Late last night, the Karagöz shadow puppets burst out into a cheer. I was brushing my teeth at the time, and couldn’t come right out, but I knew they were jumping all over the iPad, and figured their futbol (soccer) team (Galatasaray, of course) had done something good. When I emerged into the dark of the hallway, there they were, dancing in a raptured state, the luminous blue light of the technology age rendering them like starchy jellyfish glowing in the dark at the bottom of the ocean.
“M’lady!” Esma, the hippie puppet, cried as she swung her arms about in slow motion, “come dance with us – you have won something wonderful – it is called “The Liebster Award!” Feeling a bit timid, I walked into the living room and soon was propelled by pure love of these puppet brain inhabitants to swirl around the living room in my nightgown like Isadora Duncan on LSD. It might not have looked quite as grand as that, but it felt good. M. came in and danced with me too with all the goofiness of a galumphing elephant in a delicate ballet posture. We made a fine sight for the neighbors, that’s for sure.
In any case, the Liebster Award is for “the best kept secret” blogs with less than 200 followers. I can see that it is a smart way for people to find new blogs and to help other bloggers get discovered. So many thanks to you, Madhu, f0r choosing me for this award. I think that the best thing about blogging is the connections one makes to like-minded souls in far flung spots – and in some cases – not so far flung! Best of all is being acknowledged by a smart and interesting woman blogger who has built a bridge with me – isn’t that what social networking is all about after all? Please check out Madhu’s gorgeous blog, called “The Urge To Wander” and her lovely photographs (I am especially enamored of her Nubian landscapes, taken in or near Aswan, Egypt). I especially love her devotion to participating in weekly photography challenges (see her entries here), and she may have just tipped my scales in the direction of doing the same!
So, in order to accept the award, I have several tasks to complete:
- Thank the person that nominated you on your blog and link back to them (see above!)
- Nominate up to 5 other blogs with less than 200 subscribed followers for the award (see below)
- Let them know via comment on their blog (on the way as soon as this is posted!)
- Post the award on your blog (done!)
So here are my 5 “Hidden Secrets” to whom the Liebster has been passed on. I have attempted to stick with the focus of this blog in awarding these Liebsters – these blogs either address Turkey or cross-cultural relationships in some way, shape or form. May they be as wonderful to you as they are to me! The puppets are all a-flutter over which blog to visit first…
1) Senior Dogs Abroad: Check out Mark and Jolee’s adventures in Istanbul and beyond. Their observations of their so-far three years in Turkey are detailed, thought-provoking, critical in the best sense of the word and just plain fascinating. Most recently, they have been in Beirut, Lebanon, the “Paris of the Middle East” (click here to read about it) where they successfully negotiated a red-tape limbo-land that would send even the most of intrepid trekkers into a worry zone, if you ask me. They are my inspiration.
2) Amargi Istanbul Blog: Written by the Amargi Feminist Collective based in Istanbul – I find it to be a wonderful English-language resource on feminism in Turkey. The women at Amargi address their personal constructions of feminism, the challenges that feminism faces in Turkey and about the gaps that exist between some feminists groups in the country. Keep going, Amargi!
3) Culture Every Day: I hope you will enjoy Justine’s musings on all aspects of culture from an anthropologist and world traveler who is also on a Turkish-American marital roadtrip (to use my own parlance!). Right now, my favorite post is one that addresses common questions she gets about her experiences visiting Turkish family in Turkey (click here to check it out!). She’s been on hiatus as of late, but I miss her blog, and hope that this Liebster will encourage her to come back soon!
4) Mozzarella Mamma: Deadlines, Diapers and the Dolce Vita: About an American journalist-Mamma living in Roma (full disclosure – she’s my sister). I love all of her blog posts – but as she knows – those with the strongest “red thread” are my fave – especially “Mozzarella Mamma vs. Tiger Mamma” or her more recent posing on Mediterranean Men in which a t-shirt proclaiming “Viva La Mamma” figures prominently. Check her out!
5) Keepin’ My Head Above Water: Check out my friend and colleague, MamiNgwa, who blogs on her life as a mother-wife-professor-community member. As one half of a Cameroonian-American marriage, I see MamiNgwa as doing her part for the documentation of modern day women’s social history in the United States. May her blog someday be resident in the famous Schlesinger Library’s women’s social history collection (they have a fabulous collection of cookbooks through the ages that have been used to understand more about women’s lives). I loved her post about the Million Moms Challenge – and her critique/embrace of International Women’s Day. MamiNgwa is also in process on an important study about womens’ experiences with ectopic pregnancies – and is actively looking for study participants (click here to read more about that or take the survey located here).
Also, I see from some googling around that people also post 5 unexpected things about themselves…in order not to compete with my reflections from winning the Versatile Blogger Award (thanks again to Perking the Pansies and Walking Papers), here you go:
1) I worked as a social worker in a public defender office (public criminal lawyers) in the South Bronx – and the experience never left me. It informs every aspect of my academic scholarship and teaching graduate-level public sector social workers. You can read more about The Bronx Defenders here.
2) In high school, I signed up for a hiking trip in place of being tortured in required gym courses (e.g. aerobics for this very discombobulated self), As part of our training for a 7-day hike in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, I won a prize for being the first to make a fire in the pouring rain. My Dad’s northern Maine training school worked wonders each summer! The trick was to find dry kindling underneath the wet leaves in the forest, and start small, building it bigger as I went.
3) I can find my way around the Kapalı Çarşı (Grand Bazaar) in Istanbul better than my Istanbullu husband (per his report) due to what he terms my “internal GPS.” This is also likely due to the northern Maine training sessions in which my Dad would lead me (and my little sister) blindfolded into the woods and let us go with nothing but a compass and the task to “get home.” It wasn’t until years later that he told me he was about 20 yards away, following us to make sure we did not get lost. That’s love, on both counts.