Sunday 17 December 2006


Well it seems to be working. Here I am obeying my diary and writing the next entry.

I had some good news this week. I finally found a good lead in my quest to learn Turkish.

It all started when some buttons fell off my coat and I needed to go find a seamstress. As with everything in Turkey, you don't just walk in to any old place. You need to ask the family and get recommendations. So having identified the family approved seamstress, I set off with anything and everything that was missing a button or coming loose.

I walked down the dark alley between the bakers and the Levi shop and found a small room with sewing machines. There was no one to be seen. "Hello? Hello?" I called but nothing. So I tried calling in Turkish. "Alo? Alo?". Still nothing.

As I turned to leave, a little boy came running up to me. The kid couldn't have been more than 3 or 4. "Can I help you?" he said confidently?

"Hello little man, is there no one around today?" I patronised.

"Yes, I'm looking after the place. What do you need doing?" he replied.

"Erm," I stumbled as the confusion grabbed my by the tongue "I've got some missing buttons and a little sewing needing doing".

"OK fine, do you still have the buttons?"

This was beginning to freak me out a little. Maybe he was a midget? But he was playing out the front with his friends when I came in, so he can't be. Weird. "Yes, I've got the buttons"

"Come back in 10 minutes and my mum will be here". He said finally to my relief. An English kid of his age would be licking windows and sitting in his own mess, but this kid was lining up business like a 40 year old.

Anyway, to cut this long story down a bit, the mother did turn up later on and I got everything sewn up (hurrah!) for about 30p. While sitting and sewing, she was telling me about her older son and how good his English was etc. I started to complain about the lack of Turkish language schools in Kusadasi when she replied "but there is. Just go to the Halk Eyetim". Now I still don't really know what the Halk Eyetim is but I went there.

Sure enough, all I need to do is get permission from the Vali (mayor-type figure) for the state of Aydin and I'll be on my way. It seems that I'm going to be learning Turkish along side other Turks. This is where my confusion lies at the moment. Why would I be learning along side other Turks? Why can't Turks speak Turkish? "Because it's the Halk Eyetim" is the reply I always get. From what I can gather the Halk Eyetim is the place where the poor and uneducated go to learn to read and write. I told them that I want to learn to speak as well and was told that I would.

I asked the Manager of the Halk Eyetim how much the course was. I true 'Two Ronnies' he replied "45 days". He's got his work cut out with me.

So there you have it. In the new year I will be starting my Turkish lessons. I'm looking forward to it. It'll be quite a life changing experience to talk to my grandmother fluently.

Until next week...

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