There's no doubt about it. Turkey has a LOT of people, pulling from a diverse section of cultures, ethnicity, and religions. It's an amazing blend of Asia and Europe. We are incredibly lucky to have friends living there and to have made the trip. We encountered so many different people, all who were welcoming and kind. Usually they wanted to touch our kids' hair, chat with us, and often requested photos together with the kids.
Many of the school kids we met wanted to ask questions about living in America and about our kids.
I don't even know her name, but I know that I will remember her most for a long time to come. We met accidentally in a park when she was looking for her grandson. I will treasure her joyful, toothless smile. The way she joked that my Turkish was "good" (but I know no Turkish). I will no doubt, ponder about her status in the future, wondering how she's doing and where she is at times. Despite the obvious miles of wear and tear life has put upon her. She was welcoming, funny, hospitable and so kind. She hugged me. Offered food. Chatted. And took photos with us. She's a complete stranger really, and is probably an everyday kinda person like the rest of us.
But what she represents to me, is the very heart of every Turk I met.