life's adventures lately

it's a hazy monday here in Taipei, good for sorting through photos and making new plans. I thought I'd take a few moments to share what's been brewing around here lately...

family vacation in the Pacific Northwest

first - I need to ask for some help! my parents are spending a few weeks traveling around Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, and Eugene at the end of April, and I'm flying to the US to join them. my dad already has a long list of things for our itinerary, and my mom has booked us some adorable airbnbs [can you see where I get my travel bug from?] but none of us have been out that way before. I'd love to hear about your favorite things to do in the area - hikes, waterfalls, museums, food, whatever!

getting stronger + feeling better

the main reason for my early arrival in the US is that I'm planning to see a food allergy specialist. the last year has been quite a trial for me with all the new allergies and then a bacterial infection in my guts, so I'm hoping to get some clear [or more clear] answers on what exactly my body wants to be eating. that being said, my health continues to improve. and Husband has convinced me to go to the gym, so I'm putting back the muscle mass I lost. this is a good thing. I'm feeling stronger and healthier with each week that goes by. I even did my first weighted Turkish Getup with a kettlebell the other day!

making travel plans

since I'm going to be in the Pacific Northwest in April, I'll be heading east to Michigan in May. I should be hopping down to Austin for a few weeks to spend time with Husband's family before we head back to Michigan together, and then eventually depart via Chicago. in total we will be taking 12 to 16 different flights, depending how the connections work out. BUT we will have a chance to see all four of our nephews this summer, as well as other family and friends. I didn't visit the US last year so it's been a while and obviously I am really excited!

Taipei adventures

in the past few weeks I've been getting out and about more - I've wandered Dongmen with the lovely Geneva of A Pair and A Spare, climbed Elephant Mountain at sunset, ventured to Long Dong Bay for a picnic on a rock by the sea, and took a complicated route up to Yangmingshan for a solo hike. since I only have nine weeks left in Taiwan [until after summer] I've been making a list of things I'd like to see and do before I go. I'm hoping to cross off at least one adventure per week until then.

plot twists

among all this, I've still been working on my novel. sometimes it goes really well, and sometimes it's pulling fingernails.  a few weeks ago I hit a snag with my plot. to fix it, I made a pretty substantial change to the workings of my universe - which unfortunately requires me to rewrite quite a bit - but the story will be better for it in the end. I'm doing my best to just keep writing through it.

we have managed to spend a few lazy afternoons on the couch binging netflix, but overall, life has been busy but good. [and it doesn't look to be slowing down anytime soon.] I hope that life is well where you are, and please do let me know if you have any Seattle/Portland recommendations!


the textures + patterns of Topkapi Palace

a must-do in Turkey: take in all the textures and patterns of the stunning Topkapi Palace in Istanbul.

Topkapi Palace boasts a view fit for a Sultan - situated on a point of land that juts between the Sea of Marmara and the Golden Horn, at the top of a hill overlooking the city of Istanbul, the Bosphorous, and two continents. but the most entrancing part about our tour through this palace-turned-museum [for me, anyway] were the intricate inlays, carved doorways and windows, geometric metalwork, and delicately painted tiles.

I'm a sucker for the details, and I've got the photos to prove it.

Topkapi Palace was built after the Ottomans conquered the Byzantines [on the ruins of their acropolis, actually] and it was home to the Sultans for nearly 400 years. throughout that time it was constantly being expanded and renovated. while this resulted in a rather haphazard arrangement of courtyards and buildings, it also decorated the palace compound with varying examples of the finest decorative styles throughout the centuries.

appropriately enough, we wore our patterned harem pants for the visit - though we did clash with most of the decor. every room and passage was swathed in colors, carvings, and detailed designs. according to Husband, I took a photo of every tile and doorway in the entire palace that day. given that a large portion was under restoration, this was clearly not true. but I would have.

one of my favorite spaces in the palace was this kiosk. I could just imagine lounging here with a book, windows open to a breeze from the garden... I mean, really. what's the fun of visiting a palace if you don't envision yourself living there as a princess?

but I'm pretty sure this kiosk was not constructed for bookish princesses. in fact, the royal ladies [and the children] had a separate but impressive section of the palace that was their domain: the harem.

when it comes to pattern mixing, the Ottomans were pro. somehow the wild blend of colors and textures everywhere just adds to the opulence of the palace. it's a lot to take in - plan to spend several hours exploring - but Topkapi should be on your list of sights to see when in Istanbul.

touring the harem costs an additional admission fee, but it contains some of the most beautiful rooms. I would suggest buying a Museum Pass, as the admission for the palace and harem and the nearby Hagia Irene [or any other museum in Istanbul such as the Hagia Sofia] will add up to the same cost or more. since the pass lasts for 5 days you'll have plenty of time to make use of it!

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