Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sunday, May 05, 2013 - 1 comment

Ten Cups of Happiness

I dearly hope my body decides to be Turkish instead of Canadian tonight and let me sleep in spite of the massive amounts of çay I’ve consumed today.  

This morning we went up to “the breakfast district” with friends for brunch.  There is a spot where the city stops and the forest starts that is known for its fabulous köy kahvaltısı - “village breakfasts.”  There are a dozen or so restaurants in which one can settle down in a hut or a tent for a long, leisurely brunch - a popular weekend activity, especially when the weather gets as hot as it’s been.

We didn’t get up there early enough to score a hut, but we found a nicely shaded wooden platform with a low table surrounded by cushions and settled in.  And then came the food!  The table was so full, we had to hold our own plates on our laps.  The bazlama - a sort of dense flatbread - was fresh from the oven and stuffed with cheese.  Olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, roasted red peppers, fried potatoes, two kinds of cheese, honey, several jams, eggs with sucuk (a cousin to pepperoni) and greens -  Everything a Turkish breakfast should be!

They brought the çay in a semaver (samovar) with a pot for the dark tea keeping warm on top and a spouted urn full of water on the bottom.  The way we ended up sitting, the “menfolk” were the ones closest to the tea, and we had a good laugh over the fact that this meant they had to serve the women.  In this culture, çay is always the women’s job, so this was a special treat.  One used to work in a hotel and the other ran his own tea house, and both are very servant-hearted, so they were gracious refillers.  :)  Not one to ever say no to a cup of tea, I stuck with it until the pot was empty and drank a good five or six cups.

Today being my day off and the evening being gorgeous as it was, I decided it was a balkon sefası sort of a night.  The best translation I can think of for this is “balcony delight” - a warm summer breeze, the wafting scent of honeysuckle, sanat müziği (a style of older, melancholy Turkish music) and endless cups of tea.  This beloved activity usually involves a crowd of family or neighbours and a whole lot of laughing and talking over one another, but after a week full of people-time, this introvert is more than happy to enjoy it alone.  

As the setting sun was turning the sky pink, I was sitting up here on the terrace enjoying “A Suitable Boy”, the mammoth novel I’ve been delightedly plowing through.  The evening call to prayer set off a night of wedding festivities all around the city.  From my perch I’ve spotted fireworks in five different places and I can hear competing music and microphone announcements from at least two of them, punctuated by the occasional celebratory popping of gunfire.  

Fireworks junkie that I am, I am constantly slamming my book shut and running to one side of the terrace or the other, straining to catch a glimpse of the explosions of colour in the sky, feeling alternately defrauded when they are blocked by a nearby apartment building and tickled when the booms echoing off the hillsides are coupled with a sky full of glitter. 

Having already drank an Oregon Chai earlier in the evening, I had decided I didn’t need any more hot drinks tonight.  But round about 9:30, my inner Turk won out, telling me that a balkon sefası without çay is simply wrong.  So off I went to brew a pot.  And, yes, it did make the picture complete.  As of 11:30 I am five cups in.  I’ll likely regret it when I’m still lying awake in two hours, but for now, I am thoroughly happy to be accompanying the wedding music with the tinkling of my tea spoon.


love your description of your day :). miss it there. i feel blessed that we had a chance to meet/chat for a bit a couple of times. thanks for keeping us updated on how you are. :)