Holiday break: Feast of the Sacrifice

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Stray cats everywhere in Istanbul. These are in the cemetery. As you can see, people set out food and water for them. Notice the date on the grave: 1305!
Stray cats everywhere in Istanbul. These are in the cemetery. As you can see, people set out food and water for them. Notice the date on the grave: 1305!

9/26/2015
I am catching up on things during the Bayram holiday. It coincides with the beginning of Fall. I have five days and have been cleaning, answering emails and sorting photos. I still have lesson plans to do, but I feel more organized. And now, I’ll catch up on my journaling.

I took Stephanie to the Grand Bazaar. That's her in front with the blue shirt. This is one of the the entrances.
I took Stephanie to the Grand Bazaar. That’s her in front with the blue shirt. This is one of the the entrances.

First, this is a special religious holiday. In English it is the Feast of the Sacrifice.
I had images of calves and sheep being slaughtered in the streets, but that just doesn’t happen anymore—at least not in a big city like Istanbul. Maybe outside the city, though. Being a farm girl, I know where my meat comes from, so I can’t say anything negative about slaughtering animals. I’m not crazy about doing it, but I’m not a vegetarian, so I can’t complain. And, traditionally, a third of the meat is given to the poor.

Wednesday was the first full day of the holiday. Alex and I took two new teachers, Stephanie and Teresa, to see the Hagia Sophia. I had really looked forward to the audio tour, but it didn’t work and they wouldn’t give me my money back. Horrible. But I had a good time walking them around to the big sites in the old town. I hope they learned a few things and I didn’t bore them too much. I love playing tour guide!

Alex and I took Stephanie and Teresa (new English Time teachers) to the Hagia Sophia. It is getting some much needed attention, so there's lots of scaffolding.
Alex and I took Stephanie and Teresa (new English Time teachers) to the Hagia Sophia. It is getting some much needed attention, so there’s lots of scaffolding.

Yesterday, three of my level 1 students from Avcilar took me out and we had a great time. I’ve posted photos.

On the 15th, we were paid, but I didn’t get my money for the hours at Avcilar. Seems the person who bought Sirinevler bought a few other branches, but not Avcilar. I’m surprised that they let me teach at both, but I’ve already been told I won’t get to teach another at a different branch. Easier on me, but I will miss these students. When I got there Saturday, I was paid for all the money I had disputed—a real relief. It means I am still planning to stay through the end of my contract. But there are others who have not been paid and I’m keeping an eye on the situation.

From the fourth story window of the English Time school in Avcilar. It's a nice shopping area.
From the fourth story window of the English Time school in Avcilar. It’s a nice shopping area.
This is looking down into the pedestrian mall of Avcilar. This is from the fourth story window of the English Time school. I love street performers.
This is looking down into the pedestrian mall of Avcilar. This is from the fourth story window of the English Time school. I love street performers.

And my Level 1 students played Taboo with English words that day. They breezed through the Level 1 words, and I had to go to the Level 3 words to give them a challenge. Yeah! Best students on the planet!

The new owner is doing some remodeling at Sirinevler. All the signs and tiles in the suspended ceiling came down Monday and Tuesday. Looks like they plan to paint, which will make the school look better. I hope that is good news, but the place was a total mess and it was difficult to run classes with all the noise and disruption. Not that I’m an expert, but it seems to me that a new owner would only invest in the appearance of the school if he wanted to 1). Make things better or 2) Sell the school. I guess we will see if there are any substantial capital investments, like electronics; new furniture; improved heating and air conditioning; upgraded media room and computers. We will see. The latest Turkish office manager is great–Meylin speaks some English and used to work at Avcilar. Big improvement for the English teachers.

Kumpir is my new comfort food in Istanbul. This guy makes them about a block from my apartment. He speaks fair English, too. Kumpir is a stuffed baked potato.
Kumpir is my new comfort food in Istanbul. This guy makes them about a block from my apartment. He speaks fair English, too. Kumpir is a stuffed baked potato.
These are some of the toppings. Naturally, I like everything, so have them all added.
These are some of the toppings. Naturally, I like everything, so have them all added.
This is the final result--and over stuffed baked potato. It's yummy, and more than a meal.
This is the final result: an over-stuffed baked potato. It’s yummy, and more than a meal.

Robert, our head teacher, had trouble getting back into the country this past weekend. He had been in France with his wife seeing friends for four days. (as an aside, he brought me a bottle of really nice wine as a thank you for filling in for him as head teacher! Yum!) They wouldn’t accept his US passport or the paperwork that indicated his residence permit was applied for. But he could come in on his Australian passport. Dual citizenship has privileges. And guess what he got on Monday? His work permit! He’s leaving in less than a month and he finally gets his work permit. It’s crazy. I have a residence card, but no work permit.

Avcilar MetroBus taken from the pedestrian bridge.
Avcilar MetroBus taken from the pedestrian bridge.
You see lots of begging, particularly in the Metro areas. The sign translates as "helpless." And it's hard to know who is and who isn't. Usually, the children fan out and beg separately. They also run wild and unsupervised on the buses, since they can ride for free. Avcilar MetroBus pedestrian bridge.
You see lots of begging, particularly in the Metro areas. The sign translates as “helpless.” And it’s hard to know who is and who isn’t. Usually, the children fan out and beg separately. They also run wild and unsupervised on the buses, since they can ride for free. Avcilar MetroBus pedestrian bridge.
The E5, taken as dusk from the Avcilar MetroBus pedestrian bridge.
The E5, taken as dusk from the Avcilar MetroBus pedestrian bridge.
The entrance to the Avcilar shopping area has a statue of Ataturk.
The entrance to the Avcilar shopping area has a statue of Ataturk.
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Beth

I'm a professional vagabond. I quit my cubical job in January 2014. Since then, I've hiked the Appalachian Trail, The Camino, and taught English in Vietnam, Turkey, Russia, Spain, Mexico and Peru. I'm exploring the world and you can come too!

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