12.02.2011

bEARTHday bleatings



Sun has risen casting a warm glow of fuscia & orange hues from my window onto my silk curtains into my bedroom creating a sort of surreal eerily beauty that I never tire of observing. This meaning I observe sunrise on a semi-frequent basis... fortunately it is always due to pleasurable experiences.

Another revolution around the sun yesterday is the pleasurable experience I reflect on, as I simultaneously ponder precious sleep that morphs into precarious sleep depravation. As a self-made gypsy, I tend to find myself living in various locales during times normally spent with family. My friends, of course, morph into my extended family so this poses no problem & certainly see this as 'normal' in this life. 

(My) birthdays I don't necessarily see as a time to formally celebrate & this year is no exception. I was originally anticipating a day off of work so I could travel further into the southeast provinces here in Turkey. What I ended up with is lasting memories of an unexpected, fantastical odyssey right here in Gaziantep. My co-workers set up a breakfast birthday party in our office. As it goes, today was not a teaching day since finals were earlier in the week, and we all had already finished grading finals so it was a day to catch up on busy work essentially with no deadlines to be met.

Now Turkish girls take birthdays seriously & they left me endeared to their traditions & generosity of spirit. The lovely Mihrican, who when I first came to the university was assigned to be my 'buddy' to help me out with all things Turkish, was the lead instigator in this extravaganza so organized the festivities. My other 2 office mates, Munevar & Neslihan were co-conspirators. 

As I walked into my office, everybody was waiting for the surprise attack. Very touched indeed I was: a birthday cake (1 of 2 I would find out later that evening), dancing, singing & merriment with the Turkish & foreign staff alike. Balloons & presents too. It was a scene straight out of an indie foreign art house film that took high honors at an obscure film festival gathering. The infectious spirit of the Turkish girls could not be denied & I gave in to the transcendental orientalist sounds blaring from their computers and got out on the transformed dancefloor (the interior of our office) & started busing the bellydance moves with the best of them! Sweet is an understatement, but it is succinct.

Morning became afternoon became evening and soon we were off on the service bus to begin the nocturnal festivities. I originally thought Mihrican & I were going out to dinner. It was the partybus express and we were dropped off at a private restaurant in Ibrahimli. This restaurant, Gokkusagi Cafe, is unique in that is is expressly for large parties to attend and all the food is homemade and all the money made goes to a charity. This restaurant's charity was for poor students attending university & to help offset the costs. 

So... the menu: the cucumber/tomatoe salads here are exquisite in their simplicity and wtf is it with salt in this country? Why is it like the BEST THING EVER! I never had an appreciation for salt until I moved to Turkey. Again, it's the simple pleasures in life, and I have Mihrican to repeatedly thank for my newly inspired love for all things salt... Next was the requisite yogurt soup. This stuff never gets boring, and you can always add SALT if it somehow does to spice things up... heh heh. A Maklube-like rice/chicken dish (modern sculpture) was served next, and followed by Patrican (eggplant) Kebap. 

A brief intermission from our epicurean odyssey came in the form of... MUSIC- more belly-dancing music. This round all the girls, except for a select few of the shy types, got down. More than a handful of the Turkish girls expressed they were surprised I knew how to belly-dance (thank you Fat Chance Bellydance Troupe for that). After a heated up session Semra carted me off into the kitchen to cut my piece of cake & eat it too! At the end of the evening the partybus re-appeared to cart us back home. That was the ending of part 1 of the evening...

One year ago I was living in Tunisia & recall going to the sweet beach community of La Goulette with Stephen & Kirsten on a crisp yet sunny fall day and experiencing the joys of drinking beer & walking on the nearly empty beach just enjoying the moving picture show. I fondly recall the countless "boot birthday parties" I used to have back home on Maui. So yes, all birthdays are special, regardless of who I'm with, or what continent I'm living on. 

Ok, it's now 7:20 am & I need to pass out... to be continued

HollyMissBerry reporting from her bedside- where the colorful hues streaming in through her curtains from a beaming Fertile Crescene sunrise, which once seemed spectacular now seem like a hinderance to her beauty rest... Ugh...