So, my significant otter is in Berlin right now, going to the opera, checking out cool museums, and eating Turkish street food. All of this fills me with intense jealousy, especially the Turkish street food–a gastronomical reason to go to Germany if the coffee, chocolate, and beer leave you cold. (but how??)
However, I have one-upped him. The monsters, er, I mean, girls and I had dinner at our neighbors’ home tonight: Turkish meatballs, bulgar pilaf, and my salad greens dressed with a pomegranate and balsamic vinegar and oil dressing that was. . . outta sight. It was spectacular. Then we talked of green cards, immigrant status, and what being Muslim, however non-devout, means in America. We drank wine, listened to the rain and the happy noises of our children in a basement tent.
I told them the story of my first full day in Germany when I was sixteen. I was staying with a host family in Luebeck, in northern Germany. The small family–mother and daughter–had just lost their patriarch and were trying to fill an empty space in their home with the energy and spunk of a foreign teenager (what? Were? They? Thinking?). Said patriarch had worked at US Steel before his heart condition forced him into early retirement and his closest friend from the plant, Ibi, was a Turkish immigrant who took it upon himself to watch over the widow and her daughter after Walter passed. My arrival in town coincided with Ibi announcing the engagement of his eldest daughter, Fatma, to a young man picked by hand by daddy on a trip back to Turkey. My first day in town was the official engagement party. I dressed in my best, we went to a social hall where, upon entering, our hands were rinsed with rosewater and a little henna design was applied. Then we were led into the hall where Fatma sat at a table next to the man who was to become her spouse and who had been a perfect stranger 48 hours earlier. Talk about culture shock! Turkish music. Dancing. Pinning money on the couple. Interesting food. All in two languages I understood not a word of.
Good times all.