Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Impressions from Turkey

From the plains of the Tigris river valley...... the Siclian coast....

We are home!

My fingers are rusty, my words aren't flowing like I like them to with the practice of writing, but it feels so good to be back after a five week hiatus. Adjusting to the new but familiar environment of 'home' after living in a completely different reality for an extended period of time really shakes up one's whole being! We are wide-eyed, appreciative of all modern comforts and conveniences, in awe of the big blue sea, the succulent tastes of all Sicilian edibles, and the sudden re-entry into summer living which means swimming, sitting on the terrace, wearing next to nothing (not possible in the conservative Muslim village we were living in despite the hot, dry climate) and later nights for the toddler (and later wake up times too, yay!). 

I feel a bit disconnected from all my blogging friends, but after a few timid clicks onto my favorite sites, the enjoyment and passion I feel for the blogosphere has quickly returned. I can't wait to find the time to read up on what has been going on out there for the past month. You'll be hearing more from me soon!

Our adventures in Turkey were not new for myself and hubby, except that it was the first time we had a little person along with us. Having him along made for a truly incredible experience for the whole family, and we think our son was enriched by such things as the opportunity to live among the fields of an agricultural village in the midst of harvesting grain and lentils, a community of friendly archaeologists, welcoming local neighbors, rough but loving children to play with, an all together new way of eating, new languages and ways of communicating (Turkish, Kurdish, gestures, invented sign language), and a level of freedom not possible living in an urban setting. 

Now back home, we can see how much the little guy did develop and grow out there in our tiny village. For example, at meal times he sits down at the table with us much more willingly, with more self feeding and curiosity to try whatever we are eating, as we were immersed in community living and shared meals during our time away. He hasn't asked for the TV or computer once since our return as those past times were more or less completely removed from his routine. He has incorporated the few words of Turkish and new gestures he learned while away into his normal way of communicating. Now back home, his favorite toys are his cars and especially tractor as he was fascinated by these vehicles that were in constant activity around us out there in the fields, and he is particularly pleased to see his toy vacuum cleaner, shouting with glee 'broom broom mi piace!' when he was reunited with it.

But there are also signs that he feels much more comfortable here at home than in the village, no surprise really as we adults feel the same! He is sleeping better now with no noisy tractors or bird song concertos to wake us up at the crack of dawn. The dry hot temperatures made afternoon naps difficult, especially when the electricty went down and the fans stopped working (unfortunately a regular and inconvenient occurrence in our village). And he has instantly stopped what had developed into aggressive behavior towards mommy and papa, a habit of cheek pinching (a sign of affection in that part of the world that lead to overly painful pinches when administered by children), hitting and angry 'via papa' or 'via mamma' at wake up times. He had been imitating the behavior of the local kids who were often overly touchy feely and rough with our little guy who looked so different with his red-blond curls and American-Italian background than any child they had ever seen. 

For the first time in my life I felt like I understood how it feels to be a movie star! Whether we were in the city or in the village, our son would get compliments and kisses from complete strangers, and many people asked us if his hair color was natural! Can you imagine dying a child's hair? On our final day in the village a beautiful 16 year old very keen on learning English told my son "I love you, I want to marry you!"

Yes, it was time to go home!


  1. Welcome back...home and to blogland! Sounds like you all had quite an adventure. As much as I love to travel, it always feels so good to come back home, too. Thanks for the encouraging comment on my blog. Can't wait to be done with this moving stuff and even more importantly can't wait to get to Sicily. We'll be arriving in early August.

  2. Welcome home and what a great post. It seems your little one had a great exoerience. But I'm amazed at what the girl said!

  3. welcome back - i can see that this trip did wonders for your son. travel broadens the mind, no matter what age you are.
    your adventures sound interesting - it really is important to get away from our own comfortable little world ans see how other people live.
    i hope you will also include some bits and pieces about your time away in your later posts


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