We live is a nice sitesi/residence, with a few buildings, where for a reasonable monthly fee we get to enjoy different advantages of a residential compound, such as security, cleaning/maintance, a nice yard with a playground, and all possible shops and services located on the ground floors. Here, you can find hairdresser, laundry, dentist office, few grocery stores, some textile shops, a pastane with delicious cakes and çay/kahve… Well, you get the picture.
It is (
or it used to be) very quiet, except maybe for a few things – young ladies walking their barking dogs in the yard in the morning, teyzeler exchanging latest news across the corridors during, and an occasional child crying at night or riding his/her loud-ish bicycle early Sunday morning. I’d get annoyed with this children sometimes, especially if their parents drop them off their grandmother’s place, who happen to be my neighbour across the hall, and she would decide to punish her grandson by switching off WIFI at home and he would ring our door on the weekend to ask for a password :D Adorable, right? So, I’d get annoyed but it would quickly pass, and as long as I don’t live in a penthouse on a 25th floor somewhere, I can’t complain.
Until 1 month ago the horror began…
I’ll start with a little expat-whining. Sometimes it is so damn hard to be a foreigner in your new ‘home’ country which is neither “home” nor truly “your”, if you know what I mean. Little things become difficult, especially when you don’t speak the language. For instance, going to the dentist becomes a whole tragedy (like it wasn’t hard enough before when you were simply frightened of pain). No, now you don’t fear pain anymore, because you’ve learnt how to say “I’m neurotic and I’m really scared and I need a double dose of whatever anesthesia shot that you have” in your new language but now you have to always bring a company for translation, because there are so many things you can not explain. You can not explain the degree of pain that you feel or your dental history, or your allergies, or anything important for that matter. This covers going to any other doctor. And when they prescribe you pills that you don’t know, you come home and search the ingredients and different brand names to find an english leaflet and make sure everything is in order. It is uncomfortable and time-consuming.
In Bursa, if you want some Asian-inspired stir fry chicken and rice, you’d better make it yourself. Just couple of days ago I was thinking.. when I moved to Turkey I thought how incredible that people here love their national food so much. And that it tastes equally good – either served in a little street cafe or in beautiful garden restaurant on a fancy plate. And I love it too now, I do! The köfte, pide, saç kavurma, 56739875 types of kebaps (just kidding, but there are really a lot of them), named after people or places, endless selection of helva, baklava, Turkish delight etc.
But like many other expats in their new country (I’m sure) some days
you get tired of pretending that you’re almost a local you just want something different. I want my dinner to TASTE different. I want flavors and colors that I can’t find here, even in one great restaurant in Bursa where we go for a to the best-steak-I’ve-ever-had (no kidding!) with a wide selection of local and world wines.
So for those days I have a great recipe – stir fry chicken with vegetables served with rice. This chicken is full of flavors and colors, and the combination of soy sauce and honey, infused with ginger and garlic does a good job of satisfying my craving.
It’s easy to make, goes well for a weeknight dinner for two and the recipe is adjusted to the simplest ingredients one can have (no garlic powder, no reduced-sodium chicken broth that is suggested is many recipes and is nowhere to be found in Turkey, no special sauces). It does take some time to prepare and you can’t get away with just one cutting board and a bowl, but I assure you it’s worth it!
While in Turkey one simply must take advantage of the street markets. In some cities they emerge in different areas on different days of the week and then there is pazar pazarı (Sunday market) and here, in Turkey, I made my habit to visit the market weekly and stock on fresh local fruits and veggies. To be honest, the market is literally 100 meters away from our home so it might have helped me with motivation :D