2019-Review-2019.FollowingtheFunks-Review.Turkey

REVIEW: 2019 – Adoption, Rebranding, + Visitors

What better way to get back into the game. I said this last February(2018) when I finally published our 2018 Review. I am breaking my ‘how late can a year review be recorded’ by publishing this 2019 Review halfway through March *cough* April!

Jason and I forwent one of our favorite traditions of grabbing sushi and go through my list of year-end questions. Instead, we celebrated with our friends at their new home across the bay. It was a fun night of good food and some game-playing, topped off with entering the new year while on our drive back into Izmir.

FIRST OFF: ADOPTION

2018 was ‘technically’ the year we became parents. In 2019, custody of our daughter was legalized. Our private adoption will be finalized in 2020. 2019 started in weariness, uncertainty, and trusting the Lord for His plan; it finished with a celebrating with certainty that we have a beautiful 1-year-old daughter, Sofia Marie.  Due to our adoption here, we will be around for another 2 years in Turkey to complete the necessary paperwork.

If you are just joining in … you can find our adoption information here: Announced our adoption plans! (Adoption video #1 on our YouTube channel, but you can view the adoption playlist here.) Decided we had to move to America for said adoption plans….Then decided not to move to America because of an unexpected but exciting private adoption opportunity that came up here in Turkey!

SECOND: REBRANDING

Due to our adoption, we have placed almost all travels outside of Turkey on hold until all of this adoption stuff is complete and for 2019, we stuck close to Izmir. We SAID we were going to share these travels but it just hasn’t been practical right. There are so many parts of our lives that just don’t revolve around travel even though we are ex-pats! Also, because our status in Izmir is a temporary one, I hope this website will eventually be more all-encompassing of our lives as the Funk family – balancing life, work, expat living, mini-travels, and parenthood.

Hence the change of name from FunkTravels to FollowingtheFunks! We hope you will stick around longer than what Izmir, Turkey has to hold for us. (Don’t worry, we are still here for another couple of years!)

THIRD: VISITORS

One of the BEST parts of 2019 was all the visitors we had. While Jason and I would love to think it was due to us, we know it is because of an adorable little baby. Several friends came down from Izmir or ‘popped by’ for a night on their way somewhere. Thank you all for coming to see us!

 

Finally, here is our recap of 2019:

🔅My parents stayed for 10 weeks with us here in Turkey and saw Sofia grow from 6 weeks to 16 weeks! That is a lot of growing they got to be a part of! We took them around Izmir, down to Ephesus and up to Pergamon.

FollowingtheFunks-Review Ephesus Turkey

FollowingtheFunks-Review Pergamon Turkey

🔅Spent a weekend showing my parents Pammukale, Hierapolis, Laodicea, and Sardis.

FollowingtheFunks-Review Pamukkale Izmir Turkey

🔅February we said goodbye to Catie’s parents and started ‘solo’ parenting again. 

🔅In March, we celebrated year 5 of marriage in Kusadasi with our sweet Sofia. We took her to the beach for the first time. 

FollowingtheFunks-Review Anniversary Izmir Turkey

FollowingtheFunks-Review Izmir Turkey

🔅In April we took Sofia for her first major roadtrip to Istanbul to meet some of our old friends there. We also had the honor of hosting the Keil family in Turkey!

FollowingtheFunks-Review Istanbul Tulips Turkey

FollowingtheFunks-Review Izmir Turkey

🔅In May, our friends, the Bradley family, came to visit for a few days.

FollowingtheFunks-Review Ephesus Turkey

🔅Also in May, we celebrated adding twins to our nephew and nieces clan and another nephew joined in October!

🔅But most importantly, we finally received legal custody for our adoption of Sofia and we announced her to everyone! We felt like we could start to breathe normally and relax more.

🔅At the beginning of June, our friends the Rowells (our South East Asia traveling buddy) came for a week and we literally rented a house in Bodrum for a week and did nothing. It was AWESOME. And we spent a weekend in Alacati with the Cruz family. The flowers were in full bloom!

FollowingtheFunks-Review Bodrum Turkey

FollowingtheFunks-Review Bodrum Turkey

FollowingtheFunks-Review Alacati Turkey

 

🔅June brought some sad news that one of Catie’s friend(definitely considered family) passed awake. She went to the states for a dear friend’s funeral while Jason was a rockstar at solo parenting. She also got to see the twins!

FollowingtheFunks-Review

🔅A few weeks in the summer we passed it like a true Izmirlian with some friends at a summer house. Sofia took her first trip out to sea.

FollowingtheFunks-Review Izmir Turkey

🔅Sofia’s also had her first major sickness which left us taking her to the hospital for a fever.

🔅In September, we finished our 3rd year living in Turkey. Sofia went to her first Turkish wedding.

FollowingtheFunks-Review Turkish Wedding Turkey

🔅At the end of October, Jason’s parents, Wanda and DeWayne came to visit! We took them to Ephesus and Pamukkale!

FollowingtheFunks-Review Izmir Turkey

FollowingtheFunks-Review Pamukkale Izmir Turkey

🔅November – Sofia turned one!

FollowingtheFunks-Review Sofia First Birthday Izmir Turkey

🔅Again Catie left Jason for a wedding of one of her bestie’s in the states. (Don’t worry Jason has just made a trip to the states!)

FollowingtheFunks-Review

🔅In December, after a lonnnngggg 5+ years, Catie got to snow ski once again in Uludağ. Our family spent a few days together enjoying a cozy ski lodge friends and lots of snow!

FollowingtheFunks-Review Uludag Skiing Turkey

Some other random thoughts:

If you are wondering:  We still think our car is the best purchase of 2018…. about all the modes of transportation we used in Izmir, and then (finally) bought a car at the end of the year in 2018! (Maybe we should do a video about it and allllll the things that comes with owning a car in Turkey one day…)

If you haven’t had a chance, you can still read about things to do IN IZMIR and day trips from here.

Several words come to mind as we think back to our year: parenting, hurdling over all the legal hoops, hardship, but so much more joy. It is fair to say that our lives have now been rotated to revolve around Sofia! But now that she is a year old, we feel there is some ease that is coming back into our independence.

WRAPPING IT ALL UP:

When we started this expat journey, we committed to 3 years of overseas life. As we enter our 4th year living in Turkey, we can’t wait to see what God does next. He has been so good to show us how great of a community we have here in Izmir especially in this season of change and unexpected blessings.

2019 finished out in a blur and all of a sudden it’s April 2020 (even though I started this post a month ago!). While we have not been overly present here on social media in the last few months, it does not mean that we’ve been lazy! We have so many good things to share as we are finally adjusting to the work/parent life balance.

THANK YOU for sitting around when our posts have lulled and being part of our 2019.

Jason + Catie + Sofia

 

REVIEW: 2018 – Unexpected changes to say the least

2018 finished out in a blur and all of a sudden it’s February 2019. While we have not been overly present here on social media in the last few months, it does not mean that we’ve been lazy! We have so many good things to share (especially one monumental one, that we CAN’T share fully yet).

One of our favorite traditions is to grab sushi and go through my list of year-end questions. There’s always WAtooto many questions, but it’s good for conversation.

You can grab a more simplified worksheet for your next year-end review by emailing me here! I’ll send it your way ASAP!

Several words come to mind as we think back to our year: re-direction, adoption, preparation, joyfulness, and hardship. Sometimes I get to the end of the year and can think about how we have missed documenting our journey here in Izmir, but every year, this recap shows me HOW MUCH WE HAVE!!!!

Here is our recap of 2018:

🔅Jason and his brother rewrote and relaunch bltn in January.

🔅Spent a week in Istanbul, the city we met in,  loving on our friends’ kiddos!

🔅February was rainy in Izmir, so we decided to skip town and head to our friends in the desert. Traveled to Dubai to visit our dear friends then onward to Abu Dhabi. 

FunkTravels Desert Safari Dubai UAE

🔅Jason ran his first race! I am SO VERY PROUD!

🔅Celebrated year 4 of marriage in Chios, one of the Greek island just a ferry ride off the coast of Turkey. (We chat about this trip in Episode050 of the podcast.)

🔅Made it to 2 more Greek islands, Lesvos and Rhodes (blog post series on this with 8 tips for traveling to the Greek Islands from Turkey!) 

🔅Explored the area of Marmaris, Turkey and a quick pop-over to Rhodes Island, Greece 

🔅Finished our podcast at episode 50 (here is the reason why) and moved over to starting some videos on YouTube to share our expat life in a more visual way!

🔅Celebrated adding a new nephew to our clan and rejoicing in 2 more coming in 2019!

🔅Made our annual visit to the states to visit our family and sneaked in a week trip to Nashville for touring and Catie’s work.

🔅Finished our 2nd year living in Turkey  (Update coming one day!)

🔅Spent some time visiting our friends in Adana and took a day trip to Gaziantep (which we hope to share about soon too!)

🔅Enjoyed a day off the coast of Foça with some friends!

🔅Surprised Jason for his birthday

🔅Celebrated Izmir’s Independence Day properly since moving here.

🔅Announced our adoption plans! (Adoption video #1 on our YouTube channel, but you can view the adoption playlist here.)

🔅Decided we had to move to America for said adoption plans….

🔅Bought a house (yep, didn’t really announce that one)

🔅Then decided not to move to America because….

🔅 Unexpected but exciting private adoption opportunity came up here in Turkey!

🔅Took a weekend to road trip to less-traveled historical sites near Izmir with some awesome people! (Can’t wait to share this road trip with you all!)

🔅Didn’t leave Turkey for 6 months which left us with some fun traveled around Izmir exploring a Car Museum, a Cable Car, and a couple of posts I FINALLY published about things to do IN IZMIR and day trips from here.

🔅Catie’s parents came to visit and celebrated Christmas with us!

🔅Catie has her first major Travel Writing Publication!

🔅On the side, Catie started advocating for cleaner, safer beauty products via @catiecleancollection and started a little travel shop @deartravels – both will help fund our adoption! 

🔅Jason and I both read 29 books each!

🔅Talked about all the modes of transportation we used in Izmir, and then (finally) bought a car at the end of the year!

DON’T FORGET:

You can grab a more simplified worksheet for your next year-end review by emailing me here! I’ll send it your way ASAP!

THANK YOU for sitting around when our posts have lulled and being part of our 2018. We can’t wait to share our big news with you soon! So, stick around!

Jason + Catie

 

Bostanlı Pazar Izmir Turkey

IZMIR: Izmir’s Largest Outdoor Market: Karşıyaka Bostanlı Pazar

Ever curious about what a local market looks like for us in Izmir, Turkey? Look no further than the Bostanlı Pazar!

In this article, I cover: 

How large is the Bostanlı Pazar?
What should you bring to the Bostanlı Pazar?
What should you be aware of before you go to the Bostanlı Pazar?

Here we go!

Depending on one’s love of crowds, the weekly outdoor market of Bostanlı Pazar competes for one of the best or one of the worst parts of Turkey. The empty covered parking in a matter of hours is filled to the brim with a surprisingly organized array of stands that sell fruit, vegetables, nuts, clothes and household items. The sellers can be heard in the distant calling out for buyers and sharing how scrumptious their products taste.

The Bostanlı Pazar, established in Karşıyaka’s (literally “the other side”) Bostanlı neighborhood, exceeds the normal neighborhood bazaar by being the largest market in Izmir. Not overly touristy, sights and sounds of daily life in Turkey engulf visitors as they enter the market. But unlike other smaller markets, tourists can still find more traditional Turkish items for sale such as Turkish towels and antique dishes. In addition, local vendors with shops downtown bring their rugs, purses and handcrafted jewelry to the market.

However, the experience is not for everyone. The market can be loud and very busy, especially in the afternoon and evening. Exploring the market in the morning will allow for a more relaxed experience. While the items are a bargain, quality items are rare. Bargain vendors sell clothes with minor defects, such as dresses/shirts with small holes in them or t-shirts with a slight offset in the print.

Time:

This famous Bostanlı Pazar is only open on Wednesdays.

Bostanlı Pazar Izmir Turkey

Bostanlı Pazar Izmir Turkey

How to get there:

The Bostanlı Pazar attracts visitors from all over the city. After taking a bus or ferry to the Bostanlı Iskelesi, the market is an easy 10 minutes walk. Several buses also travel from Karşıyaka and Bostanlı by the Bostanlı Pazar on their way to Mavişehir. Otherwise, for around 10 lira you can grab a taxi for a quick drop off right by the entrance.

Traveling by car presents a slight difficulty because the parking is difficult and hard to come by the later it gets in the day. The 6 lane seaside road between the Bostanlı Pazar and the coast becomes 4 lanes as visitors start parking in the side lanes. There is a small parking lot to the east of the market but it is usually packed with the seller’s vehicles.

What to bring:

  • Cash: Some vendors that sell higher priced items like rugs may have a credit card payment option. However, cash will usually get you a discount since there is no fee required for the payment.
  • Rolling cart: For larger purchases or hungry eyes, bring a rolling cart to make the trip home easier to manage! The kilos of fruits and vegetables quickly add up!
  • Camera: If you are touring the markets on vacation, bring your camera to take pictures! After checking the locals’ approval for a photo, you may find the seller calling you over to their stands to pose for a shot!

Bostanlı Pazar Izmir Turkey

Bostanlı Pazar Izmir Turkey

Bostanlı Pazar Izmir Turkey

What to eat:

Of course, the vendors always offer up samples of their food but make sure to leave room for the gözleme stands outside of the covered Bostanlı Pazar.  Gözleme is like a Turkish quesadilla except not as much cheese and thiner dough (see video below!) With several stands to choose from, order a potato, spinach, cheese or eggplant stuffed gözleme and drink an ayran  (salty yogurt drink) and relax with your meal in the provided chairs and tables.

How to navigate the market:

If coming for the experience and not for a weeks supply of food, start the tour from the west side where the clothing and household items are sold. The middle section is full of vegetables and fruits that are in season, nuts, pickles and fresh herbs. The last section on the far east is reserved for cheese, olives, and seafood. Many varieties of cheese from different parts of Turkey can be found in these cheese stalls. Come hungry as vendors are eager to let you sample their products.

What to buy:

Some of the items that you see are priced about the same as what you would get from a local market, but other items, such as shawls and women and children’s clothing, can be found at ridiculously cheap prices (as low as 5 TL or less). Make sure to try the dried fruit and nuts (“kuruyemiş”).

 

Bostanlı Pazar Izmir Turkey

Bostanlı Pazar Izmir Turkey

Visiting with the family:

The market spans a large area and even regular visitors find themselves lost among the ever-changing stalls. While it is possible to come with young children, it can be difficult. The crowds are tricky to navigate and they can easily get lost. Children who grow tired of shopping can enjoy the seaside park across the street.

A final note:

If you really want to experience a market in Izmir and you miss the Wednesday market in Bostanlı, there are other markets in nearby Karşıyaka on Sunday (only food) and Tuesday (only clothes and household items).

Note: This article was originally guest-posted for Yabangee.

 

I would love to hear from you! Comment below or on the video answering one of the following questions:

1. Have you been to this market – the “Bostanlı Pazar“?
2. What tips do you have?
3. What did you find interesting from the video?
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RAMBLINGS: Are systems and workflows truly productive?

(Welcome to Day 1 of a 31 day challenge to write 500 words or more.  For more on that click here:  goinswriter.com)


Running together is like, his least favorite thing to do. But talking while running is worse which usually means I promise not to talk to him if we run together.

Yet, my loving husband found himself on a run with his wife NOT listening to his podcast like he prefers but instead, once again was helping me process how to be more productive with my work/life balance.

He was encouraging me while doing the thing he least loves, twice over.

You see, I was yet again discouraged and hard on myself for not staying on task and in return not making very much progress to my to-do list. It’s not the first time we have had this conversation and in fact, I thought I WAS doing well at it. That morning, instead of writing, I found myself finishing my Christmas Card list, Christmas shopping, and spent way to much time on my phone.

How did I get distracted when I had started with such good intentions?

We work backwards…

How did I start on the Christmas Card list? I was looking for Christmas gift and remembered I needed to send the card list to my sister.

How did I think about the Christmas gifts?  Jason has sent me text message thanking me for taking care of the gifs.

Message = Trigger

Ugh. Totally not his fault.

But really what has started this problem was I was ALREADY distracted before starting to write. WHY? My phone. I usually bring my phone out of my room and jump straight onto everything that I missed while I was sleeping 9 hours ahead of the states.

Real Trigger = Opening my phone before I finish my morning routine.

Other Trigger = NOT moving from my reading chair to my work area.

So we had this conversation about creating routines and systems to help me ‘have a plan’ and ‘know exactly what do to’.

 

Here are the questions that continually plague my mind:

How does a distracted and jumbled mind work productively?

How do you move past feelings to do your hard projects?

How do you tackle projects that seem too big to manage?

What is the trigger to keep me from doing the things I need to do? Is it environment? Is it my phone? Do I just say yes to every thought that comes to mind?

How do you move past wanting to take care of tasks that trigger my thoughts… that I want to do but can wait until later?

 

It seems SOOOO SIMPLE.

Just do them…

Just start your big project…

Just forget about feelings and move forward.

Just start…

But sometimes it IS NOT ENOUGH.

and

Sometimes, we are, *um* I am like a 5-year-old and can’t seem to resist the temptations, like NOT looking at my phone… or Instagram… or anything else.

 

So you know what? I am starting to put the Triggers out of hands reach. 

What does that even mean?

 

Here are a few guidelines I will work on to help create triggers and boundaries:

I will leave my phone in my room until I finish my morning routine and 1-hour writing.

I will start my writing at my desk or dining table.

I will start changing environments for different task –

  • Consider using a coffee shop right after Turkish lessons to do my homework so I don’t put it off.
  • Consider another writing location for Monday’s and Friday when I do most of my writing.

I will create a task list the night before to know what my next morning will look like

I will place that task list in front of me so I know what my top 3 are for the day.

I will have a list of random thoughts that come to mind while I am working.

 

Who’s with me???


Questions for you:

Who else has this problem?

Who will keep me accountable?

What tips do you have for me?

FunkTravels Expat Bangkok Thailand

EXPAT YEARS: 10 things we learned our first year as expats (Year 1 Part 3)

The Funks have been living abroad as expats for just over a year and just like anyone’s life, a lot has happened.  For newcomers here, check out more of our story or listen to our podcast episode where we announced our move to the Turkey.

Currently, we are working to re-apply for our visas. Our 1 year visas are coming to a close, and we are submitting our visas to live in Turkey for another 2 years!

As I wrap up part 3 of our EXPAT YEARS Series, I share 10 things we have learn our first year as expats.

  1. Try to stick with your original plan. (Which we did not do…)

Jason and I agreed before we moved that renting a furnished apartment would be the best option. We could potentially pay more for our home but save money the first year. It would give us time to make sure we were in the right location and look for a more permanent rental that we knew we really liked.

Real life: Jason and I found a newly renovated apartment (not furnished which means NOT ONE SINGLE APPLIANCE) and fell straight into full on house furnishing mode… You know what? We didn’t even look at the other furnished apartment. Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE our apartment and LOVE that we live here. BUT, looking back now, we both agreed it may have been a little easier had we stuck to our original plan. It would have given us a year to save even more without depleting our moving fund and possibly saved us some frustrations of not having hot water for a month.

  1. Having great neighbors is worth your apartment rent and location.

Brightside to #1 is our #2.  One of the main reasons we love our place is our neighbors.  It took a while to get connected with our neighbors, but it is worth all the effort in the world to have good relationships with them. Our neighbors have had us over for tea,  invited me into their women’s group, brought us food after my surgery, and even watered my flowers while we were gone for 2 months this summer.

It took a while to get connected with our neighbors, but it is worth all the effort in the world to have good relationships with them. Click To Tweet
  1. Community is important.

Humans are created to be in community, and while you may not need a large community, it is still important. Married 2.5 years when we moved, Jason and I were comfortable with just being with each other, but we both knew it was not healthy. Community brings a network of helpers and advisors that can support you. Community creates friendships which, while they can’t replace your best friends back ‘home’ it can help ease times of homesickness and loneliness. Lastly, community gives you belonging and identity which is crucial to thriving long term in another country. All is important when moving to another country.

Community brings a network of helpers and advisors that can support you. Click To Tweet

FunkTravels Eski Foca

  1. Celebrate everything!

When I moved to Istanbul, Turkey as a single gal, it was also the first time I moved outside of the U.S.A. I found that celebrating the little accomplishments helped me see growth. I would celebrate the number of months living in a city of 20 million people much like newlyweds celebrate each month of marriage until their first anniversary. Make a list of things you will have to learn, and check them off as you learn them. Or write down things you have learned since moving such as buying furniture, refilling your transportation card, or have the air conditioner fixed.

Celebrate everything!... Make a list of things you will have to learn, and check them off as you learn them. Click To Tweet
  1. Take a break.

This is so important! Taking a break every once and awhile is good! We were in Turkey 4 months before heading out to Germany for Christmas. After moving, living in an airbnb for a month, buying furniture, fixing issues with our newly (yet not truly lived in) renovated apartment, starting language… needless to say, we were ready for a break! We actually left our apartment in the hands of a Turkish friend for one day after we left so the leaking roof could be replaced. A break was important and usually is needed in the first 4-6 months. So whether it is just outside the city or another country, get out of town for a bit and relax.

  1. Reflect and evaluate

While celebrating and taking a break are both great things to do, one of the most helpful tip is to reflect. We reflect together every new year, sometimes over our anniversary celebration, and even when other friends ask us questions.  If you are learning a language it is helpful to reflect on what works and doesn’t work, and especially what you have learned to see progress. Scheduling time reflect on your work, personal like and projects is more helpful than you think and can encourage you as you in times of need.

Scheduling time reflect on your work, personal like and projects is more helpful than you think and can encourage you as you in times of need. Click To Tweet

  1. Language opens up doors to locals and culture

Unless you are an English speaker in an English speaking country, learning the local language is always a good choice. (Although I do hear France is brutally unkind about new french language learners).

Is it easy? NOT AT ALL. But have I found (the second time around, and with a longer term vision in mind)  that the more I try to speak, the more others appreciate it.

Will it take time? ABSOLUTELY (that was more for myself). With other projects on the burner, Jason and I are working part-time to learn Turkish and it has been worth every hour.

  1. Keep up at least 1 hobby that you loved back home

Sounds weird but this one little task can make a bad culture day look brighter and mellow out sadness. Like to play guitar? Bring yours or buy one as soon as you can. Enjoy crossstitching, bring your needles and threads. Love to run and exercise, join a gym. You will not regret investing into the hobbies that bring you joy.

  1. Explore all the local food … and maybe even cook it

These Funks love trying new foods, and even though we had both lived here before, I have found there to be so many foods I had never tried. Food opens a whole different door into the culture and locals you are learning about it.  Be adventurous, and order that food you don’t know how to pronounce. Try and then record it in a book and either note how great it was or wasn’t!

Food opens a whole different door into the culture and locals you are learning about it. Click To Tweet

FunkTravels Expat Bangkok

  1. Your family and friends won’t forget you, but it usually looks different.

You may find it challenging to connect when you return, especially if they aren’t able to come visit you.  However, they will still love you! Returning home could require some preparation on your part and you find learn more about that in our next EXPAT SERIES: Going Home.

Your family and friends won't forget you, but it usually looks different. Click To Tweet

Hope you enjoy reading about what we have learned!

 

Are you an expat? If so, where are you living?

What did you learn from your first year abroad?

What have you learned the longer you have been gone?

 

Like this post? Pin it to your board!

FunkTravels Expat Abroad Podcast Turkey

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P.S. – If you missed it, this is a 3 part series about our first year living internationally.

EXPAT YEARS ROUNDUP SERIES:

EXPAT YEARS: Our First Year Abroad (Year 1 Part 1) 

EXPAT YEARS: The Truth About Living Abroad (Year 1 Part 2)

EXPAT LIFE: 10 things I have learned my first year as a full-time expat (Year 1 Part 3)