A Reflection on Friends

Next week will be ten months since I made Turkey my home.  Time passes quickly, and at the same time, moves at the same slow pace of that snail I think is living in my Christmas tree.

This morning, I have taken some time to reflect on my friendships, both old and new.  As we age, our childhood friendships often wither away, but somehow remain clear in our hearts and minds.  Our school friendships were long ago lost, but are rekindled through new technologies like Facebook.  Some of our adult friends turned out to be acquaintances, while others metamorphosized into brothers and sisters.

In Ankara, I had to start anew.  Through my blog, I made several new friends, mostly foreignors living here in Turkey.  In the neighborhood, I met a few other Turkish friends with whom I hold very light and minimal conversations.  My husband introduced me to co-workers and we enjoy a dinner every now and again.  However, I had no solid and meaningful contacts with Turks, that is, until a couple of months ago when I joined an English conversation class.

That’s right, I still can’t hold a conversation in Turkish, much less buy plant food at a local store.  (I tried – it’s not “plant food” but rather, “plant vitamins”.  It took a good 20 minutes to communicate what I wanted before I successfully came home with a bottle of Turkey’s MiracleGro.) And yet, I attend a weekly class held at the TAA (Turkish American Association) – an English conversation group.

Yesterday, we gathered at the group leader’s home for our holiday party. 

Our Hostess Finds a Gift Under the Tree

When I first joined the group, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it.  Was this a group of women who were serious about learning a langauage?  Or did they simply like to get together and gossip in English?

Our Gang

After a few meetings, I learned more about who the women are, their backgrounds, careers, and interests.   I quickly learned that these are a phenomanal group of women!  They had lots to offer and held meaningful conversations.  As different as they were from each other, I found I had much in common with each of them.

Many have traveled far and wide.  Some even lived as expats.  For example, one of the women was raised in Germany and then lived in the States for many years before returning to Ankara.

New Friends

Some of the women are married and some are not.  One is a doctor, another an architect.  Some have children and some of their children have married foreignors.  Some are very political.  Well, probably all of them are.  Some work for Parliament and government offices.  Others volunteer for political parties.  At least one is a daughter of a former diplomat.  Some are retired.  Others work at home.

Practicing the New Pose?

Our Youngest

One woman is an artist.

Original and Lovely Artwork

Many of these women have been meeting for as long as ten years.  Their love for each other, even when they don’t always get along, clearly shows.

Sharing a Hug after Gift Exchange

 The party was a lot of fun.  They surprised me by telling jokes in Turkish, and then proceeded to translate them as a group into English for me.  Afterall, it was English class!

There Once was a Man from . . .

. . . and We Laughed

I thank these women for accepting me into their group.  They have taken me under their wing.  They look to me for guidance on the English language, but in return, they give me so much more.  They have introduced me to their friends, showed me where to shop, answered questions I have about Turkey and Turkishness, and generally, treat me like a sister.  (Yes, Fulya, you are like an Abla to me!)

Gifts from Friends

 A couple of weeks ago, I took my sister to meet the class.  We were late and only attended for a few minutes.  A group of the women decided to go out for lunch to introduce Abla to traditional Turkish cuisine.

Patti and I Dine with Friends

It’s unclear at this point who will remain as lifelong friends.  If it’s one thing I have learned through the years, it’s that friends are often just acquaintances that we enjoy for a while and then they move on.  But surely some will remain!  And right now, I hope it’s all of them!

The New Year's Tree

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7 thoughts on “A Reflection on Friends

  1. I agree with you… most friends fall away into the acquaintance category, but you are blessed with them for the time that you hold them dear as friends… so cherish them and let them cherish you. One of the things I love best about being international is that the circumstances of being far from family and close/life-long friends is that you are forced to go outside your bubble, let down your walls and create a temporary group of friends that are your family for that time and if you are truly lucky, some of them will be added to your family and close/life-long friends!

  2. T,

    It’s nice to hear that your going “head first” into your new home with issues that will eventually dissipate and you will be able to look back on with joy and be well learned at the same time.

    Hey, how many languages can you speak fluently and/or hold a conversation that enables you to do what you gotta do?

    Keep it coming cause we in Sharon Hill love it!

    Artie

  3. This is truly a testimony to mankind – we say mankind because we are all the same – no matter where someone lives, they feel, think and remember just as we do. I am not sue who said this but someone said “there is nothing new under the sun”. And so, no matter where we go we can find a friend. Thanks, Theresa. Beautiful Testimony!

  4. I am glad you found an awesome group. I hope they too realize how awesome you are. I was worried that I would have to go to Turkey and Kick some Turkish butt to explain your awesomeness. “See her! She is awesome! Revel in her awesomeness! She is the boss, twice covered in awesome sauce!”

  5. We just love Theresa. She is very welcomed in Turkey. Her contribution as a native speaker made a big difference in our English conversation group.

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