2018 finished out in a blur and all of a sudden it’s February 2019. While we have not been overly present here on social media in the last few months, it does not mean that we’ve been lazy! We have so many good things to share (especially one monumental one, that we CAN’T share fully yet).
One of our favorite traditions is to grab sushi and go through my list of year-end questions. There’s always WAtooto many questions, but it’s good for conversation.
You can grab a more simplified worksheet for your next year-end review by emailing me here! I’ll send it your way ASAP!
Several words come to mind as we think back to our year: re-direction, adoption, preparation, joyfulness, and hardship. Sometimes I get to the end of the year and can think about how we have missed documenting our journey here in Izmir, but every year, this recap shows me HOW MUCH WE HAVE!!!!
Here is our recap of 2018:
🔅Jason and his brother rewrote and relaunch bltn in January.
Ever curious about what a local market looks like for us in Izmir, Turkey? Look no further than the Bostanlı Pazar!
In this article, I cover:
How large is the Bostanlı Pazar?
What should you bring to the Bostanlı Pazar?
What should you be aware of before you go to the Bostanlı Pazar?
Here we go!
Depending on one’s love of crowds, the weekly outdoor market of Bostanlı Pazar competes for one of the best or one of the worst parts of Turkey. The empty covered parking in a matter of hours is filled to the brim with a surprisingly organized array of stands that sell fruit, vegetables, nuts, clothes and household items. The sellers can be heard in the distant calling out for buyers and sharing how scrumptious their products taste.
The Bostanlı Pazar, established in Karşıyaka’s (literally “the other side”) Bostanlı neighborhood, exceeds the normal neighborhood bazaar by being the largest market in Izmir. Not overly touristy, sights and sounds of daily life in Turkey engulf visitors as they enter the market. But unlike other smaller markets, tourists can still find more traditional Turkish items for sale such as Turkish towels and antique dishes. In addition, local vendors with shops downtown bring their rugs, purses and handcrafted jewelry to the market.
However, the experience is not for everyone. The market can be loud and very busy, especially in the afternoon and evening. Exploring the market in the morning will allow for a more relaxed experience. While the items are a bargain, quality items are rare. Bargain vendors sell clothes with minor defects, such as dresses/shirts with small holes in them or t-shirts with a slight offset in the print.
This famous Bostanlı Pazar is only open on Wednesdays.
How to get there:
The Bostanlı Pazar attracts visitors from all over the city. After taking a bus or ferry to the Bostanlı Iskelesi, the market is an easy 10 minutes walk. Several buses also travel from Karşıyaka and Bostanlı by the Bostanlı Pazar on their way to Mavişehir. Otherwise, for around 10 lira you can grab a taxi for a quick drop off right by the entrance.
Traveling by car presents a slight difficulty because the parking is difficult and hard to come by the later it gets in the day. The 6 lane seaside road between the Bostanlı Pazar and the coast becomes 4 lanes as visitors start parking in the side lanes. There is a small parking lot to the east of the market but it is usually packed with the seller’s vehicles.
What to bring:
Cash: Some vendors that sell higher priced items like rugs may have a credit card payment option. However, cash will usually get you a discount since there is no fee required for the payment.
Rolling cart: For larger purchases or hungry eyes, bring a rolling cart to make the trip home easier to manage! The kilos of fruits and vegetables quickly add up!
Camera: If you are touring the markets on vacation, bring your camera to take pictures! After checking the locals’ approval for a photo, you may find the seller calling you over to their stands to pose for a shot!
What to eat:
Of course, the vendors always offer up samples of their food but make sure to leave room for the gözleme stands outside of the covered Bostanlı Pazar. Gözleme is like a Turkish quesadilla except not as much cheese and thiner dough (see video below!) With several stands to choose from, order a potato, spinach, cheese or eggplant stuffed gözleme and drink an ayran (salty yogurt drink) and relax with your meal in the provided chairs and tables.
How to navigate the market:
If coming for the experience and not for a weeks supply of food, start the tour from the west side where the clothing and household items are sold. The middle section is full of vegetables and fruits that are in season, nuts, pickles and fresh herbs. The last section on the far east is reserved for cheese, olives, and seafood. Many varieties of cheese from different parts of Turkey can be found in these cheese stalls. Come hungry as vendors are eager to let you sample their products.
What to buy:
Some of the items that you see are priced about the same as what you would get from a local market, but other items, such as shawls and women and children’s clothing, can be found at ridiculously cheap prices (as low as 5 TL or less). Make sure to try the dried fruit and nuts (“kuruyemiş”).
Visiting with the family:
The market spans a large area and even regular visitors find themselves lost among the ever-changing stalls. While it is possible to come with young children, it can be difficult. The crowds are tricky to navigate and they can easily get lost. Children who grow tired of shopping can enjoy the seaside park across the street.
A final note:
If you really want to experience a market in Izmir and you miss the Wednesday market in Bostanlı, there are other markets in nearby Karşıyaka on Sunday (only food) and Tuesday (only clothes and household items).
Note: This article was originally guest-posted for Yabangee.
I would love to hear from you! Comment below or on the video answering one of the following questions:
1. Have you been to this market – the “Bostanlı Pazar“?
2. What tips do you have?
3. What did you find interesting from the video?
(Welcome to Day 1 of a 31 day challenge to write 500 words or more. For more on that click here: goinswriter.com)
Running together is like, his least favorite thing to do. But talking while running is worse which usually means I promise not to talk to him if we run together.
Yet, my loving husband found himself on a run with his wife NOT listening to his podcast like he prefers but instead, once again was helping me process how to be more productive with my work/life balance.
He was encouraging me while doing the thing he least loves, twice over.
You see, I was yet again discouraged and hard on myself for not staying on task and in return not making very much progress to my to-do list. It’s not the first time we have had this conversation and in fact, I thought I WAS doing well at it. That morning, instead of writing, I found myself finishing my Christmas Card list, Christmas shopping, and spent way to much time on my phone.
How did I get distracted when I had started with such good intentions?
We work backwards…
How did I start on the Christmas Card list? I was looking for Christmas gift and remembered I needed to send the card list to my sister.
How did I think about the Christmas gifts? Jason has sent me text message thanking me for taking care of the gifs.
Message = Trigger
Ugh. Totally not his fault.
But really what has started this problem was I was ALREADY distracted before starting to write. WHY? My phone. I usually bring my phone out of my room and jump straight onto everything that I missed while I was sleeping 9 hours ahead of the states.
Real Trigger = Opening my phone before I finish my morning routine.
Other Trigger = NOT moving from my reading chair to my work area.
So we had this conversation about creating routines and systems to help me ‘have a plan’ and ‘know exactly what do to’.
Here are the questions that continually plague my mind:
How does a distracted and jumbled mind work productively?
How do you move past feelings to do your hard projects?
How do you tackle projects that seem too big to manage?
What is the trigger to keep me from doing the things I need to do? Is it environment? Is it my phone? Do I just say yes to every thought that comes to mind?
How do you move past wanting to take care of tasks that trigger my thoughts… that I want to do but can wait until later?
It seems SOOOO SIMPLE.
Just do them…
Just start your big project…
Just forget about feelings and move forward.
But sometimes it IS NOT ENOUGH.
Sometimes, we are, *um* I am like a 5-year-old and can’t seem to resist the temptations, like NOT looking at my phone… or Instagram… or anything else.
So you know what? I am starting to put the Triggers out of hands reach.
What does that even mean?
Here are a few guidelines I will work on to help create triggers and boundaries:
I will leave my phone in my room until I finish my morning routine and 1-hour writing.
I will start my writing at my desk or dining table.
I will start changing environments for different task –
Consider using a coffee shop right after Turkish lessons to do my homework so I don’t put it off.
Consider another writing location for Monday’s and Friday when I do most of my writing.
I will create a task list the night before to know what my next morning will look like
I will place that task list in front of me so I know what my top 3 are for the day.
I will have a list of random thoughts that come to mind while I am working.
Currently, we are working to re-apply for our visas. Our 1 year visas are coming to a close, and we are submitting our visas to live in Turkey for another 2 years!
As I wrap up part 3 of our EXPAT YEARS Series, I share 10 things we have learn our first year as expats.
Try to stick with your original plan. (Which we did not do…)
Jason and I agreed before we moved that renting a furnished apartment would be the best option. We could potentially pay more for our home but save money the first year. It would give us time to make sure we were in the right location and look for a more permanent rental that we knew we really liked.
Having great neighbors is worth your apartment rent and location.
Brightside to #1 is our #2. One of the main reasons we love our place is our neighbors. It took a while to get connected with our neighbors, but it is worth all the effort in the world to have good relationships with them. Our neighbors have had us over for tea, invited me into their women’s group, brought us food after my surgery, and even watered my flowers while we were gone for 2 months this summer.
Humans are created to be in community, and while you may not need a large community, it is still important. Married 2.5 years when we moved, Jason and I were comfortable with just being with each other, but we both knew it was not healthy. Community brings a network of helpers and advisors that can support you. Community creates friendships which, while they can’t replace your best friends back ‘home’ it can help ease times of homesickness and loneliness. Lastly, community gives you belonging and identity which is crucial to thriving long term in another country. All is important when moving to another country.
When I moved to Istanbul, Turkey as a single gal, it was also the first time I moved outside of the U.S.A. I found that celebrating the little accomplishments helped me see growth. I would celebrate the number of months living in a city of 20 million people much like newlyweds celebrate each month of marriage until their first anniversary. Make a list of things you will have to learn, and check them off as you learn them. Or write down things you have learned since moving such as buying furniture, refilling your transportation card, or have the air conditioner fixed.
This is so important! Taking a break every once and awhile is good! We were in Turkey 4 months before heading out to Germany for Christmas. After moving, living in an airbnb for a month, buying furniture, fixing issues with our newly (yet not truly lived in) renovated apartment, starting language… needless to say, we were ready for a break! We actually left our apartment in the hands of a Turkish friend for one day after we left so the leaking roof could be replaced. A break was important and usually is needed in the first 4-6 months. So whether it is just outside the city or another country, get out of town for a bit and relax.
Reflect and evaluate
While celebrating and taking a break are both great things to do, one of the most helpful tip is to reflect. We reflect together every new year, sometimes over our anniversary celebration, and even when other friends ask us questions. If you are learning a language it is helpful to reflect on what works and doesn’t work, and especially what you have learned to see progress. Scheduling time reflect on your work, personal like and projects is more helpful than you think and can encourage you as you in times of need.
Unless you are an English speaker in an English speaking country, learning the local language is always a good choice. (Although I do hear France is brutally unkind about new french language learners).
Is it easy? NOT AT ALL. But have I found (the second time around, and with a longer term vision in mind) that the more I try to speak, the more others appreciate it.
Will it take time? ABSOLUTELY (that was more for myself). With other projects on the burner, Jason and I are working part-time to learn Turkish and it has been worth every hour.
Keep up at least 1 hobby that you loved back home
Sounds weird but this one little task can make a bad culture day look brighter and mellow out sadness. Like to play guitar? Bring yours or buy one as soon as you can. Enjoy crossstitching, bring your needles and threads. Love to run and exercise, join a gym. You will not regret investing into the hobbies that bring you joy.
Explore all the local food … and maybe even cook it
These Funks love trying new foods, and even though we had both lived here before, I have found there to be so many foods I had never tried. Food opens a whole different door into the culture and locals you are learning about it. Be adventurous, and order that food you don’t know how to pronounce. Try and then record it in a book and either note how great it was or wasn’t!
Your family and friends won’t forget you, but it usually looks different.
You may find it challenging to connect when you return, especially if they aren’t able to come visit you. However, they will still love you! Returning home could require some preparation on your part and you find learn more about that in our next EXPAT SERIES: Going Home.
‘You get a strange feeling when you leave a place, like you’ll not only miss the people you love, but you miss the person you are at this time and place because you’ll never be this way ever again.’ — Azar Nafasi
Instead of spending one more month in the states we stuck to our original departure date – determined to move overseas. We felt that delaying our move would make it harder to leave, and believe me, it was sad enough leaving family and friends behind. So 20 hours later with a very lengthy layover in the Chicago airport, we found our (very tired) selves on the sunny beaches of Rota, Spain.
Since then, these 2 people have….
Moved 8 bags via south Spain (listen here and here) to Madrid to fly one way to Turkey
And the truth? There have been MANY times I have regretted moving those first few months, especially while we were settling in.
BUT the great reality?
REGRETS and ‘second guessing’ are COMPLETELY NORMAL. And in all honesty, part of the deal. The disagreements between Jason and I about what and how much to buy, having to research and learn what to do here before you can make 5,000 decisions, deciding to budget high for travel although we had just moved, investing money into our language learning when it could be easier not to learn it at all, having to deal with having surgery in another country, the days where you don’t want to deal with culture or think about how every way you act.
Tears, sadness, loneliness, reflection, prayers (lots and lots of prayers), and choosing joy and happiness. I remember it is WORTH it. I remember how long we planned and dreamed for something like this. I remember the list of gratitudes I started in my prayer journal. I remember how sweet our neighbors, church, and friends are. I remember how far I have come for the ‘not so easy learner.’
I am SO VERY THANKFUL we made the move. The decisions, awkward start of friendships, and transitioning from one life to another have had even more happy moments to accompany them. We have walked through our Turkish friends’ wedding, sang songs in another language, loved on Turkish and expat kids that are not our nieces and nephews, and celebrated life with those around us!