Tag Archives: Community

Saturday Night at Molly’s Cafe

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It was a cold and grey Saturday, with a few random bursts of snow. We spent most of the day recuperating from the excitement of the previous night, but craved a way to conclude a wonderful day and a crazy week. We headed to Molly’s Cafe, near Galata Tower and found exactly what we were looking for.

When you enter Molly’s Cafe you immediately feel at home. The first thing you see is an open kitchen full of activity. Chatter fills the room in a variety of different languages. Paintings of local artists and familiar scenery cover the walls, and various intimate seating arrangements invite you to make yourself comfortable.

We quickly settled into a couch in the back of the cafe. One of the cats quickly found our laps and settled next to us. We were surrounded by an ecclectic collection of English and Turkish books about every topic and place (I even found an old book about the Pacific Northwest). We skimmed through the collection of books about Istanbul, and chatted about the week. We ordered wine and chocolate cake, and quickly achieved a state of perfect contentment.  Everything on the menu is homemade, and succeeds in every way to make you feel at home, while also providing you with an opportunity to eat what you miss the most from home. We quickly and joyously devoured the cake, as the evenings performers began to play.

The band was named Acqui Cavuri, and consisted of both Italian and Turkish musicians. They played a collection of vibrant Sicilian and Mediterranean folk music. The music filled the space and the entire room came alive with the oud, the guitar, the violin and different types of percussion.

Molly has a wonderful blog that I would suggest to everyone. It is also an excellent way to learn about what’s happening in the cafe, and learn about her observations and experiences as an ex-pat in Istanbul.

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My New Tuesday Activity.

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I have been searching for a network and community to fill the void that grew after I graduated from Scripps. I have many wonderful women in my life, however I miss the constant dialogue and discussions that would constantly emerge when I was surrounded by smart, outspoken and politically minded women. I have found this community and dialogue once again at Amargi.

I just started going to an English discussion group sponsored by a women’s rights organization called Amargi. They are located in an old apartment directly off Istiklal Cadessi, the pedestrian-only street in the center of the modern city. The offices are nestled in the back, and the centerpiece of the space to gather for discussions, events, planning and seminars. The English conversations are organized by their intern, and invites members of any English-level to come and engage in discussions and debates about feminist issues. We use TED lectures, a variety of articles and personal stories to initiate discussion and enhance the vocabulary and comfort of the non-native English speakers in attendance. We sit at tables and sip tea, while discussing the incarceration of journalists, the complete disregard for environmental preservation in the face of development and what it means to be a Feminist in Turkey, and in the Middle East. I leave stimulated and energized. The discussions give me a window into current events and political discourse in Turkey, and the perspective of  progressive, politically minded women in Istanbul. I love it!