More Sunday Morning Updates- Occupy Gezi

I’m posting a few things I have shared via the Exotic American Facebook, because they are important notes to be shared:

Some of the best images coming out are the protesters CLEANING Taksim before leaving, and also helping out the many street animals effected by the gas.

Just came back from a run. Had so many breathing problems (gee, I wonder whatever from??) that I had to cut it from 10km+hill training to just 7km flat. Thanks Turkish Police…
note: breathing problems from all the gas yesterday, NOT new gassing today*

****And PLEASE understand that despite what American media is saying, the Turkish government is NOT condemning the attacks or excessive use of gas!!! The government is where the police are getting their orders from**** It is EXTREMELY important that the world understands this!!!

Follow more at if you want to know what an American is seeing here, rather than what the American media is telling you


Occupy Gezi on a rainy Sunday morning

After an intense night of police raids and gas bombings, the city is eerily quiet this morning. They had left Taksim Square yesterday however that was not the victory it seemed to be. The police merely moved into other neighborhoods and continued their attacks there, one of the worst hit being my neighborhood of Beşiktaş. Anyway, not sure if the quiet is a result of the police backing down or giving citizens a false sense of security before attacking again. We’ll see what the day brings when the rain clears out….


and don’t forget that I’m updating the Exotic American Facebook page constantly with news and information. It’s really important considering the media blackout and America’s hesitance to broadcast too much…

OCCUPY GEZI! Stay Strong Istanbul!

People around the world! I ask you to please show your support to Turkey now! These people are fighting for what should be basic rights and freedom to not be subjected to police brutality! Please show the Turks that they are NOT ALONE! I am so proud of my Turks today!

Please check out the Exotic American Facebook page for news updates, as the Turkish media is heavily censoring everything.


or, Good Morning

What does all this running do to me?

Isn’t it actually bad for your health to run this much? 10km 3 days in a row? Aren’t you damaging your body more than helping it? You seem a little obsessed….


Waking up calm, relaxed. Feeling blood pumping through your relaxed leg muscles. Overwhelming sense of peace, optimism; knowing it will only get better after the next run. Just a couple more hours. Just a few things to do. Then the shoes are on and I’m out the door.

Problems don’t exist in those shoes. There is no stress, no drama, no regret, no “what if?” No questioning if you made the right or wrong decision. Only strength. Because no one regrets going for a run; those thoughts aren’t allowed on the road.

And this is when it starts, in the morning.

“What a beautiful morning to be a runner,” she says every morning.

The Hills.

Let’s get right down to it: Hills Suck.

I have a 10km race coming up in a couple of weeks. No biggy, right? I kill those 2 or 3 times a week. However this race will be jam packed full of delicious hills. I’ll be honest, after learning this I considered dropping out, just for a second. But that’s not me. Since the distance isn’t a problem for me, I have used the weeks leading up to the race as hill training. My usual running route along the European Bosphorus shore is relatively flat, with one long incline. But this is Istanbul, the “City of Seven Hills”. Those suckers are everywhere.

So my best friends/worst enemies recently have been these little bastards:












And of course, gotta throw some of these in:












Not to mention, much to my co-workers’ delight, the many MANY hills that surround my office. I’ve started showing up to work in my running clothes, hitting the hills when work winds down. (The first time I did this, we had a BBQ in the afternoon. I’m hopeful that the smoky meat smell covered up any sweaty scent I might have had).

I have no time goal for this race. I just want to run up every damn hill I encounter. I don’t have to charge up with speed and full force; I just need to keep running.

Just keep running… Just keep running… Just keep running… Just keep running… Just keep running……..

Head in the sand? Don’t mind if I do!

For about a year now I have used this blog to discuss two significant aspects of my life: Being a foreigner, and being a young, fitness-minded woman. Sure, lots of other parts have fluttered in and out of my ramblings, but these two are the main focus. Over the past couple of months, neither of these were things I felt like celebrating. I could have used this space as a place to discuss the negativity I was feeling towards both, but I took the “head in the sand” approach opting to float around instead. I’ll be honest, I needed that time. But now is the time to refocus my thoughts and energy. Before I do, a word about my avoidance.

The last you heard from me, I had posted an article regarding a missing American tourist in Istanbul, a NY woman named Sarai Sierra. In a devastating turn of events, her body was found among the city walls about a week and a half later. I won’t go into the theories surrounding her murder, the loopholes in the investigation, and the answers that will never be answered, despite law enforcements’ “attempt” to do so. I find it hard to believe anything said regarding this case. And oddly enough, that’s not the upsetting part. As a foreign woman living alone and single in Istanbul, I understand the curiosity surrounding a woman’s choice to be here. However, the local reactions to this woman traveling here alone were appalling. The general consensus was that a married woman with children had no right to travel abroad without her husband and family. She must have had lovers and came just to cheat on her husband. She was trying to escape from being a mother and came to abandon her children. In a sense, this woman lost her identity and personal freedom when she got married. All chances for any personal explorations were forfeited. Come on, Turkey. We may never know what her plans were coming here. Maybe photography. Maybe a need to have some personal time away from being a wife and mother (because wives and mothers are still WOMEN at the core). Maybe something else we can’t even imagine. Whatever the reason, have enough respect for women to honor that they have the right to make choices in their lives, and do not actually lose all sense of individuality upon the signature of a marriage license.
Back to me…I really don’t know exactly what was said in the American media regarding this case. But after everything I heard and read here, I just wanted to forget I was among that population of foreign women who chose to come to Istanbul. In my opinion, the community of foreign women in this city is strong, diverse, and respectable. The country’s reaction to this foreign woman in Istanbul disgusted me.

And my avoidance to fitness? A knee injury. A very bad knee injury. It took me weeks just to be able to take my dog for his required 2-3 hours of daily walks. Running? Forget it. This is one of my favorite times of year to run in this city, and missing out on it has been heartbreaking. When I can’t run, something changes inside me from bursting light to engulfing darkness. And then just last week I was in a hurry to get back to my friend’s apartment (wine was waiting!) She just lives around the corner, so there was really no need to rush. Still, I decided to give running a try for that short distance. It felt amazing. At the risk of sounding like a big ol’ ball of clichés, I felt as if I was flying, even if just for a moment. That depression switched back into Runner’s Passion. My knee isn’t quite ready for my long distance journeys yet, but I’m going to start preparing my body in other ways for its return.

Spring is coming. This season is on *my* terms, Istanbul…