This post is pretty much a reminder that the only way to learn anything is by doing it badly, at first, and then: persisting! 🙂
Some thoughts from back when I lived in Turkey, originally posted at the start of 2020’s global pandemic, but putting in a bit of order as I try to make sense of my longing to get back to languages before I forget them all (glad to see that I’ve improved quite a bit since then!), and to make time to learn all of the lessons from those places where I lived, searching for something that I am not sure how to find.
“cultural note: Kurds, Turks, and Jewish (Sephardic) families all kiss the hand and touch the forehead of the eldest person/host as a greeting. I was quite surprised to see this as a universal custom (ok, at least one Kurdish family and extended friend group, only one Jewish family that I got to spend alot of time with around their extended family, and I’ve only seen Turkish family greetings on TV here in the commercials and shows. The Turkish family I lived with did not do this, but they are quite wealthy, and Americanized).
My Kurdish friends love to sing! They do not however consider me Jewish, because my father and mother are not Jewish. That seems to be the same sentiment I got from the Turkish and Jewish people I spoke with here in Istanbul as well.
Most people use propane gas for cooking. Natural gas is only in rich areas, so far.
Here, the doorway is not the place to hide during an earthquake. Under a table is what my roommate tells me…
“karamsar, dark or negative thinking, really?
A person in Izmir accused me of being thus, for refusing to bring a new life into this world. I beg to differ…
May all people who wander be granted peace of mind, and complete, total Shalom. “
And lastly but most certainly not least of all, remembering old friends who visited (twice!!):
The conversation before the lymeric (ok, or maybe after the Lymeric…) !! I am very grateful that this friend visited me, as I’d never have taken the time to see anything around me, working as I did constantly, while I lived in Izmir. May his memory be for a blessing:
“At Ersan Pansyon, just off of Kibris Shehitler caddesi, near my apartment, there is a nice young man who works there, who yesterday offered us breakfast and the opportunity to talk. My guest Chanan does not speak Turkish, so I served as both translator and breakfast guest with him. This has been wonderful. I have forgotten the young man’s name, but he asked many questions about the US, which I translated for Channon from a Boston/NY perspective, and occasionally threw in my own perspective on growing up in the South. One thing that particularly struck me, which I have hear from religious Turks before, is that they are anxious for Americans and Europeans to know that Turkey is different from the other muslim countries, and *is not Arab* -and also is not a bed for fanatical Islam. The current president, as our friend told us, comes from a religious background, as does the family that runs this pansyon, and none of them are fanatics. All do however believe strongly in hospitality and friendship. He told us that all of the people in the world are relatives, all descending from Adam and Eve. This was a wonderful conversation.
Group Limerick -on the bus!!
Here is a limerick Channon and I composed with the help of several fellow passengers (!)on the bus as we travelled to meet some SERVAS friends (the SERVAS http://www.servas.org coordinator here in İzmir, as it turned out) here in İzmir:
Izmir’de çok kaybolduk
“Hangi tarafa döndük?!”
Mutfak çok pislik
Efes’i gördük, mutluyduk
the link to all of his travel limericks is also available from this link, i think… https://lists.ccs.neu.edu/pipermail/craignet/2005/000122.html
Here is my original in a more readable form…
Izmir’de cok kaybolduk
“Hangi tarafa donduk?!”
Mutfak cok pislik
Efes’i gorduk, mutluyduk
…sorry, thought I’d posted the translation with it:
In Izmir we were lost all the time
“Which way did we turn?!”
The kitchen was really dirty
We had a hard time cleaning it
We say Ephesus, we were happy
Los EE y el emperio Romano; ABD ve Roma emperyum; US and the Roman Empire…
Estoy trabajando para amigos en leer sus documentos en ingles, escuchando a Nuevo Flamenco muy bonito (me sorpresa que Slash puede tocar la gitarra tan bueno asi!), y preocupando por me permiso de trabajar, y yo estaba pensando en los EE y Roma, que similar; En los ultimos años, la culta del emperor y los valores familiares fue mucho hablado (me temo que he olvidè a esta idioma, y nunca fue tan bueno, asi que me perdoneran, ustedes queridos leeredores…). Una buen amiga me decia que los EE y Roma tienen muchas cosas en comun…
*cringe* now for the Turkish attempt -I’m still trying to translate the last line :
*ahora en Turquesa, aunque estoy tratando de traducir a la ultima linea de la respuesta de Silmaril…
Çalışıyorum ve düşünüyorüm -çalışma vizem nerede? Düşündüm ki ABD ve Roma Emperyum çok beğenziyor.
As I shuttle back and forth between trying not to worry about where the bleepety bleep bleep bleep my bleeping work visa is (lost in Ankara …), work on reviewing the English documentation for some friends, and reading this paper on Global Civil Society …
Memories. Neither misty nor water-colored.
Working on learning. öğrenmeye çalışıyorum.