Especially soothing syrup...
Person to person, hand to hand...
Politics spoken here...
For Language Lovers?
Stoned near Ankara
The Ladies Turkish Bath...
Driving in Turkey...
John can do...
To pay the bill...
Our "Private" Conversation...
Were you talking to me?
The Tell-Tale Thud
Cussin' in the Rain...
Ayran a good race
Just peachy ...
You're my beloved...
A dolt by any other name...
Shish enough, and more...Ed. 5.0
My husband and I have lived in Turkey for two years now and we plan to stay for a few more. Our home is in Incirlik Village, Adana -- and a lot of interesting cultural differences have popped up since we first arrived.
I remember one, the first month...
We are in downtown Adana. It starts raining, so my husband leaves to run and get the car. I decide to sit down under an overhang -- on steps leading to an ancient mosque.
A few seconds later an old beggar woman appears and sits down a step above me, and spreads out her scarf. Not long after, the Call to Prayer is sounded, and with that, men start entering the mosque -- and, as they pass, they begin putting money down on my skirt!
Surprised, I try to discourage them, and tell them, "Yok, a
At this point, I start in with the hand signals of a tourist and try again. "Yok,
Ahh, I say to myself..."Success!"
In naive hopes of a final success, I now try to give them back the money they've already given me. Doesn't work. It actually upsets them. There's a commotion that doesn't seem to be leading anywhere.
, I stand up and say, "Ben AmerikalIyum. Ben fakir de
This, finally, gets their attention. And upsets them even more. Especially the
old beggar woman who is telling me to, "Sus!" (Keep quiet).
Then, out of thin air, a man appears -- sternly speaking
(enough) English to tell me that I shouldn't be sitting there. He points for me to move over there...
Fortunately, just in the nick of time, hubby arrives with the car -- I jump in, he hits the gas, and we escape in a cloud of wet spray...
And rainy days in Adana will always hold a special memory for me...
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Person to person, hand to hand...
In 1958, I took a summer between my Junior and Senior years at the University of Southern Mississippi and went to Europe. And I spent a month
One day out walking in Istanbul, I asked a young Turk, in an army uniform, directions to some place. He smiled, hestitated a moment, and then took me, literally by the hand, and walked with me to that place.
as we started off on this walk
(in 1958, at least, American men didn't hold hands or
show much affection in public --
especially to strangers).
So, I kept looking for an excuse not to hold hands, such as to blow my nose,
just started to enjoy it --
and there we went,
walking down the street,
swinging arms to and fro,
like everybody else.
Years later, when I started to learn Turkish for real, I did it cold Turkey so to speak. I went to a tea house in Sinop and sat and watched how people did things.
And when I heard the expression, "Bir çay yap", I noticed that this caused the
waiter to bring a small glass of tea on a saucer. The next time the waiter passed by, I uttered the magic words and got my own
and it may have been apparant to those around me...
When I finished my glass of tea and prepared to leave, I offered the shopkeeper some Turkish money. With a friendly wave, he said, "Sizin para burada geçmez," and, smiling, he ushered me out the door. I could tell he meant well, so I went along. But it wasn't until I got back home that I learned for certain, with the help of a phrase book, that the shopkeeper had meant, "your money is no good here".
I stayed good friends with that tea house
After my Turkish improved, I'd sometimes have a little fun -- teasing Turkish youngsters. For example, I might see a group of schoolgirls -- on there way to morning classes. I'd stop them and remark "Ne kadar sevimlisin," or "How cute you are".
with the word "Masallah" -- to protect the youngster from
And the kids know the custom from an early age...
(Click here to see where we've mentioned Masallah before...)
But I'd press on and ask them
how they liked school,
what their favorite classes were,
did they study English,
I could see the children squirm,
because they were worried about the evil eye and
that I hadn't said, "Masallah".
When I'd prepare to part company I'd finally say, "Masallah" quite off-handedly, and
they'd be so relieved that
they would curtsy!
But "Masallah" isn't just for kids...
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