I made the most accidentally incredible taco meat of my life last night. It was cinco de mayo. Which means, it is cinco de mayo in America right now! (not in mexico. We have stolen that holiday as another excuse for us whiteys to drink margaritas. Why should we need an excuse to drink margaritas?) Liquor is terribly expensive here. We got a bottle of wine and Anna made sangria, and Alex and Valentine came over for tacos and Game of Thrones.
I only have about a week more in Turkey before setting off on the Balkan tour. In a lot of ways I don’t feel ready (the apartment is exactly 0% packed up) and in other ways I do feel very ready (LET’S GO). I also simultaneously feel up to and not up to the task of writing a book, or traveling, or making the travel exciting enough to turn it into a book.
In the meantime, I get to wander around my neighborhood of Rasımpaşa talking to the friendly shopkeeps.
THE FRIENDLY SHOPKEEPS OF RASIMPAŞA
1. Pide guy.
He makes tiny little empanadas, or I guess the turk version of empanadas. Empanadalar. They are full of meat or potatoes or spinach and cheese. He always says good morning to me (even if it is not in fact morning) and butters the tops of the pies. They are 1,50 liras each (75 american cents).
2. Baklava guy.
I think his family runs this shop, which is approximately twenty feet from my front door, which is very dangerous if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on baklava and ice cream. He’s unusually young and healthy-looking for a Kadikoy shopkeep, which makes me suspect he is in school and helps out because he’s a nice guy. I was thinking about buying a car for this trip, maybe finding something incredibly cheap and driving it until it died in the middle of the mountains somewhere–after locating some ads, I asked Baklava guy to call the numbers listed, because let’s face it, though I can speak turkish pretty ok face-to-face, it’s nigh impossible to do phone communication. "Satılmış mı?" means "has it been sold yet?" It had. It would have been perfect, too. Thanks anyways, Baklava guy.
3. Strawberry man.
He works at the market. He is a long man with sunken cheeks, and the only thing I’ve ever seen him do is pour strawberries into a crate on stilts, and yell about the strawberries. "Eyyyyyyyyyyyyy çilek çilek çilek eyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy çilek çilek çilek." Can you imagine this happening in the US? A dude whose job it is to stand outside of the fruitstand and yell about the fruit. Really nice. Calls me "kanka" and always puts way to much into my fruit bag, about double of what I ask for.
I may have mentioned that I had my last day of English work last week too. I said goodbye to my students and two of them gave me books as parting gifts. I haven’t spent more than 40 hours total with these people, and one of them wrote "Türkiye’yi okulucu hatirla 🙂 Mükkemel arkadaşlığın ve öğretmenliğin için teşekkür ederim. Good luck for your all life." It was really sweet. Stoneheart ernie got all choked up.
I ducked out of my communities here without really making a big deal of it or telling much of anyone. The students, the teachers, the a capella choir– it was a very dad thing to do. French exit. It’s hard to say bye.