Saturday, January 8, 2011

Saturday, January 08, 2011 - No comments

Crowded Comfort

A few days ago, we got wind that a close friend was sick. Enter the custom of the "geçmiş olsun" visit. This phrase literally means, "May it pass quickly," and is said to someone who is ill. (I have ALWAYS wanted to say it to someone with a kidney stone! Though they probably wouldn't find it as funny as I would.)

Shutting off our North American instinct that tells us a person just wants to rest when they're sick, we grabbed a bunch of lemons from off our tree (her favourite, and perfect for mint-lemon-thyme tea - the classic Turkish cold-treatment) and headed over to the house. When we arrived, the sick friend in question was at the hospital getting a shot, but her husband, two of her kids, her aunt and uncle, her next-door neighbour and her two kids were all there waiting for her to get back, so we cozied up by the woodstove and joined in on the wait. After awhile, our friend arrived, accompanied by her two oldest kids and her grandson. That makes - count 'em - fourteen people in the living room. She promptly curled up on the couch, covered her head with a blanket, and tried to go to sleep. We all then proceeded to eat fruit and drink tea and have a grand old time, while she lay there in the midst of the noisy crowd feeling crummy.

This is one part of this culture I don't think I'll ever get used to. They say that when someone is sick, they mustn't be alone - they need other people around to be cheerful for them. Man, when I'm sick, all I want is my pillow, a cup of tea, a stack of movies and some peace and quiet. Leave your lemons at the door and be cheerful via email, please! Unless of course you come bearing chicken soup and Dr. Seuss. Then I might make an exception. :)