From Turkey with Love

Since 16 years I live with one leg in The Netherlands and the other in Turkey.
Not that crazy if you realize I lived there for more than a decade, a quarter of my life, when I returned in 1997 to my first home country.

When I am in either country I miss to be in the other, so yes I do write a lot about Turkey, do road trips or Istanbul strawls whenever I can, and I feel happy to share both my what I call adventures  and the normal day-to-day life anecdotes.
I do intend to finish my book about that same mixed feelings subject, my continues feeling torn and my possible future plans relating my longings to have the best of both worlds.  Maybe to open a little Bed & Breakfast or find my way again as a host and guide for interested visitors. We will see. For now it is story telling time.

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Inside Stories – Visiting once more – July 23th 2010

Slowly the squeaking noise of the maxi-cosy is fading, the baby, my sons half-brother, sound asleep now. The nanny stopped moving her feet and gets up to close the balcony door.
The reason must be to prevent the baby from waking up from the loud sounds of the water hoses and crickets outside.
A real pity because I love those familiar sounds ánd the room heats up even more without the little breeze coming from outside..

Mert

 Some minutes earlier she had been crouching behind the sofa, together with the baby.
Out of my sight, I could only hear her, and for a little while I thought she was singing a lullaby for the baby to get him to sleep.
Only slowly I understood that she was whispering her prayers, every once in a while directing it towards the baby to comfort him with her voice. In the end she sang him a thank-you for giving her the chance to finish her prayers.

It is two thirty in the afternoon and I am still recovering from my fright due the cup of coffee I just spilled on my keyboard.
That’s a real good start to get some work done in my holidays’, I thought, and the worst possible scenario past my mind as a quick video clip.

This morning we arrived at 04.30 hours on Kayseri Airport and were welcomed by Tahsin Bey with a big smile.
Him being the driver who usually does our transfers, we were chitchatting a bit about the what-a-bouts from everybody and the weather in both countries, before he left us to ourselves during the rest of the ride.
By then all the necessary text messages were already exchanged. The ‘Touchdown’ during the landing of the plane, quite soon followed by a “Hosgeldiniz’. and the We have arrived safely, to the home front.

At our arrival we are being met with great enthusiasm and there are congratulations, exchange of some of the gifts we brought, some glasses with cold Ayran, Turkeys famous yogurt drink, were gulped away and then, after the first updates, off to a couple of hours sleep.

It is our hosts birthday and he and his wife are already since days working there butts off in order to be able to leave for Antalya tomorrow, to meet up with the parents, children and all their grandchildren.
The gathering will be the most important event of the year and taking some days, after which they will continue their vacation direction Bodrum, where they will start their annual ‘Mavi Yol’  a Blue Voyage with a group of friends and their kids along the Mediterranean coast.

The weeks to come I will be living in their house, this period meant to be a mixture of rest and work, visit of some concerts and finalize the preparations for the October retreat for a group I will bring from Holland both for cultural and meditative purposes.

Since the few hours we are here I already got a lot of information on doe’s and don’ts in the house, including the shops I can call for home delivery of gas and water supplies.
Also it is arranged that I can dip in the pool of the neighbors camping site whenever I want and I can use the car if necessary but preferably not, as the driving habits are quite extraordinary. Which I know from experience as I have been one of them myself.
I will take it as it comes. There are 3 dolmuses, mini-busses in an hour, stopping just down the road and taxi’s are cheap.

I notice how not-tired I am from last nights journey.
In spite of the 20 minute delay the regular Turkish Airlines flight has been incredibly comfortable, quite in contrary to charter flights, thus  starting with a relaxed on-line check in. Although I felt embarrassed when this also meant we could pass the whole cue of 50 people waiting to check in and give our luggage to continue to customs.

The airport itself supported us as well in a contest to get us smoothly from one place to another.
Schiphol was very quiet that time of  night and near to deserted on this Thursday evening, sandwiched in between the two most busy weekends of the year.

During the flight, with enough space for our legs and a movie to give my Turkish a wake-up call, we could make a choice between chicken, köfte or a vegetarian meal as a late night supper. And although midnight came and passed during the meal, it tasted great.
The cleaning lady just left, the men, father and son, will go and pay a visit to the barber, the nanny is in the kitchen preparing ‘biberli dolma’ for supper and the baby is sound asleep. I open the balcony doors and prepare myself for a little nap and some daydreaming.

Hoşgeldiniz : Welcome
Bey: Sir
Ayran: Yoghurt drink with water and salt
Köfte: Spicy meatballs
Dolmus: minibus driving on a regular basis through and between towns
Mavi Yol: Blue Voyage with a gullet in this case
Biberli Dolma : Stuffed peppers

 

early Morning balloon flight

 

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© Carolien Geurtsen

Boil an Egg – Yes I can – Cappadocië

Göreme 06.45 hrs © Carolien Geurtsen

Early morning view on Mount Erciyes, Cappadocie

The house for myself.
The fact that I stayed here before does not guarantee that I can easily find my way around. And certainly not that I can find what I am looking for on the moment I need it. So the find the remote control took a while, let alone the matches to light the stove for some egg boiling.

The family left to the coast. Quit stressed after a short night, a lot of last minute errands, packing end some tasks on the to do list for after returning in two weeks time.
And yes, I threw a glass of water after the car driving away into sunset, this a symbolic act to help their journey go smooth as water flows, like my ex-mother in law used to do in the old days for our travels. Su gibi git! It is another way of waving goodbye and one I do like very much.

In the morning, when there was still some work to do and things to delegate to the team staying behind, I had the pleasure to baby-sit the new-born, or let’s say some months old now, baby and I witnessed his first complete roll over on his tummy.
What an effort that took. I filmed it for both parents to watch later.
Now they had a long journey ahead of them, 6 hours at least, so that sunset bit was not just a fun remark. Partly through the Taurus mountains, and it would not be until after midnight that the phone rang: they arrived safe and sound in Antalya, in the Yayla, of summer/mountain house of the grandparents of my son.

the family on their way

 

 

 

Manager Travelatelier © Carolien Geurtsen

Birthday Child – Manager Travelatelier

The night before we spent celebrating my host’s birthday, together with all the staff from Travelatelier Turkey in Ürgüp, thé specialist for exclusive weddings in Turkey I became soon to understand. The youngest son fell asleep in his pram and after a Champaign toast the wines were chosen and the food ordered.
Soon the subject was the upcoming wedding between an Iraqi woman and a Lebanese man, a marriage which would be impossible in one of either home countries. A real fast organized speed type wedding, only to take place in either Las Vegas or Turkey, all the official paperwork arranged in one day. This being the total opposite of when I got married in Turkey, even with a native citizen it took us months to get all the paperwork done.
What a relief would that have been, being able to do it this way, I could only imagine.

The evening was wonderful, both the food, wines and company excellent, and lots of last-minute advice for the upcoming event. I was impressed that both the owners of the company trusted their team to let everything go smoothly. Trusting their staff and their own meticulous preparations, so was I soon to witness by myself.

Today, welcome to stay in their house as long as they were away, and also thereafter for that matter, would be a rest-day for me.
Watering the plants in the garden and on the balcony terrace, make plans for the days to come, arrange for a proper working Turkish SIM card and choose the store with the best quality yogurt.
Whenever I am in Turkey I really want to stuff my face with only the best, even though most brands are available in Holland as well.

One of my other little sins while I am here is watching all the broadcasts of a serial like the Mentalist,  Brothers and Sisters and anything else I do not find the time or the patience to watch when I am at home. Here I saw HD before anywhere else.

Tomorrow I will leave the house very early, by foot or bike, that is to be seen, to make an appointment for my usual rendezvous with the beauty parlor for a manicure/pedicure and to pass the Travelatelier office to pick up a memory card for my computer and have a coffee or tea on a nice terrace in Ürgüp.
Then I will prepare a personalised meditation CD, send it by email and let the day unfold itself further
Now first boil that egg and eat it with Castle.

Su gibi git!: Safe Journey!
Patron: Boss
Yumurta: Egg
Yayla: Summer House usually in the mountains to escape the heat of the city
Sömine: Chimney
DiziMax: special TV canal for serial TV
Manikur/pedikur: Manicure/pedicure