Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Monday, June 23, 2008 Eşenler Village

After breakfast this morning we packed up enough stuff for two days and went on our way to the village. Our stay in this village was arranged by the carpet-seller friend of Sarah’s. Before getting to the village, we went up a mountain and looked around and had a picnic arranged by our social chairs, Amanda and Edward. After this delicious meal, we went up the mountain to check out the view and what a view that was. When we got back to the village, Muammer (brother of carpet-seller friend who speaks English) took us to his family’s cherry…farm? Orchard? I don’t really know the word for it, but he took us to his cherry tree area and showed us the multitude of fruits and nuts that were growing around. We learned that there were woman-cherries and man-cherries and that woman-cherries have two kinds—sweet and sour. Both, well, all, were delicious.

Once we’d walked around and tasted pretty much every tree available and fruit-ed in the area, we walked back to the village to divide up among the houses and families. Amanda, Kristina, Emily, and I were with one family, Kevin by himself in one, David again by himself in another, Zoe, Kelly, and the Profs in one house, and Clayton and Edward together with another family. All our families were really nice, plus we had Muammer with us. Lack of English/Turkish wasn’t a problem at our house, and not really in any of the other ones, but Muammer’s presence in the village helped out a lot.

Our family consisted of Hasan and Emine, and Yasemin, their daughter. She’s 23 years old. Hasan and Emine have another daughter older than Yasemin, but she’s married so she wasn’t with them. Yasemin was also supposed to be getting married right around then, but apparently her husband-to-be changed after the engagement so they’re now trying to break it off. To be Turkish for just a second about this topic, hayırlısı inşaallah.

After the initial introductions and conversations, we had some more fruit, this time from their garden/farm/orchard, and then they allowed us to walk around and check out their house and the surroundings. They have a nice house; 3 rooms, one living room, roomy kitchen that has an additional space used for eating, small bathroom, nice bath, and sink. There’s also a little area out the back door that has a ladder that leads to the top of the house which was apparently used as a rendezvous point for a girl and a guy from an earlier trip much like ours. They fell in love in the village and got married when they got back to the US. Cute story. :D

Dinner was a delicious meal. Let me just say now that all of the meals we had at the village were delicious, fulfilling, and completely healthy. Hasan is a bee-keeper so the honey we ate came from his batch. Their garden has peaches, cherries, erik (green fruit that can be sour or sweet but are delicious and what I miss most when I’m in the US because they don’t happen over there), walnuts, almonds, apricots, pomegranates, bees and thus honey, and many other fruits that I just don’t remember. They have another, smaller garden right next to their house where they grow vegetables and whatnot, but the place they took us to where we helped them out with the peach-picking was their actual land and it was a large amount of land.

After we helped them with packing up the peaches in crates (they wouldn’t let us help with the actual picking which was a good idea because we wouldn’t have known which peach to pick), we had the most awesome lunch ever. They grilled chicken, and they fried squash, and delicious tomatoes and cucumbers, and wonderful watermelon, and my god I can’t remember what else but it was all DELICIOUS. That done, Muammer came with the rest of our people from the village and we went to the waterfall close by and swam around in that. What an adventure that was. The river wasn’t like what we swam around in at Egirdir; Egirdir’s water was pretty stationery whereas this one was a powerful flowing river so the only way was to cross really fast from one side to another and then hang on to some rocks. We hiked towards the waterfall, which was an adventure, and then we hiked back. I swear, just within these five-ish weeks in Turkey, I’ve gotten more bruises and scratches than the last seven years of my life. It’s still all fun and games though. The water was cold, but wonderful, and when all of us were sitting on a rock in the middle of the river, Muammer threw us the peaches that Hasan had given which we ate.

Dinner was once again a delicious affair. Hasan and Emine weren’t with us for dinner; they’d gone off to sell the peaches we’d helped pack, and so Yasemin and us were alone in the house. Kristina helped out with making dinner while Amanda and I took a short, much-needed sleep. After dinner, the entire group congregated in our house and we just hung out for a while. When everyone had gone home, Yasemin showed us her amazing dowry full of wonderful towels and other intricate little things that she has been preparing since she was 12. Helped out by her mom and older sister at times, of course.

We woke up the next morning, had breakfast, packed up, and congregated at our house again for good-byes. We left in the morning to go back to Konya, where we picked up all our other stuff and went on our way to Cappadocia, or Kapadokya, as I will write it from now on.

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