I celebrated Mother’s Day early this year. Everything was going well, and then I suffered a major faux pas! Let me start at the beginning.
My husband’s grandmother and aunt were visiting from Aksaray. They had been here a week and were planning to go home yesterday. Late on Friday evening, we received a call that they would like to come to breakfast with my mother-in-law. Nothing was set. But Saturday morning, I rose early and started cleaning. My house was a wreck and the floors were worse!
My husband ran out to the neighborhood grocer to purchase what we would need. Breakfast turned out rather well, considering. I cooked scrambled eggs with sautéed mushrooms, peppers, onions, and rosemary. I quickly whipped up French Toast from freshly baked bread (with cinnamon) and roasted new potatoes. In addition, I served the traditional feta, cucumbers, honey, olives, jams, etc. The family enjoyed it!
After breakfast, we gave grandmother and our aunt a couple of small gifts, drank some more tea, and discussed the day’s plans. My husband had a prior obligation, so I was going to entertain the ladies before the long bus ride back to Aksaray.
But then the “incident” occurred. Our aunt walked my husband out to the car. His mother was on her cell phone. And I was in the bathroom. I heard grandmother in the hallway calling my name. I quickly finished and found her in the living room. She looked at me, raised her hands with open palms facing up and asked, “Nerede?” Where?
I responded, “Banyo.” She looked at me quizically. So I repeated it louder, BANYO.
She rose with a blanket, walked towards an open area in the living room, laid the blanket on the floor and started to kneel.
Doh! Grandmother had raised her hands towards Allah, asking where she could pray. Ugh! I told her the bathroom! I have an excuse, the same hand gesture is typical in the States demonstrating that you have a question, or need information. Lucky for me, Grandmother didn’t listen to me. Perhaps she simply didn’t understand my accent. I can only hope!
I made it up to her by pulling out a proper prayer rug and showing her a nice quiet spot in another room.
I often joke that it is better that I don’t learn the Turkish language because as long as I can’t communicate, the family here seems to like me. You know, I have to be careful not to offend others. But in this case, a little more Turkish would have gone a long way!
My apologies to Grandmother and a Very Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers out there!
Anneler Günün kutlu olsun!
You go girl….
Oh My! At least all ended well.
See, before I got married to Steve, my BFF’s mother who is Turkish and married to a Canadian said: “we have been living in Turkey for 20 something years but I am so glad he doesn’t speak Turkish. Avoids and/or resolves many issues with the family.”
I agree. The less you guys interact with cute hand gestures with our Turkish families the better. 🙂
You can get away with a lot of things that a Turkish in- law couldn’t!