NOTE: Additions to the text in red were added during the report compilation, for the website.
NOTE: Sharon's comments will be in {curly brackets}.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008. Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. Plates Ready. Day 10 of 21.

Today the artists' workshop we visited (when we ordered our ceramic plates) is being honored with a ribbon cutting ceremony, to celebrate their new kiln. Also, our plates are supposed to be ready. Exciting.


A few nights ago, Cihan did the most remarkable thing. Now I'm sure everybody knows about this but me, but Cihan needed some lemon juice, so he took a lemon, sliced the end off (a circle about 1 1/2 inches in diameter) and got a very sharp, narrow knife. He stuck it into the newly opened end, straight in, and cut a circle around the center, cutting through every vane. When he turned the lemon upside down over the fish, the juice just poured out, without him doing any squeezing at all. It was remarkable. He said then he just stores the lemon in the fridge, open side up of course, and it keeps just fine.


Cihan picks up Sharon and me for lunch, and takes us to his favorite kofte restaurant. Did I mention that Cihan loves kofte? The owner/manager clearly reveres Cihan. They hug and kiss cheeks in the Turkish tradition, and Cihan orders for us. He says sometimes to relieve stress, he comes to this restaurant and helps the owner form the kofte in the back room.

It's delicious, and after it's over, we all walk towards the ribbon cutting workshop.

On the way we see a jewelry store specializing in gold. It sparkles.

It's GOLD I tell ya. GOLD!

The workshop at the Golcuk Art and Cultural Center is filled with people, many of whom we know. I meet Tara's two friends and new business partners, Rose and Figen.

Rose and her baby, Lina

Figen (at left). That's Meryem holding Lina.

Rose is from Wisconsin and Figen from England, but they both married Turkish husbands, as did Tara. Figen and Rose are two of Tara's best friends here as they have so much in common and share a lot of the same interests and values. The three of them are starting up a consulting company using their experience in art, design, writing and translation and have begun doing some pro bono work with the Golcuk Art and Cultural Center.

Cihan flies Rose's baby, Lina

Here's Sharon, Tara, Meryem, Zeynep, Rose and Figen, left to right, early in the party. {The man on the right is a reporter from a local newspaper covering the event. We hope to get a copy of the article when it comes out. Of course, it will be in Turkish, but it will still be fun to see it.

Through Rose's role as the Turkish Loan Facilitator for Nest, a US-based nonprofit organization which grants micro loans to women in developing countries starting or growing craft-based businesses. With minor support from Figen and Tara, she helped Meryem and Zeynep navigate the loan process which helped them buy the kiln. They will pay back the loan by sending finished products to Nest which is sold through its website to raise money for more loans.}

By the way, Nest's website address is, and to see Turkish items, click on Turkey.

Gathered around the end of the table, with small pieces of ceramicware, freshly out of the new kiln - these products constitute Meryem & Zeynep's first loan repayment to Nest

Artists Zeynep and Meryam, with Sharon, wearing the scarves Sharon made for them. Hey, Sharon says, if you're going to give me gifts, I'm going to give you gifts.

Rose being interviewed by a Dutch Television team.

Tara's friend Dilek told the TV crew about the ribbon-cutting ceremony, celebrating the new kiln.

Ten years ago, in 1998, after the terrible Golcuk earthquake that killed so many, this Dutch television team came and stayed for a year, following six of the thousands of families who had been made homeless. They have come back ten years later to update the status of those families. One of those formerly homeless men came in with the television crew and spoke a short time about his experience over the past ten years. {They interviewed me. Tara said they kept saying "Where are the Americans?" They wanted to know why we were in Golcuk, had we been here before and seen a change since the earthquake, were we here to support the arts? So I put on my best "interview" face and talked with them. They said "Love brought you here, when I told them we here to visit Tara who fell in love with a Turkish Naval officer.}

While Sharon was being interviewed, Rose kept whispering to Tara, "She's doing so GOOD."


Below are photos of the three plates we requested, which were on the table when we walked in, along with the desserts and drinks.

A not-too-good photo of the excellent "Sharon & Bob" plate


Sharon's mom's "Mother's Day" plate. Shhhhhh, don't tell her.


The "Jo & Fred" plate, in appreciation for her encouraging us to make this trip. Shhh, don't tell Jo about this either.

After the ceremony, the ladies have a business meeting, so Sharon and I go for a walk. Sharon is looking for a spiked dog collar of the type we saw on the Kangal dog a few days ago during our trip to Iznik. Sometimes I think I don't know Sharon at all.

We find a hardware store that will have the specified dog collar at their store for us on Monday. As we are walking back, we spot this couch, being made good use of by a local cat. Nice job.

The Catnap

During our walk, we occasionally have to cross the street. The crosswalks are alternating black and white stripes. Or is it white and natural concrete stripes? Anyway, I get a big kick out of what they're called - Zebra Crossings. The thing about it is, I was memorizing Turkish phrases in a phrase book, and one of them was zebra crossing. Well this cracked me up. {How many zebras could they have in Turkey that they would need their own street crossing?} I thought it was some kind of a joke. When I told Cihan and Tara about it they laughed and told me that it was a pedestrian crossing, as you now know.

We go back up to Dilek's office, above the workshop, and the meeting is still going on. Actually it hasn't started yet, so Sharon and I take seats and patiently wait for them to have their meeting. Well I patiently wait. Sharon comes up with the idea to play hangman, so we do, and as you would expect, we use lots of Turkish words. Like HOS GELDENIZ. And KANGAL. She used LUTMAN and it took me till the last arm to get it.

After a while, Figen has to leave to pick up her two-year-old, and since she is giving us a ride home, we leave with her too. Her husband has been on a ship, away for six months, and I think he gets back today or tomorrow. Figen has an eleven year old daughter as well, and because she is attending a Turkish school, she keeps saying she needs her (Turkish) dad to help her with math. Figen is good with Turkish, but not with Turkish math.

Figen drops us off about 4:30, and we go upstairs with the ladies having the intention to make a pecan pie for Thanksgiving tomorrow. They make some cornbread too, ala Nancy Burlingame.

I finish up, Sharon proofreads, and I send out the Hereke trip report. I'm catching up to real time.

Birds: No new trip birds today


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