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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PERSONAL

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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Travels

Doors of San Francisco, Part One.

San Francisco Skyline from Alcatraz

When we have decided to do our road trip through California, I had only one city in my mind: San Francisco. Was it because of the fact that I grew up watching Full House and had a crush on Uncle Jesse all those years? That might very well be the case, but let’s not get into that right now. Unlike me, regardless of your reasons; it is very easy to agree on the beauty of this city’s architecture, misty weather, music and history. It is, indeed, fascinating but after spending a few days, there was one little detail in this city that became my sudden favourite: the doorways.
Every one of them has a different story to tell me about what we were talking about as we were passing by, what we did right before they caught my eye and what we were up to right after we parted ways.

So, in order to honour the most beautiful details of San Francisco, I’ll write a little bit about the doors of this city. Just sit back, get your cup of tea and follow our footprints.

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Door Number 2363

On our first morning we woke up quite early thanks to our lingering jetlag; but when you only have a couple of days to explore this city, waking up early was all we needed.

After a stale bagel and a particularly bad coffee at our hotel, we threw ourselves out to the streets. Sunshine, calm breeze, caffeine buzz, -a bad taste of coffee in my mouth- everything you need to start your day right. This lasted only until the streets slapped us with the harsh reality of San Francisco: climbing, climbing and more climbing. Our calves will thank us tomorrow by refusing to move I guess. Plus, the astonishing architecture of San Francisco is a real treat if your passion in photography mainly consists of buildings, small cafés and facades like me.

So that brings us to door number 2363, on a busy street, right next to a mini market where we bought chips and salsa. A gorgeous doorway often occupied with people walking their dogs or rushing to work at this busy morning hour. I stop and snap a quick photo.

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Door Number 2434

After some walking through the city, we made our way to the infamous Lombard Street. A narrow street which curls up like a spaghetti all the way and covered with flowers and bright greenery. Very scenic indeed. The view from the top also includes a fine line of the San Francisco skyline and when you go down, you can see all the way up the Lombard Street, the passing colourful trams and some more.

Although my high hopes, we were not the only ones who thought early morning hours would be better when it comes to sightseeing. We were trying to squeeze ourselves between two busses full of tourists like ourselves. The result? No decent photos taken, but I’ll survive!

As hours were approaching to the end of our morning, we have decided to grab a decent bite somewhere downtown so it was time for another round of exploring. Holidays are for walking at least 5 hours a day, am I right?

This brings us to the doorway number 2434, right by the Lombard Street, always be remembered as the prettiest doorway in San Francisco, spotted on our way to the most delicious bite at a café called 8 a.m. That chia pudding and the avocado toast still whispers my name when I crave something tasty!

Our little stroll through the town and the downtown breakfast turned into one of the nicest mornings we have had in this city. We continued our wandering, went to drink the first Irish Coffee in America and had ended the day with one too many shrimp cocktails downed with one too many Tom Collins cocktails. La Bella Vita!

-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 Two?

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

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