that go on there, and parts of the neighborhood really do feel like a movie set. 


(the local butcher)


(a bright headscarf on a cloudy day)


(fishing... things)


(a ferryboat)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

in case you've been wondering what i've been up to

P.S. Some other compelling and masterful storytelling about American crime and procedure (one of my favorite books, and my first gift to Josh). Another one. (And another, and another.)

Monday, November 17, 2014

fall in istanbul


(blue walls, green plants)


(green house, red flowers)


(red apples, yellow lemons)


(yellow leaves, blue trim)


(blue buckets, pink blooms)


(...and many colors.)

Friday, November 14, 2014

tips for istanbul, installment five: on atatürk

This past Monday, at around 9:05 in the morning, there was a flurry of car honking in the streets. I'm sorry to say that it barely registered because, in Istanbul (as opposed to everywhere else), you can actually make the cars in front of you disappear during bad traffic solely by honking. I know. Weird, right? 

Anyway, as it turns out, the reason they were honking is because this past Monday marked the passing of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the first president of the Republic of Turkey. He died the morning of November 10th in 1938 at Dolmabahce Palace, in which (until fairly recently) all the clocks were set to the time of his death. Poetics aside, this is probably illustrative of how much of an impact he had upon the modern-day Turkish psyche and culture. 

For example, if you're ever in Turkey, you may have noticed an image of a man with steely pale eyes staring at you from what seems like every wall, house window, lira bill, office building, car bumper, private residence, and—on national holidays—from huge 40-story flags draped down entire sides of buildings. 

Subtle, it is not.

As a foreigner in Turkey, the only really important thing to remember about Atatürk is that you will not say anything bad about Atatürk. 

For serious. It's the law. To besmirch his memory would be, at worst, a crime and, at best, an incredible cultural faux pas. It's difficult, being American, to wrap my head around this. Indeed, I can't even think of a political figure that would come close to being his counterpart in the States. I guess I could make a sports analogy using some venerated athlete, but I don't know enough about sports. 

All I can say is this: if you give an interview about motherhood in Istanbul, and then that interview is (without warning) translated and widely disseminated across Turkey, you're gonna wish you hadn't made a crack about naming your cat "Catatürk."

(For the record, I'm still into it, but Josh and I are way too commitment-phobic to get a pet. I know, we have a child. Don't think too long about that one. )

P.S. There are plenty of other things you should probably want to know about the man as well.  As the first president of the Republic of Turkey, he implemented various reforms (schooling, gender equality, secularism, democracy, the modern Turkish language, you know.... the works) which radically altered the landscape of the country and its people. If you'd like to read a biography, Josh enjoyed this one