I was able to take a nice virtual rest.
Over the course of the last few, quiet months, we were able to move to our new house and my girls started their new schools. We even hung up some artwork on the walls.
I am ready to be inspired again. Especially today, knowing that at least this country of mine has a great president for four more years (the other one has still a long way to go).
When we were in Istanbul, we treated our one year stay as a long vacation and kept exploring the city as much as we could, instead of settling into a routine. In Chicago, while we are trying to settle into a routine and also get a lot done, we are still trying to be tourists. We have been to another great museum this weekend, the Field Museum. In a very beautiful, big building, the museum did a fine job of making every detail work very well. Beautiful exhibits, kiddie corners all around instead of just one room designated for the kids and also a giant children's area named PlayLabs.
Images above are: the entrance with the giant elephants, Aztec marketplace clay-model with super intricate details and a little house from Pueblo for kids to play in the PlayLab area. Good places like this seem to prevent meltdowns in our family. We all had a great time. And the longest fast food lunch at McDonalds (not my choice)! Adele and Lula really enjoy their rare french fries and ketchup outings slowly.
House number #23 is seen. Might be promising.
Chicago has been so nice to us. The weather is exceptionally warm, giving us a chance to settle in without wearing too many layers. I am not saying that winter is over but it certainly has been helpful to get a break. Regardless, I have only posted once since we came here. It has been busy. I like posting here frequently as we have been going through major changes throughout the last few years and it is nice to come back here to follow it all.
Home search is a major occupation. Online search, the actual visits, agonizing even to choose which ones to see. Then there is the school search. Kindergarten for Lula, preschool for Adele. School tours.
Not to mention our crowd just to take care of. Buddy (6), Lula (4) and Adele (2)!
I am glad that my friend Mara does a better job of keeping her blog current. I loved seeing the photos of our girls playing together when we were visiting SF a few weeks ago. Her post is here.
And back in Chicago, over the weekend, we had a quick visit to the nearby Lincoln Park Zoo. Girls posing with the great apes...
Our 12 hour flight from Istanbul to Chicago actually went remarkably well.Turkish Airlines has constant TV programming, which kept Lula busy for a long time. Adele took a nap and made her usual fuss, but not much more. Just threw up in a way that managed to cover all of us while we were standing at the back of the cabin together. Even that was not that bad. The hardest part was the sorrow of departure sinking in every other hour.
We had a great year in Turkey. We got to spend time with our old friends. We made wonderful new friends. We visited sights in Istanbul for over a year with the excitement of freshly arriving tourists. We ate a lot of good food and tasted a variety of Raki. And the best - we were spoiled by the love our of big immediate family.
We believe that Chicago will be a better place for our family, for Lula and Adele in the long term, but obviously, it is quite hard to be away from Turkey now. We are at least relieved to have the direct and fantastic Turkish Airlines flights in between Chicago and Istanbul!
Now, we are in Chicago. For the time being, the weather is close to Istanbul's and we can go out for walks. We are comsuming food that we thought of in Istanbul (I did not really miss too many things as I was catching up with the Turkish food I missed in the last 10 years). Good and cheap sushi to begin with. I love seeing the runners on the cold streets, it is motivating me. We are driving around the neighborhoods to see where we might like. John was born and raised here, but hasn't lived here for 25 years or so. He knows his way around but we are looking at the newness with the same eyes. Kids are happy to ride along.
We will be reunited with Buddy today. Now, that will be fun!
Posting has been slow. My days are filled with thinking, researching, planning for Chicago; packing, canceling services for Istanbul. Not the type of experiences that you can take photos of and write your reflections about!
However, we still had the joyful celebrations for the birthdays of Lula and Adele. This year, we decided to do one birthday party for both and invited family and close friends. It was crowded and I could not get great photos from the party but I was able to take some photos of our decoration before everyone came.
It took a while to make each one of the pom poms but it was fun seeing them come together.
Diva visited Istanbul a few weeks ago and during her busy trip, I troubled her for a banner for our party. She did not have her usual materials, but I think that the end result turned beautiful. I got it printed on canvas here at a local university print shop. Thank you, Diva!
The heat wave for us (coming from San Francisco), or what people here call summer is getting close to an end. With the girls, we usually try to make one big outing a day and then, in the late afternoon or after our early dinner, we hang out in our building's garden which is finally cool enough at that time. We have been doing that often enough that we are getting familiar with the fauna and the flora of the garden. The cats, snails, centipedes and the plants, trees and the weeds, and we are still collecting. I love that Lula gives me bits and pieces and tells me that it is for my art. "Mama, mama, take it..." Here is another piece:
When we arrived in Istanbul this time, I saw something that I did not before: deniz taksi. It is a private Bosphorus cab system run by the city of Istanbul. You can reserve a small boat to pick up at one of the city ferry stations any time of the day and drop you off at another station. It takes up to 10 people and you can either reserve it for just yourself or a group. It is not cheap but it is not astronomical either. It seems like the traffic in Istanbul is requiring more solutions and/or creating more businesses. John and I had been thinking of doing it for a special occasion and recently a dinner with friends who lived on the other side of Istanbul was a good one.
It was quite an experience. I never had a private boat ride with a 2-person crew before. They opened the gates of the Bebek Ferry Station that was done with its regular schedule just for us, helped us get on the boat and our ride started a little after 9 PM. It was all dark waters, lights and beautiful Istanbul. And a little bit of cheesy Joy FM that was the choice of the captain.
All photos are from the moving boat, a little helpless but also in the mood of a boat ride! We had a funny ending. Our destination was the Moda Ferry Station, which at the end of its daily schedule did not close but became a restaurant. As the boat arrived, everybody was looking at us while we were trying to hop onto the station (which was quite high up from the boat) and maneuver through the dining tables. Not the most glamorous ending...
Reading Vogue magazine is one of my guilty pleasures. It is always entertaining and I find the quality of writing pretty good, but the articles are usualy quite light in nature. There have been a few times that I was very inspired by women's business stories, maternity experiences and such, but not that many. Here, I learnt that there is a Turkish Vogue which started just a year ago and I had to try. It was a great call - the issue that I had purchased had a "20 up and coming young people" section and 123 the band was there. I was intrigued. Besides their good music reviews, it was written that their CDs came with a full illustration book! I got their latest CD and then the one before it. They were refreshing and intresting. Recently, one of their shows during the jazz festival worked well for our schedule, and John and I had a date at the IKSV Salon. Beautiful venue, wonderful music. In this intimate place, their music was so much better in person, Dilara's voice so powerful. We had a great time.
Salon IKSV and 123 the band.