By Hannah and Muriel
13.02.2013 - 14.02.2013 14 °C
Today, we were relieved to find out that we would not have to cover the cost of the smashed door. Guslev came over in order to tell us in person, bearing a gift basket full of nuts, Turkish delight, and a bottle of wine in apology for the ordeal (we have yet to try the Turkish delight, but Dad found the wine not quite to his liking). She stayed for coffee, and we had a very interesting conversation with her. We found out that Jakob, the owner, actually has many houses all over Europe that he rents out to travellers (this lessened our guilt over the door a bit). She showed us how to work a traditional Turkish teapot, which we had seen used in many places but were unable to figure out ourselves. When we asked her what she had done before becoming an agent, she surprised us by saying that she had been a stewardess for the royal family of Saudi Arabia, and even knew some Arabic. After she left, Mom pointed out that now there are only two degrees of separation between us and royalty.
The Turkish foods of the day consisted of a thick, fluffy ring of fresh bakery bread (we all preferred this to our previous flatbread) and spiced skewers that we picked up at the butcher shop. They were very yummy, too, and not as hot as we'd presumed. We've found that Turkish fare is rarely spicy, though generally quite flavourful.
Valentine’s Day is not celebrated in Turkey or at least not on February 14. Over the years, we have bought treats for the girls and dispersed them around the table so that they were greeted by them when they came down for breaky. However, this year being what it is, we both somehow forgot this tradition. Ben and I awoke at our usual sleep-in time and, once they heard us talking, the girls came into the room. They gave us chocolate and then warm drinks and biscuits in bed. The guilt set in as we realized our forgetfulness. Begging their pardon, later in the day, we went to town and frequented the Turkish convenience store. Finding nothing heart-shaped, we made do with novel Turkish candies, chocolate covered biscuits shaped like potato chips, and chewy gummy bear-type creations. Ben found the Turkish version of the Kit Kat (called a Dido, which happens to mean ‘Grandpa’ in Ukrainian, but bearing no similarity to a dido or, at least, not to mine). Once home, we dressed the table with the confectionary, feeling better for having supported the family tradition.
That was not the end of the celebration, however. Late in the afternoon, the girls sequestered us in our room. As night fell, we were greeted by a beautiful young woman at our door who suggested we might want to dress for dinner. What is this, I thought, Downtown Abbey? Ben dug out his tie from the bottom of his backpack and I, my special jewelry. Descending the stairs, we noted all the lights were off, with a special warm glow coming from a multitude of tea lights, artfully distributed in Turkish chai (tea) glasses. The table is in a bit of an annex already, and with the white tablecloth and two settings decoratively arranged, it appeared like a private and cosy restaurant alcove. The girls were dressed in their finery and surpassed us by far but, being exceptional hosts, made no comment. The servers had already plated the dinner of fried chicken breasts with Rogan Josh sauce, broccoli and rice; once they had served Ben the wine and me, pomegranate juice, they disappeared upstairs, leaving us to a romantic candlelight dinner for two. Of course, we used the time to talk about our kids and how great they were. The denouement came as Abby served us chocolate cake with ‘Ben + Mu’ piped in icing on the top. What a fun event it was; we’re very thankful to our kids for making the day special. We ‘heart’ you, Hannah and Abby!