can you read my lips? Deaf but neither dumb nor blind – Let’s Carpe thehell out of Diem

This morning I sent all my facebook friends a private request. Something I never did before and usually do not like myself to receive, worse, sometimes not even bother to read. For a cause or campaign or however you want to call it.

This is what I wrote [copy+pasted] 301times:

On behalf of my Turkish/ Scottish God-daughter Dilara Earle who is deaf and a film maker herself, with CI, but that is not enough, I would love you to sign this petition

As a Dutchy I grew up with subtitles on both TV and movie screen, the most normal thing in the world for me, but not so in English speaking countries. Lots of hearing people find subtitles annoying hence the missing link for the audio impaired.

Thank you,
Carolien Geurtsen

Yesterday that same god-daughter of mine posted her own strong [and for me heart breaking] message on Facebook into the digi-verse, in order to get people involved:

“All I want for Christmas is Subtitles!”
Please sign this! It won’t happen for this Christmas but it would make the rest of my Christmas’s!

All we want for Christmas is subtitles


There have been so many times I have had to:

Leave the cinema because the projector has broken and they can no longer screen the subtitles.
Return the DVD I just rented and that still uses up my Lovefilm quota, even though it wasn’t my fault.
Wasted money on a DVD that I can’t return because it doesn’t have subtitles.
Can’t watch the extras on the DVD because they only put subs on the main show. I mean, why?

I studied film as a degree and because I need subtitles, suddenly I can’t access what I want to learn from the commentaries and behind the scenes shows. ARGHH.

I still remember going to the video store down the street on a Friday night. I’d look for the square speech bubble before genre, actors, pretty covers, titles, or interesting blurbs on the back. That small square determined everything.

There are exciting new advances with glasses (like 3D) that allow you to watch subtitles alongside a hearing person who won’t get annoyed by them. Captiview is also a gadget that let’s you take in an adjustable screen that pops into your cup holder and although it had flaws it did an okay job. I’m used to watching lips, the screen and action and sentences all at once. But it’s still not up to scratch!

I want to finally go to the cinema on the same day as my friends to see the exciting new release and talk about it after.
Not 3 weeks later, after which the entire thing has been talked about on my Facebook news feed….!

I want to rent DVDs without being frustrated, embarrassed and guilty that I can’t watch it with someone and that they feel like they can’t watch it now. Which is a bit rubbish all round!

I’ve cried over this. My deafness is just something I have. But the fact subtitles aren’t on every DVD by now and the cinema isn’t 100% accessible just isn’t fair!

Cringe? Whatever. I don’t give a pig’s shit anymore. Just sign it, for me. I’ll give each and every one of you a big massive sloppy kiss and be eternally grateful for when the day finally comes round!


And there she got me going, remembering when she was a baby and how her mother found out that she was deaf, and all the difficult years, with there own challenges, to follow. And I do not care shit to become even more dramatical: As I have witnessed from so close how dramatical it has been for all involved and therefore for so many more on our ‘civilised’ planet.
I imagined my BF and her mother reading this post sitting at the kitchen table where her laptop is (so I happen to know from our recent Skype sessions), looking at the gorgious picture from her smiling daughter, who is terribly far away right now, somewhere Down Under, so you might magine with me as well:

This mother is weeping. A million likes.
One of the few things we can be grateful for is that this has given you a taste for world movies and taught you more tolerance than the insensitive people who say they can’t concentrate on a film with subtitles. Pah!
The technology’s there – it just needs folk to put it in place and others to be grateful they have all their senses, if not their common sense.

Cringe cringe. As I am reading that one, not that far, but away…
For me as a Dutchy who knew subtitles (from the cinema) before they had TV at home, this really was a revelation yesterday.
That people can be disturbed by subtitles bacause they are not used to, I can vaguely relate to. That’s how it was for me watching English movies with Turkish subtitles in the Open Air Cinema in Kusadasi when we lived there. But that people actualy can oppose it because of this ‘disturbing factor’, beats the H out of me.

To give some more idea, if this is A Far-From-Your-Bed-Time Story, another sensory impaired friend of my D:

Don’t get me started on airlines, I flew all the way back from Mauritius and there was not one single subtitled English speaking film.
Also Sara Cox angered me several years ago when she complained about going to the cinema to watch a film because it was subtitled! RANT!

And than over to my tube You Tube via mum:

Absolutely, Disgraceful.
Also youtube, particularly when the subject is relevant to sensory impairment and it’s not subtitled.
Anyhow, I put a lot of Dilara’s (and possibly your) good grammar and passion for books down to reading subtitles from an early age (let’s excuse the odd slip whilst ranting).

So, H.I. folks:

1 – Hearing folks who can’t cope with subs: 0 on that score.
Dilara Bien-aimée will enjoy waking up in Oz to our rants!

To sum it up a little more with the last titbit of the personal life of being a BF to a sensory impaired:

I would just like subtitles because after watching so much TV with Dilara, my brain can no longer muster the extra concentration to actually listen to what they are saying in addition to watching the film.

So, I guess we could make this work for the sooo many audio impaired people living on our Planet Earth.  So, yes, as one of my favorite quotes from another dear friend:

Let’ s Carp theHell out of Diem

[and yes I put it on purpose like that, otherwise our Digital Bros will expell my blog from the digi firmament

due use of #swaerwords++

 All I want for Christmas is subtitles

P.E.T.I.T.I.O.N – Love Film



Turkey 2013 and press-freedom, an extremely spicey & açı mix – Karsu Dönmez & Füsün Erdogan

First published on November 6th @ Invest in Happiness, and today, 3 days later, a little altered for the Special Destinations Turkey Weekend Blog. Please also follow us on twitter: Turkey Travel Bloggess @Special_Turkey and keep them coming, your stories! As we think Turkey deserves a brighter future and exposure of the Good as well as the To be improved, and we cannot cover and write it all ourselves.

İyi Hafta sonu!


I can’t listen to this song without tears, who ever sings it does not make much difference, although I love the Nilufer one and appreciate this one extremely. Sometimes those tears stay hidden behind my eyelids, sometimes they are easy flowing or something in between.
Normally I start my day and a post with a piece from `Vrije Geluiden`, this time I do it the other way around, as I am too touched by this version which I found yesterday, shortly after the verdict was published for Füsün Erdogan, what’s in a sur-name, a Dutch-Turkish journalist in Turkey, sentenced to life imprisonment.

I posted a tweet shortly afterwards on my personal account

Which translates something like
Fortunately the first 3,5 hours of my day were reasonably happy ones, now going to take a shower but more over, wash my mouth from that bad taste which is left behind because of the verdict #fusunerdoganshouldbefree

Bram Vermeulen, himself journo in Turkey with recent difficulties renewing his working permit, explained yesterday [Dutch] that the verdict is surprisingly high and has everything to do with Füsün being a member [and considered a leader] of a leftish group and writing about her ideas on minorities in Turkey. Therefore she is considered an Enemy of the State. Although nothing she has DONE is opposed to any known European law.
In 2013…

Now about Karsu Dönmez. She started performing years ago, in her parents restaurant in Amsterdam over the weekends. The same parents who were,many years ago when Karsu was a young girl, saving money to buy a family car, but instead they bought her a piano, because she was so much longing to learn how to play. This after hearing Bach and Beethoven.
Ever since the first time I saw her on TV I closely follow her career. She is now flying the globe, spreading her beauty and her talents all over the planet. And as I need my daily portion of beauty to be able to cope with all which is happening in the world, and more special in Turkey, I gladly share my finds for maybe some comfort or inspiration here and there. Currently I am writing my book about living in Turkey and the stories of my travels spiced with 2013 happenings. I need my daily morning start with some beauty to give me energy for the day. This includes the 70 days journey I started towards 2014, with on my personal blog each day a piece of music, some text and a photograph.
And thus I also created an extra playlist on YouTube titled Keeping my Wits. Otherwise I drown in the negative news which is there when I open my Browser in the morning, That is how my brain is wired.

The above performance broadcasted on TV is from an evening in 2012 about Press Freedom and the lacking of it, also all over the planet.
So combined with yesterdays news about Füsün this is my choice for the day.

I regret very much that CNN Türk has been taken off the cable here in my region in the Netherlands, and I decide the minute I write this that I will start looking via the Net, if poss, and start this minute with Karsu Dönmez @ Turkse talkshow ‘Burada Laf Çok’ –
I recommend you to watch it, it is witty, spiced with humour and beautiful music.


Febr 2013 Istanbul - ©Carolien Geurtsen

Dreams and Nightmares – Istanbul February 2013

Ofourse this post and the music is dedicated to Füsün, and to all others who are wrongfully imprissoned anywhere at this moment


Karsu Dönmez – Çok Uzaklarda

Press Freedom evening 2012
Published May 11th 2012

(with translation)

Caddelerde rüzgar, aklimda ask var
(There is wind at streets and love in my mind)
Gece yarisinda, eski yagmurlar
(In the midnights ,old rains)
Sarki söylüyorlar, sesiz usulca
(Singing silent, slowly)
Özledigim simdi cok uzaklarda
(The one I missed is so far away now)

Deli dolu günler, hayat güzeldi
(Crazy and funny days,life was nice)
Kahkalariyla günler gecerdi
(Days had been passed with laughs)
Ellerim uzanmaz, dokunamamki
(my hands can’t reach I can’t touch)
Özledigim simdi cok uzaklarda
(Is so far away which I’ve been missed)

Oda özlüyormus, benim birtanem
(he has been missed my only one)
Cok üsüyormus, ben olmayinca
(Feel so cold when I ‘m not there)
Öyle yaziyor, son mektubunda
(Writing like that at his last letter)

Oda özlüyormus, benim birtanem
(he has been missed my only one)
Cok üsüyormus, ben olmayinca
(Feel so cold when I ‘m not there)
Öyle yaziyor, son mektubunda
(Writing like that at his last letter)

Karsu Dönmez her website

And no, she is not performing anymore in her parents restaurant in Amsterdam unfortunately.


From Turkey with Love

Since 16 years I live with one leg in The Netherlands and the other in Turkey.
Not that crazy if you realize I lived there for more than a decade, a quarter of my life, when I returned in 1997 to my first home country.

When I am in either country I miss to be in the other, so yes I do write a lot about Turkey, do road trips or Istanbul strawls whenever I can, and I feel happy to share both my what I call adventures  and the normal day-to-day life anecdotes.
I do intend to finish my book about that same mixed feelings subject, my continues feeling torn and my possible future plans relating my longings to have the best of both worlds.  Maybe to open a little Bed & Breakfast or find my way again as a host and guide for interested visitors. We will see. For now it is story telling time.


Inside Stories – Visiting once more – July 23th 2010

Slowly the squeaking noise of the maxi-cosy is fading, the baby, my sons half-brother, sound asleep now. The nanny stopped moving her feet and gets up to close the balcony door.
The reason must be to prevent the baby from waking up from the loud sounds of the water hoses and crickets outside.
A real pity because I love those familiar sounds ánd the room heats up even more without the little breeze coming from outside..


 Some minutes earlier she had been crouching behind the sofa, together with the baby.
Out of my sight, I could only hear her, and for a little while I thought she was singing a lullaby for the baby to get him to sleep.
Only slowly I understood that she was whispering her prayers, every once in a while directing it towards the baby to comfort him with her voice. In the end she sang him a thank-you for giving her the chance to finish her prayers.

It is two thirty in the afternoon and I am still recovering from my fright due the cup of coffee I just spilled on my keyboard.
That’s a real good start to get some work done in my holidays’, I thought, and the worst possible scenario past my mind as a quick video clip.

This morning we arrived at 04.30 hours on Kayseri Airport and were welcomed by Tahsin Bey with a big smile.
Him being the driver who usually does our transfers, we were chitchatting a bit about the what-a-bouts from everybody and the weather in both countries, before he left us to ourselves during the rest of the ride.
By then all the necessary text messages were already exchanged. The ‘Touchdown’ during the landing of the plane, quite soon followed by a “Hosgeldiniz’. and the We have arrived safely, to the home front.

At our arrival we are being met with great enthusiasm and there are congratulations, exchange of some of the gifts we brought, some glasses with cold Ayran, Turkeys famous yogurt drink, were gulped away and then, after the first updates, off to a couple of hours sleep.

It is our hosts birthday and he and his wife are already since days working there butts off in order to be able to leave for Antalya tomorrow, to meet up with the parents, children and all their grandchildren.
The gathering will be the most important event of the year and taking some days, after which they will continue their vacation direction Bodrum, where they will start their annual ‘Mavi Yol’  a Blue Voyage with a group of friends and their kids along the Mediterranean coast.

The weeks to come I will be living in their house, this period meant to be a mixture of rest and work, visit of some concerts and finalize the preparations for the October retreat for a group I will bring from Holland both for cultural and meditative purposes.

Since the few hours we are here I already got a lot of information on doe’s and don’ts in the house, including the shops I can call for home delivery of gas and water supplies.
Also it is arranged that I can dip in the pool of the neighbors camping site whenever I want and I can use the car if necessary but preferably not, as the driving habits are quite extraordinary. Which I know from experience as I have been one of them myself.
I will take it as it comes. There are 3 dolmuses, mini-busses in an hour, stopping just down the road and taxi’s are cheap.

I notice how not-tired I am from last nights journey.
In spite of the 20 minute delay the regular Turkish Airlines flight has been incredibly comfortable, quite in contrary to charter flights, thus  starting with a relaxed on-line check in. Although I felt embarrassed when this also meant we could pass the whole cue of 50 people waiting to check in and give our luggage to continue to customs.

The airport itself supported us as well in a contest to get us smoothly from one place to another.
Schiphol was very quiet that time of  night and near to deserted on this Thursday evening, sandwiched in between the two most busy weekends of the year.

During the flight, with enough space for our legs and a movie to give my Turkish a wake-up call, we could make a choice between chicken, köfte or a vegetarian meal as a late night supper. And although midnight came and passed during the meal, it tasted great.
The cleaning lady just left, the men, father and son, will go and pay a visit to the barber, the nanny is in the kitchen preparing ‘biberli dolma’ for supper and the baby is sound asleep. I open the balcony doors and prepare myself for a little nap and some daydreaming.

Hoşgeldiniz : Welcome
Bey: Sir
Ayran: Yoghurt drink with water and salt
Köfte: Spicy meatballs
Dolmus: minibus driving on a regular basis through and between towns
Mavi Yol: Blue Voyage with a gullet in this case
Biberli Dolma : Stuffed peppers


early Morning balloon flight



Pleasure and pain – no empty words – Istanbul

Pleasure and Pain, at the moment it is the translation of the title of my Dutch blog, and this morning it became once more perfectly clear why I choose it. Pleasure and pain, for me the two together define the essence of life as I see it, at least of my life and maybe so in general.

At 6 AM I read an email from best friend U who’s husband is fighting pancreas cancer.
She writes in In German, her mother tongue, so I right away know she must be devastated, as her English is as fluent as mine and we speak mostly either Turkish or English together, hardly ever German.
It reminds me of how I decided all those years ago that I wanted to give birth in my home country, no matter how much at home I felt in Turkey, because I was sure that I would not be able to communicate in anything else than my mother tongue, if at all, when in this painful roller-coaster called giving birth.

It was an extremely short message, full with desperation and fear.
‘ This Thursday he will be operated once more and like last time it is extremely risky. ‘ They found another tumor and I am soo scared. I do not dare to tell it to our [6 year old] son as I am afraid I will be so much in tears that it scares him too much’.
Ending with: Ich drucke dich fest…

When I write this, again my own tears are there in a heartbeat and for the first time in weeks I want to be somewhere else than in beautiful Istanbul. Catch the first plane to Hamburg comes to mind.
I respond to her with a quick e-mail and the offer to Skype whenever she wants.

I hear sounds from the kitchen and all those lovely smells of both coffee and toasted bread make me want to jump out of bed.
I realize the sun is shining and how incredibly lucky I am to be here and I decide to get up as quickly as possible to have a chance to see her, my host, before she goes to work. She being the wife of a friend, and we only just met 3 days ago.

The friend I mainly know from Facebook, although we were more or less in the same peer group when we were young.
Both his brother and the brother from my lover in those days connected us enough to start asking online questions like:
‘Are you who I think you are?’
Him living in Istanbul and our mutual interest in Turkey was enough to keep contact every once in a while online and to make a dinner appointments as soon as was clear that I would come and visit.
And this was only 4 days ago.

IRL [In Real Life – as still supposedly opposite to Online life] I have animated talks both with him and his wife although not with the three of us together as he is seriously ill and stays most of the time in bed.
I love the chances and possibilities life is offering me, in spite of all the challenges coming with it.

No pleasure without pain they say, and how much I wished it wasn’t so, but yes it seems the reality of life, at least as I know it to be.
So much more reason to enjoy the Pleasure part tremendously.

So off into this beautiful sunshine now. Although indeed, my heart cries for my friends at the same time.

Ich drucke euch fest, meine Freunde

lovely breakfast
and yes Thursday I will pray like I have nothing else to do.

This song makes the tears break through like the sun now as well is doing


In Love and Friendship we do real – NL

In friendship  the same values count Friends / Vriend

Upstairs my son is talking Turkish with his grandparents, English with his father and in Dutch with my sister, all within 5 minutes. It reminds me of his carousel talking when he was 4 years old, turning to his grandparents and speak in Turkish , to me in Dutch and run to his friends and continue in English.
Yes, just like he did until we left Turkey for Holland, when he was 4 years old…
Only now not In Real Life, but with Skype, a great way to stay connected.

It is his birthday, and 19 years ago that I was jinxed into the ER after 26 hours of labor.
Pavaroti was playing out loud, and doctors and nurses were scrubbing their hands and getting ready to deliver my son, our son.

The A-Team = friends as family and vice versa

His father couldn’t be there, had to leave  two days earlier to open a Hotel in Turkey.
My sister and brother were there to support me, jokingly calling themselves my ‘A-Team’, and they would also accompany me on my/our journey back home, to Turkey, 5 weeks later.
During the whole labor we had a hot line, no Skype unfortunately, but ordinary 1.0 telephone landline, with my husband.

Although separated, we are still the best of friends, so in honor of this friendship and for the love I feel for my family and friends in Turkey and abroad, today’s blogpost is in English.

Write on Thursday

Today’s theme word of #WOT is ‘Friend’ (Vriend). I guess the ‘official’ theme is ment to be written in Dutch, according to a bond I have with Karin Ramaker and other bloggers.
Every Thursday she chooses a * Dutch* word and all of us write a blogpost with this word as the anchor. But as the title is in English, [ I choose it to be like that] I take the liberty to further bend the rules a little bit.

The moment I saw this picture one month ago, I planned to paint the text on a door or a wall  in our house as well.
I simply love it, and it covers about everything in relationships which is important to me.

Time-wise it didn’t work out so well, as it was not ready before my son arrived home from Turkey two weeks ago, but there is always something good in something chaotic, so early this morning, his birthday, I finally started.
It needs one more coating, and probably will be ready when the first guests arrive this afternoon.

After I read today’s #WOT theme, I looked at the text once more and I realised that if you replace ‘This House’  for ‘Friendship’, and read it again, it totally matches my understanding and definition of friendship.

Alles is Liefde| Not my typical Sunday | From Turkey with love (Dutch)  | Another Sound (English)