Davut and I posed in an old-time photo in Turkey
I wrote about my dear Turkish friend Davut before. I met him 8 years ago when I escaped from frozen Russia to spring-like Turkey. He was a special Turkish Army Officer improving his English at my second language school. I was fired from the first language school in the first week–for sharing about Russian Easter traditions. Some Muslim students complained. I protested being fired for being a Christian when Turkey’s Constitution grants freedom of religion, and I may have got my job back, but I walked around the corner of Izmit, Kocaeli (near Istanbul) and found a better language school that paid more and gave me more teaching hours.
I still did not have a good place to live. Some female teachers from the first language school had offered me a bed, but I must have offended them, too, for I was told to leave. I was sitting on the steps in front of their apartment building with my luggage stacked around me. I looked and felt like a refugee. Indeed, I did not have much to return to in America: no home, no job, no husband. My young adult children had their own lives, and I was not important in them.
Davut (right) when I first met him 8 years ago in Turkey
Davut and his friends found me there, and he immediately offered me a place to stay in the spare room of his apartment. I stayed there for months. He did not even ask me to pay him, but I paid a little that I could afford. He knew I was lonely, and he invited me to hang out with him and his friends. We walked through the cobbled streets of old Izmit, stepped into ancient stone churches and tiled mosques hung with tiny lights, drank tea and played backgammon in cafes by the Marmara Sea, strolled through parks lined with multi-colored tulips (“lale” is the Turkish name of the tulip flower which the Dutch imported from Turkey).