Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ramazan and Dardanos

Before Ramazan ends, I had to try it one more time- even if I was doing it all by myself. And guess what? It was harder than the first time, but just as rewarding. Have you ever noticed, in our high paced lives, how eating is just something we do? We shove the food in without really tasting it and then move to the next activity of the day. All day, I dreamt of just simple fresh bread dipped in peynir. How have I been eating that every morning and not crying from its incredible flavor?? I made a pact then to never just eat- but to savor my food. We really forget how lucky we are to have it.
Another thing that came to my attention as I broke my fast is we are slaves to this earth. Us, in our foolish ways, think we can out smart our planet with our science and cars and money. But when it comes down to it- We need this earth. I know, duh. But really, We (the human race) think we rule the world, when really, the world rules us. Just something to chew on there.
I would really encourage you all to try fasting for Ramazan. It can be a religious thing if you want, or you can do it like me, just to bring your thoughts down to earth. All you need to do is find the time of sunrise on the internet and make sure you are up a half hour or so before that. Wash your face, then your hands, then serve your food on white table cloth. At sundown you can have your first drink of water, and then continue to eat a very big, tasty dinner. But here is the important part- break your fast with loved ones and savor each flavor. The feeling of gratitude for these people, and the food you have gone without, but now have, will knock you off your feet. I really love this holiday. Flan and I are going to celebrate it back home next year too, If any of you would like to take part.

This week has been a roller coaster. At first I had a really hard time adapting to gender roles in my host family. I came to understand though, that I was looking at it from an outside perspective, but also, I am not here to judge and or 'set things right'. As I entered viewing my host family from a Turkish point of view, I noticed I had misjudged many things as the gender roles the were once bothering me, were hardly there. I can now happily say- 'Its not good, Its not bad, Just different'. I am starting to feel really at home here. Every once in a while a thought roles into my head that says 'hey! I really do love this place.'

Im going to try to give you guys a mental idea of what Dardanos kind of looks like, since I feel it cant really be captured in photos. As you know, We are in the country. In this area there are two little markets, two bars/discos on the beach (which are always completely empty), a mosque, two playgrounds, and houses of course. The houses are all different colored cement. Red, pink, green, yellow, and white pealing paint are the most common. It feels almost like a forest outside- dirt winding roads, big trees, and feilds of plants- Until it opens up onto the beach. Our beach is right on the end of the strait going to the sea of Marama. Turks have a real sense of nationalism so all the little boats, bobbing in the water, have Turkish flags waving on them.
Here, Its pretty empty most of the time. Usually walking around the area, the only company you'll find is older men and women wandering alone and a lot of stray cats.Everyone here grows their own fruit, so not only are there gardens every where, but fresh fruit is always tasty and abundant. But most importantly- there is just something about Dardanos. Time has a rythmn here. Or a lack of one. I cant really explain it, except that it feels like time has paused to take a breath, and wrap this place in it warm embrace.

'hey! I really do love this place.'

xoxoxo- Amber

Oh and- Cultural note:
Last night we had friends (or family?) over for dinner. They explained to me in old Turkish belief, It is said, for every grain of rice you dont eat, you will have that many kids. haha!
I say family? because I am always left unsure who Im actually 'related' to and who Im not. In Turkish culture you should call everyone slightly older than you abla or abi (big sister/big brother). Anyone of maybe 15 years older than you, and above the age of maybe 30, you call Teyze or Amca (aunt/uncle). It is to show respect, which is a HUGE deal here. If they are actually family or not, I am unsure, because everyone I meet is my 'aunt' etc. Its so puzzling. :)


  1. what's this ramaZan nonsense? its ramaDan, with a d. here they spell it ramadhan, but i think that's just the indonesian way. it sounds so great amber. i'm love love loving it more and more in indonesia, and it sounds like the same is going for you. when do you leave the beach land and return to the mainland? i'm trying right now to look at the pictures you put on facebook but the internets being a brat and taking forever to load...have an amazing week!
    ps: learn some turkish recipes! when we do ramadhan together i wanna try some of this stuff!! it all sounds so GOOD! i'm gonna learn indonesian recipes too, so that'll be fun

  2. Hahahahaha In Turkey we say and spell ıt RamaZan. No nonsense. Just Türks. :P Well I never actually leave the beach- The winter house still has a sea veiw and my school is right by the water! Its just winter, so you dont use it :( I think we are moving in through out the next few days, then Istanbul for 10 days!! YAY!!!!
    Oh for sure. Man. Our ramaZan will be great. I have already learned how to make türkish coffee, so were set there. Its sooo yummy! haha
    Hey! Email me back! I need to talk to you about something! hehe :)

  3. Amber it sounds like you're adjusting to your new family and having some great experiences. I'm glad you're doing well. We miss you here in your "home ward."