Istanben

An American's adventures on a Fulbright grant to Istanbul, the city where east meets west.

Went to Chios, Greece, this weekend to see the traditional Easter rocket battle between two churches and made this video. It truly is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen.

Fighting a bad sleep schedule

My sleep schedule got so bad last week that last night I took the “nuclear option” and just didn’t sleep at all, deciding that I would try to get myself tired at a normal hour the next day (which is today). During the day I traveled to Eyüp, a neighborhood at the upper part of the Golden Horn in Istanbul, home to the holiest mosque in the city and a beautiful cemetery, with a great view. I will have pictures of that soon. There and back I was totally conked out on the bus, and when I got home I made lasagna before promptly falling asleep at around 10 PM and then waking up…at 2 AM. 

Not sure if I fixed any problems…

Updating

Apologies for the lack of updates. I’m a terrible blogger - this is always the case. I mostly haven’t been blogging because there has not been much to blog about lately. Most things are going the same as they have been: working on my project and doing long readings, attending choir rehearsals and exercising, occasionally going out to places in the city. As a result, I have not really made updates (I need to upload some pictures from months ago still!). 

This weekend I may make a trip to Bursa across the Marmara Sea for a getaway before coming back to do more work. 

Dolmabahçe Palace is a prominent, elongated, elaborate palace sitting alongside the Bosphorus just south of Beşiktaş Square in Istanbul. The former Ottoman palace is ornate and extravagent, with a huge crystal staircase and the largest chandelier in the entire world. Definitely worth seeing if you are in the city.

Noise Intercepted

I recently joined an international collaborative arts project called “Noise Intercepted” aimed at critically analyzing and rethinking the way we interact with the sounds around us. Essentially, I’ll be given regular challenges to capture defining, interesting, present sounds in my surroundings (Istanbul) and present them in a creative manner. 

Noise Interceptedis a series of ten experience-activated noise challenges that prompt participants to listen, observe and interact with their urban soundscape in new and unlikely ways.

The project brings together over 200 collaborators from 28 countries around the globe — artists, sound ecologists, designers, writers, mothers, fathers, educators, filmmakers, administrators, technicians, scientists, students, programmers, health practitioners, and the list goes on.

Over the course of four months (March – June 2013), participants will be sent (via text msg & email) a series of ten noise challenges and creative prompts.

They have exactly 1-week to respond to each challenge and share their findings here with you.

For our first challenge we are supposed to pick up a sound that makes the “pulse” of our cities. I couldn’t help but think of the ezan, or call to prayer. I will make something soon.

A woodcut from “The Marmara Sea Earthquake of 1509” taken from http://maviboncuk.blogspot.com/2010/07/earthquakes-in-istanbul-from-kozak.html.

As I noted before, I started reading a history of earthquakes in Turkey, and a few historical events have been featured quite prominently for the sheer destruction they leveled on towns and villages across the country. Can you imagine being in these places during that time, not knowing the cause of these disasters and, furthermore, living in both structures unprepared for them and with access to few services to help deal with the aftermath?

A woodcut from “The Marmara Sea Earthquake of 1509” taken from http://maviboncuk.blogspot.com/2010/07/earthquakes-in-istanbul-from-kozak.html.

As I noted before, I started reading a history of earthquakes in Turkey, and a few historical events have been featured quite prominently for the sheer destruction they leveled on towns and villages across the country. Can you imagine being in these places during that time, not knowing the cause of these disasters and, furthermore, living in both structures unprepared for them and with access to few services to help deal with the aftermath?

Books

No major update here. Life goes on as usual - though I did manage to drop by in another Fulbrighter’s project in Istanbul, relating woven art (specifically the woven motifs in the edges of headscarves) to architectural scales. I can’t say I understand much about art but it was certainly cool to see someone at work who know much more than I do.

I dropped by the library earlier this week to pick up a ton of books on earthquakes in Istanbul and to give myself some seriously heavier reading material for the coming weeks. So if I’m not blogging (highly likely, unfortunately) you know more or less what I’m up to. Lots of choir, too. Man I love singing in choirs. If nothing else I’ve solidified that knowledge about myself from this experience.

Escapades to Izmir

Hi all,

I’m back from a short trip to Izmir, in the western coast of Turkey, with two of my housemates and some of their friends. It was a great, though short trip, and an interesting way to spend the last free weekend before the school semester begins again. I’ll have some pictures up soon.

Just this week classes began, and I have…one class. One. Now, admittedly I ultimately felt some of the classes I took last semester didn’t really seem particularly relevant to my research or help me understand the issues I needed to to do a better project. So I wouldn’t have minded taking fewer. But I was hoping for at least something in the earthquake engineering department, rather than such politically-focused work that I’m doing now. I’ll have to wait and see if I get anything, but as of right now all I’m taking is Turkish. I guess this means a lot of free research time.

Had a friend visit the last few days, really fun! Will blog about food soon, I think, in particular what I have decided is my favorite Turkish dish. It’s a surprising one, for me.