The first thing you need to know about Turkey is that Turkish people love their cay (tea). Man or woman they have their own distinct way of enjoying a cay and whether you drink it or not you are going to learn to love it.
The men can usually be found in a cay evi or tea house where they play cards, argue about futbol or politics and hide from their wives all the while drinking copious amounts of cay. The women are usually too busy to spend their day in a cay evi as they have their chores around the home but once those chores are finished they can often be found getting together for a good gossip, cay and something delicious to nibble on.
On Monday I was informed that the neighbouring ladies wished to come to my house for gün.
Gün means day but it also has another meaning that you may not be so familar with. It is also the word for a home visit, where women visit one particular friend and eat pastries and drink cay. It is a very traditional custom here in the Village and it seemed it was going to be my turn next.
I kid you not when I tell you I almost shat myself at the idea. Putting aside the fact that I don’t speak anywhere near enough Turkish to hold a social gathering I also make really crap cay. The Turk arranged for my sister in law Songul to come and help host the get together (thankfully) so all I had to do was show up (and provide my home).
Thursday afternoon was chosen and sure enough at 1 pm my doorbell was ringing off the hook. The Turk sensibly excused himself as soon as the first neighbour arrived and before I knew it there were 12 Turkish ladies from new mothers to a great, great grandmother arriving for cay and a good gossip.
As each lady arrived she handed over a plate of sweets or cakes and these were added to the biscuits I had purchased from the patisserie that morning along. My kitchen was overflowing with food!
Of course I had no idea what was going on most of the time and was so thankful that Songul was there to host the event. I spent most of my time handing out kahve and cay, ensuring that everyone had enough to eat, giving tours of my home (as most of them had not been before and giving them something to gossip about next time they get together) and chasing My Hurley Dog away from the teyze (aunt) who was allergic to dogs. I listened as they talked about their husbands, babies, neighbours, me, The Turk and just about anything else they could possibly gossip about.
By 4:30 pm it was time for the ladies to be on their way as they needed to go and start dinner for their husbands, children, family, neighbour, friends, visitors, etc. A final round of cay was drunk along with pieces of Turkish Delight before the ladies started for the door. Lots of kisses and invites for visits before I could throw myself on the couch and process the afternoon. It seems I now have to go and visit each of them and thank them for coming and have cay with them. This Turkish socialising is exhausting.
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