Thursday, June 20, 2013

Stage Debut

At the end of every school year, E's preschool puts on a performance.  We had been told about this performance from previous FSO's whose kids have attended, and we were told it was very nice, but we still weren't quite sure what to expect.  Of course, I pictured a 20 minute presentation of a few songs complete with hand motions a la The Itsy Bitsy Spider or Row Row Row Your Boat.  What I did not expect was an elaborate, 1.5 hour-long song and dance extravaganza that included frilly dresses, amazing costumes and Gangnam Style.  

All I can say is that this school really outdid themselves.  The teachers had sent home new song lyrics every week starting in February and I was told to practice with E at home.  Of course, all the lyrics were in Turkish so yeah, that wasn't happening.  But I knew they were also learning and practicing the songs at school too, so I crossed my fingers and just hoped my kid would deliver on the day of.  

During the singing portion of the show, the other kids were amazing.  Perfect hand motions, beautiful singing and even dainty applause between each song.  My kid?  Well, not so much.  He stood there staring at the children around him like he had never heard these songs before and then proceeded to pull a Magic Mike by attempting to remove his shirt and run off stage.  A teacher managed to wrestle him back on stage where she kept him there with bribes of candy that she continuously shoveled into his mouth every 3 minutes.  Hey, whatever works. In all fairness to my little dude, he is the youngest one there, so you can't expect much, right?  

Wrong.  Just when I thought my poor child wouldn't and couldn't be swayed into performing, he delivered 100% on the dancing portion.  First up, a fast little diddy where all the boys wore bumblebee costumes and the girls donned ladybug attire.  S and I had no idea costumes were involved (we did send in 150TL for the "performance" so I guess that's where our money went) so imagine our surprise when the curtains parted and there before us stood the cutest, most adorable little bumblebee on the planet.  He seemed a bit dazed at first, but once he got his bearings he was on fire.  Twirling, shaking his finger, stomping his feet, and even throwing his arms out and screaming "yaaaaayy" at the top of his longs during the finale.**  

For the second dance they wore traditional Turkish attire and stomped their feet while clapping their hands.  Not a lot of intricate dance steps involved, but it suddenly dawned on me how hard simultaneous clapping and stomping is for a 2-year old.  But he did it!  S and I were so proud. 

The school teaches kids from ages 2-6, so the older children also performed, but their routines were much more complex than E's group, for obvious reasons.  I was quite impressed by the whole show.  From the lighting to the music to the dancing and singing, it was a hit.  I can't wait for next year.

The performance is about to begin...

And the shirt is coming off...
The singing portion (notice E is missing and notice Ataturk is very present)

A group of older kids dancing.

More cool costumes and dancing
So serious!  Traditional Turkish clothing and dancing.

Still a little unsure...warming up...

**I wish I could post videos of his performance, especially the bumblebee one, but until I can figure out a way to blur the name of his school, I will have to refrain.  But, if you're friends with me on Facebook, you may have already seen it.**

Thursday, June 6, 2013

It Continues...

Obviously, I was wrong.  What I thought would be a "flash in the pan" type protest is proving to be more.  Although reports of violence appear to be quieting down (at least here in Adana), the protests and demonstrations continue.  However, they occur mostly in the early evening and at night, allowing us to go about our business as usual during the day.  Prime Minister Erdogan has been out of the country touring around North Africa for the past four days and is expected to return today.  It's anybody's guess what sort of homecoming he will receive, but I would bet all my money that it won't be very heartwarming.

For those curious as to what our evenings are like, this is what happens every night at 9 p.m.  Thankfully, E sleeps through it even though it makes M-Dog go a little insane.

ETA: Forget what I said about things quieting down.  As my blogger friend just pointed out in the comments below, this just happened last night.  So sad.  I just hope this all gets resolved soon.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


By now, everyone has probably heard about the protests/riots taking place in Istanbul, Ankara, and yes, even here in Adana.  What started as a protest over the construction of a shopping mall in a public park in Istanbul's popular Taksim Square (where we were just vacationing last weekend) turned into anti-government protests against the current administration and Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  

S and I have heard several accounts of displeasure and downright hatred of Erdogan from our local Turkish friends since we arrived in Adana five months ago.  Many Turks view his government as too Islamic-centered, and not secular like the founder of modern Turkey, Kemal Ataturk, believed it should be.  Ataturk is revered almost as a god-like figure here.  You can't walk one block without seeing his image in a store window or on the back of a car. Streets, parks and even airports are named for him.  Erdogan, although he has reportedly boosted Turkey's economy since taking office 10 years ago, has governed with a more conservative outlook, exactly the opposite of what Ataturk stood for, by setting strict rules on alcohol consumption and sales, cracking down on PDAs (there was a kissing protests a few weeks ago for this exact thing) and even doing away with a lot of holiday celebrations put in place by Ataturk nearly 90 years ago.  People are angry.  People don't want to see their country turn into something other than the equal and fair democracy that it was designed to be, and they feel Erdogan is attempting to do that.  The construction in Taksim Square was just the straw that broke the camel's back, in my opinion.  

Where these protests will lead is anybody's guess.  I figure things will turn back to normal when Monday morning rolls around and everyone realizes they need to get back to work.  But you never know.  For now, people are raising flags, chanting and attempting to peacefully protests a government they disapprove of, which is truly the democratic way.  I hope the police get that message.  And I hope the people of Turkey get what they truly want and deserve.  

Below are some photos from the protests here in Adana.  The first few photos were taken by me as we walked home from dinner last night.  Everyone was chanting and singing and marching peacefully and with purpose.  The last few are from a Turkish website that detailed the events that unfolded after the cops showed up.  It's a shame this is happening and I hope it ends with a peaceful and fair resolution.

Notice the group of men with red flags in the first pictures, and then see them again in the last picture.