Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone a happy, safe, wonderful and blessed New Year and sending each and every one of you all of the best for 2010. Thank you for spending 2009 with me. What are all of your plans for New Year's Eve? In just two hours, TLS and I will be going to a restaurant here in Ankara for a lovely dinner that we have been very much looking forward to followed by champagne and a view of the fireworks from our hotel.

In Russian culture, Christmas does not really exist as a holiday. For us, New Year is the day when you put up a tree and Santa comes and leaves you presents under it. My mother still puts up a tree every year (we put it up one or two days after Christmas to distinguish that it is not, in fact, a Christmas tree) and I told TLS that next year we will be having our own tree. This is how they celebrate New Year in Turkey as well and it has brought a big smile to my face seeing all of the trees and Santa hats around everywhere. :) It is also a Russian superstition that you are supposed to be wearing one new item of clothing on New Year for good luck. I greatly enjoyed this growing up because it meant that no matter what, my mother had to take me shopping in December. This year I got a lovely navy and white wrap dress along with a pair of new Hanky Pankies. All you ladies who made impulse purchases this week with your Christmas/Hannukah money, here's a way of justifying those. :)
See you on the other side of the calendar. :)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


*That means hello in Turkish!

Hello hello. Just wanted to do a quick post to say hi to everyone. :) After two flights and a 5 hour layover in Germany, I am finally in Turkey with TLS! Today was my first day in Turkey. TLS had to go to work and I was on my own for the day in Ankara. We went to breakfast together after which I took a nap (totally healthy and doctor recommended), went to go work out, and walked around to explore the area around our hotel a bit.

I went to this local coffee shop chain that was completely new to me called Starbucks. Unlike its American counterparts, the Turkish Starbucks still have the seasonal holiday drinks out. In Turkey, one of their holiday drinks is a Dark Cherry Mocha which I just had to try. It was amazing and I wish that the American Starbucks would get on the bandwagon.

Our hotel is in a major shopping area so I did quite a bit of window shopping today. I am thinking that I may have to pick up a pair of Mavi jeans while I'm here. I got lunch and went back to the hotel to take a shower and relax. TLS got me a massage for 4. After which, he came home, we relaxed, went to the club lounge for wine and then out to dinner for sushi. Afterwards, we tried Salep. It is a traditional Turkish drink made from ground Orchids. It is served warm with cinnamon sprinkled on top. It was delicious and very sweet.

All in all, today was the perfect relaxing first day. Tomorrow, TLS is off work and we will be sightseeing around Ankara before New Year's Eve dinner. I promise to post pictures as soon as I can. I have gotten requests for postcards from a few readers and have offered to send cards to anyone who is interested. If you would like a card, please email me your address to whaleflipflops {@} gmail {.} com. Even if you have sent it to me in the past, please just resend the info as it is a lot easier on me. I hope everyone had a lovely day.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Au Revoir New York

The day has finally come. I am leaving for Turkey tonight! I will have a 5 hour layover in Frankfurt and then it's off to Ankara! I am hoping that the layover will act as a buffer in case of flight delays. Please keep your fingers crossed that I have a smooth flight without any delays or problems as are so common to me when I fly. I will be blogging from Turkey and hope to provide you with some awesome pictures!

x's and o's,

Friday, December 11, 2009

hello world

I have come out of my coccoon to say hello to blogland and let you all know that I am still here. I am in the process of catching up on everyone's blogs and unfortunately I don't have time to comment on every single one, so if I don't comment on yours, please don't take it to mean that I didn't read it.

I have survived my first week of unemployment and it hasn't been easy. I have been working ever since I was 15 so to suddenly find myself without a job at age 26 was a bit of a slap in the face. I want to thank all of my readers for your thoughtful emails, notes, and cupcakes. They have helped me stay positive all this week.

In an attempt to put a positive spin on things, I have been determined to use my unemployment as a chance to lose weight and get healthier. When I was working, I would come home from work at 7pm on a good day, and some days not until much later than that. This meant that I didn't have a chance to grocery shop and I was usually too tired to cook when I got home and would just order sushi or Chinese food so all that I would ever really keep were non-perishables. I went to Trader Joe's with my best friend GNB and stocked up on fruits and vegetables and have been eating healthy all week. I also started walking a lot more just because. Yesterday, I walked four miles! It may be psychosymptomatic, but I swear that I feel better!

Another positive thing that has come out of my unemployment is that now I have the opportunity to travel more. I wanted to visit TLS in Turkey for New Year's Eve, but since I could only take a few days off work, the price of a ticket was sky high, and I could not afford it. Now that I am able to stay for a full week, it decreased the cost of a ticket greatly, and as my Hannukah gift from my mom and TLS, I got a plane ticke to Turkey! I will be there from December 28- January 6 and I am so excited! I love travelling and it is my goal to have to get a new passport prematurely because all of the squares for customs stamps in it have been used up. This brings me two stamps closer to my goal. Baby steps...

I have had a lot of time to think this week and since I am a chronic listmaker, I have compiled a list of how losing your job is a lot like being dumped. In no particular order:
1) After both, you spend a lot of time eating chocolate and watching bad tv.
2) Both may use the phrase "it's not you, it's me" when letting you go.
3) After a while, you tell yourself that you weren't really happy anyway and this is for the best.
4) Your friends try to convince you that this is your opportunity to find a better looking one with better benefits.
5) You spend time cyber-stalking to see if they have replaced you.

Until next time, I love you all. Have a terrific weekend and Happy Hannukah to all of my Jewish readers. Thank you for allowing me to share a small part of my life with you, I am truly grateful to have each and every one of you in my life.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thank You and a Request

I want to thank all of my readers for your kind words of support and prayers yesterday. I am truly touched at all of the emails and comments I received, and consider myself fortunate to have "met" all of you. I was let go along with about 20 other people as part of a massive restructuring, so I know that it was nothing personal or having to do with my job, but it still hurts.

Maybe it's because The Sound of Music was my favorite movie when I was little, but I have always been a fan of the saying "when the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window." I feel like that right now. Several of you have messaged me asking if I need any help right now. As you may have picked up on my frequent posting, I love to write. For a while now, I have wanted to get into freelance writing. I have written a few articles on the side, and it's something that I want to do while I look for a job. If any of you hear of any freelance opportunities through your professional or personal circles, can you please keep me in mind and let me know?

Thank you once again to all of you for all of your support.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

prayers needed

I was just informed that I am being let go. My termination is effective December 31st, but even if I don't come in to work, I will still be getting paid through the 31st. I am stunned and shocked right now as I was told that I was safe here. All I want to do is go home and cry. Please keep me in your prayers that I can find a job quickly and a health plan.

Also, I will be away from my blog for a bit. If you need to reach me, email is the best way to go.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tacky Tuesday

I will spare you all the details of my family's Thanksgiving celebration because it went roughly as described in my previous post. Instead I will take the time to point out one of the tackiest things that I witnessed.

My cousin and I are at that age when our friends start getting married and pairing off, so she has been invited to a lot of weddings in the past few months and had a stack of wedding invitations on her table. Before dinner, we were hanging out in her room and I was looking at all of them. The top invitation made me cry a little on the inside. It came from a couple who clearly were paying for the wedding themselves and did not have a big budget to work with. The invitation was a piece of 8.5x1" white printer paper with all of the wedding info typed out on it and a clip art black and white picture of wedding bells at the top. The invitation was folded in three and mailed in a regular plain white envelope. There was no RSVP card and you had to email the bride to RSVP.

I understand that times are tough and people are cutting corners to save on wedding expenses, but in my opinion, this is going too far. I value stationery and paper goods and save all of the cards, letters, etc. that I get. I have saved the invitations to every wedding and Bar and Bat Mitzvah that I have been invited to. If I got an invitation like that for a wedding, I would not save it. Personally, if a couple really cannot afford their wedding stationery, I would much rather get a Paperless Post or even a *gasp* Evite than something that was made on Microsoft Word.