Helping Hands.

Neve was recently given her first ever necklace by a friend who travelled across the city with two little ones to bring me some things to help with Neve's teething pain. While this was not meant as an adornment I love how it looks against Neve's skin and the way the sunlight is caught in its beads. Neve was in a slight mood and the sun was shining onto the balcony so I took off her clothes. Why is it that children are usually cheered up by stripping off? Knowing winter is approaching it was lovely to watch her strong naked back coloured by sunlight. It is interesting how jewellery can (and has a long history of) making people feel stronger. I imagined her a miniature medicine woman, the elements at her command. I want to teach her to harness all the power she can possess while feeling fine in the unpredictable, uncontrollable flow of life.

Making the most of this perfect time on Heybeliada when the crowds have gone and the sunshine, though rarer, belongs to those who are about to struggle through the winter here, we went to meet friends for a picnic in Değirmenburnu Park. Once or twice a week I spend time with friends in the park cafe and get to feel what it would be like to raise my children with the capable helping hands of a community of women. Neve is passed around freeing me to drink one cup of tea after another.

After we had eaten far too much the women began to make a supply of sigara böreği. This is a popular fried snack of white cheese and parsley wrapped in thin layers of pastry and fried to a crisp. Anton loves to cook and was fascinated by the speed of the women spreading, folding, wrapping, dipping and sealing. He got completely engrossed in the task of making his first böreği. By the time it was done we all had just enough room in our bellies to test the batch. Many hands made light work and I was lifted by an afternoon of seeing my children smiling in the arms of others.

amber necklace

Me and Neve.

picnic in the park

Anton eating.

A chance to eat with two hands!

Making sigara böreği.


Sigara Böreği.

helping hands

Making his first sigara böreği.


testing the batch


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7 thoughts on “Helping Hands.

  1. I just don't get to visit your blog enough - every time I do, I'm so blown away by your gorgeous photos and words! I've been pretty fixatee lately on what I want to leave for Elsa, what I want to teach her, and what I have no control over at all. Sometimes, it feels like I visit your blog on just the right day to find small pearls of wisdom that really ring true: "I want to teach her to harness all the power she can possess while feeling fine in the unpredictable, uncontrollable flow of life." Just perfect. I needed to read that today.

  2. I just had a long walk with my greatest friend here who is also from the UK (both wearing one and pushing the other) and we were talking about what is hardest about being here and it is definitely feeling mute (both because of language and cultural mismatch) and feeling like the skills with which you can help others have been taken away from you. Getting a comment like yours and feeling like I do have a voice and somebody out there could find something meaningful in it means so much. Thanks Georgia.

  3. Julia... your stories are so fascinating. I love reading them! Neve looks so sweet with her necklace.... thought about putting Lina´s on as well tomorrow. I have it at home but forgot!

    It´s incredible how Neve and Anton look alike in the pic you have your girl in your arms on the balcony... they are so beautiful!

    I ate these rolls too when I was on holiday in Turkey... for me turkish food is definitely one of the best! Love it... especially the sweets!

    Extra-good photos today!

  4. Nice series of photos of the 'history' of this sigara boregi, which seems and sounds (but, I can't taste ) delicious!!!
    I guess it's called sigara, cause it has the shape of a cigarette , right? And boregi, cause its stuffed, right?
    You are both gorgeous , you and your daughter , in that photo , having almost the same outfit!!!

  5. It was nice to read about what you feel and what you have done this week. It's amazing how beautiful Anton and Neve are growing to be. And they have been so healthy, to my relief. Writing to Natasa today I was just thinking about the time that Matti was 2 and Zeynep and I were travelling with him along the Turkish Black Sea coast, him unable to hold food and water for a week due to some illness. He was put on drip twice during that holiday to give him his strength back, but he was just so lifeless at the end I felt really scared. Levent and Fatma's paths crossed ours near Trabzon and that evening Matti was so still in my arms I got scared and could not hold back my tears as I tried to feed him with our friends around.

    These beautiful children have to remain safe always and you and I have to remain so strong we can stand firm in the face of any loss, for each other and for the (other) children.

  6. Lovely photo series! Just think of all the fascinating memories you are creating for your children!

  7. Great post! I love Neve's hand against her chubby tummy. Oh my! And these glimpses of a different culture are always fascinating. The food looks delicious!


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