My First Time
I first visited Turkey when
I was sixteen, and didn't speak a lick of
Turkish. As a
young foreign girl, I was not wanting for
attention from men
who seemed always to be saying to me, "Evli misin?" (
Are you married?) Having not had much
experience with men in the States, I grew increasingly uncomfortable in
this situation, and eventually learned to say, "Evet, evliyim." (
Yes, I'm married.)
seemed to deter some prospective suitors, but to others, it was merely the
natural platform for the question, "Cocukların var mı?"
Do you have any children?)
One day I was
taking pictures on the boardwalk in Izmir. Out of the
corner of my eye, I saw a
curious boy looking my way. Fed up with the
attention, I continued to furiously take pictures of the water, hoping
that he would go away (I wound up with a roll full of pictures of the
bay). When I realized that
the boy was persistent, I stopped and turned
to face my fate. The
boy was attractive, and I admit to
to meet him. He approached me and
offered a greeting that I didn't
understand at the time. All I remember was him saying, "Kahve. Kahve?" (
Coffee? Coffee?) I
shook my head no, but he continued to talk to me. And
I stayed to listen. What followed was a
series of fumbling
attempts at communication. When we wanted to tell each
other how old we were, we had to hold up fingers.
The boy was 22 (two tens
and a two), and was either in a professional marching band, or he was
trying to tell me that
he was a soldier. I admit that
I liked this boy
very much, and he eventually
charmed me into going for a coffee (kahve).
Along the way we stopped at a bookstore.
The boy (whose name I later
discovered was Fahri) went charging up and down the aisles grabbing all
the Turkish-English books he could find. When we went to the counter to
buy the books, the salesman began speaking to me in English. He told me
Fahri was a nice Turkish boy, and that,
if he wanted to kiss me and
hug me, I should let him. I was a bit surprised by the advice, but I
shook my head 'thank you' as Fahri grabbed my arm and pulled me excitedly
toward our next destination.
'coffee house' (which turned out to be a pizza joint) we flipped through the
books and pointed out words in order to communicate. After awhile, Fahri
pointed to "evlenmek" in the dictionary. I recognized the root, but
hadn't the slightest clue what 'mek'... Whoa! 'Mek' was an English equivalent for 'to' (as in 'to marry'). Did he mean
to propose to me? After much
deliberation, it was decided that
Fahri was asking me to marry me, I
think, to which I had to try to explain that this wasn't the way it was
done in the States. I think. I've never been quite sure whether this was
the tract of communication. Maybe he was just trying to tell me that he
was really, really excited about the quality of his pizza. Heh heh heh.
Fahri and I
spent a few lovely days together, going to movies I couldn't
understand, and bars I couldn't believe I was allowed to enter.
developed a sort of romantic-week-together-in-a-foreign-place crush on
On our last night together,
Fahri pulled me into a large, stone
doorway in a side alleyway and
kissed me (okay, so maybe it was
more passionate than that... but I'll keep this story in line with Western
we were kissing (this gets corny, but I swear it's all
true) it began to storm, and flashes of lightning punctuated our
*kissing*. It began to rain harshly, but we were protected from it by the
A person or two ran past in the alleyway, but they seemed not to
notice us. The whole
experience was surreal, and as
it was my first...
er... um... full-bodied *kiss*... it permanently imprinted itself
my sixteen year old heart.
The next morning I was to leave
return to Istanbul.
Fahri and I said our goodbyes. As
me his watch, and I gave him a ring I had purchased in the market. We
exchanged phone numbers and addresses, and
promised to keep in touch.
About a month after I returned to the States, I
received a phone call from
I recogized his voice immediately, and his distinct inability to
pronounce my name. He put one of his friends on the phone who spoke
masterful English, and we chatted until their
five-minute phone-calling-card ran
out. They called a second time, and before the
phone calling-card ran out this time, I
promised to write and call whenever I could. Returning home from school
that evening, however, I realized that I had lost Fahri's address and
I've tried repeatedly over the past three years to call
Turkish information in
Izmir for Fahri, but to no avail. I even learned
Turkish in the meantime, but still can't seem to get those operators to
help me out. It's been three years since I spoke with
Fahri, but I still
my Turkish flame.
Fahri, Fahri! Neredesiniz, Fahri?...
nostalgic personal experience of young love
was contributed by MM (September '99)
In Turkey - Türkiye'de
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Posted by ASW | May 24, 2008
Response to the "My first time" story -- I just read the story about the girl who went to Turkey
(Izmir) when she was 16. If you still have her email, you might suggest that she look on Facebook.com for her dear Farih. It could be very
successful. And, as she sounds relatively young, she will probably know what 'Facebook' is...Anyway, it's a start.
Jim and Peri Comment | May 25, 2008
That story still resonates with us...
but we don't have the author's email address anymore.
It came to us in 1999, when the author was 19. And that would make her
I could add your suggestion to the 'Comments'
section on that page -- and it might help someone else.
Further posting by JSW | May 26, 2008
Response to the "My first time" story (cont.) --
Definitely add it. And, I am pretty sure plenty of 28 year olds are on
'Facebook'...at least in America. In Turkey it might be a stretch, but I
did looked up Farih, just to see if there is hope...and there are a ton of
them (and not all just teenagers)!
I wish her luck (and every other reader). Also, thanks for the 'terms
of endearments'. My boyfriend is Turkish and it's been great to
surprise him with a random (and sometimes hilarious) SMS.