It seems like I'm making up for lost time as I had just returned from my second trip to Turkey in six months. This time my visit started off in Izmir (ancient Smyrna) for a conference followed by few days of stay in Bursa where I caught up with M and her family.
I then took a coach bus up to Bursa. I remembered how comfortable Turkish inter-city coach buses were and hence was not reluctant at all to ride on one even for my 5-hour journey. Imagine my joy when I found out that they even have free wi-fi on them now! It was great as I FaceTimed with Brian back in Singapore and showed him the beautiful landscape we were driving past.
In addition to delighting in M's family's Turkish hospitality, M and I talked, cooked, exchanged recipes and shopped at the traditional bazaars and at the various new malls that have sprung up in Bursa the past few years. My visit to Bursa ended with my talk on evil and suffering at the Bursa Protestant Church. Always a joy to connect with my Turkish brothers and sisters.
The conference in Izmir was held at a coastal resort just minutes away from ancient Ephesus. The environs were picturesque. But alas, I was there for work and was not at my leisure. Post conference I spent a night with A and her mom. I knew A from way back when I lived in Bursa. She has since migrated to Toronto and now moved back to Turkey.
|View from my hotel room in Izmir|
Arriving in Bursa's bus terminal brought back much memories of my days there. But my reminiscing was short-lived as I saw M arriving to pick me up. When I first met M 11 years ago, she and her two younger sisters were single (the youngest was in high school) and now all three of them are married and with a child each (H the youngest will be a mom in July). As you can imagine, we had lots to catch up on. I was introduced to her husband, M, and her 4-year-old son, K. As they speak little English, it was almost a full week in Turkish for me.
|Making Turkish dumplings: M and her mom|
|M and her son , K, seeing me off: Always hard to say Goodbye.|