Monday morning is market morning in Türkbükü. I usually set out on my early morning walk but with my backpack for my market shop - in summertime it is easier to walk at 8 in the morning when the temperature is around 28-29C instead of 40C in the afternoon.
A couple of years ago, I was "sweating" back up the hill from the market, labouring under a load of fruit and veg. It was a good job they tasted so good because I was at the point of collapse by the time I had made my way up the second hill. I had stopped to catch my breath when this lady appeared around the corner and fired a stream of rapid Turkish at me. In my very broken Turkish, I asked her to slow down and repeat what she had said. Eventually, I got the gist of it and reckoned that what she was saying was that she had seen me coming and going over the summer and she wanted to be friends. She had a present for me and would I call in for coffee sometime! Needless to say I was gobsmacked!
If this had happened at home I would have thought she was an absolute nutter. But here I was intrigued. I was a bit shy of knocking on her door, so two days later I made sure my morning walk took me past her house again. Sure enough, she was on her balcony and called me in for coffee. This time I had my secret weapon in my bag, my good big thick Turkish-English dictionary. In addition to coffee and delicious homemade kurabiye she gave me a scarf. She had hand-crotcheted the edging, she had chosen the colour blue to match my eyes. With the aid of the dictionary we had a good conversation and it was the beginning of a wonderful friendship.
I have been welcomed into Gulsum's family and made feel very at home. If I had reacted as I might have done at home an run a mile, I would have missed out on a wonderful friendship and an insight into everyday life in Turkey.