Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Samsun we a'go
"What's that?" I asked my host sister, Tuba as she unloaded three bags of cheese from the other car.

"More cheese" Tuba answered

"Oh, good, I was just thinking we didn't have enough cheese."

"You'll be surprised"  was her response to my sarcasm.

We were packing up for the family's road trip to Samsun, and I'm pretty sure the last thing we needed was another bag of cheese. Despite my personal feelings, however, I helped stuff over half of the trunk with the special white cheese found only in Edirne, and then filled the other half with our personal belongings.

After kissing Asli (she had to stay behind to study) and the maid goodbye. My host father started the car, and we were off. Our first stop was going to be in Istanbul, to spend the night at my host sister's apartment.
As it turns out, the term "apartment" only very loosely describes the place we spent the night in. In my experience, all Turkish dwellings are pretty nice, but Esra's was more like a palace, or a page out of a high end furiture catalog.

However, the power was out at Esra's place, so we went to spend the evening at her in-law's apartment, which was, if possible, even nicer. The living room was gold-themed, meaning that everything but the tv was gold: gold rugs, gold tablecloths, gold glasses in the gold cabinet. Sitting on gold couches we were served Turkish coffee from gold coffee cups.

Before we came, Esra's in-laws had already been expecting guests, so after a bit of rest. I went with the other young women to the kitchen to prepeare for the other guests.  I mostly watched as unbeilevable amounts of assorted baklava was arranged on plates and tea and coffee was prepared. Guests began to arrive and everytime the doorbell rang, we would emerge from the kitchen to greet them. I quickly became used to the routine.

When it was time to serve the food, I followed shyly behind Tuba, carrying two plates of baklava.  Finding the guests rather intimidating, I attempted to slip in and out unnoticed, but it wasn't to be. A few minutes later I was informed that they wanted to see me again.

"Do you want me to come with you?" Tuba asked, kindly.

"That's alright" I replied "I'm fine." Bravely, I made my way back to the room where several women in headscarves were sitting.  I put on my exchange student smile and attmepted to answer a bunch of questions in Turkish.

Afterwards, I came back to the kitchen, where Tuba congratulated me on my survival.  "I thought they were going to eat you alive" she admitted.

In the kitchen, we enjoyed baklava, then I helped make fruit salad.

Overall, My evening in Istanbul was a very nice experiece. I spent the night with Tuba on Esra's couch, and we woke up early the next morning ready for our last leg to Samsun.

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