It's raining, really raining. Even better than the sound of the light, steady rain outside is the occasional roil of thunder. I even saw a white flash in the thick cloud cover as I made breakfast this morning. I hope this is a sign the rainy season in this parched country will actually be rainy this year. I made my first cultural faux pas yesterday.
Apparently in addition to marking the end of Ramadan, some people treat Şeker Bayrami like Halloween. Yesterday morning the bird call that is the doorbell sounded to indicate someone wanted to get in the building. A few minutes later I heard the voices of a man and children in the stairwell before the bird chirped again. There stood a very nice man and his four children. He smiled, but looked unsure what to do next when I stammered out my greeting in Turkish. He asked and gestured if anyone else, hopefully Turkish-speaking, was home. I assumed he was asking for one of my roommates and I said no and thinking he knew one of introduced myself and invited them in, which seemed to confuse both he and the kids. He wished me a good Bayram and, still smiling, gathered the kids and headed down the stairs. A while later it dawned on me that what they were probably doing was Bayram trick-or-treating, which left me feeling like those annoying people on your block as a kid who either didn't have candy, but left their porch light on, or the equally annoying box raisins or apple distributors. I knew the tradition dictates you give children sweets on the day, I just didn't realize they came looking for them. I'm sure the kids got their sugar fix elsewhere. I have no one here to ask about this today, but I'm pretty sure I'm right.
So, I am finishing breakfast and studying my Turkish by watching a little Sponge Bob Square Pants in Turkish . Sadly, the powers that be did not bother to dub the theme song in Turkish. I have to admit hearing Patrick the dopey starfish use my favorite Turkish word - Saçmalama (Stop this crazy talk!) - made me giggle.
Other than Turkish-speaking sea life, the oddest thing I've noticed is the how often I've been hearing the theme from the film The Godfather in the last few days. A few nights ago a car on our tiny street blasted their horn, which actually played the iconic first few bars of the theme. My inner-child, who still thinks El Caminos and musical horns are cool, was impressed. Actually, I remember hearing a horn that played Dixie in Damascus, so, I guess it's not that strange. Then yesterday while walking İstiklal Caddesi I passed a man selling wind-up toys. One of them, a bird, actually twittered the same famous opening notes, which seemed like an odd choice for a child's toy, but then again, I don't have children.
Hey - how is the CELTA going? And how is Berlitz? What do you think of Taksim? There is a party tonight of ex-pats near Galata Tower, but I can't make it. Email me if you are interested.
- sandy (Jen)
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