Our lovely Turkish family…

Yesterday after work Richie and I headed over to the Taksim area of the city to visit our adopted Turkish family for dinner. I meant to get a photo this time to post here, but the evening got away from me. Next time for sure.

Well, we began by sitting outside and playing with Efe (boy), the toddler and Sila (girl), who’s eight years old. We can’t understand a word they say for the most part, but its still fun. Sila likes singing songs and dancing and doing all kinds of silly kid things. Efe is the only boy of the family and the baby so basically he gets away with murder, but he is certainly cute. It seems that Turkish people are very, very indulgent with their children, and I would guess, even more so with boys. Efe is quite a character, to be sure.

There are two teenage daughters as well: Sibel and Emel. They’re lovely and with the help of a Turkish-English phrase book they have, we attempt to communicate, and its generally very entertaining even though it isn’t very efficient.

Sultan is the mother and a great hostess. She is an amazing cook and I think she used to do professional catering or something like that. Last night she made us some amazing baked salmon and Turkish pilav rice. She’s Kurdish and from the east of Turkey. I’m hoping we manage to get an invite to go with them to her village sometime in the future to see some real, traditional Turkish/Kurdish culture! Yusuf (Turkish for Joseph) is the father, and to be honest, I’m not really sure what he does. I remember he said ‘freelance…’ something. Don’t know. He’s a very energetic guy with an interest in politics. It would be great if we could have a more in-depth conversation with him about such things. Maybe someday.

Then there’s Sohye, their ‘adopted’ Korean friend/daughter. She’s about our age and came to Turkey for university, and stayed. She now works for a Korean company in Istanbul. She’s lived with Sultan and Yusuf’s family for about a year or two I think. Its funny because she’s our translator. Who would think you’d have a Korean person acting as translator for Turks and English speakers! She sure does a great job.

Anyway, its lovely and so homey every time we visit. They are so fun to hang out with and are very warm and hospitable and I feel very lucky to have a Turkish family! They decided to take us under their wing after we got robbed. Sultan was the woman who collected our rent for the landlady every month. But we weren’t able to speak to each other, so not much came of it until our fateful robbery experience. Then we were whisked over to their house, and met Sohye and our friendship began.

Its certainly a good way to learn more about Turkish culture, and Korean culture too! Just a tidbit for you, we learned that younger siblings must call the older ones abla (older sister) or abi (older brother). This can be a polite way to address friends or acquaintances too. For example, we’re Kim abla and Richie abi. Older siblings just call the younger ones by their names. Sohye says its similar in Korean. Everyone was very surprised when we told them that our younger siblings just call us by our names. I told them I have a little sister who’s eight and she just calls me Kimberly and everyone was very shocked and surprised.

So anyway, its great to get to see some Turkish home life and they are such a lovely family to spend time with. Its a treat every week to visit them. Hopefully next time I’ll get a photo!

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