I visited eastern Turkey 12 years ago.
With a group of people in a small bus, I saw many places.
For three days we stayed in the beautiful old city of Amasya.
This city is close to the Black Sea.
My friend and I walked all over the city.
Shop windows were full of delicious food.
We tasted Turkish ice cream and other sweet treats.
People smiled when we tried to speak Turkish.
A new friend
On the second day, a young girl with two boys asked us the time.
I was surprised to hear her speak English.
She told us her name was Merve. She was 11 years old.
One of the boys was her brother, Turkan.
Then she invited us to her home for tea.
A visit for tea
Twice we visited her home. She told us, “I want to be an English teacher.”
Her father, Tuncay, was a professor at the university.
Her mother, Meliha, was a pharmacist.
Merve had a little sister, too. “She’s spoiled,” Merve told us.
Staying in touch
For 12 years Merve and I wrote letters.
When we both got computers, we sent emails.
Last December friends invited me to visit Turkey again.
Quickly I sent Merve an email. For days there was no answer.
Finally, she wrote. She sent a phone number.
It was too late. It was not possible now. I felt very sad.
For a few days, friends and I stayed in Istanbul, the capital city of Turkey.
I had one day left in Turkey, but I wanted to meet Merve again.
The manager of our small hotel told me he could get me a plane ticket.
I called Merve, and she got so excited.
I had a one hour flight from Istanbul to Samsun.
Merve and her parents met me at the airport.
We had a wonderful winter day walking around the city.
In Samsun Merve studied three days a week for her Masters in English.
Teaching English in Turkey
Merve said it is difficult teaching English in Turkey.
She doesn’t get enough practice with native speakers.
She met one young teacher from the U.S. who spoke English to her.
While we spoke, I had to explain some words to her.
She didn’t know “well-rounded” or “sweet tooth”.
Using “say” and “tell” correctly was a problem for her.
Merve’s life today
My young friend is now 24 years old. She passed her exams.
In June she married Mostafa. They had been penpals.
Merve’s teacher gave her Mostafa’s address two years ago.
The two young people wrote messages to each other in English.
Then they met. Later, Merve’s parents met Mostafa’s parents.
Now Merve is teaching in a small city near Samsun. She has her own office.
Mostafa is finishing his studies at university.
While we visited, she asked me, “When will you come again?”
Who knows? It might be interesting to teach for a short time in Turkey.