Friday, June 22, 2007


Who would have thought that having a baby "back home" (Switzerland) would mean you actually have to ask the embassy in your host country (Turkey) to grant your home city (Geneva) permission to issue the baby a passport?
I'm not kidding!

Swiss law says newborn's passports must be issued in stated country of residence - no matter the nationality of the parents or baby's place of birth. Duh.
But we can't travel from the birth country back to the host country without said passport. How twisted is that?

Luckily, the lovely lady from the Istanbul based Swiss embassy will grant passport issuing authorization to Geneva asap after delivery. Pheew!

I am soooo glad she remembers me and my sis-in-law from our visit a year ago!
Administrative bureaucracy is tailored to text book cases... I guess we tend to fit in loop holes more...

We're off to the airport now - pray my tummy looks small enough to board!!!!!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Baby Birth Announcements

Typically, although we're still not 100% set on the name, I've recently started thinking about announcing our baby's birth.

It's easy to forgo the paper ones because modern technology serves us well and traditional birth announcements can a) require some organization (like a camera when you need one, an up-to-date address book and a stock of stamps) b) be expensive c) be boring or at least unoriginal d) be old-fashioned ...

Now that I think about it, I was informed of friends' kids' births by text messages, emails, and digital pics sent electronically.
Efficient. Gets the message across. But in a way it's a bit of a shame. Text messages and emails are so virtual and short-lived.

Granted, I'm sure no-body but close family members
keep the cards or pics, but something more tangible and long-lived is simply more inspiring to me than using sms. As long as it's kind of fun. And versatile (so we could do a mix -part email part airmail- depending on the generation we're writing to). And original but not over-the-top. And doesn't make us bankrupt or take ages to organize.

Then there's the visual content: although I might feel otherwise on D-day, most newborns I've seen wouldn't win a beauty contest until maybe a few days/weeks later (unless they were born by C-section) so a picture of a baby foot or hand is often way more aesthetic than a "portrait". However it's super frustrating if you're on the receiving end! So you might as well use a printed card featuring someone else's foot. But then it's really pointless and is definitely neither fun nor original....

What do you think about Movie Poster announcements? (not necessarily in movie poster size!) The idea is kind of fun and original but setting up your newborn as a star from day one, isn't that um, like a bit presumptuous? or maybe it's just the idea of associating baby to a blockbuster movie... mhh....

Well, if you have any ideas or have found or used a fun, original, not overly complicated way to tell the world baby is born, I'm all ears (I mean, eyes....)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Oh Boy! it's a Girl! Not?

Since the moment I was noticeably pregnant, not once has someone here asked me "Are you expecting a girl?" Quite the opposite in fact, most people greeted me with "You're expecting a boy?"

Having picked up on the fact that (for most) it was clearly a desirable thing to have a boy, (and noticed that announcements of us expecting a girl were either met with apologetic mimics and shrugs as if implying "better luck next time" or reactions of surprise as if their "guessing method" could not fail them) I took these "affirmestions" (a boy right?) to be rather sexist wishful thinking.

Granted, some people "guessed" the gender of baby according to the shape of my belly (to be honest, I'm still not clear on this- what shape is supposed to indicate what?) but no matter the "method" applied, the guessing always seemed to lead people to believe we were expecting a boy.

Yes, in this country one could say that a female child is more likely to become a "cost centre" whereas a male child is more likely to earn money and contribute to the family's welfare... but I personally believe it has more to do with an inherent belief that a boy is simply better. As simple as that. Umph. I won't even dignify this with further anything.

Anyway, the other day in a shop, once again me and my belly were greeted with the smiling "it's a boy?! when is he due?" I replied my usual "hayır, Kız" (no, a girl) and was met by exclamations of surprise bordering on skepticism.

Since this time the people asking me were of female gender and old enough to have (had) children of their own, I asked what was so surprising about there being a girl in my belly. Their English being as good as my Turkish, I didn't quite get the answer... but I did catch the word for "girl" and it was was accompanied by horrible grimaces, distorted faces and hands messing up hair - not nice. Whatever....

A few days later, when asked when "he was due", I took the opportunity of an English speaking Turkish woman's presence to question her about the mystifying grimaces and assumptions I had encountered.

She laughed and said: "in Turkey people believe that a baby girl steals her mother's beauty, whereas a baby boy makes her more beautiful... so you see, it's a compliment, because you look nice."


According to
baby gender folklore and 38 fun ways to guess your baby's sex I should indeed be expecting a boy....

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

favorite things & bad timing

One of my favorite things now days in Turkey is the yummy fresh fruit and veg.

I loved smelling the sweet strawberries at the market as early as April - and they taste wonderful.

It's a treat having cherries, melon and watermelon in May and delicious apricots and peaches in early June.
Believe me, there's nothing like juicy and sweet fruit when you're pregnant to your eyeballs!

The thing is, often we realize what we like and enjoy when faced with the opportunity or threat of having to leave them behind, give them up, change ways...

Recently it seemed more than likely that we would leave Izmir and Turkey (all the yummy things above, but also the huge house, garden for the dog, shared pool on the grounds, sunny weather and basically the fact of having been here a year which means we know a few nice people and places...) for a place I've never been to but that
  • looked like this when hubs went to visit (talk about a change in climate!)
  • is often thought of as being extremely modern and liberal and brilliant for women and mums (not your typical idea of Turkey)
  • but that didn't really inspire me after I had read this and this (unfortunately by the same author which doesn't give much perspective... but hey reading her was really dissuasive!)
Clearly it's not all about leaving Turkey, after all we will be leaving some day, and probably sooner rather than later, but right now there's also a strong timing component.

I think it's safe to say that, no matter the destination, moving with a newborn (packing or living out of boxes, temporarily living in a furnished flat while trying to adjust to feeding at all hours and sleepless nights, knowing nothing and no-one in a new city, house-hunting...) is about the most repulsive idea I can come up with at the moment.

Moving is stressful.
Having a baby is huge.
One at a time is enough.

Timing is key. Can we at least wait until bebek is say, 4 months old?

moving Stockholm yummy fruit leaving Turkey destination unknown and bad timing

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Week 32

On Saturday June 9th we had our last Turkish check-up with our local Ob-Gyn.

The latest:
weight (EFW): 2133gr (657gr in the past 3 weeks)
height: 41,32cm (= femur length of 6,22 x 6 + 4)
Estimated Delivery Date (EDD): varies depending on what you measure. Since she's slightly Large for Gestational Age (LGA) - some measurements show her to be up to 34 weeks, give or take a few days - obviously this moves the EDD up.

If only...
I'd be very happy to have her at week 37 when she's technically no longer a preemie (in Switzerland)!
Good news is, her lungs are mature so should she come early no issues there.

Other than the usual ultra-sound, we also had fetal monitoring for the first time.

This involved me lying down with straps around my belly meant to capture bebek's heart beat, a nurse
ringing a bicycle bell next to my belly, and me pressing on a what looked like an ignition button every time I felt a kick. Oh, and it also measures uterine contractions should you have any.

Basically, a healthy baby should react to the bicycle bell both by movement and an increased heart rate. Very definitely bebek was responsive - I'm not sure how much she enjoyed the experience, but Doc. was reassured she was well and I got my share of kicks, waves and somersaults.

We leave for Geneva in two weeks and so unless something unpleasant happens before then, the next time we visit our Doc. here, she'll be able to see our bebek without the need of an ultra-sound...
I have to say it's kind of weird having gone through 32 weeks of appointments, ultra-sounds, blood tests, phone calls and talks with her, to suddenly say goodbye before the baby is born. Kind of sad actually...

Friday, June 08, 2007

32 weeks or Being pregnant is...

To celebrate the end of week 32 (is this the beginning of the 8th month then?) here are 32 things that pregnancy is (to me)....

1. knowing what it feels like to have someone have the hiccups inside you
2. sympathizing with anyone who is overweight (especially when climbing stairs, getting up from a floor mat or doing up shoe laces!)
3. thinking anyone with a beer belly should consider wearing pregnancy pants - why suffer tightness around the waste when you can have an adjustable elastic system that is no uglier than "belly over button" and a red face!
4. having incredible heartburn!
5. sharing your body - like when you want to lie on your side and the little one inside you thinks differently!
6. thinking weird thoughts like "once upon a time, every single one of us actually lived in and came screaming out of someone's uterus!"
7. being in touch with your senses and intuition like you wouldn't believe!
8. being drugged on hormones and feeling the emotion you're overwhelmed by is totally disproportional to whatever the de facto situation may be, but you can't help - kind of schizophrenic really!
9. if you're like me, then pregnancy is a blocked nose more often than not, and you'll take up snoring at Olympic levels...
10. experiencing incredibly strong feelings for someone you've never even met!
11. spending hours trying to find a name!!!
12. and more hours trying to figure out how long 40 weeks really is and when the due date will be!
13. people you don't know well or to whom you're not physically close to, suddenly feeling they are fully entitled to touch your belly
14. your "bump" becomes the centre of attention, and boy to people stare!
15. people generally avoiding doing anything potentially upsetting and "bureaucratic" processes amazingly becoming more flexible as soon as your "bump" is noticed
16. complete strangers helping you to carry your groceries, which can be nice...
17. people you hardly know offering to look through their attics and lend/give you their maternity/baby clothes
18. getting acquainted to the smelly public toilets because your bladder (and someone dancing the polka on it) leaves you no choice...
19. as the baby grows bigger, eating small meals often because your stomach has no space left
20. ditto for your lungs, so breathing becomes more like panting
21. pregnancy is also giving up trying to figure out if, bump aside, you still look like you did before the bump - pregnancy is definitely not only in your belly!
22. your legs becoming stronger
23. becoming manic of creaming yourself to avoid stretch marks and itching (if you weren't into full body moisturizing before getting pregnant...)
24. appreciating spontaneously "popping out" as you know you won't be able to do it for much longer
25. ditto for long showers or lengthy gossips over lunch with friends
26. thinking you won't, but you do eventually, actually, unbelievably, start waddling instead of walking like a "normal" person
27. sometimes feeling like there's an alien inside you, especially when your tummy starts making waves or has protruding shapes and shakes on its own
28. being unable to remember what it's like not to be pregnant
29. seeing others jump, run, or even swiftly get out of their car seems quite amazing and definitely enviable....
30. noticing (and checking out) all the buggy brands in the street and becoming acquainted with obscure terms like "onesies", "grobags", "baby grows", "muslins" and "togs"
31. thinking that your "before" clothes seem like a joke, and hoping you'll some day look at your current preggie clothes and think that it's actually funny that a Sumo could fit into them
32. pregnancy is being allowed into the mummy club - an informal club exclusive to mothers who think and act like any non-parent just doesn't get it - and I'm not saying they are wrong...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The most expensive shoes in the world...or Don't mess with Turkish Customs

Who would have thought hey? Simple Birkenstock for my preggie feet going for 29,95 Euros on They would have cost me less if I had flown to Germany and brought them back to Turkey myself!

Until this incident, I had had no trouble having books from Amazon & Nespresso coffee delivered to my door here in Izmir. At most I had to pay a few Liras for postage.

I had heard stories of people who had ordered vitamins or food supplements from abroad, being asked to explain exactly what the package contained at the post office. No surprise - anything edible is always suspect.

But Birkenstocks? Really.
How are they any different from books? They are lighter & cheaper and they were ordered from Germany as opposed to the UK. And probably my mistake was to have them delivered by DHL - which was free by the way, since my order was for 5 pairs.

What happened? Well, they got stopped in Istanbul. DHL called me and told me they were at customs but that I could clear them.

-Agh, how does one clear customs?
-You must come here.
-Oh. Only I don't live in in Istanbul, but in Izmir....

-You can clear them in Izmir, do you want them sent to Izmir?
-Well, yes, my order was supposed to be delivered to me at my door in Izmir.
-We need you to pay 115ytl for the plane transfer and send us proof of payment and the transfer application form by fax.

Anyway, after being assured that all I needed to do was transfer the dosh and send back their application form for the shoes to arrive the next day, I figured that: a) sending them back to Germany was going to cost me at least as much and b) get them to me much later (especially if I had to have them re-sent to Geneva).

I'll spare you the details of:
-10 phone calls to customer services referring me to
5 different phone numbers of which only the last one worked
-as many emails
-no information as to which of the 3 airport terminals I was supposed to go to to claim my stuff
-a mountain of paperwork & "to and fros" from the customs office, the cargo office, the Turkish Airlines office...
-paying more dosh to cover handling fees, tax and photocopies of my passport and resident permit
-being insulted, hung up on and scolded
by customs officials ("don't debate with me!") for asking why I had to pay out more money when I had already paid X amount and had been told that was all
-and finally being saved by bureaucratic overdose by a broker who was no doubt afraid I was going to go into labor right there in the customs office if I didn't calm down...

A bloody nightmare.
I can assure you, if ever you are told that your goods have been stopped by Turkish Customs, (which basically seems to have a lot to do with luck, not with the declared value or weight of your parcel) don't hesitate for a second- send them back! Whatever your goods, they are not worth the time, energy, money you will need to recover them.

Better book yourself a plane ticket to go and pick them up yourself and enjoy a weekend trip to somewhere nice as well!

Monday, June 04, 2007

La di doo di doo dah...

Thanks honey...
last one with "just the two of us"
Next year we'll have help blowing out the candles....and maybe even cake in our hair which will be a new experience.... ;-)