Friday, April 3, 2009

Be our guest, be our guest!

Guest Checklist (in Turkey)
1.When you enter someone's house, take off your shoes.
2. Say "Hos bulduk" after they say "Hos Geldiniz"
3. Look them in the eye and shake their hand if offered.
4. Answer your hosts questions in real words.
5. Eat the food they offer you.
6. Say "Thank you" for everything they give you.
7. Don't jump on their furniture.
8. Always say "Thank you for letting us come" before we go.
Last night we went to someone's house for dinner. Over the course of our stay in Turkey we have had the opportunity several times to dine in Turk's homes. Many of the people that we dine with are my husband's English students from the English school he worked at when we first came here a year and a half ago. DILKO. I love it because they have never had Americans in their homes before. They put on their best show, make their best food, and goo and gah over our kids. There are drawbacks however. They tend to have a lot of breakable things in their homes, they don't keep toys handy unless they have kids of their own, and they always serve meals on glass dishes. These drawbacks are minor compared to the minute details we absorb about Turkish culture during our visits. My favorite aspect of the visit is obviously the food. They prepare everything fresh. Everything is from scratch. And the dishes they prepare are almost never served at the Turkish restaurants you find yourself dining at when you're on vacation here. When the average American thinks of Turkish food, what comes to mind? Doner Kebaps, right? Well, there is a lot more to Turkish food than that. In fact, Turkish cuisine is not centered around meat. They eat a lot of beans. A lot of potatoes. A lot of grains. And tons of vegetables prepared in ways you would never have imagined. Meat and fish are eaten often, but you'll find the frugal Turkish housewife prepares alternative meatless dishes that are also filling and quite creative.
So above you see my trusty checklist. Actually I just invented it now. But I'm going to be using it whenever we go to someone's house in the future. Whether they be Turkish or not. My kids have a lot of energy and it is really difficult to control them in new environments. We don't always know what to expect. So they surely don't. Fortunately, my kids are great at eating new things. So I don't have to be embarrassed that often about my kids not touching their food. The biggest problem I have is my kids ignoring the people when they're spoken to. I know it has to do with my kids knowing that English is not the persons native language, which I think is weird. If they're speaking English, you answer in English right? Well my kids don't. If someone has any accent, my kids pick up on it and will pretend not to understand. Weird. Anyway, we're working on it. Hope my checklist will motivate my kids to shape up when we're on display at Turks' houses.

1 comment:

Code Yellow said...

The English with an accent thing is hilarious - my boys do it, too. We had a counselor in the Primary Presidency who was Japanese but spoke fine English, but with a fairly heavy accent. I was serving in Primary at the time and every time this counselor did Sharing Time, my Calvin would come over to me and say, "Can we just go home now? I don't know WHAT she is saying!" He would get really disgruntled about it, and I don't think he ever understood that she was, in fact, speaking English. :)

But a lot of kids just don't know what to say in response to a lot of googaw attention from people, anyway, and prodding them makes them even worse. You just gotta hope that adults understand that it's not rude, it's being a little kid.

We just ate at a Turkish restaurant here that was mostly full of Turks eating (there's a clue that it's pretty authentic, I think) and we had the most wonderful bean mixture on lavash and some amazing eggplant and other dishes that I never would have expected. There were some kebabs, but everything else was new and totally delicious. I could get used to eating like that. :)