2012 m. liepos 11 d., trečiadienis

Take a sip of çay to explore more

This weekend was full of new experiences. Ezel from International Office in Anadolu University gave me contacts of one Turkish girl Mısra who wanted to meet Erasmus students, because she herself has just came back from the Italy.

So on Saturday we went to Odunpazari. It wasn‘t so exciting as at the first time, but now I am already beginning to feel here like at home. I love to drink çay (traditional Turkish tea) and look around all those colourful houses.

Cay is a type of strong black tea which is produced on the Eastern Coast of the Black Sea. Turkish tea is typically prepared using two stacked kettles (çaydanlık) specially designed for the tea preparation.

The preparation takes a long time. Water is brought to a boil in the larger lower kettle and then some of the water is used to fill the smaller kettle on top and steep several spoons of loose tea leaves, producing a very strong tea.

Tea is poured into small glasses with cubes of sugar to enjoy it hot. I have noticed that people here are plying board games while sitting in restaurants and they never drink alcohol or coffee, so tea replaces these drinks.

Also, Turkish tea is traditionally offered in small tulip-shaped glasses which are usually held by the rim, in order to save the fingertips from a burn, as the tea is served boiling hot. This tradition originated in the Ottoman empire.

While drinking çay with Mısra and her friends we talked why she wanted to study in Italy. The reason was simple – she wanted to learn Italian which now she speaks better than English. Her family is always supporting her and hopes that she‘ll be successful. One of her dreams is to study Master‘s degree of economics in Europe.

Her mother and father are retired. Her thoughtful and contemporary yet committed to traditions family is from Antalya.

One more sip.

This government is struggling for Turkey to become a member of the European Union. Mısra is sure that Turkey should join the European Union because it is a key to innovations, sociality, dynamicsm and the expansion of the horizon.

But as I heard from another Turkish friend there‘s also different opinion.“There’s no meaning of going here. They closed more than 100 factories, import bullies from Spain instead of using ours, so why do we need this? Firstly, the Government should solve problems which are obvious and only then think about integrating into the EU.”

Another sip of çay.

My dear new friend told me that National Turkish tea is part of her life. Moreover, this tea opens the mind and provides with more energy.

Offering tea in Turkey is considered to be a sign of friendship and hospitality, at households, shops and restaurants, usually after a meal. Despite its popularity, tea became the widely consumed beverage of choice in Turkey only in the 20th century. It was initially encouraged as an alternative to coffee, which had become expensive and at times unavailable in the aftermath of World War I. In fact, now Turkey always competes with the United Kingdom on the amount of tea consumed.

When tea was finally finished we sat for a while. We said goodbye with touching cheeks (it's a tradition in Turkey). It was so intimate for me because Turkish people do this only with close friends!

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