Getting a hair cut should be a fairly simple procedure and yet I have found it to be one of the lesser known, but very real challenges of expat life. Plenty of expat blogs cover all the obvious, big ticket hurdles to being a successful and happy expat: emotional resilliance, repatriation, culture shock, depression, leaving well etc. But there are plenty of lesser known hurdles we face as we ricochet around the globe and getting a decent haircut is firmly on that list.
Whether I’ve asked for ‘a trim’ or ‘the same but shorter’ or shown a picture from a magazine or a photograph of my own hair I seem to have had more than my fair share of awful expat haircuts than I care to mention. Here are a few of my lowlights…. Continue reading →
Everywhere you go in Turkey, fixed on front doors, swinging from taxi rearview mirrors and even incorporated into jewellery designs, you will see Nazaar Beads. They are flat, blue, circular glass ‘eye’ beads. They are to deflect, distract and ward off the evil eye or bad luck with their bright colour.
However, should your nazaar bead crack or break, unlike the 7 years of bad luck associated with cracking a mirror, it means that the bead has done its job and warded off some invisible evil or bad luck that was heading your way. Then all you have to do is buy a replacement bead to continue to live in peace and harmony. A neat marketing ploy!
We discovered a shop called Pasabache. The shop sells both ‘life’ products, i.e. everyday kitchen wear and also boutique items – which include a selection of covetable, beautiful, fragile and more expensive Turkish glass wear and ceramic (including high-end giant Nazaar beads). As we entered the artfully lit boutique display area, Pickle looked around and gleefully yelled: “Ikea Mummy”. I gave him the evil eye* and we left very quickly.
* In modern English giving somebody the evil eye just means glaring at somebody, not cursing them. Just to be absolutely clear, I did not put a curse on Pickle, I was just embarrased and gave him a cross look.
When we lived in Istanbul we all made an effort at learning Turkish. Success was mixed. I enjoyed my Turkish lessons, although – the more I learnt the more confused I got. Seemingly Turkish is grammatically more closely related to Japanese or Korean than to any European languages.
Sultanahmet is the original heart of old Constantinople, now Istanbul. This is THE area that draws tourists in the by the coach load. The magnets being Topkapi Palace, the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar and Basilica Cisterns, all located within spitting distance of each other.
August 2011 – Istanbul: First Impressions
We’re finally here all together after six long months of Mr Incredible having an horrendous bi-weekly Istanbul-London commute. It’s hot and sunny and the children in particular are getting lots of warm smiles and attention from everyone. Pickle especially attracts cries of “cok guzel” (pronounced choc-goozelle) and is often scooped up and cheek-pinched by complete strangers. He’s not entirely sure about this hands-on attention being more accustomed to a restrained British smile or coo-ee.