Why do you love Turkey? Do you have some experiences that encapsulate the feeling?
Photo courtesy of Interviewing Places.
Aaron shares an experience here that captures it for him. We would love for you to share your stories in the comments below.
A recent theft of my wife’s tote bag while traveling through Italy this summer reminded me of another reason why I love living in Turkey. Nothing against Italians, as I know thievery is, unfortunately, a problem in every country but coming upon a broken passenger window in our family van in broad daylight in a parking lot was a bit surprising. Thankfully, no one was harmed and no items of identification were stolen, but if the perpetrator is reading this post, I kindly ask you to please return my wife’s journal, which she has been keeping for the past 5 years!
LOST VIDEO CAMERA
What was jogged in my memory was an event that defied probabilities. A few years ago while living in another city in Central Anatolia my friend absentmindedly left his video camera in the back seat of a public transit vehicle (a dolmuş). After the shock wore off when realizing where he had misplaced it, he immediately rushed to the central dolmuş station. Describing in detail what the camera bag looked like and on what dolmuş route he had been on he was surprised to hear that they were already waiting for him. It had been found in the midst of a city of 5 million people! At the close of the evening routes if he boarded this certain dolmuş and rode it to the end of the line, there would be someone waiting there for him with his prized possession.
You, as the reader, need to understand that my friend was Japanese, and his precious video camera was literally an extension of his person. Rarely absent from his side and now with it being passed around from dolmuş driver to dolmuş driver, he needed someone to accompany him as it was getting quite late. He phoned me explaining the situation, and unsure of what to expect. We set off.
We boarded the dolmuş and arrived at the appointed meeting point around 11:30 at night. After several cups of tea with those present we were greeted by a young, bald man with a huge smile. Zeki was a part-time dolmuş chauffeur, but his real love was football. He played on a farm team for one of the top teams in Turkey. Upon seeing his toothy grin we knew immediately that the camera couldn’t have fallen into better hands. He presented us with the bag (all its contents were intact) and we proceeded to talk late into the night.
As the caffeinated effects of the first rounds of tea were beginning to wear off another round was served. Zeki enlightened us to the story of how the camera bag eventually made it into his hands: a passenger had turned it into the chauffeur of my friend’s original dolmuş, and it made a circuitous route, ending in his possession. We sat amazed, reflecting on our own cultures, assured that if this would have happened in a similar sized city in Japan or America, we probably would never have seen the camera again.
What was even more incredible is that through this entire escapade both of our families were invited to a wedding in Zeki’s village. He was to be the best man in his friend’s wedding (a three day celebration in Turkey), and he offered to host us in his house on the weekend of the wedding.
Needless to say, we took him up on his offer and had an incredibly rich cultural experience at the wedding. Not only did we get to witness a fight break out between rival families of the village, to which our new friend told us that no village wedding was complete without some kind of fight, but we also had to save our kids’ lives, who were playing on a hill behind us during the “bachelor party”, as all the village men pulled out pistols and shot them into the air. I learned so much, even how to break into a bathroom while my friend was locked in for almost an hour!
Not only did we retrieve the misplaced video camera but we were welcomed into a family and an entire village, and this is why I love Turkey. I invite you to come and be captivated by such an incredible people.
Can you relate to Aaron’s experience?
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