Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Turkey meets Penang

My wonderful host had his cousin coming in town so I had to switch for one night before my journey to Melaka for Christmas. 
I stopped by the Tanjung Bunga Hotel and it started pouring.  My host’s lovely wife picked me up and we headed off into the hills. She tells me that they just moved to a new location as they opened up a restaurant.  It a mix of Turkish and Malaysian so I guess it could be called Turkaysian ha! My host’s friend from Turkey was also staying with him.  He just received his Masters in Educational Psychology and is pursuing his PhD in Penang. I am immediately interested in learning about his education and scholarship/fellowship opportunities so we decide to go off and have some lunch. 

This man is such a wealth of information.  He talks about how to obtain publication for my articles and pursue fellowships. I thought I was a nerd with school, but he seems to have me beat as all he does is study and read.  It is refreshing being able to share talk about our favorite psychological theories and how we analyze behavior.  He educates me on the Middle East, the war in Syria, and the history of the Kurdish culture. Patrionialism-government representing God, terror management theory, reactance theory, the conflict in Kurdjistan.

Walking along the beach passing by the floating mosque, we came across a huge river of water.  Like a Turkish gentlemen, he says he will carry me through the water.  I hop on his back we slowly cross over and I keep laughing at this moment. The sand is like quick sand and his feet sink into deeper and deeper as we cross. When we get to the other side, I look down and realize he broke his shoe.  Not sure if this was due to my weight or the quick sand ha! We joke that this is his consequence for being lead by around by a woman as this is forbidden in his Kurdish culture. 

It begins to rain and we run for cover into a nearby hotel. We run across the street to an Indian restaurant to have some dinner. His questions and insight is thought provoking and intellectually stimulating and I sincerely appreciate his intelligence. 

We talk about relationships and I share my Turkish love affair with him.  He thinks it is romantic and he thinks I should follow my heart.  He tells me that he has never been in love.  I feel sad for him, but realize he is great and it will come his way somewhere in between time and fate. 

It stops raining and we head on our long walk back to our host’s home.  He sings Turkish songs to me and then translates in English. One of the cutest things ever because many times he cannot think of the word in English and he has to describe it to me. I purposefully request love songs as I know the Turkish are so sweet and romantic and their music melts my heart. 

We make it home to have dinner with my host, his wife, and my new Kurdish friend.  I was so excited to eat some yummy Turkish cuisine.  My host, Ibrahim, is so adorable with his mannerisms and his innocence.  He says that he dances for his wife by doing belly dancing. He demonstrates this dance by rolling his belly up and down.  Seriously, things like this that happen over and over again melt my heart remembering these beautiful friends in Istanbul.  The girls request the boys to show us the traditional Kurdish dance.  Ibrahim is shy so he decides to show You tube videos instead of dancing. 
My buddy decides to demonstrate the Kurdish dance and he drags me up to start dancing with him.  He is impressed with how fast I cetch on and I laugh at my inexperience with the dance.  If you get a chance Google traditional Kurdish dance. It really is a one of a kind dance that is fun to watch!

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