Marcia Hoehne has kindly given me this nice new award which I am to display along with a description of a few things I love.
Now, I am spoiled for choice when it comes to things I love. I am crazy about music and art and cats and books and plants, and above all, my dear family. I would find it hard to live without onions and garlic and cheese and chocolate and fresh coriander and chili peppers and beans and just about every kind of so-called ethnic food you might care to mention. But I would like to use this opportunity to talk about a few seemingly insignificant things that have become huge since moving here -- things I might not have given a second thought, back home in Scotland.
1) My old black shoes. I bought these frankly ugly shoes about six months before we left. They have a Velcro strap across the front and flat heels, and no fashionable woman in her right mind would be caught dead in them. But my feet have high arches and these shoes have built-in arch supports, and every time I hear one of my colleagues click-clicking along the corridor in her rat-stabber stilettos, I bless these shoes. I don't know how my colleague copes. We're on our feet up to six hours at a stretch, and in her shoes, I am convinced that I would become a homicidal maniac.
2) The two tiny sewing kits I got on Turkish Air. Somewhere in storage, I have a good-sized sewing box filled with different colors of thread, a selection of needles, scissors, a seam-ripper, tape measure, and pin cushion. Here in our little southern outpost, I have two tiny sewing kits and in the past five months, I have used them to 1) sew a torn pocket on a sundress, 2) mend Eldest Daughter's jeans, 3) fix Acquired Daughter's broken shoe strap (courtesy of Eldest's big clumsy feet), 4) sew two buttons back on husband's shirt, 5) hem up Youngest Daughter's shirt and -- well, you get the picture. I do believe in five months I have done more needlework than I did in an entire year back in Scotland, and I even have a good twenty inches of purple and orange thread left over.
3) My tatty old leg warmers. Way back when, after the movies Fame and Flashdance, every girl and her sister had to have a pair of leg warmers. Even non-dancing girls and women in places like Los Angeles and Florida could be seen sporting big, fashionable-looking leg warmers over their skin-tight blue jeans, sometimes spangled with bits of metallic thread or studded with sequins. Please don't imagine that my leg warmers, kindly sent by my friend Dina, are anything like those. They are black and plain and without them I would no doubt have lived through January, but it would not have been much fun.
4) My secondhand clothes shop lined trousers. We came here with a baggage weight limit of just under 20 kilograms per person. That meant that none of us could bring more than a few articles of winter clothing, and though clothes in big cities like Istanbul are well made and cheap, in our town they happen to be expensive. I bought my nearly-new fake moleskin lined trousers at my favorite thrift shop, run by the Cats Protection League, and I daily bless the woman who was crazy (or rich) enough to get rid of them.
5) My travel flashlight.I have a poor sense of direction and bad night vision. We live in a neighborhood sorely lacking in sidewalks but well supplied with potholes and missing chunks of asphalt. Every time I go walking at night, my trusty travel flashlight keeps me out of ditches -- and other people's driveways and entrances.
6) Our internet connection cable. Every time I plug this into my computer, I marvel at its power. It is half the width of my little finger, but it can connect me with people all over the world. It is such a compelling object that it commands the attention and respect of every member of this family, and -- even as I write this -- is an object of hot contention. I am being reminded that my turn with the cable is now over, so I'll pass this along to a few fellow writers who might be game to play along: Merry and Eryl, and Charlie, and Ms A. Paperback Writer, over to you if you're interested!