How Covid-19 is affecting Turkey - An interview with Jocette

Wednesday, April 15

 Kevin and I traveled to Turkey in 2014, and it was a life changing trip. The people we met, the scenery we saw, the history that came alive...all impacted my life in a sweet way. One of the friendly Turkish people we met was Salih...he was a friend of a friend who kindly showed us around the Asian part of Istanbul and took us to a cool coffee shop. We've stayed in touch, and were recently invited to his wedding near Ephesus. Sadly, we couldn't attend, but I've gotten to know his wife through IG, and asked if I could interview her. 

Jocette is adorable, and is championing the unique Turkish lifestyle and cuisine on her blog Hasat Gunu.  She has a masters in gastronomy from Boston University (which is pretty amazing...I didn't even know that was a thing) so she's pretty qualified to write a food blog, ha! I can't wait for you to connect with her! 

I asked her a few questions about how covid-19 is affecting Turkey. Here are her answers....

First....Tell me a little about yourself:
Proudly born in New Mexico and raised all over America - Texas, Colorado and New Jersey. I went to university in Boston and studied business for my undergrad and then received an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. This gastronomy program was founded by Julia Child and it shaped my perspective on using food to study culture. I first came to Istanbul on a week-long family vacation and instantly fell in love. The next summer after my sophomore year, I came back to Istanbul with a summer service trip through my university. At this point, I was hooked and I just had to live in Turkey for more than just a summer. At the time, I worked with an organization that helped to teach the English language and culture in Istanbul. Through mutual friends, my husband, Salih, and I met! He had been living in Istanbul for nearly ten years but is actually from Izmir. Even though we both love the culture, art, people, and restaurants of Istanbul, we wanted to be closer to family and away from Istanbul traffic (it's a huge problem - think LA multiplied by 5). Izmir is often referred to as the California of Turkey - it has long coastlines, acts as an agricultural powerhouse for the country and has a much more relaxed social culture. From our local beach outside of Ephesus, we look out over the Aegean sea and can see the islands of Greece in the distance. It is a dreamy place, especially in the Spring and Summer.

When I was in America, I realized that many people do not know a lot about Turkish culture. I primarily started my blog, Hasat Günü (which means 'Day of Harvest' in Turkish), to teach my friends and family more about the language, culture, food, and my life in Turkey. I want to bring more awareness and love for this place because a big part of our family and hearts will always be in Turkey!

1) Where do you currently live and what brought you there?

I live in Izmir, Turkey with my Turkish husband, Salih. We were recently married in Izmir and had a wedding weekend, with both a western and Turkish ceremony! We actually met while we were both living in Istanbul but then moved to Izmir to be closer to my husband's family.


2) What do you love most about where you live?

Izmir sits on the western coast of Turkey, directly across from Greece. My husband's family lives in a beautiful coastal village an hour outside of Izmir and it is our favorite place to interact with nature and detach from city-living. We have spent some time and effort to redesign a little summer house in the village - it is five minutes from Ephesus, the local beach, a freshwater spring, and the family olive orchards. After a weekend here, we always feel rejuvenated!

3) How has your city and country been affected by Covid-19?

Turkey is taking it hard, this is a very warm and social culture so the idea of isolation is particularly challenging for Turks. But I can see Turks uniting right now, every night at 9 pm, people come out onto their balcony and start to applaud the healthcare workers that are risking their lives to fight this virus. It is really encouraging to see everyone emerging from their apartments and cheering for each other. 

4) How have you personally be affected?

Salih and I feel very grateful and fortunate because we know how many people are struggling right now. We can continue to work from home with some modifications. Of course, this pandemic throws off some of our plans for the Summer and even the Fall, but that is such a minor issue at this point.

5) How have you seen God work in the midst of this time?

As a newly married couple, I can see how God is using this time in our marriage to work on communication, have deeper conversations, be silly together and to be a source of comfort for each other. Before we were married, we did long-distance for one year and it was so hard. I am so grateful we are in the same place during this experience.

On a larger scale, I can see that God is using this time to encourage people to return to what matters to them at their core - family, friends, faith, joy, and hope. For good or for bad, we are coming face-to-face with what we put our trust in - this can be a really pivotal experience for many to make changes and restructure their priorities.

Thank you so much for sharing Jocette:) I always love getting a look into how other people are experiencing life in places all around the world! And...don't forget to swoon over the whimsical way in which Jocette has brought to life scenes of Turkish gastronomy through her creative team of artists! To see and learn more about Turkish life and culture, check out her blog here. 

And...for links to my Turkey & Greece itinerary, click here! 

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