Scroll Top

How to Live in your Room at ANAMED

By Patrick T. Willett, ANAMED PhD Fellow (2018–2019)

It straddles two continents, and bridges them with offerings of culture and cuisine that would take a lifetime to exhaust. But let’s be honest, the bulk of an ANAMED Fellow’s time will be spent at ANAMED, whether it is time spent writing, reading, attending lectures, or building one’s professional network. The facilities here provide excellent spaces to do those things—from the study room to the libraries and the auditorium. But in the life of a researcher, there are those days (and plenty of them) when you have an impending deadline looming, or perhaps spent the last night awake finishing a paper until the early morning hours, or when a greater degree of solitude is required to work through a difficult topic, and you simply cannot imagine a scenario that would entice you from your room. This is a brief guide for those days.

Beginning with the most essential needs, water is at the top of the list. The tap water in Istanbul is potable in a pinch, but not desirable, as it tastes and smells strongly of chlorine. Spring water can be taken with a bottle or canteen from the watercooler on the 3rd floor just beyond the elevators, and large bottles (19 L) can be ordered through the administration for a cost of about 14 TL, but those two options will require you to leave your room fairly often as you need to replenish. The purchase of a pitcher-based personal water filter, on the other hand, will allow you to filter 150 L of water before replacement is recommended, at a cost of about 25 TL, and can either be purchased when you are already out shopping for groceries or even ordered online and shipped directly to ANAMED.

This brings us to the next most necessary survival concern: Food. Though the kitchenettes found in the rooms at ANAMED function fine for preparing simple cold dishes, kitchen appliances that contain heating elements are forbidden, making more complex meals and warm dishes an initial challenge for those that don’t want to head down to the shared kitchen on the -1st Floor. Fortunately, there are a few workarounds that can get you through those days of writing in your pajamas. Although not able to heat, a blender can be an essential component of your daily meal preparation, facilitating smoothies, cold soups like gazpachos, many types of dips and mezes, nut butters, and countless other options without breaking the house rules. For those rainy Istanbul winter evenings when you want to have something to warm you up, the simple electric tea kettle provided to each room can do a decent job. With a clever workaround, you could use it to boil eggs, pasta, or mantı, or you can use it to reconstitute a variety of pre-prepared dried or dehydrated dishes, such as ramen and pasta dishes, or porridges and oat meals. It’s also quite useful to select a day to prepare meals in the group kitchen to be stored in your room for later in the week, so it is always a good idea to save empty jars, yogurt containers, and the like to store food. And for those who don’t have a flair for cooking but feel still less inclined to leave the building, try using a food delivery app on your smartphone or the web, enter your address information only once, and order for delivery from all over Istanbul, and see directly in the app whether they accept your meal card plan.

Even when fully hydrated and nourished, an ANAMED Fellow should take further steps to ensure their health, productivity, and quality of life don’t suffer on those days when they cannot make it out to the gym or to walk the hills of Cihangir. A few small additions to their room can make a world of difference in keeping active and energized, starting with a yoga mat. Whether you use it for yoga, meditation, stretching, or body weight exercises, having a mat is great to cushion you from the carpet and to keep it clean at the same time. Dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, or any other small portable strength training equipment can be delivered directly to ANAMED and help to keep you active on those inside days. In addition, the doorway to your bathroom easily accommodates a screw-less pullup bar. Familiarize yourself with the wealth of information online about “hotel room workouts” and you will have all the inspiration you need to stave off lethargy while you finish that last chapter for a midnight submission deadline.

Finally, some miscellaneous tips for those just beginning their stay at ANAMED. The recycling bin is in front of the laundry room. Lift your mattress to find a storage compartment under your bed. There is a three-outlet power adapter along with your television and cable box. The red-colored power outlets do not turn off when you remove your room key from the card slot, so use these to charge your devices while you are away from your room.

I hope that this short guide proves useful to the ANAMED Fellows for those days when workload, stress, illness, or other reasons keep you in your room. But on those other days, I implore you to enjoy the magnificent city that is Istanbul and everything that it has to offer a researcher, an explorer, a foodie, and everybody else.