Two summers ago I experienced a journey that will never be forgotten. I went to Turkey to view beaches, explore cities, and to create a greater understanding with society outside of America. I learned patience, hospitality, and how to relax.
The minute I stepped off the plane my nostrils were filled with cigarette smoke and the smell of gasoline from the planes. As I walked through the airport to receive my baggage I heard the Turkish language which almost sounds like people talking under water. Next step was to go to my relatives house who had lived there quite some time now. He invited me in with a hug and kisses on the cheeks. He took my bags and offered me some Turkish tea. We talked awhile and then my adventure began outside of his home.
I was greeted by street merchants and trying to negotiate fruit prices with me. Street lenders trying to sell their replicas of Louis Vuitton bags. Fisherman trying to present a good deal on a kilo of sea bass. As we walked my nostrils started filling with a different smell. The smell of delicious Donner. In America otherwise known as Gyros. We ate some and it was the best thing I’ve ever ate. Since there was still a lot of time left before it got dark he decided to take me to Konak. It’s a large shopping area with apartment buildings hovering over the stores.
While in Konak I observed the way people interacted. I noticed there was a lot of older men sitting at shops only for men. They were sitting at tables outside the shops sipping on tea and playing backgammon they looked carefree. I observed the women on the street; the young, the elder, the children. The teen women arm in arm laughing away their worries the women buying their children toys and the children receiving compliments for their cuteness from the store owners. It was getting late we decided to leave.
The next morning we went to his beach house in Cesme. It was a picturesque town. There was different hues or blues and greens in the sea. We were parched so we got some Ayran (a yogurt drink) and ate Kumru (a type of sandwich) in the village. After a while we got up and went to go swimming. I was scared of sharks but got reassured that there wasn’t any. His friends later joined us at the beach. They played soccer together and I watched with the other girls. Every time they scored they would yell,” GOL!!!” in enthusiasm and run around like children.
We all went up to Oba Kent the subdivision in which they lived. There they took me to this house that was made out of stone. It was magnificent. They explained how the governors son had built the house but then went bankrupt so it never got completed and I guess he didn’t have a permit to build there either. It was built on an edge of a cliff overlooking the sea and trees surrounded the area. The moonlight was the only light we had and it was all the light we needed to converse and sip on the tea we brought in a thermostat.
From that very moment I realized how different Turkey is from anywhere else. The people shared a brotherhood bond, a sisterhood bond, everyone was family. In very little time my departure brought me to tears and my aspirations have become to work in Turkey as a doctor. “Inshallah” (God willing) as the Turks would say.
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