Turkish delight

When my children were entering their ‘double digit’ years, i had an opportunity to take them to Germany to visit a niece living there. Wanting them to learn to be citizens of the world, it was a good opportunity to take them overseas.

My ex-husband was not particularly interested in going, so it was just the three of us. With assistance from my niece, i did the planning and logistics. Flying into Frankfurt, i rented a car. And the adventure began… It was up to me to get us there, and back.

Doing my crash course in “German for Tourists” in the weeks before the trip, i was reasonably prepared for navigating in a foreign country. Didn’t hurt that i’d been there a few times before. It also didn’t hurt that in southwestern Germany, most people speak English. Together, we worked on a few important vocabulary words. Mostly, the kids would tail behind me like ducklings, eyes wide open, taking it all in.

The next year, they wanted to do it again, so we went to England. On that trip – without a significant language barrier – we did a lot more improvisation. Four days in London as we decided where to go next. A conversation with a taxi driver led us to a train station, and a few days exploring Devon and Cornwall.

Our spring holidays continued, with visits to San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and Arizona before they were out of high school and far too cool old to travel with their mother. It was great fun to share some of my favorite places with my own spawn.

Arriving in Istanbul early Thursday morning, The Boy and i made it through the airport and found our driver at baggage claim. The Girl had arrived Wednesday, and was waiting at the hotel. After a short siesta, we headed out into the city.

Although she complains that after living in the country for six months, her Turkish should be better, The Girl is out front this time. Ordering meals, explaining the history of the Turks, navigating from a map in her iPod, translating ancient Ottoman hieroglyphics.

And teaching us important words and phrases…


“Good Morning”

“Thank You”

“Three beers, please”

Tonight, at the Grand Bazaar, The Boy fell in love with an incredibly goofy lovely hat. Taking advantage of closing time, and her newly acquired skills, she was able to haggle with the vendor. From his original offer of 110 Turkish Lire, she got him down to 70. And The Boy joyfully collected his wares.

Tomorrow? Another day out. Since it will be raining, she’s taking us to the Blue Mosque, and then off to see the art museums on the Asian side of the city.

i will continue to follow behind like a duckling. Practicing my new vocabulary. Eyes wide open. Taking it all in.


28 thoughts on “Turkish delight

    • i am doing my best to learn to be a parrot. it isn’t easy. alcohol makes me forget things… but i find that after 2 beers i feel as though i’m fluent.

      it’s a problem…

    • it’s been a stark transition from “mama duck” to “duckling”. but i’m absolutely loving it… and we haven’t come to blows yet, despite 3 days of very close quarters…

    • this has been quite a transition. learning a language from a kid? The Boy is a quicker study in some ways… he’s got down “Bastard”, and “fuck off!”. Working on “How much for the old woman?”

  1. Those are some fine bargaining skills she has developed. I always let my hubby do the talking in Syria..something about me being a damn foreigner causes them to raise their prices. I was silent and modest until he got the best bargain, then I’d walk away laughing.
    Keep having a great time..post more pics when you get back.

    • i did ok in Vietnam, but that was all in English. they DO raise prices for tourists, wherever you are… my technique is to always try to just walk away after a low-ball offer. if they walk after me, i’ll talk again. if not? well… let’s just say i usually don’t end up buying much stuff.

  2. That sounds just wonderful! I like how the tides have turned. Have a fabulous time!

    I traveled with my kids last summer and they hated it. They had minimal interest in seeing new places. They asked to go shoot semi automatic weapons instead of touring Prague. Both boys think a cruise is the ultimate vacation. Sigh.

    • We went through a transitional period for a few years… the late high school/early university years. they didn’t really want to do it. we’ve just got back to it… savannah for a long weekend last year, and now this. hang in there. it gets better!

  3. Exciting, not to mention delightful to the max. As a footnote, for the Drake to not have been interested in shepherding his ducks around the great big pond of the world, well … one is not impressed. Yet the fruit of your success as mother duck traveller is quacking most loudly (in Turkish.)

    • he is a good human – with strengths and weaknesses like the rest of us. i pretty much knew he didn’t like non-camping related travel when we met. a bit of a disappointment that he didn’t want to go, but he was never one to tell me what i could and couldn’t do, just that he’d rather not… perhaps another lesson the ducklings learned along the way.

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