As soon as we land in one of our home countries, I start smiling and can’t wait to see my family and friends, who came to pick me up. It is so wonderful to meet the beloved people. They wait for us and pick us up wherever and whenever we arrive. And everytime the time runs by to quickly we even don’t notice it. It doesn’t matter how long we stay, if it is just a long weekend or the whole summer, it never seems to be long enough, it is always too short. Many friends come over and leave with the words “stop by for a cup of tea before you leave”.
Tea is our national drink, anyone claims otherwise has not been to the real Turkey. At our home the teapot is always refilled. There is always time for a cup of tea. Shopping in Turkey is a delight, whenever you step into a shop, they show you a chair to sit down and offer you a glass of tea
Maybe this is due to our Turkish tea ceremony, because it takes some time to prepare Turkish tea. Therefore we also take more time for our guests. After all, the samovar has to be set up, the water must be “boiled” long enough and the tea needs encouragement and time to rest. The tea must be clear and red and golden in colour.
I love tea and it is always difficult for me to ignore the tea invitations of friends and acquaintances. It may even happen that I stop by for a quick glass of tea before leaving for the airport.
On our last visit to Turkey, we met a very nice family and the lady of the house invited us so often to tea that we finally knocked at her door. She was so happy, beaming all over her face, that we had taken time for them. She immediately called her husband and son, who promptly closed their shop early to come over for tea. She ran into the kitchen to put the tea on. We decided to follow her into the kitchen to help her, and at least to be with her as long as she prepared the tea. By doing so we of course cut all existing formality rules.
She wanted to set the table in the salon for us, she wanted to bake and cook for us, but there was no time. So we all sat together at the kitchen table. Her husband and son joined us. And she whirled around in the kitchen. Because “Çay vakti -Teatime” in Turkish means “put everything on the table, whatever you find in your cabinets” and see for yourself how varied that can be at a short spontaneous teatime.
I do not really know how long we sat there. We chatted happily forgetting the time, we got to know each other better and became close. In Turkey, we have a saying: with the first cup, we get to know each other, we become friends with the second cup and with the third you’re family.
Our family is growing. The next time I have another door to knock at. Like another Turkish saying declares: “Bir fincan kahvenin kırk yıl hatırı vardır – The memory of a cup of coffee lasts 40 years.” This is also true for “Çay – Tea” In this sense, let’s rise our tea cups and afiyet olsun!