Sunday, August 23, 2015

Some Enchanted Evening

Since arriving in Turkey, we have, in the timeless words of Blanche, been depending on the kindness of strangers. Yesterday was no exception.

We have been receiving incredible help and support from a colleague, Tonguc, in setting up our internet. He has driven us to the company, given the company his phone number (in our absence of both Turkish and a working phone), and has been offering his time to help us translate in this matter.

Long story short, Jake and I were told that someone would be there to set up our internet on Thursday or Friday night. Thursday came and went with no internet, but on Friday, Tonguc called the company and they said it was all set.

Alas, no.

So, Saturday, we trek over to the Internet cafe - a dingy two-room computer hovel where League of Legends has a shortcut on the desktop - so we can communicate a bit with you lovely people and do a little bit of work. We're there for maybe 10 minutes when Tonguc Facebook messages Jake to ask about the internet. Upon receiving Jake's response, Tonguc calls up the company and says, "Go home. Someone will be there in a couple of hours."

I sign off. Jake continues to type to Tonguc who eventually encourages Jake again to "Go home." On our way home, we meet the service guy who calls Tonguc so we can communicate. Great? Great. The guy parks his car, ready to bring us back to the 21st century. We're walking into the building when one of our neighbors, whom we hadn't yet met - greets us in English.

"If you need some help, I can help you," she says.

Let's face it: we do need help.

So, we, Ezgi (our neighbor), and Yaris (the tech guy) trek the four flights up to our apartment.

The next part of the story is quite dull and, to save you the time being bored out of your gourd, basically involves the perpetual failing of our internet.

"Do not worry," says Ezgi. "You can come use ours."

So we follow her across the platform to her building, ascend the four flights, and are welcomed into Ezgi's mother's home.

Recently divorced and ready to take on the town, Ezgi's mother loves Barack Obama and hates George Bush. Instant connection.

She brings me water and sits with us as we surf the Web a little bit. When Baris - her 14 year old son comes - he is excited to show Jake wrestling videos on YouTube and, in a moment of indelible enthusiasm, attempts to show Jake spoilers from Season 5 of Game of Thrones, which we haven't seen yet.

Saved by Ezgi.

The balcony invites a welcome breeze, and the day is incredibly pleasant; the type of day where the sun doesn't shine and you don't really miss it.

Ezgi's mother announces that we will stay for dinner. Not so much of an invitation as a proclamation.

Soup - corba - is the first course. "It's potatoes and..." Ezgi's eyes search the ceiling for the translation, "something Turkish."

Ezgi's mother sets the second course in front of me almost as soon as I'd finished my soup.

"In Turkish, pilaf," she says.

"In English, pilaf," I respond.

"Ah-hah!" She iterates a distinctly Turkish sound of recognition. "No problem!"

Ezgi's mother knows slightly more English than we know Turkish, and Ezgi is the only one with a command of both languages, but the conversation is natural and fun. We discuss politics, religion, race, gender issues, and ideology, only to discover that we have corresponding opinions.

The sun sets over Bursa and the mosques alight - a bizarre Cinderella's castle.

"I shall teach you how to play Tavlar!" Ezgi exclaims.

No complaints from us. We love games.

She comes back a few seconds later and places the board in front of us and we can't help laughing.

It's a backgammon board.

Four games, three cups of Turkish cay, and several hours later, Ezgi has beaten us four games straight.


  1. Wonderful update, good neighbors make life so much better

  2. Wonderful update, good neighbors make life so much better

  3. So happy you guys are settling in. Your old student miss you. Max, Masai, Onia were singing you praise today!