Spoiler Alert: We ELOPED!

"It's a beautiful night. We're looking for something [fun] to do. Hey baby, I think I wanna marry you."

“It’s a beautiful night. We’re looking for something [fun] to do. Hey baby, I think I wanna marry you.”

Your eyes do not deceive you. The yabanci bride who only wanted one small, simple, intimate wedding ceremony will have had THREE celebrations (of varying degrees) before the end of 2015. But hey, at least the first one was small, simple, and intimate. 🙂 

We eloped for practical and romantic reasons. Practical: Housing. It’s a long story, but I was going to have to change (read: DOWNGRADE) my apartment and we were tired of living in two different cities, so in an effort to keep things helal (or halal or kosher or whatever you want to say), we decided to be married on paper so we could live together without feeling a black cloud of ayip looming over us. Romantic: There was no way we could wait until January to be husband and wife. We’re each other’s best friends, partners, teammates, all of that good stuff. To us, engagement is not about figuring out whether or not your fiance is “the one”. That’s what dating is for. I told Canim not to propose unless he was prepared to marry me the next day if need be (why would “need be”? I don’t know but I had to be dramatic to make my point). So, we were ready to be married as soon as we got engaged. Engagement (again, to us) is about planning, preparing, and making arrangements for the future. Where will you live? How will you balance finances? Blah blah blah boring adult things. 

In July, we got my parents’ blessing to go ahead and be married on paper as long as we will still have the reception in January and the American reception in July. Fair enough. Everybody gets a little bit of what they want. I bought a simple lace sheath, my brilliant and artistic friend made me a brooch bouquet (which will be used at all three weddings), I Pinterested a hairstyle, ordered some pink shoes and sixpence coins, and two weeks after I returned to Turkey (August 30th), I became Mrs. Canim. 

In another post, I will explain the process for an American-Turkish marriage ceremony. Most of that was a blur, to be honest, because Canim is SUPER efficient (a quality that did not really shine until I returned to Turkey), so I just had to sign along the dotted line for most of it. 

The Wedding Day: 
Canim took me to the kuafor for hair and make-up at 10:30. Before that, we made a stop at Platin to buy new nail polish for my “professional” manicure. I had a meltdown the night before over my inability to successfully apply two coats of nail polish to any of my 20 nails. I just can’t do it when I’m nervous!

After I was dolled up, my brother-in-law (BIL) and mother-in-law (MIL) picked me up. I was disappointed to learn that the bozos at the jeweler had failed to have my wedding band ready in time for the ceremony. However, I opted to not go Bridezilla on said bozos because, to quote my husband (hehehe), “Darling, here is Turkey. Every time something is wrong.” The end. Full stop. There’s always something wrong, so don’t sweat it. 

One hour before the ceremony, when we were less than 1 KM away from the house, the bozos called and told my BIL that the wedding band was ready. So, BIL turned around to go exactly where we had just come from. He drove like a bat outta Hades to get the ring. While MIL and I waited in the car, she turned to me and said, “The box in the bag is yours.” So I opened it and discovered a SIX PIECE lingerie set. Gorgeous white satin. I was flattered, humbled, and then REALLY embarrassed to think about what must have been going through her mind as she picked out the set. I mean…you know. And she’s his MOM. Agggh. Anyway. 

So, I got ready at his parents’ house, and sat on a bed staring at the clock thinking,”30 minutes until I become Mrs. Canim. This is a big deal.” And I started shaking a little and my eyes were welling up with tears, so my darling MIL swooped in with some baklava (I had 3 pieces – sue me) and helped me buckle my shoes because I couldn’t do it myself. 

The Ceremony:
I’m not gonna lie to you guys. The Turkish marriage ceremony is rather…unceremonious. Canim’s father and two best friends walked me into the belediye wedding salon (aka city hall). He was pacing and waiting anxiously for me to arrive. When we saw each other, we hugged and tried really hard not to cry. After taking lots of pictures, everyone left us alone to say our vows to each other (Turkish couples normally don’t do that, as it is assumed that by showing up for the ceremony, you already promise to be the ideal spouse until you die. But I’m American. I like contracts and having things spelled out explicitly and without confusion – plus I thought it would be more romantic than “evet”). We said a slightly tweaked but mostly traditional version of American vows, but I said them in English and he said them in Turkish. Then, we walked upstairs where everyone was waiting. We sat down, the officiant sat down, said a lot of things that I barely understood because I was waiting (and maybe even leaning in very closely) for the question that sounded something like, “[Yabanci Bride], Canim eş olarak kabul ediyor musunuz?” And I said,”EVET!” But I was too eager and she held up the microphone so I could say it again. Then she asked him, he said, “Evet,” she said some more things, we signed some papers, and she left. One of our witnesses pointed to the floor very urgently but I didn’t know what she was saying. Someone else said,”Ayak!” and I remembered to do this: 

Ayak Basmak - Foot Stomping I stomped on his foot to show who's "boss" - but really, he had made no attempt to stomp on mine - so who's really the boss?

Ayak Basmak – Foot Stomping
I stomped on his foot to show who’s “boss” – but he had made no attempt to stomp on mine – so who’s really the boss? 🙂

We switched our rings onto our left hands, had a short and sweet kiss (once on the lips and once on my forehead, which I found so adorable), and then cut the cake. Oh, this was our cake topper: 

International Love Courtesy of Giving Ink on Etsy! https://www.etsy.com/shop/givingINK?ref=l2-shop-info-name

International Love
Courtesy of Giving Ink on Etsy! https://www.etsy.com/shop/givingINK?ref=l2-shop-info-name

After the ceremony, we took pictures in a park along the sea, but it really felt like taking pictures on the surface of the freaking sun. Then, we went back to his parents’ house to freshen up. After that we had dinner at our favorite restaurant which means “Snow White” but has absolutely nothing to do with a princess or dwarves. 

After dinner came the real party – our “mini-moon” at the Hilton. Let me tell you – I’ve never stayed in a Hilton before, and now that I have, I don’t know how I can ever stay in a pansion or even a different 5-star hotel. That place was a piece of American heaven, I tell ya. It was like sleeping on a cloud. We were treated like stars, with far too many free drinks (including a bottle of champagne), impressive room service, and they let us check out several hours later than we were supposed to. It was paradise. 

All in all, every time I think of that day (aka 5 days ago), I can’t help but grin ear-to-ear. I’m glad we didn’t wait. 

Got the ring (mine is obviously on the right) just in time, so I didn't have to foam at the mouth like Bridezilla. Crisis averted.

Got the ring (mine is obviously on the right) just in time, so I didn’t have to foam at the mouth like Bridezilla. Crisis averted.

Brooch bouquet. :)

Brooch bouquet. 🙂


Poppin' bottles

Poppin’ bottles


The In-Laws and the Sunburn

This past weekend was the last of the many long weekends I have enjoyed this year. To kick it off, Canim and I took his mother (and father) out to dinner for Mother’s Day. We celebrated a bit later because they had been visiting her family in the Black Sea region for the last two or three weeks. 

We took them to the restaurant where we will be having our wedding. They liked it, but I could tell they thought the food was overpriced, especially because Anneciğim could obviously prepare an equally if not more delicious meal and we would not even have to pay her in anything other than hugs and kisses. It just so happened there was a wedding reception taking place that night. I asked to stay a bit longer just to see the bride make her entrance. Well, it was after 8 p.m. when we left and she still hadn’t made her entrance. I would have stayed until 9, but everyone else was ready to go. 

Anneciğim and I admired the guests’ outfits as they walked the runway-like bridge (yes, there’s a BRIDGE!) into the reception hall. Canim kept his back to them, and whenever I nudged him to look at the dresses, he would shrug and say,”I don’t see anything. What, is that a woman? A man? An animal? It’s all the same to me. I don’t see anything.” Am I marrying a smart man, or what? 🙂 

It was a nice dinner, and it warmed my heart to treat them to a nice night out, because they both really deserve it and probably wouldn’t treat themselves to something like that if we hadn’t invited them. 

The next day, Canim and I headed out to spend some time being lazy on the beach. Now, I keep a tote bag packed with picnic/beach materials in the event that we decide to be spontaneous and venture outdoors. The tote usually contains bug spray, sunscreen, wipes, and tissues. I add more items to the bag depending on where we are going, but the items I listed are staples. They can’t melt or spoil, so there’s no reason they should ever be removed from the bag. 

And yet, my big (expensive) bottle of Neutrogena sunscreen has gone missing. I was left with two travel-sized tubes of sunscreen, which, let’s face it, are only good for one beach session, if that. I searched and searched, but I couldn’t find the big bottle. So, when we made it to the beach, being the sacrificial woman that I am, I let Canim use the majority of the sunscreen, and I insisted that I wouldn’t need to use much, except for on my shoulders*. For the record, he did argue with me a bit over it, but I “won” and by “won” I mean he gave up and I burned to a crisp. The one thing he absolutely insisted that I do was rub an ice cube on my head. 

That’s right. Rub an ice cube on my head. I’ve never done that before in my life, but we had more ice than sunscreen, so I rubbed it on my head to appease him. I didn’t ask him to cite his scientific sources, but whatever protection it was supposed to provide must have worked, because the only place that isn’t crispy is my scalp. 

The beach was beautiful and quiet, and I swam like a fish. There’s just something so captivating about the Mediterranean. I’ve lived here for over a year, but I hadn’t really had a good swim in the sea since I was in Italy in 2008. Well, I guess I got carried away, and today at work everyone looked at me with a mixture of pity and amusement. More of the latter, but whatever. 

On the way home, I spotted a small field of red poppies, or gelincik flowers. I am *OBSESSED* with those flowers, and I don’t really know why. It could be because their bold, beautiful red color reminds me of the perfect shade of red lipstick. It could be because they always look so warm and cheerful even though they randomly grow among weeds on land that is uncared for. I don’t exactly know what the appeal is, but whenever Canim and I drive near green areas, we always make a point to keep an eye out for the gelincik. I was so happy that he thought nothing of stopping, turning around and driving 2 km in the opposite direction just to loop around AGAIN to stop and take pictures of the flowers. Am I marrying a great man, or what? 🙂 

I’ve been applying Garnier “After Sun” lotion on a regular basis, but I can feel my face starting to get tight, which means I’m going to start peeling soon. Dear Lord. That will be hideous. 

If anyone has any remedies or ways to prevent peeling, I would be glad to try them! 
And please, do NOT say the best way to prevent peeling is to wear sunscreen, because that ship has sailed. 🙂 

*I would like to add that while I did manage to apply sunscreen to my shoulders, the burn is the worst ON MY SHOULDERS. Go figure. 


Hellboy: this is what Canim says I look like now.




This view would cost a LOT more in Italy. 😉