Thursday, September 1, 2011

With the Seytaptiev's before America

I wrote this blog post over a month ago, and of course, much has happened since then, but I will go ahead and post it anyways as it is a record of my life leading up to leaving for America.

July 22, 2011—Well, here I am in America, writing this blog post on my friend Kate’s netbook. Hard to remember what I was doing last week at this time in Crimea—that world seems so far away. But I do have vivid memories of last Saturday when the family and I spent the day together. Safie so wanted to “go to the sea,” so she asked her dad if we could all go on Saturday. I was glad to hear him agree, because of course I always want to go to the sea, but more because it means he would allow himself a day off from the relentless summer house projects which lately has included a very elaborate fence design—more on that in future blogs. I was very disappointed to learn that Lenura had to work and wouldn’t be able to come with us, but Saturday morning when we finally took off with me in the front seat and Serdar and Safie in the back, I was so happy when we swung by the hospital where Lenura works and picked her up to go with us. Somehow she had figured out to leave work early, because she too wanted a last day of all of us together.

As usual, I didn’t know exactly where Neshet had in mind to go, but I was pleased when he turned east when we got to the Black Sea coast. I had never been on that stretch of the coast before—one of the few areas of the Crimea I haven’t explored. It is a much less developed area with fewer seaside villages and the mountain slopes covered in vineyards and steep pastures. We drove around Demerji Mountain with a different view of its strange rock formations on the summit. The road curled on the cliffs high above the sea, dipping down to pass through seaside villages crowded with tourists. I kept hearing the family discussing our destination, which turned out to be a village called Rebachne. It started to pour down rain as we pulled into a parking space above the beach. We waited in the steamy car until the rain quit and then headed down to the beach and spread out our blanket. There weren’t many people, the water was beautiful and clear, and refreshingly cool on this hot and humid day. I thought we had finally found an uncrowded beach, but later on I realized it was the weather that had kept the beach so empty, as it quickly filled up when the sun came out. But I didn’t care as I dove and swam and played with Serdar and Safie and Lenura in the waves. Neshet, meanwhile, took a swim far out into the sea, came back, and immediately laid down on the blanket and fell asleep. It was great to see him relax so.

After spending the whole afternoon there, including a foray out on a paddle boat with Serdar and Safie, we packed up just before another rain squall came in and headed back to Simferopol. As we got to the edge of the city, I was surprised to hear Neshet saying something about stopping at a Crimean Tatar restaurant for dinner. Eating out at a restaurant is a very unusual thing for them—I think I have only once before been with them at a restaurant and that was when Pat and I took them out for dinner. So this was a special occasion indeed—a send off celebration for me. And the restaurant was, as Serdar told me, the fanciest of the Crimean Tatar restaurants. Named Ayshe, it was very lovely with a large outside seating area that wound through tall trees and was interspersed with beautiful fountains. A wedding celebration was going on, but mostly inside one of the dining rooms, so we had a quiet spot under a canopy and a good place to observe the wedding party, much to Safie’s delight. We arrived home late, filled with the warmth of the sun on the beach, tired from swimming in the beautiful Black Sea, and our stomachs full of yummy Crimea Tatar food.

What a great last day it was for me before my adventure to America. And driving along the coast, feeling the love of this family that has become my family, I started thinking about how perhaps my lack of being able to fully understand the language has allowed me access to a deeper love—that I can find an openness to love in a way that is harder when one is so road blocked by all the annoyances that language creates. Sometimes I think it is really a good thing that I so often don’t understand what is being said around me. Because is it really important? Seems to me what is important is getting beneath that surface of who we are, of relating to someone from a deeper level, from the heart. And I think it is that place that has allowed me to love the Seytaptiev’s, despite the barrier of language.

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