Luckily, Turkey's expat community curates a lot of interesting, innovative projects and offers a selection of delicious dining options, making life a lot easier and happier as a foreigner abroad. It's now time to buckle up and embrace the face mask as a new necessity, so why not try to find the most colorful and sustainable option, which just happens to be on offer by an expat-initiated venture. The Race for Life, held every fall in Fethiye with the mass participation of local expat residents, will be taking place in a different format this year. Meanwhile, while there you can also learn how to prepare scrumptious and healthy Turkish cuisine from the most popular English-speaking Turkish cookery book writer in the world.
Masks the newest must-have accessory
As mask-wearing has become mandatory in nearly all public spaces in Turkey to curb the spread of COVID-19, masks have become the newest, most necessary accessory. However, it gets tricky trying to weigh out the plethora of options available with some offering more protection and others being more comfortable. Luckily, Çöp(m)adam, a social enterprise where local women create products out of recyclable materials, is now making unique and comfortable masks that can be delivered right to your front door.
Started in 2008 by American expat Tara Hopkins, who resides in Ayvalık, Çöp(m)adam's mission has always been to use recycled elements in their designs. Their products are prepared by local women who have never had employment experience. In the past decade or so since their opening, Çöp(m)adam, which translates into English as Garbage Ladies, has saved over 6 tons of waste from going into landfills annually and employed over 500 women. This couldn't be more important at present when single-use masks are resulting in a whole new uphill battle in combating waste material.
Luckily, in addition to their array of creative and colorful accessories, ranging from wallets, bags, frames, aprons and toys, Çöp(m)adam is now doing masks in multiple sizes and colors that are easily washable and thus reusable. Although initially, they were utilizing scrap, leftover and recycled fabrics, with the huge demand since the rise of the pandemic, they have been purchasing fabric from the local farmer's market.
The majority of the masks are cotton, however, Tara admits that occasionally, they will purchase nylon if they fall in love with the design. The masks are styled exactly the same as standard surgical masks, with layers offering filters and they are available in a wide variety of colors and designs and also ship internationally.
Çöp(m)adam is also making practical and pretty mask bags in which to transport your mask rather than having it dangling off your ear or around your wrist. The masks are going fast, too fast to update on the website, thus the best way to order at the moment is through their social media accounts, which are Trashyteyze on Instagram and Çöp(m)adam on Facebook.
Extraordinary Race for Life goes virtual
For the past seven years now in October, Fethiye has hosted a Race for Life fundraising 5K fun-run and biking course with proceeds going to benefit cancer patients. Modeled after the charity run of the same name in England, which is organized by Charity Research U.K.; the Turkish version, aptly named Yaşam Için Yarış, aims to raise funds specifically to help buy equipment for the Fethiye State Hospital Oncology Department to help cancer patients in Fethiye and to ensure they receive the life-saving treatment they need. First started by expats Chris and George Rimmer in 2014, the event has continued to grow steadily and is now organized by Lyn Ward, the author of the ever-so-entertaining and helpful Fethiye Times online publication and Fethiye‘s Tourism Promotion Cultural Environment and Education Foundation (FETAV).
Not surprisingly, this year the race will be held in a different format. Dubbed the “Extraordinary Yaşam Için Yarış 2020,” from Monday, Oct. 26 to Sunday, Nov. 1, participants will be able to map out a 5k walk, jog or run which they can embark on alone or with family or members from the same household. Those taking part in the run will be asked to provide photographs or video footage to be included in an Extraordinary Yaşam Için Yarış 2020 album.
While this year’s event is free to take part in, participants are encouraged to seek out sponsors or make donations on their own behalf in order to fundraise. Last year alone, the event raised TL 180,000 ($30,000). While t-shirts will not be printed for the 2020 race specifically, participants are welcome to purchase Race for Life t-shirts from previous years or dress up in costume for the race, which has also become a tradition for some. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for your own run and for more details on the event.
Turkish cuisine cooking classes by Özlem Warren
Almost every English-speaking foodie with an interest in Turkish cuisine is well aware of Özlem Warren and her blog and award-winning cookbook "Özlem's Turkish Table." A Turkish expat in London, Özlem has single-handedly introduced healthy Turkish cuisine, with an emphasis on her southern hometown of Antakya, to fans all over the U.S. and England where she holds cooking demonstrations regularly.
During this COVID-19 era, much of Özlem's classes have moved online. However, a lucky few will also be able to take part in a cooking class offered by Özlem in English, in Kalkan and Fethiye from Oct. 20 to Oct. 21.
On Tuesday, Oct. 20, Özlem will be at Yakamoz Hotel in Fethiye for a Turkish-style lunch, cooking demonstration and book signing. Guests will dine on a feast of meze, a main course including karnıyarık, or meat-stuffed eggplants, börek, mercimekli mualla, or lentil stew, and pumpkin dessert. Özlem will be showing participants how to prepare potato and bulgur patties, as well.
On Wednesday, Oct. 21, Özlem will be teaching a hands-on course at Guru's Place Cookery School in Kalkan from 9:45 a.m. to 2 p.m.
She will be joined by the chef-owner of the locale Hüseyin Kayır in preparing Turkish specialties like mücver, or zucchini fritters; köfte biberli ekmek, or meatball and pepper sandwich; and revani, or semolina pastry.