Cappadocia is a Fantasy World Come to Life

Last weekend I went to Cappadocia in central Turkey.  My brother and his partner are on vacation, touring through the Balkans and visiting Idil’s family in Turkey.  My belated Christmas gift from them was the chance to meet up for a weekend in Cappadocia!


Seriously, Cappadocia is one of the most unique, beautiful places I’ve ever visited.  Idil said that it feels like you’re walking through a Star Wars planet, and she was right.  It was also exactly like wandering through a fantastical setting in a Final Fantasy game.  As someone who THOROUGHLY enjoys escaping the mundanity of real life in favor of fantasy books, movies, or games, it was amazing to realize I could have the best of both (real and fake) worlds!

I may or may not write a longer post about Cappadocia with pictures, but for now, I’d rather leave you with this video!  I did a much better job this time with actually filming the things we were seeing, and WHAT THINGS THEY WERE.  Fairy chimneys, underground cities, and cave churches!  Check it!

The Story of a Friendship: Stephanie and Tricia

I met Stephanie on a college trip to Turkey.  I made a lot of friends on that trip, but she was a soulmate.  She was weird, creative, spontaneous, and always optimistic.  When we returned to Tennessee, we kept hanging out, and she quickly became my college bestie.


Having started our friendship while traveling, we continued to roadtrip together – short trips to Memphis, longer trips up I-55 to my hometown, and longest trips to Savannah where we both had family to visit.  Long car rides with Stephanie were easy.  We shared a love of 90s pop songs and modern musicals.  We were both obsessed with A Very Potter Musical, and we perfected our duet to “Granger Danger.”  We also used those long rides to craft the most absurd and delightful iMovies of our adventures.  We loved over-documenting ourselves, with pictures and videos and dumb clips, and we proudly showed our creations to anyone who was unfortunate to be around us for more than five minutes.  The most tragic thing in the world is that I cannot seem to find our 1-55 Adventure video, which was at least 15 minutes long and was totally awesome.   Continue reading

StumbleUpon Sunday (14)

StumbleUpon is a great way to lose hours of your life.  Luckily, I braved the Internet vortex so you don’t have to.  This week I found these especially interesting websites:

  1. 15 Animals That Aren’t Dogs, But Totally Want to be Man’s Best Friend
    This kind of content is exactly what the Internet is for.
  2. Man Walks All Day to Create Massive Snow Patterns
    I love when artists create something beautiful knowing that it will be transient and unseen.
  3. 13 Life-Changing Beauty Hacks Using Vaseline
    “Life-changing” might be strong, but these vaseline-inspired tips are definitely useful!
  4. Maps of War: Middle East
    WOW.  This 90-second video zips through history, showing all the empires and kingdoms who have taken over the Middle East, starting with Egypt and ending with national independence.  Never has this made so much sense.
  5. 18 Spectacular and Bizarre Airbnb Rentals
    Someone give me all the money!  I need to stay in every single one of these.
  6. This Man Found a SECRET Tunnel in His House
    An underground city 18 stories deep!?  With shops, tombs, livestock and individual quarters?  I want that at my house!
  7. 18 Irritatingly Bothersome Movie Plot Holes
    I’m going to try to forget these as quickly as possible, because they are so right.
  8. 17 Diagrams That Will Help You Draw (Almost) Anything
    Some are useful, some are funny.  Like the Internet.
  9. Six Before and After Pictures That Show Why You Should Adopt a Shelter Dog
  10. 23 Super Creative Repurposed Items
    These are so cool!  I want the card catalogue mini bar and globe bowl.  And suitcase chair!

Tricia Sucks at Learning Languages

Istanbul, Turkey – January 2009

Out of a group of eighteen, I was shocked to find only three of us did not want to strip halfway nude and participate in a communal Turkish bath, or hammam.  Since the other two holdouts were 1) a leader, and 2) a girl who had grown up in Turkey and already experienced a Turkish bath, really it came down to just me being a prude.  I liked the other members of our team, but we had only known each other for seven pre-trip meetings and two days of traveling.  I did not feel safe enough to let my extreme self-conscious guard down.  Instead of participating in a cultural experience and group bonding exercise, Kate and Chris and I wandered the streets of Istanbul alone.  The three of us took a taxi to the mall where Kate’s family shopped.  I was disappointed to see that it was a normal mall with a sleek interior and modern storefronts.

“We could see if there are any good movies playing,” Kate suggested.  We headed toward the mall’s theater.

“How do you say ‘let’s go’ in Turkish?” Chris asked.

“Haydi gidelim,” Kate said.

“Haydi gidelim,” Chris repeated.

Kate glanced at him in shock.  “Wow, Chris.  That was really good.”

“Hi-dee gitilem,” I said.

“Close,” Kate allowed.

“Hi-dee gitilem,” I tried again.

“Haydi gidelim,” Chris said.

“Yeah, that’s perfect!” Kate exclaimed.  “Your accent is perfect, Chris.”

We found the theater and stared at the back-lit movie poster for Yes Man.  Deciding we didn’t want to spend money on it, we discussed what else to do with our time.  “We could find somewhere that sells baklava,” I suggested.  Kate decided we could walk to the waterfront and find a shop there that would sell the dessert.

“Haydi gidelim!” Chris exclaimed.  I frowned at my feet.

As we crossed cobbled streets and slanted sidewalks, Chris continued to request Turkish words from Kate.  He parroted them back perfectly almost 100% of the time.  Every time I tried to join in the game, I inevitably stumbled over the foreign words and wound up speaking gibberish.  Kate was unfailingly polite, encouraging despite my failures.  This only made me feel worse.1930753_513230292032_7597_n

We found a pastry shop that sold baklava, and to make up for my wounded ego, I might have overly bragged about how “when I was in Greece!” I’d fallen in love with the honeyed sweet.  We bought four squares and carried the box to a bench that overlooked the Bosphorus.  The lights of the city danced over the dark water.

“Nefisti!” Chris exclaimed.

In my jealous mind, Chris was now capable of speaking fluent Turkish while I had yet to pronounce one word correctly.  I stopped trying to join in the language acquisition game and instead led the conversation around to learning more about my teammates.  We had a lovely and vulnerable conversation that was only occasionally punctuated by Chris’s remarkable ability to absorb foreign languages.

We met up with the rest of our team at the hotel two hours later.  They were bursting with ecstatically grossed-out stories of communal scrub brushes, which I listened to with a combination of relief and jealousy.  It was getting late, and I saw Chris lean over to Kate.

“Yatak!” he yelled suddenly.  “Go to bed!”  As we started to scatter to our rooms, I muttered, “Yatak.”

“Hey, good job!” Kate said.  I hadn’t known she was walking behind me.

“That was right?” I asked.

“Yeah, it was perfect.”

I smirked, shoving humiliation down deep.  I was still smart.  I could learn things.  Like, one thing, at least.