Had a great night last night, out with my friend Julia at a gig in Leigh. After, as you do, we decided to stop for chips….
Ended up on the London road at a kebab shop, owned by Turks.
Siz Turk misiniz? That was my opening line. The guy, looks a little shocked but replies in Turkish, testing me. I pass. He smiles.
He says he is from Istanbul, but I know he means that’s where his family live now. I can see “Diyarbakir Kebab” on the menu. I know he’s Kurdish.
While we wait, we chat in Turkish, then switch to English to include Julia.
It’s the usual convo. Married to a Turk, how long I’ve lived in Turkey etc.. Then he asks me if my husband is here with me.
“No,” I say. “He never comes. he has no interest in England”
The guy stops what he is doing and looks at me,
“He really loves you then” he says
I laugh. This is a standard response. It’s commonly accepted that Turks/Kurds, marry foreigners to obtain visas and move abroad for a better standard of life. I’m telling you nothing new here I know. Our Kebab shop owner tells us he did the very same thing 22 years ago.
“So where are you really from” I ask him
“Oh you won’t know it”
Julia laughs “I bet she does”
“Try me” I say
With a “you won’t know it face on,” he talks about a small village in the mountains on the outskirts of Bingol. It’s then I tell him that my husband is from Sanliurfa, and that I’ve toured all over the South East.
I don’t romanticise these things, as I spend so much time in the heart of the family that I’m treated no different, and there is nothing that can’t reach my ears. I understand the culture and the cold hard fact of why things are done, but I do find it very sad, that there are so may assumptions built up around most Turk/Kurd/European marriages, and that it comes from both sides.
Anyway, back to more pleasant musings – According to my husband, Bingol (one thousand lakes) is a place of legend. Here, among the lakes, is the fountain of youth. Find the right one and dunk yourself in it, and you will never grow old.
As I stood waiting for chips, chatting in Turkish, and listening to Mister Bingol talk about his house in the mountains, I was overcome with homesickness. With a husband in one country, and a son in the other, it’s not a fountain of youth I need, it’s a Tardis.
Chips were great though 🙂