Saturday, May 14, 2011

The spring breeze coming in from the open windows is starting to make our whole apartment smell like lilacs.

It reminds me of my home where I grew up. My mom always has had an amazing garden - a large ramblling mix of wildflowers, bushes and vines. It’s full of tall phlox, creeping phlox, pink and purple verbena, coreopsis, daisies, echinacea, butterfly bushes, irises, rose bushes, and of course, several purple lilac bushes.
1982: My brother and me in mom's garden

When I was little, I loved playing in the dirt in her garden. I would make dandelion “soup” and carefully assembled mud pies garnished with wildflowers and “help” my mom plant flowers. (Maybe this is how I originally fell in love with cooking!)

Well, I don’t have a garden here in Istanbul, but I do have the next best thing.The streets in my neighborhood always are full of gypsies hawking bunches of beautiful flowers. This past week, I’ve walked by the buckets of lilacs, always pausing for a moment, inhaling the sweet scent and pondering whether to buy a bunch or not.

Today, I finally stopped to haggle with one of the gypsies. Prices are never posted. So you must make a decision how much are you willing to pay for the flowers before you approach - at least this is how I do it. I even had pulled out the exact change from my purse and put it in my back pocket.

Çok güzel leylak. Bir tane ne kadar?” (Very pretty lilacs. One bunch how much?)

Bir tane 10 lira.” (One bunch 10 lira)

“Hmmm. Iki tane ne kadar?” (Two bunches how much?)

Iki tane 20 lira, ama üç tane 25 lira.” (Two bunches 20 lira, but 3 bunches 25 lira.)

Well, you get the picture. After a few minutes of picking through the lilacs, I got two bunches for the bargain price of 15 lira (about $10 USD)! Originally, I was willing to pay 20 lira, but I scored an even better deal.

This weekend, I’ll have the memories of my mom’s garden on my mind and the fragrant smell of spring lilacs in our apartment.

Spring is my favorite season!

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Melissa said...

Love this! Love the childhood memory and pic, and esp your success speaking and bargaining!

Alien said...

What a charming blog; enjoying the visit. You might enjoy some of J and my adventures around Turkey.

Joy said...

What fun would it be to just pay a set price on flowers! It's taken a bit of practice to learn this trade.