It was my birthday last Thursday (yes, I am woefully behind) and also coincidentally, the day I was giving my first English lesson. Through a friend of Cagatay's, I had met Ahu who has basically set up her own freelance business after working at one of the universities for a number of years. She and I had met up the week before and as it turns out, she is going to London with another student for three weeks (nice, right?) and has turned over two of her students to me while she is gone. So long story short, last Thursday Ahu and I went to meet Ayse at her apartment to do the first lesson together. (Which was a total relief...I was feeling a little lost at how to teach English to someone else but now have it under control.) As it turns out, Aysa is a former model and used to be Miss Turkey...and we essentially were born on the same day. (I was born in the U.S. at night and she was born in Turkey in the morning which, with the time change, makes us born just hours apart.)
We were supposed to meet her at 9:30 but she was running late so Ahu and I ended up hanging out at a cafe in Ayse's neighborhood of Kandilla that had a gorgeous view. Incidentally, Ayse has the exact same view from her apartment.
That night, in celebration of my birthday, Cagatay and I went out to a pizza restaurant in Rumeli (where the castle is) called Mama; I suggested it after seeing it on one of our recent walks along the Bosphorus. We sat outside, along the road and in sight of the lit-up Fatih Mehmet Bridge. We both had mojitos - he picked classic while I opted for the mixed berry. I really enjoyed the place - as you know, I like sitting outside here in the warm weather just taking everything in. Perhaps Istanbul should be called the city that never sleeps; it always seems like there is something going on somewhere.
After that, we went back home, exhausted but sated. We were too full to have dessert (though I spent a lot of time admiring my colorful macaroons) but I did open presents! Cagatay gave me a pair of Adidas/Stella McCartney flats that I had been admiring and a blender/mixer thing. Although a blender seems kinda weird (I keep thinking of that scene in Father of the Bride where Annie freaks out because her fiance gives her one and she thinks it represents his regressive expectations), I really wanted it, mostly to help with my adventures in cooking.