GOOD BYE TURKEY
I have exchanged the various tables, terraces, chairs, and terminals I have worked at during my 40 days in Turkey, once again for my home computer. I have unpacked my suitcase and tried to find places in my already more than full house for the textiles and trinkets I bought. ..
And I am both happy to be back with David and the Thoburn family, and sad that this beautiful trip had to end. But even though I am most happy on the road, I am looking forward to a new semester with a newly configured department, a new colleague, a new dean, and new students at WCC. I am excited to share some of my Turkey insights in my Art 130 course and hope that my students will be excited, too.
I am grateful, that online courses allow me to travel and to teach. I am grateful to my pantheon who took care of me once again: no illness, no accidents, no unrests, not troubles.
One thing I have hardly mentioned at all during this trip is food. And as I say good bye to Turkey, I have to admit that it is one aspect of this country that I will certainly miss: Turkish Cuisine. Almost every region and in some cases every city in a region claims their own food specialties and sweets. It’s not a secret that I am not a cook - but that does not mean that I can’t appreciate good food. It means however, that I have a very limited vocabulary and insight in writing about food. Sometimes, I inquired about the spices and recipes, but only could respond with a blank look when they were listed or explained to me. I caught on to the fact that you are never far from eggplant, but that it is prepared a dozen different ways and comes out in dozens of varieties. Food is usually freshly prepared and the ingredients come right from the market and are typical for the region. And food is always lovingly prepared and presented. I appreciated its taste as much as its look and I took dozens of photos of my meals, some of which I will be sharing with you in this blog.
As a single eater I preferred stews and soups as well as salads, as they were manageable portions for one person. Groups of people usually have an amazing array of appetizers and if two or more people eat together, they sometimes can get specialties, such as meat cooked in a ceramic pot which at the table is cracked open in the midst of the pan in which it was cooked. I photographed one of those at a neighboring table. What a concept! The ceramic pot of course is rendered useless and tossed.
I stayed away from too many sweets, but Turkish ice cream on the street was a recurring treat for me and on my birthday, I indulged in a Berry Ice Cream Sunday. Oh my… Well, it’s mouthwatering good food where ever you look in Turkey. I ate simple meals and once in a while an elaborate fish dish. Never once did I get food poisoning or ate anything I did not like. Not a bad record for 40 days straight. Perhaps, that’s why I gained some pounds despite all the activities…
The food variety is surely related to the variety of climates, geography and ethnicities that are found in Turkey. Remember, that in one month I came from Classical Antiquity and European influenced beach areas to scorching hot desert-like regions with a heavy Arab influence, to cold mountains with Russian and Armenian influence. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Perhaps, that sums up Turkey for me: Turkey is a mosaic of piece of history ranging from the very first evidence of human creations to the 20th century, and a rainbow of ethnic and cultural backgrounds that make up people who live in Turkey today. It is a country that is worth a second, third, and fourth visit.
In Sha Allah - as they say there, as well as in the Arab countries: So God will.
Good bye, Turkey.