Saturday, November 25, 2006

Turkey Day in Turkey!

Everyone (all the American guys) found football games on television through Alex's cable and spent many hours of the evening digesting and watching football - very American.

David (Germany), Will (Kentucky), Greg (Massachusetts), Adam (New York), Dean (Wales) and Alex (West Virginia) enjoying Thanksgiving dinner.

Jill, Alex's little sister Mary who's 15, and me in the kitchen taking care of the rest of the whipped cream from dessert!

Erin and Amy


Some Turks puzzling over how we were ever going to eat this much food...

The cooks after more than 20 hours in the kitchen in two days

Mary, Alex, and Jill. Yum!

People started to show up around 6 pm - Turkish and exchange students - and then after the gravy was done we started to eat and we didn't stop until midnight. Then Alex and I were up for the next two hours washing every single dish, glass, pot and pan that his family owned.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thanksgiving Prep

We started shopping Wednesday at 2 pm. Alex and I were back at his place by 5pm, while Max and Amy went and tracked down more turkey parts to go with our 7 kilo bird. We then got down to business and made homemade applesauce, two pumpkin pies, pumpkin spice bread, a giant apple pie/cobbler thing, rolls, a roast root veggie dish and marinated all of the turkey parts in a yummy marinade and put them in strange bags Amy and Max found to grill tomorrow.

Thursday, I got to Alex's after class around 10 am. We started by making a batch of Maple Coffee with his stash of maple syrup, and then we got down to business with the turkey and gave it a butter rub then popped it in Alex's oven. We really gave that oven a work out - the poor thing was having a really rough time. All it's knobs are broken, it won't maintain one temperature, and you have to pin it closed with a giant bulldog clip.

After that I ran home to get more pots and pans and all of our cutlery, plus did some more shopping on the way back - and backpacked it a mile or so back down to Alex's. Then we made 2 kinds of stuffing, cardamom leeks, stewed purple cabbage, ginger carrots, 8 kilos of mashed potatoes and a giant salad with candied walnuts for the 20 + people that showed up. It was SO much fun and SO delicious!

Thanksgiving Shopping

We didn't find cranberry sauce, pecans, pork fat, thyme, or green beans but we did find crazy yeast jello, purple carrots, almost-pie-pans and some sweet bowls. Modeled here on Alex.

Buying tangerines from the man from Izmir out of the back of his truck. SO good, and about a lira (75 cents) per kilo!

Max, Amy, and Alex walking down the hill to Bebek to go to the Carrefour in Istinye to go shopping for Thanksgiving!

This is one of towers to the old fortress that is between campus and the Bosphorus. That's right, our school is a fortress! We have to walk by it down the HUGE hill to get to the neighborhood Bebek.


Sarah, a Peace Corps volunteer from Vermont working in Bulgaria, took me out to a delicious vegetarian Bulgarian lunch.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Hostel Mostel

John, Jill, and free internet.

Common room in Hostel Mostel, Sofia.

Rila Monastery: Bulgaria

Monday, November 20, 2006

Bulgaria: The Train Ride

The Turkish border at 3am in the cold fog

To get into Bulgaria you are required to exit the train (at 3 am) to go get your passport stamped. This involves waiting deliriously in a long line in the freezing cold because there is only one agent checking passports for the whole train. Then, you return to the train but you have to stay awake because then the Turkish authorities will come by each compartment to check that your passport is stamped. The train then travels for maybe 30 to 40 kilometers where it stops in Svilengrad - the Bulgarian border - where the train stops again and you have to wait for the Bulgarian authorities to walk through the train stamping and checking passports. On the way there it took 2 hours, on the way back it took more than 3 hours.

L: The 2nd class sleeper car corridor R: The outside of our train

L: Aaron, Devin, Jill and Will outside our 5 rooms - each room slept three people. R: Greg, Devin, John, Jill and Kendal packed into one room.

This weekend, November 16 to November 20, a group of 10 exchange students bought one way tickets to Sofia, Bulgaria on the night train (some of us didn't get our tickets until we showed up at the station that evening). Equipped only with ATM cards, LP: Bulgaria and great enthusiasm out intrepid group departed from the Istanbul train station at 10 pm without the weight of plans or a schedule to weigh them down. After a 2 hour stop at the Turkish-Bulgarian borders and 14 hours after they departed the City of Seven Hills they arrived in Sofia in time for lunch and conscious enough to begin ciphering the Cyrillic alphabet.