Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Jade Farm

Hi peoples,

So, I'm just going to skim the rest of Istanbul, not because it wasn't as exciting/delightful, but because it's been almost two weeks since I left and I find the farm far more fascinating and more revealing about the turkish culture. So, here we go:

Last days: Went to the Grand Bizarre (massive market selling everything from leather jackets to spices). I was interested in getting a pocket watch and wandered into an antique section. Yet, when i asked the lady the price of a quarter sized pocket watch instead of telling me the price she went into the depths of its history...which meant she was explaining its exorbitant price. A cheap 600Liras (~$340).

Of course, Lauren wouldn't truly be abroad if she didn't have some kind of problems with her bank, namely forgetting her pin. Yes, some of you shall recall that this occurred while I was in Paris as well...I think its becoming a tradition. Half-a-day's freak-out there and calling the parents at 1am, only to find out that I could easily use my other card which I had luckily activated abroad as well. Yay! I don't have to go back!

Ekin and I went to Otantik again for my last night: Nozik Kebabi (cubed meat with yogurt sauce), Melemen (tomato base, eggs, and herbs), and the authentic mixed specialty plate again (cause it was so epic the first time).

That was Istanbul, it was awesome, visit it.

Jade Farm!
I arrived here on the 30th of August, the bus driver (who got me a penini when we were waiting for the bus to leave, I guess he was friends with the penini guy...did I mention turkish hospitality?), he dropped me off right in front of the farm. As I circled the small house I came upon two women, one blond one redhead, sitting on a large, blue cloth removing beans from their pods and another tall, older woman with short died brown hair. Inya and Duneya (I have no idea how to correctly write their names) were on the blue blanket, two german woman 22 and 25 in turkey for their vacation, and Berin, the older woman, was the owner.

After greetings I tossed my backpack into my room and plopped down with the two germans to work with the beans...and sit in complete silence. They didn't take out their earbuds, they didn't speak to me, they didn't even look at me, but on occasion they did speak to each other in german. After the task was complete they got up and went to their room without a word to me. I sought out Berin to see if she needed help picking the okra (bamya in turkish), and her first words were "They don't speak much do they?" Apparently they had been there for a month and Berin barely knew them or talked with them.

My level of interaction with, and like for, "the germans", as we have started referring to them now that they're gone, did not increase. They are by no means bad people, they sorely lacked anything I would identify as manners. They ate gluttonously, grumbled at the work they had to do, and never interacted with any of us. They were there a month and didn't learn a word of turkish. By my third day I had a vocabulary of over 25 words. Thankfully they left on the 7th which every person on the farm was quite content about.

Oh! before I continue, I must mention the overall highlight of my stay here, there are hedgehogs, everywhere! My first night was my first sighting, and a few nights after that another, and last night there was one in the compost pile. Little waddling balls of prickly adorableness. 
this is the best shot i could get of the little guy stealing a tomato ^_^

There are also wild dogs and cats here. Sadly they're not as friendly as the Istanbul ones, but we've semi-adopted one of the cats. I named him Mr. Cheese because we feed him the cheese we don't like. His eye got infected when he was a kitten and is all funked out now, hence why it's blue. the normal one is golden.
Along with the wwoof volunteers there are also paid workers, a dynamic group of women from the village. I greatly enjoy working with them. They don't speak english and my turkish consists of only a handful of words so the overall conversation is limited between us, but somehow with gestures, nodding, and anything else that would get the meaning across we are able to work together quite happily. Berin translating is also a great help. They are a primary reason why I want to learn turkish. The more I learn the easier our relationship gets and the more I can be a part of their group.
 Top left to right: Berin, Asseai, Zubeta
 Bottom left to right: Sevinch and Zekeai (I'm not sure how to correctly spell anyone's name)
There is also Caramille, Berin's right hand man. He's extremely jovial, always smiling and joking around. He is also very fond of calling me Obama and loudly proclaiming "Very Good!" which is the very little english he knows. 
I baked zucchinni bread for them, no one here has ever heard of it, and I'm quite happy to say that they all greatly enjoyed it. Berin has also asked me to make pumpkin pie. She had some american workers last year and they made it while she was away for a few days in Istanbul and when she got back they were all talking about how delicious it had been. So she really wants to partake in the american tradition.
Oh, and I have a new addiction: çay (aka tea, but turkish tea). They prepare it in a samovar (our's isn't that fancy) and let the tea steep for at least 20 minutes. Then the small turkish tea glass is poured half full of the tea and the rest with water and then add sugar if desired. We drink this after we eat lunch and I usually have three or four of them.
Helva, is another addiction. It's a dessert thing that tastes like awesome in your mouth. I prefer the summer helva over the winter. The pictures online don't do it any justice.
OH! and if anyone looked at the pictures of the snake (Natrix natrix) and frog (Rana ridibunda) i had put up on fb, well a few days later the snake started eating the frog. Nature in action!!! Yes, the frog is missing an arm. The snake, in the end, was unable to swallow a prey so large, but the frog later died from, what I assume, his wounds.
I have more stories and what not but I'll recount them later. After a 9 hour day cutting sugar cane I'm a bit on the tired side and I'm in desperate need of a shower.
I might add pics to the previous posts if I feel up to it later, we'll see. 

Oh, I also didn't really proofread for errors very thoroughly and I'm too tired to do so. So, if you find an error just correct it in your head. and here's a picture of me...kind of

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