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Everything posted by sue

  1. Please, do tell me exactly where I should be living!! And I have lived in 4 different countries, we moved back to UK after 2 years in Turkey. I feel the same about Turkey as you do about UK. But that's OK. We moved back to UK and you can move back to Turkey......so we're all happy, right? By the way, where are you living and working?
  2. We lived in a non-touristy part of Istanbul. I got stared at all the time. Mainly by women. I actually felt less stared at in the traditional touristy places in Istanbul. Turks can tell if you're a foreigner from a mile away. It happened in the street/shopping centre, everywhere. I personally felt that it was the less educated who stared the most. Also a lot of scarf wearing women would stare. It's just my experience.
  3. sue

    Our Kids At School

    One of the things that struck me at the schools in Turkey, is the lack of support for kids with learning difficulties. They are left in their grade class and given exactly the same work as the others......and given the same exams too. Parents tend to take them to psychologists on a regular basis, who will prescribe medication. The parents are extremely anxious about their special needs children, and the teachers are extremely frustrated with their behavioural issues. There are NO strategies to deal with any of the issues this type of student may bring to the school. Absolutely, 100%, if you have the choice.....don't move a non-Turkish speaking child with any sort of special needs to school in Turkey. An American school may have more understanding and support for him...... BUT be warned......schools LOVE to tell you what you want to hear BEFORE you enroll and pay the fees........afterwards you'll be banging your head against a brick wall. Best of luck!!
  4. Generally parents choose what their children will eat or wear. As they get older they have a bit more say in those choices. Eventually, they become young adults and make their own choices. Asking for or giving advice is normal , of course. if you are an adult, you should be choosing your own food and clothes, you can take your partner's tastes/beliefs into account if you choose to, but them picking your food and clothes for you is a step too far, I feel.
  5. I think you'll be surprised at what Istanbul women wear when they go out - a short dress and heels will be fine. No need to bother with a headscarf there are plenty of blondes about! And just wear what you'd wear here in the cold weather, long boots are very popular. And I'm sure if you're with your bf, he'll be keeping his eyes out for any inappropriate behaviour - but be warned - women will stare at you! good luck and have a great time.
  6. Run away!! It's really spooky to have a group of men so interested in your life. There is nothing normal about their behaviour. Honestly, I'd be worried they were going to kidnap me, or my kids. Make sure you keep yourself and your kids secure. Weird story!
  7. Atakoy and Yesilkoy are closer to the airport on the European side, also I think there is a ferry from Avcilar on European side to kadikoy. They are about 20 mins to the airport by road.
  8. oh, yeah, be careful with the make-up....... I've got white-blonde eye brows, and the woman drew them in with black pencil!!!!!!! Then the blue eye shadow - I looked like a clown....she was quite miffed when I said no,no,no,no,no and wiped it off.
  9. You're welcome. Also, couples usually get a set of professional photos taken in their engagement gear, so he should wear a nice suit too. You can choose some fantastical backgrounds for your photos, and they'll touch them up digitally, so you both look flawless!! BTW - you should go to a hairdresser's to get your hair and make-up done - maybe with his mum and other girlfriends of his/aunts whatever. But be warned, the make-up can be a bit heavy - they like to look as though they'll be singing on Eurovision!!!
  10. I love Canga bars. I always want to call them Ganja bars.
  11. Hi ash, I recently went to an engagement party at an apartment. The bride-to-be wore a glamorous red evening dress, hair and make-up done. The other women wore smart evening wear, but not dresses ie. Trousers, skirts and posh tops. But they all took very high-heels to wear in the house. All had their hair and make-up done (either up-do's or posh pony tails). (Usually, the nikah takes place in the bride's mother's village, they have a bus trip and stay over night.) There was a cake, and a buffet, lots of tea, and photos of everyone pinning a piece of gold on her dress. As for a present, I'd suggest an interesting ceramic tea pot, maybe a matching cup and saucer, and maybe a nice tin of shortbread, they like those sort of biscuits, and she can re-use the tin and show people!! I'd say that even very liberal, educated, western thinking Turks still carry out the cultural habits where these things are concerned. Drinking alcohol doesn't stop someone being a Muslim. You should see how much is consumed at a sunnet!!! Good luck, I'm sure you'll be fine and she'll love you!
  12. 2 weeks between 1st and 2nd semester (Jan/Feb). Kids have 14 weeks off, teachers stay for 2 weeks after they leave for summer, (last 2 weeks of June) and start 2 weeks before they return (Aug/Sept). Plus all the national holidays......and 'snow days'!!! This was a private school.
  13. It's quite common, unfortunately. I recently read about a woman in Wales who pretended to be several different men.(The hoaxer who breaks women's hearts) A problem with on-line dating sites, I guess, and quite common from Nigeria. I hope you get over it all.
  14. So, there are 2 much needed weeks off school - 26th Jan-10th Feb. I really, really want to get away for a few days. We need help with some recommendations. I don't mind if it's snowy or cold or warm, just really need a change of scene. Have you been anywhere at this time of year that was worth a visit? Pansion/B&B/Hotel - anything! Any suggestions? Thanks
  15. We've been in Istanbul for 15 months now, and here is some of our experience of putting English speaking kids into school. As we arrived here in September, and it took us a month to be able to move into our new flat, and then another month to be full up and running, it was November before the kids were ready to go to school. At that point I was working in a couple of part-time jobs, so the only option, as we don't have the finances for an International School, was to send the kids to the local state school. State SchoolProsJust at the end of the streetSmall classes (although this is unusual)Wonderful teachersFinishes at 2.30pmConsReally dirty environmentNot exactly Health and Safety risk assessed! Our kids got treated as though they were aliens by some other kids, as they had NEVER met foreignersNo extra help with Turkish literacySo they were only there for half a school year, but they did make friends, and the manager and teachers were very supportive. However, my husband cringed on a daily basis having to leave them in such a dirty place! Then I got a few job offers from some private schools, and took into consideration the scholarship offers and the type of schools ie. run by religious organisations, size, my salary and conditions etc. I decide to work for a new school that didn't have religious leanings, and was keen on the cultural benefits of teaching English, not just the exam results, it is also a small ilkokul, they also offered me 1 full and 1 half scholarships, plus transport, food, some books and some uniform thrown in! So the kids started in September. I've got 1 in 2nd grade and 1 in 4th grade. Private SchoolProsNice teachersSmall classes (although as the school grows the numbers will increase)Cleaner than the state schoolLessons in chess, dance, music, clubs, French, German etc. The other students are welcoming and tolerant of our kidsOther students from other countriesKids who try to speak English to our kidsCons40 minutes travel time (this is quite normal for a lot of school children in Istanbul)9 'lessons' a dayHome at 4.45pmHomeworkNo extra help with Turkish literacyConsidering they've just been thrown in the deep end without much extra help, they're doing really well. They are picking up Turkish from their friends, and the older students are like big brothers and sisters to them, and help them if they are upset. My OH does the homework with them, as my Turkish isn't up to it, and sometimes he is exasperated with the type of 'test' questions they get. He's even been to school and asked them "Who WRITES these questions?" They are tests they 'have to give', from the education council. He says they are pointless, convoluted for no apparent reason, especially for a 2nd grader. He thinks they are trying to 'teach' common sense, but they do it in this convoluted manner. The teachers he's spoken to agree with him, but say the 'have to give' the work, and agree that the system is based too much on 'ticking boxes'. It's less about the process and more about the result. But it's an ingrained attitude which I find even in Kindergarten, where the teachers don't let the children work their own way through an activity - they will take over and complete it for them, so it 'looks' good for the parents - a bit like a controlling 'helicopter parent'!! It's like the emphasis on neat cursive writing in 1st grade....... Is the content important? Is the creativity important? No, the 'correct' script is important!! Our biggest concern is the Turkish education system as a whole when considering their futures. Parents who have the option the send their children to other countries for university, don't even consider sending them to Turkish universities. Although they agree that socially Turkey is better for teenagers than UK or USA. My husband says "Turkey doesn't want thinkers, it wants workers."I'd say "The Turkish government doesn't want thinkers, it wants workers, but Turkey NEEDS thinkers."I really don't think the education system produces thinkers. And people who have been through the system and are thinkers (that WE know of) are frustrated and demoralised here. Ultimately we're viewing this as an experience for them. And will continue to try to keep them interested in 'learning' in a broad sense.
  16. I've just taken delivery of a brand new pressure cooker which was hidden at the back of my FiL's shop. Nice.....but, how do I use it?? My MiL cooks stuff, but I'm not going to ask her because her cooking is a bit iffy TBH!!!! I think her beans are probably OK...but..... So, I'd like to cook a chicken stew or something like that, in fact I'll try anything. Have you got one? What are your fail safe recipes? What can I cook in it? How do I check if things are cooked...will it explode in my face? Help!
  17. I thought it might be interesting to find out what all the teachers are doing. I'm teaching kindergarten ages 3, 4 and 5. And 1st - 8th grades. I have reading skills books with 5th - 8th grades, and no books with any other class. I will be investing in some story books and action song CDs for my lower levels, that's for sure. I didn't know I would have so many pre-schoolers, they're 30 minute lessons, and the 3 year olds can be a bit bonkers. Boy, am I going to be busy at parent meetings - I teach every student in the school!!! And don't ask me to remember all their names. So, what/who are you teaching?
  18. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jan/29/turkey-istanbul-arabic-speaking-visitors According to numbers published by the Turkish tourism industry, Arab tourists spent approximately £1,700 per person in shops and restaurants, nearly four times as much as western tourists. There is a knock-on benefit for the approximately 1 million ethnic Arabs who live in Turkey, mostly in the south-eastern regions. Their language skills are in ever higher demand in tourism hotspots – and in restaurants. "[Restaurants] used to look for English-speaking staff, but now Arabic has become more important for many of them," said Bingöl. In his own restaurant he has noticed a 40% increase of diners from Arabic countries in the last year alone. "Most of them come from the Gulf countries, from Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates," he said. "They feel comfortable about travelling in Turkey because we share many things culturally. Taste-wise their own cuisine is very close to that of Turkey, too."
  19. sue

    Bodrum Beach

    Nice album, ken. They look a bit like 1960s postcards!
  20. I've actually driven in Istanbul!!!!! I know!!!!! I'm amazed!!! I've not gone over 40 mph (UK car) and I've not taken too many left turns!!!!!!!! yet, but I've been on the E5 (well very western end of it - I wouldn't DARE go through all the roadworks!) Anyway, I'm just so chuffed with myself!!
  21. Hi all you cookers!!! We had a BBQ on our terrace yesterday (I know - November, right??) and someone brought a shop-bought frozen cheesecake, unfortunately it was a bit of a let down. I love cheesecake and I always make one at Xmas with made up ingredients. The base is of course biscuit, the frozen one was almost cake-like. The filling, I use Mascarpone cheese, creme fraiche, double cream, and icing sugar, the frozen one was just krem shanti. It certainly didn't hit the mark!! With Xmas next month, I'm going to have a go at a cheesecake, now so I can perfect it. So, my questions are, using Turkish ingredients,a. Which biscuits would you recommend for the base?b. Do you think Labne cheese is a good substitute for Philadelphia cheese? Are there any other soft cheeses you would recommend?c. Do you think if I just ground up granulated sugar I could use it instead of icing sugar?d. Do you have a recipe I could change around to make a yummy cheesecake with Turkish ingredients?thanks very much, I anticipate any replies with a watering mouth!!
  22. When we were in England we bought some stuff for our flat. We saw a door mat in Next with the Union Flag on it. My OH said 'oh, that's bad' I said, I don't think people are that bothered in UK, and I never heard of any complaint about the flag being on boxer shorts, pants, bikinis, door mats etc. Anyway, fast forward to us sorting the flat, we find the door mat and put it outside our front door. As it's a new build, we had to call the builder around to have a look at a leak coming from the bottom of the terrace door. So, I open the door to him, and he immediately shakes his finger at me and tuts (nicely) and pats his head saying that you should always keep your flag above your head and not wipe your shoes on it. Clearly people have more respect for their flag in Turkey, as judging by what was said you wouldn't find a door mat or pants with the Turkish flag on! What do you think?
  23. For Returnıng Turks here is the list of things you need to do to get your personal household items to Turkey. We moved from UK to Istanbul. If you look at part 2 on this link it gives you the info.http://www.movegroup.co.uk/TURKEY-IMPORT-REGULATIONS.htmlOur experience.... CargoSome cargo companies will tell you that they can no longer move personal goods to Turkey. This is partially correct, but they do not know the law which is, personal household items must be shipped to the government customs depot, not a private depot. Use a cutoms agentIt would be possible to do the paperwork on your own, but not advisable. My husband says that the customs offices and depot is massive and very confusing and very, very busy. The people working there simply do not have the time to tell you how to get through the paperwork, which would leave you open to having to pay backhanders to try to get it done. A customs agent is essential as they know where to go, who to see, and what needs stamping. Lorries queue up for 3 days to get through the customs paperwork, and so it can take even longer if you do not know what you are doing. Once your stuff has been cleared through, you hire a truck from the customs depot which takes your stuff to your house, where you need to hire some men to off load it into your building. Storage at the depot once it has been cleared is 20Euros a day for a maximum of 22 days. You absolutely need the IKAMETGAH NAKIL BELGESI from the Turkish embassy/consulate, you will not get your stuff through otherwise. They want to know how many TVs and radio equipment you have for the bandrole. They opened a few random boxes to check it was indeed household.
  24. new arrivals - fridge, oven, hob, 2 mattresses, 2 beds, wardrobe, tv table, dining chairs.....still not in there yet!!!!

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