“Soğuk” stories: Fall fal told me my destiny…

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It was a fall fal, although I’m not so sure of that…but considering the fact that it was a little bit cold that night, it must have been autumn already, as Elazığ kept itself çok sıcak until our last days there and probably turned soğuk only to show us its disappointment caused by our decision to abandon it. Unless it was a summer night frozen in mystery… It doesn’t even matter anymore the exact time (or season) of the experience. It’s more important how it felt. It felt like fall. It sounded like fall (fal). Therefore it wasn’t a summer fal for sure, it was a fall fal for me. And it still is. But the resemblance of the 2 words (fall/fal) don’t give us any assurance about the truthfulness of the fortune-teller. I’m not even sure I had a real falcı (the person who can read the fortune in coffee), whatever that should mean. But I don’t care, It was fun. And I succeeded to avoid some paths of destiny written in the coffee grounds. Or not? Well, it depends what I want to believe… According to “Inside out Istanbul” (the post I shared yesterday) it is believed that the fal has the power to predict only the near future. The very near one. Forty days. Well, it has been 2 years since then. Let’s check the “list” of predictions:

  • you’ll work a lot: ok, I did work a lot…but who does not? A whole year I was reading for and writing my Master thesis, participated in as many conferences as I could, learning for my exams, preparing for my Ph.D admission exam, learning Italian and Turkish on my own, having a strict programme from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and only a few hours of free time during the weekends. Working for a foundation and coordinating a youth programme (Youthbank), writing editorials for a newspaper… If this is not a LOT of work, then what is it? So this one is true…but I don’t consider it a prediction! Unless you are filthy rich or you won the lottery, you must work. And estimating your amount of work is a subjective issue.
  • and succeed:  True…up to a point. If I take only the ups and forget the downs. I did pass my Ph.D. exam in Italy, so now I’m one of the 15 lucky Ph.D. candidates in History of Europe (my thesis focuses on Turkish politics) at Sapienza University of Rome, the oldest and biggest university in Europe. And one of the 3 foreigners studying there. This was the greatest challenge I’ve ever faced. And passed. Successfully. Another achievement I am proud of is being one of the 50 students (from more than 320) selected to participate in an international conference this year in Izmir, and one of the 10 students who received funding. Well, I did participate in many conferences before, but this was my first one in TURKEY! Just one more and I’ll stop. Promise! A live TV show, a few weeks ago. Me as a presenter. 3 guests. Topic: Linguistic journey in Turkey. Turkey and Turkish- 2 words which transformed this humble experience in something extraordinary! (Even though I could have been more extraordinary) I’m sure for most of you these are not great achievements, but I was happy like a child, a child in her twenties. Ok. I agree. Enough with the praise! The following word spoils the magic:
  • BUT
    (there is always a silly BUT, right?)
  • but you won’t be rich. The falci‘s eyes said “Don’t panic” and his mounth continued the idea. You won’t be poor either. You’ll have enough money to live well (and to travel, I hoped secretly!).  No. I didn’t panic. I’ve never dreamt to be a rich girl:-) And if  I were one, I would use my money to bring smiles on the faces of poor children. Take this as a promise! The fal was right, I’m still not rich!:-))
  • you’ll live somewhere in the mountains near to a lake. Now that was really disappointing for someone who’s hopelessly in love with the sea… From that moment I’ve started to dislike the mountains. Last summer while being in the Alps for 3 weeks at a conference, instead of enjoying the sight I was complaining about the weather (it rained a lot!) and about our host, who said “Romania nicht schön, nicht schön” (Romania is not beautiful, not beautiful), although she has never visited my country! I hate the stereotypes related to my country! Ok, I lived in the mountains for 3 weeks, but there was no lake near to our pension. Now I live in Romania. No mountains, just hills, no lake just a river. And in Rome (Italy) not too far from the sea.  Dear falcı, at this point I prefer to consider you a liar!
  • You’ll make a parachute jump. I did not. Not yet.:-)

The truth is I am my best falcı, I’m drawing and guessing my destiny (destinies). But still, who knows? Let’s keep a little mystery!

DSC01353This is a picture of my coffee cup. If there is a falcı, I'm waiting for a second opinion:-)
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“Soğuk” stories III: Hasankeyf… my love!

dscn0633Oh, Hasankeyf! Forgotten cave town of Eastern Turkey…you are haunting my daydreams and memories. Testimony of the past, secret of the present … I was enchanted by your calls to prayer, colourful bazaar, rainbow spices, medley of flavours and smiling people…

How time flies, but still keeps our memories alive, held captive in a picture, an object, a flavour or a perfume… All we need is one look to trigger the sparkles of a false déjà vu…

It has been two years since I discovered this otherworldly place, which seemed rather the product of an imagined book written in a surreal time, between now and then. I instantly fell in love with its sunbathing hills, dusty paths, ancient rocks, mysterious caves and warm turquoise Tigris, which carries the secret of this place far away… to an uncertain future or maybe to a new, yet undiscovered past…

I fell in love with its playful, friendly children… whose dreams can change the future and memories the past… who know more than they can ever guess… but unheard stories pass away…

DSC00178surrounded by the children of Hasankeyf

Fell in love with the mystery of the around 4000 caves… some of them 12.000 years old… can you imagine what would it be like if these rocks could speak…?
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I fell in love with this bazaar… guarded by the proud minaret of the Rızk Camii… which has been calling people around to prayer for around six centuries… never loosing its unifying voice… its fate and hope…

 

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I fell in love with the Tigris river… so quiet… melting its refreshing water in the hot earth…

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Hasankeyf, I fell in love with you!

 

One month! Bir ay!

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Dear followers and Facebook friends,

Sevgili takipçilerim ve Facebook arkadaşlarım,

Today is a special day.

Bugün özel bir gündür.

Today is the first day of Ramazan Bayramı and in the same time we celebrate one month since the first post.

Bugün Ramazan Bayramının ilk günü ve aynı zamanda biz de bugün bir ayımızı tamamladık.

What a sweet coincidence!

Ne tatlı tesadüf!

Let’s celebrate with Turkish Delight and Turkish Coffee!

Haydi bunu Türk Lokumu ve Türk Kahvesi ile kutlayalım!

Thank you for supporting me and reading my posts!

Beni desteklediğiniz ve blogumun yazıları okuduğunuz için teşekkür ederim!

You are my motivation!

Siz benim motivasyonum!

 

Photo: [1]

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Turkish Delight: the sweetest sweet since 1777

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Turkish delight is not just the sweetest sweet, a delightful dessert but also a trademark of Turkey. It’s one of my favourite Turkish culinary delights! These (usually) square pieces of jelly consistence are served with coffee or tea at any time of the day. Lokum can be found in a great variety of flavours: whether we talk about nuts, pistachio, different kinds of fruits or flowers and plants like rose or lavender.

According to Turkey Travel Planner  “The story of the creation of Turkish Delight (lokum) begins in the late 1700s, when Ali Muhiddin Hacı Bekir, confectioner to the imperial court in Istanbul, listens to the sultan rant: “Hard candy! I’m tired of hard candy!” the sultan growled as he cracked a tooth on yet another  sour ball. “I demand soft candy!””

Hacı Bekir combined sugar and starch to please the sultan and to create his famous lokum. According to Victoria Combe the original name of Turkish delight was rahat lokum, which comes from the Arabic rahat-ul hulkum meaning “soothe or heal the throat”. The English version, “Turkish Delight”, was attributed by an English traveller from the 18th Century, who bought lokum for his relatives, and couldn’t pronounce its name in Arabic.

Turkish delight is “impossible to be reproduced in any other country, although efforts to imitate the texture of Turkish lokums have conduced to the invention of jelly candies in the western world”, informs the official website of the Hacı Bekir company owned by the descendants of the lokum’s inventor. Therefore if you want to taste the original lokum you should buy it from the original shop in Istanbul or order from their online shop.

Ads from the company’s early years [2]:

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Text of first ad: Taste of Bayram! Worldwide fame.Second ad: There is always a place for Hacı Bekir sweets in your travelling bag.

Nowadays Turkish delight is used in many recipes and it has inspired many cosmetic companies, as you can see below:

Would you like to taste these Turkish delight cupcakes [3] or cheesecakes [4] ? I would definitely have a bite…or two! Who am I fooling? I would stop only after finishing them.

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Have you thought about having a Turkish delightful shower? Then maybe you are looking for the shower smoothie called Turkish delight [5]

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What about using a lip balm as sweet as Turkish delight [6]?

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Or perfume [7]?

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I haven’t tried these products yet, but I’m tempted to give them a try. Meanwhile I will delight myself with lokum, looking forward for my next travel to Turkey, in order to get more and more…and more Turkish delight!

Image sources:[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Bibliography:

  1. Turkish Delight (Lokum), “Turkey Travel Planner”
  2. Victoria Combe, Sweet Little History, “The Telegraph”
  3. History, “Hacı Bekır”

 

 

Welcome to my bazaar! Enjoy Turkish delight!

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There are no such things in life as coincidences or innocent events. Even if we try to avoid entering some doors, we will end up in the same, initially rejected rooms, embraced by our destinies. The foggy fate is watching our steps and directing them towards the accomplishment of the purposes of our lives. Which is the purpose of my life? What is my mission? I don’t know yet. But I know where I should look for it. In the bazaar… It’s not an option, it’s a fact.

I have been unconsciously attracted to the so-called Orient since my early years. My favourite cartoons were “Aladdin and the Magic Lamp”. Furthermore, in the 5th grade my “most successful” descriptive essay, published in the school’s newspaper, was depicting olive trees, dunes, oasis, mosques, spicy fragrances and endless summers, inspired by the “1001 Arabian Nights”. My fascination has never faded away… Long after, it burst into my life by mistake, a fortunate mistake. Even though I dreamt to become a psychologist, I ended up (still don’t know how) studying international relations. In my second year of university I participated in the European Parliament Simulation, working on the issue of human rights violation in Iran. That was the moment when I became aware of the stereotypical representation of the Muslim societies and decided to write my Bachelor thesis about westernization and orientalism, trying to debunk some Western myths related to the majority Muslim countries and to Islamic culture. Turkey was one of the case studies of my thesis, and a year after it turned into my temporary home, as I was undertaking an internship in Turkey.

Who am I? I’m a Romanian citizen, studying in Italy about Turkish politics… determined to learn Turkish and to understand Turkish realities. I’ve created this blog in order to motivate my “inner Turk” with sugar and words. With lokum (Turkish delight) and Turkish language. Why Turkish Delight Bazaar? Because this blog is a bazaar, where you can find diverse posts related to Turkey, from Turkish language lessons, issues, study materials, short translations  to cultural “sweets”, curiosities, facts, news… Because I’m delighted to learn Turkish and about Turkey… Because I love Turkish delight, and even more, a few years ago a very kind Turkish woman called me lokum.

Before starting, I must add that I’m neither a Turkish teacher nor an expert in linguistic, consequently this is not a professional language blog… I’m still learning Turkish and I intend to transform this blog into a personalized learning tool. Therefore, Turkish Delight Bazaar will provide you learning methods sweetened with cultural Turkish lokum. Learning and sharing. Learning and enjoying. Learning and delight. Turkish delight. A colorful bazaar with countless types of Turkish delights.

Image source: http://cafefernando.com/lokum/