This post is loooooong overdue. 12 days ago, Canim and I returned from our week-long adventure in the States. We didn’t just visit the States. He met my whole family (give or take a dozen people). He didn’t just meet my whole family, but he met them just 4 hours after landing in the country. Two of those hours were spent waiting at passport control. 1.5 of those hours were spent driving home from the airport and frantically getting ready for our engagement party.
Yes, after 18 hours of travel (from my Turkish doorstep to my American one) and almost no sleep for over 24 hours (I slept a little on the plane, but he didn’t), my brave fiance met my immediate and extended family, as well as my closest friends (whose opinions are just as important as my family’s).
I was nervous. I was jet-lagged. I was a little dizzy and sleep-deprived. He, though tired, WAS A ROCK STAR. He managed to be his usual handsome, charming, incredibly endearing self despite our long journey. He knew the pressure was on and that all eyes were on him, but he did not seem to be worried one bit. He impressed my grandmothers by kissing their hands when he greeted them. That’s not really done in the West, but for him, it was perfectly natural and sincere.
I confess that because I lack the bride gene and at times I even feel like the anti-bride, I had daydreams of eloping and just having a party a few months later. Of course, neither of our families would stand for that, but a girl can dream. However, after seeing everyone’s smiling faces as we entered the party, I realized I really do want a wedding, even if I still lack the enthusiasm for planning one (or in our case, two).
Our week was very exciting on some days, and incredibly boring on others. Boring in the sense that there wasn’t much action, but we still had fun because we were together. On Monday, he waited 6 hours for me while I attended a mandatory seminar at my university (I am still working on my MS). On Tuesday, we visited a dear friend who just had a baby. Then we visited a local brewery and had an impromptu dinner with another dear friend. On Wednesday, he finally got to see the touristic sites near my home. THAT was fun. I loved seeing the city through his eyes. I’m also happy that I’m marrying someone who values taking pictures, because I personally don’t. John Mayer has a song called “3×5” and it’s about how he’s thinking about taking less pictures and just enjoying his experiences for what they are. That’s my philosophy. I remember my experiences in my mind, and it’s good enough for me. But at the same time, I’ve never regretted taking a picture of something special.
On Thursday, we had our glorious engagement photoshoot in a famous park, which was shot by my best friend Liz (whose blog I’d like to somehow link to this post, if I knew how to use this website properly). My other best friend was there also helping to direct and assist me in preserving my sexy while at the same time not losing my neck. I mean really, what are friends for? We took a break from shooting so Canim could try some world-famous hot dogs (oh BABY were they good), and on our way back to the park, we stopped in a Turkish restaurant so 1) we could take more pictures, 2) Canim could give his brain a break and finally speak his native tongue normally and 3) so Canim could introduce everyone to Efes. It was great. 🙂
On Friday, Canim finally got to meet the other person who I love to love, spoil, and shower with affection: my niece (age 3). She recognized him right away, and instructed him to sit down so she could play with him. She also introduced him (by name, without my help) to the other adults in the room, to be sure everyone knew he was there. We bought her a dress from Koton (my favorite store in Turkey) that exactly matches my grown-up version of the same dress. She loved it, as well as the giant plastic lollipop filled with more lollipops, the hot pink purse and the magic wand we bought her. My niece and I are so connected, she was able to predict everything that we bought for her without even looking.
We read Once Upon a Potty to her, which is a classic my niece and I always enjoy reading together. It was Canim’s first time reading it, and when it gets to the part when Prudence “sat and sat and sat and sat…” Canim and I developed a cool rhythm to get through the page without missing a single “and sat”.
After that, we cuddled up and watched Frozen, because like most American pre-schoolers, my niece is currently OBSESSED with the movie. Canim watched attentively and appreciated the music and the refreshing storyline (you know, the part about women being able to rescue each other and the risk one takes when agreeing to marry someone after only knowing him one day). My niece sang “Let it Go” so well, I cried (as I was filming it, because I may not like taking pictures but I do not hesitate to capture every precious moment with my niece).
On Saturday, we had to leave again. I’ll tell you, one week is not enough time. I’m happy everyone got to meet Canim and I believe everyone has a sense of peace about my choice to marry a foreign man from a mysterious land. They were able to see that he is a normal, sane human being with a heart of gold, a heart that seems to be (inexplicably) overflowing with love for me and now for my loved ones back home.
I cried as we drove back to the airport. I always feel emotional when I leave my family, but this time I cried more than before. I realized moving back to America wasn’t quite as unattractive as it had felt over the summer or even when I visited in January. The difference is that this time, I was with Canim, and I now understand that Turkey, America, any country or city is just geography. If I am with him, I can live anywhere and be okay.