Friday, April 20, 2012

Hediye “gift”

Above all the experiences in Turkey, I think the one that remains a favorite, is the “hediye” experience.

We were traveling to Capadoccia, but the GPS led us astray. We found ourselves in a neighborhood of mass rubble. Continuing through the neighborhood, we contemplated what might have caused the rubble; earthquake? bulldozers in planned restoration? neglect?

Eventually it became clear in our meandering, that further directions, and consequently human help, was necessary.  We stopped to ask for directions. A man kindly offered as much information as he could, stearing us back on path.

Once back in the car, we drifted down the hillside and out of the neighborhood, but not before the man who helped us, jogged up to the car and threw a Turkish rug into the driver’s side car window. “Hediye” “Hediye” he exclaimed. Perplexed, my friend Terry returned words in Turkish and we shifted the rug to the back of the car. We continued less then 3 houses further when we realized what had just happened. These people, living in a pile of rubble, took the time to help complete strangers and then continued their giving with a Turkish rug. We felt we must at least attempt, to repay their favor. “What do you have that we can give them?” Terry asked me.
“I don’t know?” I responded, scurrying through the contents of my bag.
 “Don’t you have some Belgian chocolates?”
“No! I don’t carry Belgian chocolates! Belgians carry Belgian chocolates!” I scrambled to come up with something, anything, to give in return.
We headed back up the hill with an envirosax bag, a Ziploc of tootsie pops, and a scarf.

They kindly took the little we had in thanks and after exchanging names, posing for a few photos, and exchanging addresses, we continued onward, with new direction. This experience was really quintessential to our entire trip around Turkey. At every turn, the Turkish people were endlessly hospitable, helpful, and kind. Sometimes beyond their own means, which was so impressive. That rug truly symbolizes ’hediye’, in the incredible spirit of the Turkish people.

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