Life consists of a series of motions taking us from one point to the next. Sometimes we travel in a group, sometimes all by ourselves. The road may get bumpy at places. We might even have to swim to cross certain currents or leap from tree to tree when having lost ground contact. Leaving our comfort zone is frightening but exciting. Motion creates adventures which are certainly not always the way we expected things to be. The journey is worthwhile though and we end up right where we’re supposed to arrive. Sometimes we just have to take risks and jump on a train without knowing its destination.
Here you can get a glimpse of a spectacular train route I’ve found myself on recently. It’s the Albula railway line in Switzerland. This line with its many tunnels and bridges has been listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. If you ever find yourself in the area, make sure to book a seat in the panorama wagon with its extended window size to enjoy the splendid view to the fullest. Enjoy the ride!
For other interpretations of Motion, have a look at this week’s Photo Challenge.
When I first came across this advertisement poster in Berlin’s district of Kreuzberg, it made me smile:
There it was, rakı, Turkey’s traditional alcoholic drink, being branded as a beverage to be enjoyed among friends to escape the fast pace of today’s daily routine: Slow is our luxury. I was smiling because I recognized a pattern in contemporary advertisement appealing to the consumers’ desire to slow down, to enjoy every moment to the fullest and to be among peers.
Having lived in Turkey myself for a considerable amount of time, I found the spirit of unrushing one’s world and sharing fitting to the Turkish way of life. I was surprised to find it paired with an alcoholic product, though. This was my first reaction to Yeni Rakı’s new marketing campaign.
In the course of the last few weeks, I started to notice the advertisement more and more scattered across Berlin announcing the Spirit of Istanbul festival which was to take place in Kreuzberg on March 14th.
I was curious to see what it was all about so I joined the party. Read more…
Kilo bir lira, kilo bir lira! I’m making my way through a mass of people. Buyurun, buyurun! Spring has arrived and the late afternoon sunrays tickle me through the tissue umbrellas extended along the lane. Kampanya! It smells of people, vegetables and garments. It smells of life.
It’s been almost a year now since I last walked through my favourite Turkish pazar in Özkanlar, a part of Izmir’s Bornova district. I remember it very vividly, though. Every Saturday, my Turkish flat mates and I would go there to buy our groceries for the week: A kilo of onions, two kilos of potatoes, another two of tomatoes, fresh green and black olives, cucumbers, eggplants and green peppers, carrots, lemons, eggs, white cheese and yufka dough for preparing börek, a traditional Turkish pastry.
After taking it all back to the flat I’d generally return to the pazar to have a look at the latest clothes collection and accessories. The vendors already knew me and were often in for a discount. One of them even gave me his number in case I’d need anything and I promised to stop by again once I’d be back in Turkey.
I must admit that the first time I visited a Turkish pazar or “bazaar”, as they are called in English, I was quite overwhelmed by the crowd, the smells, the noise, the language. Read more…
Travelling has always been an inspiring experience to me. You never know what and who you’ll encounter when on the road and you return home with a suitcase full of memories and ideas. Breaking out of the daily habits may be helpful for organizing one’s thoughts, putting things into perspective and gaining new insights.
Last year, I took up the challenge of undertaking a trip every month. The destinations were varied. Sometimes I boarded a plane, sometimes a train or a bus, sometimes I walked. I explored cities near and far. There is no need to cross an ocean to seek adventures. Even the neighbourhood may be turned into an exciting place of exploration. So I grabbed every opportunity to get to know parts of Turkey and Germany, my countries of residence in 2014, as well as other places beyond. Let me tell you: Family, friends and food were almost always involved.
Here’s where I went:
As I recently called my grandmother who lives in Colombia, I found myself speaking Spanish in a way that felt strangely unnatural: Sí sí, claro claro, bueno bueno…
It took me a moment to realize what was happening. I was speaking Spanish and yet embedding it into a Turkish structure.
Upon reflecting on it, I have noticed that repetitions are quite common in the Turkish way of expressing oneself.
Here are some examples:
Repetitions as a means of emphasis
A: Bizimle gelmek ister misin?
(Would you like to come with us?)
B: Olur olur.
(Alright (x2) [strongly agreeing].) Read more…
If you’ve been following aNadventures for a while, you may know that I was lucky to spend 1.5 years as an exchange student in Izmir, Turkey. I recently talked to Stephanie, a friend from my school who also chose to study abroad in Izmir. I asked her about her experience so far and she shared some interesting insights:
Why did you choose to spend a semester in Izmir?
For my exchange semester I was looking for a country with a contrasting and challenging culture. Turkey seemed perfect, as on the one hand it differs quite a lot from Germany, on the other hand there are still many connecting factors in German-Turkish relations and I was curious to explore them from the opposite point of view. Besides, it was a big advantage, that although not being part of the European Union, Turkey participates in the Erasmus program.
I have to admit that when I thought about Turkey, it was Istanbul that immediately came to my mind. After talking to friends, however, who had experienced both, Izmir and Istanbul, I decided to apply for Izmir, as everyone was praising the city for its quality of life.
What are your impressions after your first months in Turkey?
Throughout my time in Turkey, I experienced many moments of serenity. There’s something soothing about the country and its people, some force that keeps reminding me that life is beautiful.
The city of Izmir was my home for one and a half years. It was love at first sight. I instantly knew I’d feel at ease there. One of my favourite places is the area by the clock tower, Izmir’s most famous monument and meeting point. I’d often go there and just sit, reflecting on my life and observing the numerous bypassers. I’d feel the sun on my skin and watch the pigeons flying by. Regardless of whether it was day or night, any time I’d pass by the clock tower, I’d stop and contemplate it, taking a mind picture and feeling a smile in my chest.
For more interpretations of Serenity have a look at this week’s photo challenge.
2014 was a special year, a great one, not only because 14 is my favourite number.
A year ago this time I wouldn’t have imagined all the turns my life would take in just one year. I was still in Turkey then and couldn’t picture life elsewhere. By now, being back in Berlin feels so natural (and fabulous) again.
In 2014, I experienced reverse culture shock, I closed circles and opened new chapters, took my time, travelled near and far. My return to Canada after ten years was unforgettable. In 2014, I made spending quality time with my dear friends and family a priority. I discovered that those who really matter will always stand beside me unconditionally – a precious certainty.
Colombia participated in the FIFA World Cup and did extremely well, making every Colombian on this planet proud. Germany took home the cup which was also epic. Read more…
One of the things I actually missed when I was living in Turkey was Christmas. I mean, there’s Kirismas but it’s just not the same. I missed the German Christmas, especially the time from December 1st up until the 24th, with its Advent calendar where you get to open a present every day, the St. Nikolaus tradition, the Christmas markets, the mulled wine, sausages, cookie baking, cookie eating, the cozy evenings with friends. So I caught up on all of that this year and enjoyed every second of it. Read more…