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It’s 7am here in Urfa and I’m up, washed, dressed appropriately and waiting for the rest of the household to stir.  Mother in Law Dursun, Haci Amca & his wife Ide are still slumbering away on the balcony and the rest of the relies are at various stages of sleep in a long line of floor beds in the lounge. It’s like a scene from the seven dwarfs; brightly coloured and comical.

But I digress. Let’s get back to Dursun’s first flight shall we…..

We breakfast at the village, a breakfast that is interrupted by the phone ringing with well-wishers. Dursun has packed a small holdall and I tease her; telling her we have to buy her some ‘spor ayakabı’ as it’s my intention to drag her up a mountain. ‘Var’ she says with a satisfied grin on her face and next thing I know she is waving a pair of tan and white sport shoes in my face.

Saying our goodbyes, we leave the village under a bucket of water, thrown at the car for good travels by Sebiha.

Two hours later we are at the airport. Mu drops us off and reminds me not to lose his mother. It’s not the first time he has told me.

“Kym” he says “She’s never been in an airport before. She won’t know anything”

“What will you do if I lose her?” I ask him grinning

“I’ll throw you in the bin” he laughs

As we make our way through the airport, I repeatedly gesture for Dursun to go ahead of me. She refuses each time and I see she is a pretty clever cookie.  Staying just a foot behind me at all times and copying what I do; she strolls through the airport like a pro as if she has done it a thousand times before. The only time she wobbles slightly is at the escalator and I do mean wobble. I step jauntily on it, bag in hand and she jumps on behind me sensing that if she doesn’t, I will get more than a foot away from her. A startled noise emerges from her mouth at the sensation and she tips forward into my back laughing. At the bottom, I watch her calculate the distance and hop neatly off with a grin on her face.

So far so good.

There is a bus to the plane. I point to a vacant seat in the corner and tell her to sit. The man on the seat opposite stands up for me but I refuse and stand next to Dursun, holding onto the rail. Her eyes are all around now and she looks a bit worried as lots of people cram on the bus. I ask her if she is excited but her answer is no and I do wonder if she thinks this is the actual plane.

There’s a little crowd gathered around the stairs to the plane when we get there. This time I take her arm and gently push her in front of me. There’s a flash of panic in her almond eyes but she concedes and slowly makes her way up the stairs, me a foot behind her. In the cabin, faced with the normal chaos that comes with finding your seat, she turns to me

“Where is our seat?” there’s confusion on her face

I tell her its number 24, expecting her to look at the numbers but of course, she can’t read.  Instead, I just gently push her all the way to number 24. In our row of three, a young man is already sitting in the window seat. Dursun hesitates. “It’s ok” I tell her, “I’ll sit in the middle”. It’s not the done thing for her to sit next to a male stranger.

The plane approaches the runway. This is the moment of truth.

Taking my phone from my bag, I find a video of Melisa having a bath and click play as the engines start to rumble. By the time this finishes, we are flying like birds.

Dursun takes a little nap. I read the inflight magazine. The only time she stirs is when the drinks come round.

“Is it free?” she says

When I tell her no but I’m buying coffee anyway, she says she doesn’t want anything and goes back to her nap.

As we get closer to our destination, the Captain makes his announcement. Dursun opens her eyes and takes a look out of the window.

“Cok hos” she says grinning.

From the window we can see vast mountains and a large turquoise lake.

“I think it’s Hilvan” I tell her

“No” she says “you’ve been there with Murat. I’ve seen the photos”

I rattle my brains. Dursun leans into my ear and whispers “It’s Apo’s place.” I realise she means “Eski Halfeti” the birth place of Abdullah Ocalan the now imprisoned Kurdish leader. This reminds me that I have more notes to write about from a few years ago!

Waiting outside the airport for Haci Amca, Dursun turns on her phone. It soon starts ringing with villagers desperate to know how it went.

“It was easy” she tells them. “I wasn’t scared at all.”

I bet that went flying round the village!

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