Keeping busy…

Well, I certainly haven’t been very consistent with writing lately, and of course everything on here has turned rather pregnancy/baby centred. I’m sorry I don’t have any breathtakingly interesting cultural commentary to offer or general life insights (if I ever did!), but what can I do? These days my brain feels fully occupied by very basic tasks, like eating and sleeping and working, and then the rest is devoted to baby thoughts. It’s a bit overwhelming really!

I’ve been keeping busy with work, but apart from last week which was far too crazy and hectic, things have been going well. I’ve gotten into the swing of this whole kids teaching thing, and it’s more fun than I thought it would be. This week has felt particularly smooth, and I’m really savouring the experience. It’s fun to play some games, do some projects, read books with them, etc. I don’t think I’m really doing any life-changing teaching or anything, but things seem to be progressing well, the kids are happy enough and we’re getting things done- can’t ask for much more than that.

On Tuesday Richie’s mom and sister arrive, and I’m also taking the week off from teaching kids, so I’ll have the days free. I’m going to teach a couple of hours with a private student, but it’s hardly any work, so I can’t complain. It’s just going to be so nice to hang out lots and really just have a week of summer enjoyment, which is always more fun when you get to share it with someone else. Hopefully Richie won’t be working too much either, so we can all do some nice things together.

After my demented week last week, I realized that I need to make more time and mental space for centring myself, working on my physical, mental and emotional fitness and just sort of being in the moment and enjoying life. Over the last months there have obviously been so many things to think about, and there’s so much excitement, a bit of nervousness and anticipation and impatience, and, well, tons of emotions and thoughts bombarding me all the time! After our mini birth prep session last week, I’ve been thinking that I really need to calm myself and work towards being in a positive and balanced physical and mental state, because this whole birth experience and getting acquainted with a baby will be quite a monumental task! I want to be able to give it my all, but that will definitely be harder if I’m all scatterbrained and wired and wound-up! So, this week I’ve been doing some meditation and relaxation every morning before work, and then taking more walks after work as well as doing some yoga and stretching at home. I’ve also got some great books about birthing that I’m reading bits of every day, to keep positive stories in my mind and to help me focus on what’s most important right now. I certainly feel a lot calmer this week! It must be working, at least a little.

Well, Richie found out  he’s not teaching tonight, so that means we have the rest of the day to spend together. Since the weather’s been nicer, it’s been fun to get out of the apartment more and enjoy being out and about in the city. We’re discovering more nice places to go to in our ‘neighbourhood’ of Besiktas. It’s been nice to have a bit more time together in the last few weeks, to really connect and enjoy being just the two of us for a little while longer. I’ve loved just talking and talking, always one of my favourite things to do with Richie! Especially when we get to sit in a lovely tea garden or cafe, all comfy with a cup of tea or whatnot, on a bright and sunny day. Thank god for summer!

And here’s the latest big belly photo! It look so huge! And I’m only 32/33 weeks! I can’t imagine what it’ll be like at the end…


Meeting the doula, part 2 (and other random updates)…

So, Amy the Doula came over to our flat today for your second meeting. It was lovely. We chatted about various things, birth related and general. She’s really nice, so it was a pleasant visit. At the moment, I’m actually really tired, so this post probably won’t be the most coherent or informative, but still… it’s better than nothing.

Next week, Richie and I are going to head over the the ‘birth school’ I visited once before to meet another doula for a sort of crash course in birth preparation. This will involve, I presume, learning and practising some helpful positions for labour and some coping techniques like massage and whatnot. I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been reading quite a few books on labour and birth, so I have a bit of an idea of all this (and Richie’s started to study up too!), but it will be good to actually physically try some things out and learn whatever we can.

I’ve just actually worked for seven days in a row, which is the most I’ve worked in ages! Last weekend I finished up my classes from the previous term, and then right away on Monday morning I started a week long kids class. Every week teachers teach a different class of kids, to keep a bit of variety for both the students and the teachers, and the classes are 5 mornings a week for three hours a day. This week went pretty smoothly, I have to say. There is a rather loose curriculum, so we have a lot of freedom to do what we want to with the kids, which was nice, but maybe not the most organized for me! But my three students were really lovely, and we did some nice activities and I think overall it was successful. But I’m so so SO happy now to have two days off to recuperate! Especially since next week will be a bit mental. I will have another kids class, plus a private student of mine (just for two hours) and then I’m covering a friend’s classes (an extra six hours) while she’s away on holiday. So, split shifts and more hours than I’ve worked in ages. I’m going to make sure to take relaxing walks in the park in between classes and then come home for naps! I’d say by next Friday I’ll be wrecked!

Other than that, we’re slowly getting organized for baby. We’ve got a few shopping trips to go on for sure, and we’re trying to get our heads around what all we need, how to get out and get it, what needs to be ordered, etc. So far there’s been more thinking and planning than action, so I’m going to be excited to just get out to some shops or whatever and actually get things!

Well, I guess that’s about all I have the mental energy for at the moment. Now I will start my weekend by sitting on the couch with Richie, like a vegetable, then eat some dinner and watch a film. Sounds beautiful!

It’s not over yet…

Well, it’s been another tough week, and unfortunately for me, it sounds like I have another 6 mad weeks to go before there’s any sort of change to my schedule. I spoke to the powers that be about dropping a class, which would free me up two more evenings during the week, but they don’t have any other teacher to take that group at the moment, so I’m on my own. Blah.

I guess it’s not the worst thing in the world, but I’ve just been so tired and it’s gotten to that point where I feel a bit emotional and out of it as a result. And I feel like I’m always at work, and I don’t have much time to do anything around the house, like clean or do laundry! Aaaahhh. It’s such a mess around here, but I can’t do everything!

So, I decided that if I’m stuck working so many hours, I can at least give myself a little healthy and relaxing treat, so I’m booking myself a massage for later in the week, I hope. What’s the point of earning money if you can’t do something nice for yourself every now and then?

It’s that time again…

It’s once again time for a soul-searching, existential crisis and re-assessment of EVERYTHING. Having been blogging for over a year now, and having a record of all my crazy emotional and mental ups and downs, I see that I went through this same type of thing last winter. It is also likely that I do this every winter. So, I might as well stay true to form and do it again now.

I am contemplating making a few relatively small, but necessary changes in my life. For one thing, I feel like I need some change in my work schedule. I am working a reasonable amount of hours, but I have been working 6 days a week since the end of the summer, and I just don’t feel like I can keep this up. I definitely think it’s time to find a better balance between making time for positive, healthy, rejuvenating activities or non-activities, and the need to earn the money necessary for daily living and savings for important future needs. I do like my job, but sometimes I feel like it’s all I have time for. I do in fact have a reasonable amount of free time, but it’s generally in the mornings, and I rarely have an evening free to meet people with ‘normal’ jobs, I work all weekend and I can’t even go to yoga or anything, because I’m working all the times classes are on, except for my Monday mornings (thank god I’ve at least had that!). So, especially with feeling the winter blues, I want to make time for at least one evening of yoga during the week. Maybe I’ll also have more time then on an evening off to call people at home and stay in better touch with friends and family. I miss everyone so much, but often in the evenings, after hours of work and heating up some dinner, and relaxing for a bit, it’s already late and time for bed. I’ve really been feeling like staying in better touch with everyone is a major priority for me right now, so I need to make that happen.

So, a small change to my schedule should give me the space to do those things that I need to keep my sanity and put a bit of fresh energy and joy into my life.

I’ve also been trying to read some uplifting and inspiring books lately, to get me in a better headspace and help me put my plans into action. I am definitely the sort of person that needs to reason with myself and think things through and have a purpose, otherwise the actions, however positive, just seem to miss the mark. Thought, attitude and action all need to be working together.

I’ve been making more time to get myself resettled into regular meditation. Wow. It’s amazing how far one’s mind can stray if you take time off from regularly centring yourself, consciously relaxing and reconnecting with reality. My thoughts are just all over the place! But it’s been good just being back on the cushion again and re-learning how to breathe and let go. Along with meditating, I’ve been trying to fill my mind up with positive and wholesome thoughts. I’ve been reading a bit of poetry. I’ve been reading books about meditation philosophy and practice. I’ve been trying to get back to the basics of life.

Because, what’s it all about really? We’re here on this earth for such a short time. Far too short a time to get swallowed up in your job, or live to earn money, or feel anxious and stressed because you can’t do everything perfectly, or to want what other people have, or to be someone you’re not. People have lots of thoughts and interpretations on what the meaning of life is, and I don’t really know what I think the ‘meaning’ is, or if there even is an overall meaning. But I do think it’s completely miraculous that we exist at all, and we are totally capable of living with compassion and kindness and intelligence. We can make wise decisions, and be useful and helpful to people around us, we can contribute something positive, no matter how small, to the world around us. If we believe we are weak and useless and always failing at life, then that’s how we’ll be. But I do think that if we see the good in ourselves, other’s and the whole crazy world, then we will live like good people and have so many reasons for happiness. It really uplifts me to remember that we all have that divine spark, or enlightened quality, and we’re all fully capable of living with love and joy!

So, there. That’s my inspirational thought for the day. The sun is shining and the birds are singing and Richie and I have an extra day off today, so we’re heading to the ferry for a trip across the Bosphorus to enjoy the spring-like weather while it lasts. It’s definitely a day to celebrate being alive!

Happy living!



I am a vegetable…

I’m not exactly sure why, but this week has felt super busy. Today was super busy. Tomorrow will be super busy… until 4pm when my week-long holiday officially starts (i.e. at the end of my class)! I can’t wait. I just walked in the door and I feel like a vegetable. Richie’s doing the dinner (thank god!) and I’m going to sit here doing nothing for a bit and then maybe watch some mindless video or something.

Bring on the Bayram!!!!!

Sometimes I really love my job…

…although it’s pretty exhausting. Saturday is my busiest work day at the moment, with two three-hour classes and a morning full of planning. It might not sound like much, but it’s quite a full teaching day. However, it’s also my most rewarding day. I absolutely love the adult elementary class I teach on Saturdays and Sundays. It’s the first larger class I’ve had, with 9 students. They also have really good attendance, which means that I actually get to try new and interesting activities and various sorts of group work, etc. They are also lovely and enthusiastic and I feel like I’m really teaching them something and they’re really learning! Fun.

I also have a kids class once a week on Saturday evenings. Today was class number three. It’s been quite a learning curve these past few weeks, but today I felt like things went better, the kids got some good practice in, and we had some fun too playing some games and whatnot. By the time I finish with them, I am absolutely wrecked, and I also know I have a lot of improving to do with that class, but this evening when I finished, I felt good about the class. The kids are really cute and funny too, so that makes it nice. They’re 10-12, with just one 13 year old, so it’s a nice age. They still like learning and want to impress you and they still like teachers too! Yippee for me!

So, that’s it really. We just had a nice hearty dinner of some lentil and aubergine casserole, which really hit the spot on this cold, dark night. I think we’ve completely bypassed autumn and have gone directly to winter. Not cool. I really need to get out shopping this week and get all kinds of winter gear, like a coat (preferably waterproof), a pair of jeans or other trousers, boots, socks, jumpers, a pair of shoes! Aaaah! I’m just not really into shopping these days, but it’s necessary. Oh well. I guess it will all pay off when I’m not freezing all winter.

Okay, I’m off for some brain-dead time and maybe a nice little sip of whiskey and a biscuits or two.

I feel like celebrating…

Over the last week or two I’ve had a few down days. I’ve thrown a few temper tantrums at life, I’ve felt sorry for myself and have had some hardcore homesick moments. Sometimes I get weighed down by my tendency to worry about things, present and future, and this can snowball into a little sad spell.

Usually these sad spells involve me thinking of all my shortcomings, all the millions of things I’m NOT doing in my life, all the ‘shoulds’ I pile up on myself and then fail to live up to. It isn’t a very nice or productive experience.

So, this past week I’ve had a bit more time than usual to truly relax and take care of myself. I’m still nursing a slightly out-of-whack back and this has provided me with a good excuse to stay home, rest, think, reflect in a more positive way and build my emotional and physical strength back up.

Today Richie and I are both off work. Its our rest day and our chance to be together for a whole day! So, I’m celebrating today. I think its all too easy to be hard on yourself, and it is a fact that there will always be a million and one things we could or ‘should’ be doing, but at the same time, its important to celebrate your own personal victories in life and all the good things you have.

So this morning I am thinking of all the things I’m proud of, that make me feel alive and courageous and eager to experience whatever the next adventure in life may turn out to be. I think sometimes we feel ashamed to be proud of ourselves or to think that we’re living a pretty AMAZING life, but whatever! I’m gonna feel proud and maybe even a bit full of myself today!

Well, here are the things I’m most proud of and excited about in my life to date:

1. I’m married to an amazing man and we have a fantastic relationship. We are best friends, we are managing to be responsible adults and take care of ourselves and each other quite successfully, and we are having fun while doing it. I just can’t imagine a better person to travel through this life with.

2. I’ve moved to two countries (apart from my own, obviously) and have managed to make amazing friends that I’ll keep forever, get involved in satisfying and positive pursuits, have worked in numerous jobs and made an honest living in worthwhile ways, have gained tons of new skills and experiences along the way, and have learned how to survive and thrive in new places.

I’m basically living my dream. I always wanted to travel and experience life in different countries, and that’s what I’m doing. Not to say its always a bed of roses, but still. There’s a cost to everything, but despite all that, I’m so freakin’ lucky to be doing what I always dreamed I’d do!

3. I have absolutely fantastic, beautiful and life-changing friends. I must be doing something right in this life if I can manage to be friends with such great people! I’m not the best at long-distance communication (as I’m sure just about everyone who knows me is aware of) but I’ve managed to collect and keep such good people as friends, who have enriched my life so much, have taught me many things, and have added so much love and beauty into my life.

4. I’ve learned I’m adaptable and strong enough to survive the trials and tribulations of being human! I couldn’t do this without the love and support of so many friends and family, and of course, Richie, but I also know that I’m strong, and even though I certainly have weak times, I am able to do what needs to be done, make important decisions and keep working and adapting to make a life for myself.

5. I’m finally teaching, and doing a pretty good job, if I do say so myself. For a first-year teacher anyway. I’m working in quite possibly the best language school in Istanbul, my students have been happy with their lessons, I’m learning lots about my job, I work with great people, and I haven’t got sacked or had any other major professional mishaps! Haha! I spend so much time being a perfectionist and worrying about teaching, but honestly, things are going really well. That’s not to say I don’t have TONS to learn, but that’s normal.

6. I’m feeling as healthy and strong as I’ve ever felt in my life (apart from the temporary issue of my back). I do yoga at least twice a week, I’ve actually managed to have some discipline in my life, I have a pretty consistent spiritual practice, I exercise loads just going about my daily routines, and I make sure Richie and I have a nice healthy diet, so hopefully we’ll live a nice long time and have happy bodies and minds!

7. I’ve become a damn good housekeeper. This might not sound like something that exciting, but keeping things tidy has never been my strong point. This has almost  become a discipline too. I love to have clean kitchen when I wake up in the morning, I actually regularly hoover and tidy and do laundry. I’ve even washed the windows, for god’s sake! I love our apartment, and I feel like our home is our castle and I want to make it a nice castle to spend time in. Our home is the most sacred and important place in our life, and the daily routines of taking care of it and living in it are sacred too.

8. Today I also even feel proud of what I consider to be one of my main flaws. I think this obnoxious, annoying, head-wreaking flaw is also the identical twin of my greatest strength. In a nutshell, I am constantly trying to change myself, trying to be something more than I am, always looking for some new thing to make me happy, give me a sense of identity, to fill in the gaps in my life. Its almost like an animal hunger that can’t ever be satisfied and it means that I often thoughtlessly scarf down life like a dog scarfs down dinner! This restless of mine can leave me feeling drained, edgy, dissatisfied with myself and life, inadequate and like I don’t really know who or what I am sometimes.

But on the flip side, this restlessness fills me with energy, creativity, the desire to be a better person and to do something positive for the world. It challenges me to try new things, experiment with new identities and ways of seeing and understanding the world, it make me try constantly to become more and more open-minded, compassionate and wise. It makes me like a roaming animal, who wants to nibble the grass of every field, take a sip from every stream, and taste every good thing in life. It makes me think and think and think, sometimes driving me insane, but every now and again, leading me to have some clearer understanding of the world. Most of all its the constant energy of change, change, change, and this passion for change can sometimes be a curse, but its also a positive defining characteristic of my life. I wouldn’t be where I am today,  with all the things I have to celebrate, if it wasn’t for my untameable restlessness.

So, there you go. I’m going to think about all those good things today and hopefully for many days. I hope you’ll take some time to celebrate yourself and your life today too. Don’t be shy!

Happy living!