Sunday, August 06, 2006

Sana kolay gelsin: may it be easy!

More than a year after the trip to Turkey, I'm still using instant messenger to keep in touch with friends like Celile Bozkir, the Bakir family, Necati Demircan, Bulent Tuzun, the Karaselcuk family, Ata Onucak, Merve Gokben, and more.

I'm also still listening to music by artists like Sezen Aksu, Burcu Gunes, Tarkan, Athena, Yalin, and Kenan Dogulu. Not understanding most of the lyrics means I absorb the music's varied and enchanting melody and tone.

But slowly, I'm learning what the lyrics are about. Our translator from the weekend in Sakarya, the delightful Celile, has been explaining the lyrics' meaning. This has, of course, helped my understanding of the Turkish language. There are few better people to ask than Celile, a university English teacher in Istanbul.

"What does the word 'ask' mean?" I asked. "It appears in several song titles by Athena." "'Ask' means LOVE!" she replied.

Without a doubt, I was feeling pretty confident about my vocabulary when young Mr. Kaan Karaselcuk said merhaba one day. During our team's stay in Mersin last year, Kaan's mother Nilufer had been encouraging him to work on his English skills.

But on this day, I had no phrasebook with me, and this fact led to a discussion about sports, geography, and food. We talked about the Galatasaray, Fenerbahce, and Besiktas football teams, the Akdeniz (Mediterranean Sea), and delicious kebabs, sucuk, and kahve. And when it came time to go, I remembered a word Celile had taught me: 'calismak' (work).

My Turkish phrasebook is now a permanent fixture next to my desk. Talking to my friends in Turkey definitely helps ease the day. As Celile explained, "sana kolay gelsin" (may it be easy).