Mashallah!

I just got Mashallah-ed….

Mashallah is an expression Turks use frequently.  It loosely means may God protect.  Most often it is said of children who Turks find charming or cute.Yesterday I was at the mall with my foreign friend and her very cute blue-eyed baby girl.  Upon seeing the baby about every person we passed exclaimed, “Mashallah!”

Upon returning from my workout this morning, I ran in to my very curious (but very sweet) downstairs neighbor in the stairwell.  She was taking her two-year old grandson out to play.  We stopped and chatted and, as usual, she asked me a million questions in rapid fire succession. I was standing there sweating buckets (it was HOT this morning) and all I could think was that I needed a shower, pronto!  Just as I was about to break free from the conversation, my next door neighbor, Saadet, and her husband (who are about my parents’ age) came down the stairs and joined the conversation.  Saadet immediately reached out and pinched my cheeks multiple times while calling me fistik (which means peanut in Turkish) she pinched my chin for good measure (I didn’t know it was even possible to pinch a chin until I moved to Turkey).  I was thinking I cannot believe she is touching my face…I wouldn’t even touch my face. She stopped touching me for a second and I remembered to breath again.  Saadet turned to my curious neighbor and said “She (meaning me) knows how to cook!”  My face broke into a wide smile. It felt pretty great to hear that because I have worked hard to learn to make Turkish dishes as authentic as possible and Turks are pretty tough critics when it comes to food. Saadet turned to me again and before I knew it, she had thrown her arms around me and was kissing both my cheeks multiple times (and I’m not talking air kisses…she really planted them on me)  while she exclaimed “Mashallah! Mashallah! Mashallah!”  Yep, pretty normal day in my building.

(that being said, I love the warm, expressive, and affectionate nature of Turks…just not immediately after my workout : )

My Kinda Saturday

Last year, there was no spring in Turkey.  I got cranky when it was early June and I was still wearing a jacket! Then one day it went from freezing cold to blazing hot… at least we had a summer.

But this year we’ve had the gift of a proper spring….and it even came early!  The weather has been sooooooooo nice since early April.  The first day it warmed up, we decided to go out and enjoy it!

First, A bought shoelaces from a man on the street who makes his living polishing shoes.

Then we sat at a sidewalk cafe that specializes in Iskender Kebap.  They brought out our starters first.

nice lavash, pickled veggies, salad, and a spicy tomato puree

Then it was time for Iskender Kebap.  Iskender consists of flatbread topped with thinly-sliced roasted meat (usually beef), a simple tomato sauce, and a side of plain yogurt….if that isn’t enough, watch what the waiter pours on top of it all once he brings the plate to the table:

I know I said you couldn’t make it in the states…but I’m hoping to prove myself wrong this summer!