Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Bike for dinner

Last night I hopped on my bike for a quick fall ride before the sun set. I found some new roads, actually more like paved donkey cart paths, winding up the steep hills behind my house. On several occasions I was approached by one or two brave children asking me to stop and talk. At this point, the original 2 children often morphed into 10 or 15 children within seconds. After learning that both boys and girls like football and basketball, the girls love Justin Bieber, and the boys like video games, I usually say my goodbyes and start pedaling. But last night was different. A 16 year old girl asked me, mostly with sign language by rubbing her tummy, and saying "yekmek" if I'd eaten. The easy response would have been "yes" but I decided to tell the truth "yok" (no) and see what happened. Well, she managed to tell me her mother was a very good cook and that I must come home to dinner with her. I contemplated asking the polite "Are you sure it's OK with your mom?" but realized I have zero vocabulary for that type of sentence and also figured it's not my problem (a very new me!) I also pictured my empty cupboard at home...

So, yes, I followed a 16 year old stranger home for dinner where I was greeted by like royalty with a kiss and an extended Turkish hug. I was presented with delicious leftovers on a tea tray in the living room with everyone watching me eat, the TV blaring in the background making it very difficult for me to concentrate and hear the very little Turkish I even understand, and the most beautiful and kind family you can imagine. I was treated to a look-see of the father's passport and his many stamps as a chauffeur...Bulgaria, Romania, Syria, Croatia, etc. I played a new marble game with the 7 year old little brother who also, by the way, treated me to a showing off of his new a match and putting the flame out in his mouth. I carried on a conversation about computer games and math with the 16 year old cousin as he lit up his second cigarette. And, I practiced speaking English with 16 year old Rabia who really LOVES America and wants to visit someday. The mother, as you can tell from the photo, is a beautiful, kind, loving, and generous person. And, she IS a good cook, just like Rabia said.

I may have to take a bike ride every night!

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