Cooking and Field Work

Wednesday July 29th

Yesterday was filled with more of the same work. Joe’s work now requires using lab equipment that is constantly used during the day so he is shifting to being nocturnal. Since both of us needed groceries, we went into town during our lunch break. We went to a new café, not the burger place, and I got pancakes. They were mini pancakes served with sides of Nutella, fig jam, strawberry jam, cheese, olives, and tomatoes. I haven’t had the combination before but it was great to have pancakes never-the-less.

When we got back, Dr. Amer had just arrived from Ankara. Many of our conversations have jokingly discussed me cooking an Indian meal for him and Gul. Though he was never serious, I decided to surprise him and Gul Abla the next day by making egg biriyani. Much of the afternoon consisted of me cutting onions and all the other vegetables needed for the base paste of the biriyani.

This morning when I saw Gul Abla I mentioned making lunch for her and Dr. Amer. She mentioned that they had planned on eating lunch with the director of the institute and soon decided that they would all eat the food I made. I think it goes without saying that I was nervous out of my mind that I would be making food for the director of the institute (I hadn’t even met the man before today).

An hour later the food was ready and we dined in the main cafeteria. The food was a bit too spicy for Gul Abla but I think they enjoyed it overall. Many of the workers in the cafeteria also tried the biriyani and came back for second helpings. Dr. Amer then informed me that because I had made them eat spicy food I have to drink a cup of Turkish coffee (he knows I am not the biggest fan).

The director of the institute was kind and was convinced I should go into research on chickpeas like him. Back at his office he showed me an entire table with different spices and lentils.  As he went through the names of each one, he discussed various scientists around the world and their specialty.

Once food and coffee were done, it was time to begin harvesting in the field. Sevil Hanim, Ekrem Abhi, Umit Bay, and I would work together for the next five hours in 95 degree weather. We took a pickup out to the field and for the first time I got to ride in the back. I have to say that made me very happy since I have always wanted to sit on the edge of a pickup with the wind in my face and the sun beating down on me.

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Living on the edge?
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Getting ready for field work with the crew

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For the field work, we wear full sleeve shirts, long pants, a scarf around our necks, and a cap. Though it did get a bit warm wearing all of this, I was glad the thresh wasn’t covering me head to toe (though it had an uncanny ability to get everywhere). We had a good time for the most part, sharing laughs and lots of water.

Unfortunately the heat got the better of Sevil Hanim and she fainted. It was exactly like the movies where her eyes rolled back and she collapsed to the ground. We quickly sprinkled water on her face and fanned her with a cap to wake her up. We also forced her to take a break and sit in the shade of the pickup.

At 7 pm we called it a day and went to our respective houses. I made pasta for dinner before collapsing for a restless sleep, interrupted by mosquitoes and the heat.

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