Sniper and the Neighbours - January 29February 2 2011 at 6:20 PM
No score for this post
|Jim Ironside (no login)|
Response to Is there room for a little Turkey in the Forum?
This is a day off for the team, and the Coach (Les Lawton of Concordia) kindly hosts a tour of Erzurum for the parents on the team bus. This generous gesture is the first chance the parents have had to spend any amount of time with their progeny since arriving in Erzurum.
Every player talks excitedly about 'Sniper'. He is the main man in connection with the security detail that has been assigned to our team. I am told he speaks very limited English, and the girls talk freely about Sniper in his presence. The D tells me notwithstandng his limited English language skills, she has learned he is in Turkey's secret service, and that he is trained as a sniper - hence the obvious nick name as created by the team.
In addition, the girls can't get over that he is 'packng.' I gather this is another way of saying he is carrying a firearm - 2 in fact, one on his hip, and one in an ankle holster. His dark good looks, his lack of English, and the packing business leads to no end of teeing-heeing among these otherwise mature and focussed women who are on the other side of the world representing our nation.
To be fair, he is an extremely good lookng man. He is in his early 30's, and he has facial features that are a cross between Christian Ronaldo (of soccer fame) and Tom Cruise. Mrs. Ironside can't stop looking at him, and I have to keep wiping the drool she is expelling. In fact, John Martin is so impressed with him that he announces he might consider switching teams. I don't know why John would want to cheer for Great Britain tomorrow!?!
We come across a set of scales while walking downtown. Some of the girls get on. Sniper motions me to do so as well. It reads the same 108 that it did in Vienna! I motion for Sniper to do the same, and by golly, I am quite impressed we weigh the same. I proudly tell the D, who reminds me my 5 foot 8 inch frame is at least 6 inches shorter than Sniper's. Sniper, who has a generally stoic demeanour, laughs out loud. Me thinks Sniper knows a lot more English than he might be letting on.
We are supposed to meet the families Styles and Seedhouse for dinner to-night, but the most amazng thing happened while I was taking out the garbage.
Basically, I am standing in the hall outside our apartment holding the bag of garbage, like a dork. It occurs to me I don't know where to take it.
A young boy comes out of the apartment across the hall, and I point to the bag with a 'what do I do with this' look. The boy yells, 'Mama' - and out comes Mom, with Dad right behind. He is a big man, and now I am concerned I may have committed some sort of cultural faux pas. He looks me in the eye and asks, 'Cha?'. Ths means 'Tea', and it is quickly apparent he is inviting Mrs. Ironside and I over for tea. My response, 'Absolutely!'
This seemingly small gesture is a microcosm of the generosity of spirit and kind-heartedness we have come across from every Erzurumite.
We can't speak each other's language, but we do our best with a Turkish/English translation book. He works at the airport as a taxi driver. Not just a regular cabbie. He is proud that he drives a Mercedes. He is much more proud of his lovely family. This includes their 9 year old son I met at the door, and daughter who is celebrating her 3rd birthday to-day. Mom brings out a fabulous cake with 3 candles, and tea. Mrs. Ironside and I sing Happy Birthday in English - and our gracious hosts do the same in Turkish. We take photos, and enjoy the birthday cake and Cha with the neighbours. This entire event transcends all language, geography and cultural differences. Before we head back across the hall to our apartment, I look up 'meet' and 'again' - and they appear just delighted. He takes my hand to shake good-night with both of his hands. His wife disappears for a moment, and then brings out a beautiful shawl, and drapes it over Mrs. Ironside's shoulders as a gift before we depart. Wow, what an unexpectedly generous gesture.
Our program for the day was to spend dinner with the Styles and Seedhouse family. I hope we didn't annoy them. It was not our intention to spend the evening with strangers who could not speak English. Having had the opportunity to do so, we would not have missed it for the world.
What an unbelievable end to yet another great day!!
Re: Sniper and the Neighbours - January 29 - NHPS on Feb 2, 9:23 PM
- Re: Sniper and the Neighbours - January 29 - Anonymous on Feb 2, 11:15 PM
- Yes, - Jim Ironside on Feb 3, 5:26 AM