I made a trip to Adana a few weeks ago.  One of our favorite places to eat at noon is a second floor restaurant across the street from the Turkish airbase, with a very enjoyable and interesting view.  Lately, due to threats against the Base, there is a curfew in place to limit the traffic going in and out.  As a result, many of the establishments that cater to the people on Base shut their doors, as it would not be lucrative.

So, we had to find other places to eat.  With my Regional Security Tech, Aydin, we drove around looking for a place to eat.  We turned down a side street in a warehouse district and came across several worth trying.  It is like finding a truck stop to eat at, because truckers know the best places to eat for their money.  Same here.  The people who work at the commercial establishments and warehouses, know where to eat.

We sat outside on a little table.  It looked to me like it was on a sidewalk.  Below are a few pics of the restaurant and the food.

IMG_0046IMG_0045IMG_0050IMG_0051IMG_0052Any meal is always complete with chai.


I encounter many people that leave me in awe.  Remember our dear friend Hiwot in Ethiopia?  I find there are a great many “Hiwots” in life and I feel they alone are worth living life for.  Let me tell you about a few I have met in Turkey.

Selin is a beautiful young lady I have mentioned before.  Meek and quiet.  She wears her hair in a braid at times and with her glasses, she looks almost like a little old lady.  Yet her passion in life is dancing.  She has a tattoo on her waist that says, “Dancing is my life.”  On the weekends and holidays, she travels all over Europe competing and teaching the art of salsa dancing.  Just recently, she (and I would guess friends) opened a dance studio to teach.  She is celebrating her love of life in ways many of us will never experience.

Then there is Nadja and Camal.  They come into the office several times a week and clean and empty trash.  Camal is an older man who could pass for Nadja’s father.  It is most interesting to watch the interaction between the two.  Nadja is light-hearted and often sings while she works.  Camal will at times get on to her for not working harder.  She just smiles and continues singing with a twinkle in her eyes.  Camal just moves on.

Then there is a young Turkish girl who works in the Commissary store at the Embassy where we can buy minor things.  She is friendly and always smiling.  Visiting with her, I find she also is a dancer and competes at contests.  She is a published author and has promised me a copy of her book, although it is in Turkish.  Furthermore, she plays a concert cello.  You would never know without taking the time to visit.

I know a young Turkish woman who was raised in France and can speak that language better than her native tongue.  Plus she knows Russian, German and Latin.  Her mastery of the English language is such that I forget it is not her primary language.

There is an office in the Embassy which employs people with more intelligence than I have.  One day, I was visiting with a young lady from that office and asked her what her ancestry was.  Thai, she said.  Never been to Thailand, but she is Thai.  I asked her what her schooling background was, and she said she has a degree in Physics.  And a degree in Mathematics.  I tried not to show my surprise that she had two degrees.  Then I asked her if she was going to go back to school and get her Masters in one of those.  She said, No.  She instead decided to get a degree in Electrical Engineering.  I found it hard to suppress my awe.  After a few weeks, I was talking to her husband, and he stated his local band was in need of a bass guitarist and since his wife also was a concert violinist!!, he thought he could teach her.  So, after a weekend teaching session, she is now the bass guitarist for the band.  He told me he was afraid to teach her lead guitar, since she would probably play better than he can.  And this little woman will bake cookies occasionally and will always bring me a dozen or so.

I do not feel belittle with these good people I meet, but instead I become more in awe at humanity.  You never know what is in the minds of people you meet.  Likewise, you never know what people endure deep inside.  What Life has shown me, is if you take the time to accept people as they are, you will understand why they do the things they do and why they say what they say.  I am convinced, the gift of Understanding, is one of the most precious aspects of Life.

Sometimes, it’s best to kick our own butts.   D.