I have spent most or part of the summer in Içmeler since 2009. When we moved back to the US in 2015 we didn’t go to Içmeler that summer. I have missed it more than I realized. It has also changed quite a bit. Between the “attempted” coup, the bombing in the Istanbul Airport in 2016 and the rate of inflation, the tourism rate is down significantly. We can see the results in the community here, and the business that are, and no longer there.
What I have been enjoying the most is watching Kayra absorb the language and the culture. What I have appreciated the most, is watching his grandparents interact with him, and respect the differences in which we have been raising him. For example Turkish folks kiss and hug babies. This means waiters kiss his cheeks and touch his face, strangers will stroke his face and kiss his hands, teenagers will pick him up and play with him. We have been raising Kayra with bodily autonomy, meaning we ask him if he wants kisses and hugs, and if he says no we respect that. While it is hard for them to not smother him in kisses and hugs, but they do ask, and listen to him, at least 70% of the time. It’s a start.
Santorini was amazing! I know I keep saying everything was beautiful, amazing, etc. But it really was great, in a different way. We had been running around seeing “Historical” sites, which was educational and fascinating, however all of our vacationing (and stomach issues) had tuckered us out. Check out our path!
Cities we visited on our Epic Family Vacation
Santorini was just beautiful. Incredibly picturesque and serene. We stayed in these two adjoining houses built into the cliffs of Santorini looking out into the ancient volcano crater.
The island of Santorini is left over from a huge volcanic explosion that created several small islands out of one former larger one. Our house looked out onto the caldera (the depression where the volcano collapsed the land into a caldron-like feature). What I found fascinating what that Santorini sings. It really does. The wind blows in swiftly from the caldera, up the cliff face and into the honeycombs of the cave homes. It is reminiscent of when you blow into the top of an empty glass bottle. We also stayed in the most fabulous place. (Email me if you want the contacts) With the MOST FABULOUS manager, Maria. Maria was SO nice that we extended her a invitation to visit us in Marmaris.
We were supposed to take the night ferry back on the night of the 24th. Maria and her husband dropped us off. He thought that there was only one ferry to Athens that night, but Maria looked at our tickets (which were in Greek) and they looked fine. So we get on the boat, and when the ticket guy took ours Bülent had the wherewithal to make sure it went to Rodos (so we could get to our ultimate destination of Marmaris.) No. The ferry went to Athens. There had been a misunderstanding. Our tickets were for the 24th, but at 12:20 am. We showed up on the 24th, but by the time we boarded it was the 25tah, and the ferry had a different destination. I AM SO GLAD Bülent checked. So we got off the boat, the ONLY taxi driver there at 1:30 am offered us a ride. We made our way back to my parents hotel, thinking we could at least stay there until check out the next day. Wrong! Maria, the kind, amazing person she is told us to just stay the whole day and that night she would drive us back to the ferry port (no charge.) And then, she said if there was a problem with the ferry that night she would pick us up and we could spend the night there again if we needed to. So instead of the whole thing being an inconvenient mess, we had another lovely day in Santorini until the ferry to RODOS that night.
When my parents came to Turkey, we visited all types of beautiful and historic sights, however the main reason was to meet Bülent’s parents.
Quick back-story: Bülent is Turkish (as you might have guessed.) We met in Cambridge (Massachusetts) my junior year of college, I was attending nun-school (All-Women’s college—I loved every minute of my feminism injection.) And he was getting his Masters from a school that he would prefer I not mention because he hates to name drop. (Hint: They hate Yale) We hit it off despite some minor issues.
Him–Why won’t you come to the bar with me?
Me–Well, hmmm, maybe later.
Me–A few months sound good?
We have been dating for over four years, and got engaged this February. So we thought it was time that the parents should meet. We weren’t too worried as our parents are all well behaved. However, there was a lot of planning and coordination for the trip. Also, my family does not speak Turkish and Bülent’s mother is not fluent in English. While you might think this would be awkward (it was a little) it was also helpful. When strangers meet and engage in small talk it can always be awkward. But, there was a valid excuse for gaps in conversation which allowed everyone some respite.
The meeting of the parents went well, but I had developed a pretty severe stomachache that would not go away. Here is the gang, assembled for brunch. It was great that they got to meet each other, as living in separate continents it was not likely that they would bump into each other at the grocery store.
Though it may not have been noticed, I have not posted in a while. This can be explained very clearly. My parents came to Turkey to visit me and meet my fiance’s parents.
We spent a few days in Istanbul, drove down to Efes and saw the ancient ruins, drove down to Marmaris and had a “Meeting of the Parents.” We left Turkey on Saturday, by ferry, spent the day visiting Rhodes (or Rodos) and patronizing their fine hospital facilities, and then took the ferry to Santorini, the Greek Island that is so lovely you understand WHY they believed in so many Gods. I will be posting more on the recent adventures once I get back to my computer in Marmaris. Because right now, as I type I am being distracted.
I am going to go enjoy the view and the sunshine while I can, and post later.