Thursday, June 24, 2010


Here it is the 7th day….Summer Soltice…and we are in the city of RUMI, Konya, where 9 thousand and I mean NINE THOUSAND years ago, the Selcuk Sultante of Rum ruled. The Sultan’s first name was Alaaddin. (Remember Adaddin and the beautiful carpet?) The Sultan established a beautiful mosque which is one of the oldest in Turkey.

We walked through the Mevlana Museum where Rumi established a sect of universal love and where the “whirling” dervishes lived and practiced. Rumi is considered one of the world’s greatest mystics. It is considered a sacred Muslin place and was full of visitors from Turkey and from around the world. It is beautiful and peaceful and surrounded by beautiful gardens!!

We traveled on to visit a Konya private high school and join them for lunch. Again the faculty stressed the annual examinations which had just been completed. As a private high school they are evaluated on where their students land in examination results. They have 500 students selected from 2000 applicants annually. 180 live in dormitories, 320 commute. They run a regular government dictated curriculum for 375 students and a Science High School for the rest. (like a gifted program). This was an all boys school. The girls go to a different school and are extremely successful in their academics as well. The school has the goal of educating the people. Yes, they would like to educate and train the future leaders of Turkey but aim toward love and moral values for all the people.

Driving to Nigde took about three hours over hills and meadows. The countryside was beautiful with small villages scattered throughout. We arrived in Nigde at the Sungurbuy High School to be greeted by our host families with whom we would be spending the night. The Founder, Mr. Celal Avsar, greeted us and escorted us into the school. We were introduced to our host families and given a briefing on the high school. They have a dormitory for 45 boys and teach a focused curriculum of Math Science and English. There we had our first GAZOZ, bottled in Nigde and tasting like Raspberry Sprite. We had a great dinner at the high school before going over to the home of Mr. Avsar for dessert, the fabulous Cay (tea), and dancing!!! Did I say DANCING???

Yes, with a number of guests and our hosts, we were entertained by a young couple going through a henna ceremony prior to a wedding ceremony. The young woman was dressed in beautiful red fabrics completely covering her face. The ritual of painting both of their hands and dancing around them in celebration, was followed by all of us dancing around the couple and then dancing in aboundment throughout the room.

Each of us went home exhausted with our host families: Beth, Kevin and Ali spent the night with the Aydn Demircan family. They are blessed with a young son and a beautiful daughter. Beth slept in the daughters room which was so very cute. Kevin and Ali slept in the young son’s room. We all sat in their beautiful living room eight floors up in a very large condo. We continued to eat, having delicious ice cream and fruit.

Linda, Jeanette and Yavuz spent the night with Ibrahim and Sinem Oz and their two beautiful daughters. They live in a large condominium in a tall building. We very much enjoyed their warm hospitality. The next morning after Linda and Jeanette helped feed the baby (!) we dropped their older daughter at day care on the way to breakfast.

It truly is sad to leave our host families and the budding relationship we have formed with our new friends. Their generosity of sharing their home and the generous gifts are overwhelming and very touching. We hope to stay connected with these new friends. Our morning breakfast was amazing. We walked in the orchard at the lovely farmhouse and picked cherries off the trees, eating as we walked. We ate, melon, cherries, yogurt, olives, honey/butter, fabulous breads, cheeses and drank copious amounts of cay. Mr. Afaar and the hosts talked to us in a beautiful room made especially for these visits.Waving Waving Waving in farewell but in hopes that we will reconnect at some time.

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