Trips before Barcelona

I’m typing this one-handed, and while I’ll proofread it, I ask that you please excuse any typos.

One of the largest difficulties in moving to Turkey has been the language barrier. This is something I’ve blogged about quite often and while I’ve graduated from “I don’t speak Turkish,” to “I speak a little Turkish,” there are some things that still require a translator–namely the doctor’s office. Talking about your body in a foreign language often requires more than “this doesn’t work” or “this is very difficult,”which brings me to today’s story.

The last month has been quite stressful, so when my friend asked if I wanted to go to Barcelona for Christmas, it was an obvious choice. It’s been a motivator at work and something I’ve been looking forward to for weeks now. So of course, while walking from the bakery to school today, I slipped on a patch of ice and landed quite ungracefully onto my left hand and tailbone. Sitting on the cold ground, confused and short-winded, I looked up to see people looking at me, but not moving to help at all. I tied to push myself up, but my left wrist didn’t want to support my weight. A sharp pain shooting through my wrist and hand brought tears to my eyes and made me sit down again. Still, no one budged to help. “Stupid Turkey,” I murmured to myself as I slowly gathered my things and leaned onto my right hand. I walked to school, cradling my left wrist in my right hand, head down and near tears in pain. I could move my fingers, but moving my wrist was a no-go. After throwing my bag onto my desk, next to my uneaten muffin from the bakery, I went off in search of ice, which is not necessarily an easy thing to find in Europe.

At this point, I was mad at Turkey and Turkish people on the sidewalk and the irony of trying to find ice for my injury and the stupid timing of my injury (I leave for Spain in two days), when I ran into my friend Julide. She could tell I was in pain and immediately took over. She searched the school for ice and walked me to the nurses office. Later, another Turkish coworker volunteered to take me to the hospital to translate for me and even kept me from slipping on another patch of ice on the way there. The wonderful women in HR made sure the hospital knew I was coming ands arranged a taxi for me, even though I didn’t have any cash. Other teachers at school volunteered to take my classes so I could go to the first hospital near school for the x-ray and then later when I decided to go to the American hospital for a second opinion. My Turkish/Canadian friend who is going to Spain withe me also joined me at th American hospital and has been taking great care of me since.

And after the doctor diagnosed my sprain, gave me a brace, a sling, and some pain meds, at least five other people have called to check on me. And the good news is it isn’t broken. So I guess, in all, things aren’t so stupid after all. In fact, they are çok güzel.  Look out Barcelona!

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Banana Cake and Berlin

My roommate’s dad is very sweet to us and since he knows I like bananas, he is always bringing me some. The problem is that they usually go bad before I can eat them. The easy American fix for this is banana bread. However, I didn’t realize this was an American fix (or maybe it’s just not a Turkish one–I haven’t quite figured it out yet) until I made some the other day. In fact, since there were so many bananas, I made two batches and decided to share most of them. When I took some down to the family I tutor for, she looked confused as to what it actually was.

“Mus ekmek,” I explain, which is the best I can do. It’s literally banana and bread, but with all the suffixes in Turkish, I have no idea if it’s right.

Mmm, banana cake sprinkled with brown sugar.

“Bread? Is this not a cake?”

Well, no. In English, we call this bread. But if you look at it, it does contain a different consistency than most regular breads. It shares a closer consistency to cake in my opinion and it is sweeter, but hadn’t thought of it until she actually pointed it out. Which, if it were bread would make it some form of Mus Pasta, as pasta in Turkish is actually cake. I know, I was confused too.

Either way, the smell of it baking reminded me of home and if I were in the States, I would be stuffing my face next Thursday with Thanksgiving foods. And for the record, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Ever. Who doesn’t love a holiday that centers around food? Alas, I will not be home for Thanksgiving this year, but I will be in Berlin with a friend from the States. So it will be fun to see how we can celebrate it together in a country that doesn’t celebrate it. Maybe we’ll have some mus pasta.