PERSONAL, Uncategorized

Autumn in Delft

Changing leaves, that first night you realise that you need more than your flimsy blanket to sleep, less iced teas and more warm coffees, apple pie, countdown to Christmas, rainy days and fuzzy socks.

I have never been a summer person but I have to admit I have never seen autumn to be as beautiful as the ones in the Netherlands. Maybe my lacking is because I come from a place where summers last longer and winter comes shortly after. In Delft, cooler summer lingers till autumn takes over in the earlier days of September and brings all the yellow and orange tints with it.

As the days are getting shorter, my life in the Netherlands is slowly finding its balance. Time passes faster and I find myself feeling less restless, more at ease.

And I have to admit that autumn days like these certainly help.

-Ceren

If you would like to see more of my photography, come and find me on Instagram  @crn.spymn !

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PERSONAL, Uncategorized

Ramblings on Social Media, Somewhere Between Inspiring and Overwhelming

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Social media, especially Instagram has become a big part of my life since I’ve joined a little over a year ago. Some may even claim (okay, I claim) that I’m even addicted to it. They (yeah yeah, I) have a point.

If Instagram is praised as a ‘community designed to inspire you and share your aesthetic passion with like-minded people’, then why do I often feel so overwhelmed by it, rather than inspired? Have all the positive rays of artistry and beauty this app provides completely missed me?

With approximately 700 million followers, Instagram is huge. With influencers and content creators and feed editors; a whole new generation of ‘successful people who made it’ are popping everywhere. If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere. As someone who is a humble owner of an account with 2 thousand-something followers, I am not even close to ‘making’ anything. Normally, that is fine. Heck, it is more than fine, it’s great! But then, why am I feeling like I’m missing out on some secret club where I just can’t seem to get an invitation to?

I mean, with free products to ‘unbox’, invitations to ‘openings’, restaurants to ‘try out’ and parties to ‘check out’ and if you are one of those who really made it, workshops and photography or styling workshops to ‘set up’ does look like the new glittery life. And, who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? Punk is dead but Insta Glam is here to stay! One like  at a time.

When I first decided to join Instagram, I knew I wanted to do more than just taking selfies or posting random moments from my daily life. I wanted to post about what impressed me and made me admire. That was, this little city where I live now: Delft. The classic Dutch architecture and the little streets simply made me happy. I loved it in the summer, even more in the fall. With including my trips to other places here and there, I still mostly post photos of this cute Randstad corner.

Sounds and feels simple enough. Well, apparently not. As much as I would like to convince myself that I am doing this for my own pure pleasure, my hand (and my mind) still wanders every couple of minutes to see how many people liked my photo. Some kind of momentary relief, a hint of feeling appreciated.

Paying attention to which hashtags to use, watching the time to decide when to post that day… The lighting is off in this one. My feed is too crowded. Why can’t I snap photos like this girl? I have no set theme. He has how many followers? I should post everyday. Wait, what? I’ve lost how many followers? But, why?

Waste of my time, my energy and more importantly, my creativity. All the things I thought I would get from Instagram has turned me into someone who compares what I choose for the world to see with other people’s creations. An endless search for something so subjective yet somehow through the Instagram’s ‘like system’, so uniform.

So how to fix this? Actually, that is still something I’m yet to discover and practice everyday. Maybe take a small break to reset my mind and use this time to recharge. Who knows? Being an Instagram celebrity may not be in my future but I will continue to smother people with my semi-daily snappings of the city I live in and some others I occasionally visit.

-Ceren

If you would like to see more photos of the Netherlands (and contribute to my addiction), come and find me on Instagram  @crn.spymn !

 

 

 

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PERSONAL, Uncategorized

Mostly Here and Sometimes There

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Oh it turns out I have a blog!

Sometime last month, for the second time this year, I have moved to a new country. Like other milestones in someone’s life, these last couple of months were sometimes bitter but also oh-so-sweet.

For someone who always prefers to be on the safer side of things, I sure do know how to get out of my comfort zone. Moving twice in a year, starting a new study in a new country, learning a new language, understanding a new culture and finding a new balance in life while coping with everything that comes with a semi-long distance marriage. Who said life gets dull as you get older?

As I approach another milestone known as the big 30’s; sitting in a classroom, handing over my homework while planning my grocery days and wondering if it was today or tomorrow that the supermarket had 50% off on all the cleaning products, I agreed that our 30’s really are the new 20’s. Only where there is less soul searching and more getting drunk on better quality drinks.

After some time away from here, as everything slowly settle down; I will be thinking, writing and sharing a little bit more. I know it’s too early to jump to any conclusions about what my new adventure in the Netherlands will bring but I am not in a rush. Right now, I am far busier with finding ways to keep my plants alive and settling arguments with my husband about how frequently the vacuuming should be done (even though it is through FaceTime).

-Ceren

 

 

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PERSONAL

When We Were Living There: Streets of Yeldeğirmeni.

I was born and raised in İstanbul. The biggest city of Turkey where ten-something million people live. The streets are always busy, the traffic is almost always terrible and the political tension on the streets is always seems to be high. Chaotic, vibrant, fascinating, unique and sometimes smothering.

When we first moved in together with my now-husband, then-boyfriend; he was already living in Yeldeğirmeni, Kadıköy in an expat building so we’ve decided to stay and rent our own flat in the same place. With parties almost every weekend on our communal terrace and meeting so many different people coming from all around the world, it was hard to find something to complain about. Living in that couple of centuries old building surrounded by like-minded genuine friends whom we still keep in touch, we’ve fallen in love with this little neighbourhood.

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Streets of Yeldeğirmeni

Exploring the small cafes and treating ourselves for a breakfast outside became our weekly ritual and small walks taken between the streets were our treat. Mural art on almost every corner, international students trying to escape the high prices of Moda area were now turning this Kadıköy corner into a small town bursting with culture, art, peacefulness and calmness… Something hard to come-by in İstanbul.

The day we moved to our second flat only two minutes away from our previous one, between one of my many popping in-and-outs; a woman stopped me to ask if I could take a picture of her and her friends. After posing in front of our not so special building, she has explained that in the 70’s when they were all students at different universities, this was the building that they lived for four years and four more after that. And this was the first time any of them visited it again since going their separate ways. ”Yeldeğirmeni has changed a lot with all these art cafes and the coffee spots now, but the spirit is still the same.” one of them said. It turns out she was there to look for a spot to open her own art gallery just a street away from the very same building where she studied art and dreamed about owning a gallery one day. As fascinating as it is, I suspected this was only one of the many hidden stories surrounding these old walls.

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The unchanging residents, cats.

 

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Living in İstanbul and especially in any part of Kadıköy comes with its unique demands. In this case, it is the animals that made these streets their home. Street cats and dogs are part of everyone’s life and if you are one of those who LOVES animals (more than people some people claim), simply going out for a 5 minute walk to the supermarket means stopping at least five times to pet some of them. Preggo Calico, Kuyruksuz, Scratchy cat, Friendly Black, Çamlıbel, Eyeless, Stamppot, Boomer, Perry, Sümük of here, the Bundle family, Kitty cow, Purrito, Miracle Mimi and Huggy cat were our friends whom we would meet and greet everyday. I only hope that they would forgive me for all the weird names that I have given to them. Regardless of their clumsy names, they are and will be the biggest reason for Yeldeğirmeni to be the most special place within all the other neighbourhoods I’ve lived in.

Taking all these into consideration, it was easy to assume that four months after we’ve moved to Doha, when I had couple of days to spend in İstanbul, I was nothing short of happy.

Walking the same streets, going to the same cafes like we used to and more importantly seeing old friends reminds me that 28 is not a young age to feel nostalgia. Guli, whom we met in that first building is married and getting ready to move to Malaysia, just like we’ve moved to Qatar. Duygu, busy as ever with her work but our talks on WhatsApp everyday makes it easier to live apart. Jeff is already back to the United States and still on his search for his true meaning. Sean, living in South Korea with the girlfriend he met in that building. Gizem, moved in with her boyfriend Nik and enjoying the beautiful İstanbul sunset everyday. Kate, Niko, Chrysta, Jack and many others that we’ve shared a drink -or 10- at some point during our time in Yeldeğirmeni may not be there anymore but our memories and some embarrassing Facebook pictures are still there. And my four legged street friends? Some where still there, laying lazily next to a sidewalk or under a car and some were new, replacing the ones that we have lost along the way.

-Ceren

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If you would like to see more photos of İstanbul, come and find me on Instagram  @crn.spymn !

 

 

 

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Doors of San Francisco, Part Three.

One of the Many Pretty Houses in San Francisco

We were out and about once again on a crisp, clear, bright San Francisco morning. At this point of our time in this city, we were fully aware of where to get a good cup of coffee and the best bagels as soon as we leave our hotel, also known as the only two things to give me the will to get up and get going. So far, the biggest challenge of our road trip was to find a decent breakfast because one can only drink certain amount of bad coffee without questioning if this is the time to cut the trip short and fly back to Europe for a good ol’ cup of Joe.

That morning, our bellies full, all was well and it was only about to get better from there.

Recently, I have decided to pen a series of articles dedicated to -in my humble opinion- the most fascinating details of San Francisco: the doorways. All of them unique and witnessed different parts of our short stay. So, don’t forget to get something tasty do drink, sit back, relax and enjoy the third part of our adventure.

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Door Number 641

Today’s quest was a big one. The plan was to walk to the Golden Gate Bridge, and then walk some more to see the end of the marathon around Golden Gate Park. This was mostly because we are one of those people who performs better on the sidelines than the actual marathon. Plus, the rumour has it that the after-run parties are a big thing here and why miss a good party just because we don’t actually run, right?

So we were enjoying our long walk with the wind behind us and excited to see the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Which brings us to Door Number 641. Right along the coast on a busy street, this door equals to that little coffee truck we saw shortly after I took this photo, parked on the coast. Don’t be fooled by the size or the mobility, this place had everything from matcha latte to Turkish coffee and a high possibility to make me its steady customer for the rest of my life. If only I could live here. Who knows, maybe dreams do come true.

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Door Number 1315

The walk to the Golden Gate bridge is a pleasant one if you choose the coastal road. It’s often busy with people either taking a walk, out for a run or preparing for a day of picnic with friends and family.

As we continued our pleasant morning walk, the clouds were gathering slowly and what started as a bright and sunny day was now misty and somehow littered with thick clouds. We, being responsible travelers, were prepared for any surprise changes in the weather and quickly whipped out our thin cardigans. Problem solved, or so we thought. The closer we were getting, the more sure we were of the fact that there was no sign of a bridge where it should be. We were experiencing the famous San Francisco fog, on the one day that we chose to visit the Golden Gate Bridge. Oh, so swell!

After waiting some for what would be a miracle, we have decided to give up on our hopes and make it to the end of the marathon and that’s when I came across the Door Number 1315. Couldn’t get to see the Golden Gate Bridge but at least I got to see this lovely doorway with a beautiful teal tiles. Trying very hard to see the positive side of things, I take a photo.

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Nameless Door of the Conservatory of Flowers

I have never been to a marathon before. Never even seen one up close let alone running in it. So as we were getting closer to the Golden Gate Park, I’ve had no idea about what to expect. That’s why I was fascinated to see a huge crowd of people, all in costumes, participating and, wait, having fun?

In my mind marathons are more associated with heavy sessions of trainings, grueling physical challenges and a high level of accomplishment mixed with severe exhaustion afterwards (I mean, bleeding nipples anyone?). Unlike my expectations; this particular group was either walking, maybe jogging, some were drinking, many were talking, laughing, snacking, smoking, basically just enjoying themselves and having fun while wearing costumes. Maybe wearing a costume is not your thing? No problem, you can come naked too! San Francisco being San Francisco, you won’t be judged or booed, just like everyone else, you are welcome! What a place to be!

We managed to keep our clothes on, but certainly had fun watching a sea of people and their unique looks.

Walking aimlessly and admiring the beauty of the park when we were not busy with the marathon fun, we came up to the Conservatory of Flowers. Beautiful place with a beautiful exterior. I’ve snapped a photo to mark our day of ups and downs.

After spending all day in the city, we’ve decided to keep the evening fairly simple. Some drinks and a nice dinner somewhere closeby. If only we didn’t fall asleep roughly around 7 p.m and woke up the next morning; to a new day full of new plans.

-Ceren

Out trip didn’t end there and neither did the artistic doorways of San Francisco. If you liked what you’ve read so far, why not tune in for Doors of San Francisco, Part Four?

Missed the beginning? then don’t forget to read Part One and two!

You can find more photos of San Francisco on my Instagram account! Find me @crn.spymn

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Delft: Home is Where the Best Stamppot is.

Centrum van Delft

The word ‘home’ has always been an interesting concept for me. As someone who has lived in two homes with my parents and three homes on my own and three -soon to be four- homes with my now-husband, then-boyfriend; the whole meaning of ‘home’ gets rather complicated. As I’m getting ready to move and try the whole ‘living in two different houses in two different countries’ plan (hello commuting), I can’t help but wonder: What makes a house, a home?

Ever changing; sometimes it is your possessions. To give an example, like that vase you put fresh flowers every week, the photo frames you hand picked one by one or -if you enjoy your hot drinks as much as me regardless of what day, time or season it is-, your beloved mugs. Wherever you go as long as you have your possessions, it suddenly becomes home.

Sometimes, it is who you are with. Either it is your family, your significant other or even your pet; wherever they are, everywhere feels like home. It can be your two cats -like my Misa and Taco, your dog by your side or even your fish tank, it doesn’t matter.

And sometimes it is the city itself. It’s very much like that familiar, warm feeling slowly oozing in your chest whenever you wander the streets. It is saying ‘Hi!’ to the café owner every time you pass by, or stopping at the same flower shop every week for some fresh tulips. You know the whole city is your home.

When I think of all the different cities I’ve been and all the houses that I’ve lived in, I realize they have all had a different way of becoming my home. Some are definitely more missed than the others.

All these thoughts bring me to my next destination: Delft. A relatively small city right between Rotterdam and Den Haag, is where I’ll be for the next upcoming years. As I think more about it, it becomes more and more clear that this city already feels unique.

I have certainly traveled to the Netherlands before but it wasn’t until I met my husband that I had the chance to visit Delft. As soon as you step outside of the train station and walk into the old town, this city somehow captures you. Historical, cozy, small and vibrant. Just visiting De Markt is enough to make me feel content. Even doing nothing much but visiting the little cafés scattered in this town is very well enough to fill up my whole day.

That’s why when we’ve decided to get married, it wasn’t so hard to pick the perfect location. We wanted to get married in Delft. Preferably, in the Stadhuis, right at the glorious Markt. And 6 months after that day, we were already making plans for me to start my new study at a new university, in a new house that we have just bought, only minutes away from the cityhall that we’ve gotten married at. Now, I have to admit that was truly something that we would have never thought of only a year before.

Me, joining my husband in a new country this year in March, I am already about the pack my bags once more for a new chapter that awaits us in the horizon. To make things more interesting -or challenging, if you will- instead of one, I will very soon have two houses to call home.

Would I like to have more time to adjust or o simply do everything without have to hurry? Of course! Picking furniture online and trying to squeeze everything to the limited time we had whenever we visit is no easy task, but with the streets of Delft that I so adore in my heart and our new beginning ahead of us, somehow I am not so worried. After all, home is where the best stamppot is.

A little note to all non-Dutchies out there like myself; stamppot is a traditional Dutch dish made from a combination of potatoes mashed with one or several vegetables. These veggie pairings are usually include sauerkraut, endive, kale, carrots and onions. It is best enjoyed during the cold, grey winter months. Certainly more often while feeling homesick.

-Ceren

If you would like to see more photos of Delft, come and find me on Instagram  @crn.spymn !

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Doors of San Francisco, Part Two.

The Painted Ladies

Architecture photography has a very special place in my heart. The streets, the buildings, trees, facades, windows… they are all little puzzle pieces that give the city its ‘vibe’. I like historical cities where the buildings go as early as couple of hundred years back and you can still read ‘Tailor’ or ‘Butcher’ shop signs made by marbles on a little café. That’s why I will never get bored of traveling through Europe. So much historical beauty in such a small space.

Spending three weeks in the United States, has changed my view on this topic and I’ve added some new cities to my long list of ‘Places I Would Go Over And Over Again’. San Francisco on that list, without a doubt, takes the first place.

Recently, I have decided to write a small piece in order to honour the most beautiful details of this city: the doorways. So just sit back and take a sip of your coffee while you enjoy reading our days in the city of San Francisco with the little help from the colourful doors.

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Door Number 775

It was roughly 8 a.m but we were already showered, dressed up, gotten our caffeine fix and ready right outside of our hotel. A busy day walking to the Fisherman’s Wharf, a strolling through the Pier 39 and visiting the iconic Painted Ladies. Busy day indeed but nothing short of entertaining.

Whenever we are exploring a new city, we always end up walking for the majority of the day. Not that we have anything against public transportation -they do suck sometimes- but walking makes us feel more included in the daily life and we always end up catching the little details this city has to offer.

That’s when we came across Warrington 775, a gorgeous doorway right at the hearth of the city, surrounded by big towering hotels. To describe the contrast, despite the clean esthetics of this photo; we were tired -again, walking for hours everyday is never easy-, defeated by the sun, hungry and my pretty shoes were betraying my feet by causing blistering. On top of that, we were wondering if the tram we are about to take is the correct one or not. Not the condition I would wish anyone to see us in but all those can’t stop me from snapping a pretty doorway when I see one.

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Door Numbers 534, 532, 530

San Francisco can impress you at every corner. Looking away or checking your map for a moment and you might overlook some of the finest details that make this city so unique.

The coffee is tasty, people are relaxed, streets are busy and the hills are steep.

On our way to the Painted Ladies we’ve stopped for a moment to check where we were and apparently we took a wrong turn somewhere. Which brings us to door numbers 534, 532 and 530. Small details we wouldn’t be able to come across if we didn’t get lost first.

These doors belonged to a building that looks like a worn out version of all the other gorgeous buildings surrounding it. Looking very calm, almost unoccupied. What made them special was the sign right next to door 534; saying ‘We don’t care about who you are or which country you come from, if you are in need of a shelter, ring the bell. We don’t believe in walls.’

Small sign with a big meaning. These doors may not be the prettiest of all, but they are the most important. Without even thinking about it, I took this photo.

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Door Number 210

Door number 210 was not the easiest one to spot. This little house we’ve spotted on our way to Pier 39 was nicely tucked away on a crowded street, hiding in a coat of greenery.

It was surrounded by a small garden which looked like it belongs to another place rather than San Francisco. The trees grew taller and the calming sound of the small fountain was there only if you stopped and listened to it.

If you are one of those who enjoys spending time at home more than being outside, this house would be your oasis. Just grab your book, your warm cup of coffee and hang out in that garden until someone has to come and check if you were alright. That’s my kind of a weekend, indeed!

Leaving my dreams behind, I chose to listen to my rumbling stomach. After I’ve snapped a quick photo, we’ve continued our way to grab a bite. What matters more at that point was whether I felt more like tacos or a burrito.

-Ceren

Our trip didn’t end there and neither did the artistic doorways of San Francisco. If you liked what you’ve read so far, why not tune in for Doors of San Francisco, Part Three?

Missed the beginning? then don’t forget to read Part One!

You can find more photos of San Francisco on my Instagram account! Find me @crn.spymn

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