Bee’s Grinch is Gone & Come Away With Me to Turkey

Hello out there, how are you today? I hope you and yours are well and if not that you get all the support you need. I haven’t mentioned it often recently, but you are in my thoughts and prayers.

What’s Happening in Bee’s Life

Yes, peeps, after a couple of years of Christmas grumpiness I have ditched my inner Grinch and am back in my cheesy “Weihnachts”-self. After all, I am German and have a reputation to lose LOL. Yes, the Germans take Christmas seriously. And it fits with last weeks and this weeks “Come Away With Me” too. Apparently, Santa was Greek and bishop of Myra which lies today in Turkey.

Sorry, to those of you who either do not celebrate or belong to a different religious background. But I thought even you would like to see something to cheer you up.

Porcelain Reindeer Candle Holder
Smiley Reindeer Candle Holder

It all started with some friends of mine enthusiastically sending me their Christmas decoration photos. I told them I don’t do Christmas anymore for which one of them said: “It cheers you up though!” You can’t argue with that, can you?????

Then on December 4th, a friend of mine introduced me to a tradition I didn’t know. December 4th is St. Barbara’s Day, and apparently, on that day, we cut branches of apple, cherry or hazel (other trees are available and possible 😉 ). They are put into a vase so that they bloom at Christmas Day. What a lovely tradition! Can’t argue with that either! 🙂

As we do not have space for a Christmas tree, I instructed the best husband (Jeremy Clarkson voice) in the World to bring me branches which he dutifully did. He doesn’t care for an unhappy wife. After all “Happy Wife, Happy Life”. Don’t even try to argue with that LOL

Bee’s Barbara Branches

I am very pleased, so the husband is safe for now 😉

And on top of all that I got some boxes with old Christmas decorations back so I thought I might as well use the stuff.

Wooden figure from the Ore Mountains. You can put incense in it and it smokes out of its mouth
The angel in the back used to be the top of our Christmas tree
Nativity Scene
Nutcracker from the Ore Mountains

No, the Ore Mountains are not an invention by me taken from Lord of the Rings 😉 . They do exist and have quite a big Christmas and toy-making tradition.

My grandmother was born close to Annaberg, and as a child, I experienced many of those traditions, and we had many of the ornaments shown in this video. Of course, then it was still East Germany and a bit of an adventure to get there.

But now we go on an adventure of a different sort. Let’s Come Away With Me to Turkey. I promise I show you some more Christmas decoration next week :-).

1. Introduction to Turkey

My step mum is a huge fan of Turkey. So much so that she started to learn Turkish. For a long time, she went at least once a year to Istanbul until the Syria War, and Erdogan who does not like Germany, made an end to it. I’ve never been there but would love to see at least Istanbul after I read “The Bastard of Istanbul” by Eilif Shafak. If you do not know her books yet and want to learn about the complicated culture of Turkey, please check her out.

Germany has a huge Turkish minority. Today they are probably third-generation Turkish whose grandparents came to Germany in the 1960s and ’70s to help re-build the country. Two of my classmates were from Turkey, and my father worked with many Turkish co-workers. That is how we got introduced to the Samovar tradition.

So, let’s find out more about this beautiful, complicated and fascinating country:

Oh dear, I never register that this bird many eat for Christmas is called Turkey too… that made my YouTube research a little more complicated 🙂

2. An Artist of Turkey

I am very excited to discover Ayşe Erkmen with you this week. She was born in Istanbul but lives in Berlin, one of my favourites cities on this lovely planet. Also, she created artwork for Muenster, where I studied. She drowned a footbridge in the inland harbour of Muenster so people could literally walk on water.

This work, called “On Water” seems to summarise her concept of art. Ayşe Erkmen wants to combine the place where her art is installed to highlight the hidden and practical. In Berlin, for example, she created benches out of iron pipes which are heated in Winter by a local thermal power station. It’s called “Warm Benches”.

She also is less interested in an “end product” of her work, so the viewer has to concentrate more on the process of what her work does. I think that is very thought-provoking even though it is also not as accessible as other works. You need to think your way through the work instead of “just” enjoying it.

Here is a talk she did in Leeds in 2020:

3. A Climate Activist of Turkey

We’ve seen how Turkey seems to be at the forefront of saving the planet in my introduction playlist video by Turkish media station TRT. However, looking elsewhere for Turkish climate activists I came across Aysin and Ali Büyüknohutçu who fought against marble quarries in Antalya to safe the forests in that area. They have been killed according to the page Left Voice as they threatened the huge incomes of quarry owners.

This article shows killed climate activists from other countries too:

I assume like many things in Turkey climate change is treated controversially. When it suits its political elite, eco-friendly policy is treated favourably, but when it comes to earning money not so much. But I think that might be the same everywhere.

4. Food of Turkey

I fondly remember a small Turkish restaurant at one of the main streets in Tegel/ Berlin close to the lake. My ex-husband and I went there often to have a lovely weekend meal. That is where I re-discovered one of my favourite sweets which are known in Greece, Turkey and other middle-eastern countries: Baklava. I love the sweetness of the filo-pastry filled with pistachio and honey. Oh, my mouth waters now.

Turkish food is similar to Greek food: meat-heavy, but I think it uses more oriental flavours and spices. This video shows the more vegetarian side of Turkish food. And introduces you to another of my favourite sweets. Halva. It’s not a wafer but ground sesame seeds with honey. Yum!

Please check out these pages, if you want to try out some for yourself:

Easy Turkish recipes at Olive Magazine

5. A Poetess of Turkey

Süreyya Aylin Antmen is a contemporary poet from Istanbul who wrote her first poem aged 13. She studied Philosophy and sociology and publishes articles and poetry. I could not find out much more about her but read some of her translated poetry here, which I liked a lot. Maybe I need to learn Turkish too 🙂

6. Mental Health in Turkey

The Bogen Project concluded in an article from November 27th, 2020 that Turkey is one of the few low-income countries that offer good support for mental health in the Covid19 pandemic. Like all countries are population suffers from an increase in depression because of bereavement, isolation and fear of poverty. However, they developed a helpline which help seems to be taken up by many.

Find out more here: Increasing Resources for Mental Health in Turkey

7. Some musicians of Turkey

I hope you enjoyed my little and few highlights of Turkey and life in Turkey. And now to the part that inspired me to create “Come Away With Me” in the first place nearly a year ago. Music and Musicians from Turkey:

And where are we going next week?

Come Away With Me 2020 Musical Challenge Country for Monday, December 14th, 2020

I am taking a rather random route around the world, but sometimes it makes sense. Next week we venture further East into Armenia. Please find musicians from Armenia on the Last.FM page.

As for the suggestions to take part:

  1. Join in! No matter where, when and with what. No matter if you have cancer or not! You missed the first week? Don’t worry. Just jump in when it suits you.
  2. Send us the link! The ping-back option does not always work so please leave a link in the comments of the post on the day you take part.
  3. Tag your post either with ” Come Away With Me Musical Challenge”/ #CoAwWiMeMuCh” / “Come Away with Me 2020 Musical Challenge” o/“CoAwWiMe2020MuCh” / . You can also use these as hashtags for Twitter and other Social Networks to give your post more exposure. If you add #blog and #music with your hashtags it will get you more readers.
  4. No matter which music or country the prompt favours you create with it whatever you please. This is supposed to be a fun challenge and no chore.
  5. I post a prompt for the next week with every “Come Away With Me 2020 post” I write.
  6. If you like, use this picture for your readers to find the posts.
Come Away With Me 2020 Badge
Come Away With Me 2020 badge

I am fundraising for McMillan and you can still donate here (UK only until January 2021) and download Bees McMillan Coffee Morning German Christmas Download (PDF file) (no it’s not in German but about German recipes and Christmas  ) 

My goal is 200£ and so far you brilliant people have donated 10£. Thanks!

Just one more thing before you go: The hospital that is treating me is fundraising for a dedicated breast cancer unit which would allow some same-day diagnosis and better premises for patients and staff.

Please, if you can spare a little money hop over to their Just Giving Page and give as little or much as you can. Or share the page on your social media. So far the campaign has raised about half the amount needed: £418,648 of £800,000 (October 2020).

Your support means a lot to me! Thank you very much.

Thanks, my dears, for staying with me until the end.

I appreciate your presence.

Please stay safe, stay kind and remember that you rock!

6 thoughts on “Bee’s Grinch is Gone & Come Away With Me to Turkey

  1. They must bring such a smile to your face. Where I live, covid has killed all our religious holidays to the point it doesn’t even feel like the Christmas season. So many feast days that we would have had fun events for at church going all the way back to Easter. So many things I was looking forward to are no more. At least we can still go to church (for now). I should really set up some decorations. I work in a department store so we’ve had the holiday season since September (😡) but it’s just annoying. I guess as long as I have church I am happy.

    I am glad you are finding ways to enjoy yourself 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Hetty, I used to work in a supermarket and know the problem. I know its hard not to be able to enjoy religious holidays, however I feel “rather safe than sorry”. Especially now that the vaccines are close close downs won’t go on forever. I hope you found the time to get some decorations up. They certainly cheet one up.


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