Turkey With Stuff in – the book
I find Kym Çiftci to be a bit of a worry – an enigma – a contradiction – a . . well any number of things, really. Inconsistent, in that she refuses to be comfortably pigeon-holed or labelled, which for an old ‘Boffer’ (boring old fart) like me is unsettling.
Several years ago I came across her blog ‘Turkey With Stuff in‘ which seemed interesting but a bit erratic with postings so I ‘friended’ her on Facebook, an innovation for me at the time. Facebook led to photos and stuff that seemed to portray a rather hedonistic lifestyle of beach, booze and girlie outings. I would add that Facebook and blogs were not something I did with any enthusiasm or regularity so impressions were based on the ‘eye-catching’ rather than ‘normal’.
Her blog, on the other hand, was a revelation of insight, sensitivity and observation. I was drawn to her ability to wrap up a scene or situation in words that drew me in and made me a vital part of whatever she was describing. I was there. This is a rare and precious gift that is given to few and she has it in abundance. If you doubt me, or to find out for yourself, read her blog postings about her visit to her husband’s family in Urfa and then tell me that you were not sitting in the room with her, sharing moments as only an intimate can.
Kym is uncompromising about who and what she is as an individual. At the same time she has the sensitivity and respect to ‘bend’ to the sensibilities of the people and culture that she has chosen to live with and marry into. As a result, through her writings, each one of us can gain an insight into the ‘real’ Turkey that hides behind the synthetic veil of tourism that might well otherwise be beyond us.
The ‘Turkey With Stuff in’ blog has been so successful that it has spawned a book of the same name. It covers that brief period of time that led up to Kym’s decision to come to Turkey, the early hedonistic days of life in Holidayland, of debauched waiters and their ghastly ‘johns’, of job-seeking adventures and finally, of finding the true meaning of life in the love of a fellow human being and his extended family. This is a delightful story, very well told, and for those of us who are passionate about Turkey, its culture and people, it is an insight and a road of learning wrapped up and tied with ribbons of love.
‘Turkey With Stuff in – the book’ is a wonderful introduction to ‘real’ Turks and ‘real’ Turkish village life – it harks back to an era when people interacted with people instead of social media. When sharing a glass of tea, with or without conversation, was the catalyst that bonded people together. I loved the ‘experience’ of sharing Kym’s adventures through her words, of being a part of her world, and for that I thank her. I also thank her for reminding me of why I love living here, at home amongst the warmest and kindest people on this, or any other god’s earth.
Buy it here – and you really should.
Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü