This was my second trip to Turkey, a country and people I very much admire and appreciate. Of course, on my second trip I learn how much I have not learned about Istanbul and Ephesus and Mary's place and Ottoman history.
It is impossible to relate all that happened on this trip. So I have picked out seven specific episodes and hope these may be thought-provoking as well as encourage you to plan a trip to Turkey, the home of Fethullah Gulen and Hizmet.
All things, including good ones, eventually come to an end. Our trip was no different and we had a wonderful 'last supper' in Izmir with great foods at a well-known local restaurant. We had spent our last day visiting Gediz University and meeting with administrators and faculty.
I also got the opportunity to play basketball against the University's star player who is 6'4"¯ and has played professionally including in the United States. Despite his height advantage, I did manage to score on him. Seriously, the Gediz basketball team welcomed us and we took some great photographs of our meeting.
We then journeyed back to Izmir including another boat ride and then a visit to the Clock Square where an old clock ticks high above the crowded plaza. We toured the local market where I graciously turned down offers to buy beautiful leather jackets and pretty jewelery, but did enjoy some excellent Turkish fast food.
Outside the market in the main square we were entertained by an elderly musician. Near him sat a young woman whom we learned was his granddaughter. She also was blind. I did give the family some money and enjoyed the music.
At dinner, we met a local Turkish family including their beautiful little girl. I had some 'Li Xi' money in an Asian New Year red envelope to give her as a small gift from Friendship Foundation.
Also joining us was a Mathematics professor from Gediz whom we had met last year. At that time, we had discussed subatomic particles at the grassy university entrance. This year she could not join us at Gediz because she was downtown in Izmir getting his visa for travel to a science conference in California. But she was able to come to the restaurant, sit with us, discuss how computers are all about to change, and share with us other delights about the universe.
Later I would google her name and learn she is the co-author of such articles as 'Abelian Chern–Simons Vortices and Holomorphic Burhers Hierarchy'¯ and 'Theoretical and Mathematical Physics Entanglement in Two Qubit Magnetic Models with DM Antisymmetric Anisotropic Exchange Interaction.'
This dinner was also a special time for me. Somebody had seen on Facebook that today was my birthday. Someone had bought a very tasty and colorful birthday cake. So I enjoyed that along with everybody singing happy birthday to me.
The next day was a blur of long waiting lines, security checks, and long walks through the airports. But, thank the Good Lord, we all arrived back home where we started planning our next mission and trip to Turkey.
Of course, we also thank Murat Gurer our patient and intrepid mission leader.
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