Everyday is an interesting day. Yesterday, a boy demanded two kisses form me. Well, I thought I was done when he kissed my right cheek. Imagine my horror (or surprise) when he demanded my left cheek as well! Ah, this little bellicose boy who demands kisses from a Singapore man!
Today was the best day since I stepped into Turkey. Serkan messaged me. Since I was going to the bowling cum buffet place with the guys, I couldn’t meet Serkan. I messaged him that I will call him when I am done, which will be after 3pm. To my horror, in an subsequent message, he said that he will be at karşiyaka McDonald in five minutes, saying that he brought some English books for me. Well, Alkan insisted that I bowl with the rest. Despite my refusal, his adamant nature won.
However, I knew I had to call Serkan and explain the situation to him. Imagine my horror when he said he’s already at McDonald! Shit! Ah. I couldn’t ignore his voice. I knew I had to go despite impeding investigation and interrogation from the rest. Everyone was “What? You had a date or something?” Yes. I had indeed had a date, a date I was looking forward to. Was thinking of a rendezvous which involves hanging out with his friends whom I met that night at the park.
Shit! I boarded bus number 121 which traveled on an unfamiliar road and I passed many foreign places. In a fit of panic, I asked an old man where is karşiyaka feribot – he replied “Everywhere here is karşiyaka.” Was cheated. Alighted at the wrong stop. Never will I trust the words of old turkish men in future. Thankfully, I was rescued by a young Turkish couple.
Met Serkan finally. Said he’s bringing me to a religious house or something. Thought I had heard wrongly. Filtered out his words. Incidentally, on the bus or rather at the shopping centre, I had already sensed that my meeting with him today involves Islam. Hey! My instincts were as good as ever.
Was introduced to the rabi and other brothers in the madrasah. Wasn’t exactly uncomfortable because I had this assurance that I will be safe and looked after by God. I don’t know whether it is a blessing or what that I had read my devotion book this morning – when I was asked whether I have any reglion, I replied “Yes. I am a Christian.” On hindsight, I wondered whether I had betrayed Serkan because I told him I had no faith on that night at the park. Made small talk – thank God! – the inability to communicate gives me an excuse not to talk much (Serkan will be delighted with Sami since the latter is a joker and talker). He wrote in my journal “We will go to after the praying. Ok?” I wrote back “Tamam”.
Went to Serkan’s house. He introduced it beforehand by saying that they (he) are (is) not rich and that he will show me his kickboxing when he’s in his room. He made numerous jokes on the way, for instance, that his facial features resemble that of an Italian and he tried speaking with an Italian accent; the location of kickboxing competition changing all the time but the winner remaining the same – Turks win! and something about Jackie Chan.
Ah. His family moved me deeply. Was tearing on the bus journey home. The most illuminating words were “We are all humans” while gesturing to everyone in the living room. His father, Hassan which means the grandson of Muhmmed, told me that Serkan is a humanist (strange use of word) and that he had friends from around the world – Russia, …, … (could only remember the Russian). Seemingly, Serkan had brought all his international friends back to his home for a meal and hence the home is like Europe Union (shouldn’t it be UN instead?). Haha.
Serkan, Serkan, my good-looking fellow. You Türks moved me time and time again. Your beliefs, your willingness to include others in your circle, in your group. Ah. To invite a person like me? Someone whom others have rejected and have difficulty in accepting? I don’t know. Wished I had a photo with you. This brotherly love, this pure concern and care for others. To treat others as humans. Yes, we are all human beings.
P.S. Serkan’s parents said that their son loves people.