Friday, May 05, 2006

 
Del Mar, CA: The Hollywood of San Diego

The Association of Turkish Americans of Southern California San Diego hosted us on Friday, May 5th near the seaside at scenic and stylish Del Mar, California. Our hostess, the president of ATASC-SD Arzu Kurkoğlu, did a wonderful job organizing the event and the group’s members gave terrific support, plying us with their homemade baked goods, like Hande Efe’s börek. Thanks also to Hande’s husband Cem (who now spells it “Jem”) for being our official photographer.

The audience of 30 included Turkophiles like Lynn Heyman-Hogue, a French teacher who told us, “I feel like you wrote this book for me personally. I have become obsessed with Turkey and my friends who haven't been there don't understand. I come home from my trips there so excited to share my experience, but there's no one in my circle who can relate. I was thrilled to read your book and realize there are people out there who feel the same as I do."

Others, like Bill and Sharon Bethard, have family members who have married into Turkish families so they are doing what they can to immerse themselves in the culture (their daughter Lynn Çetin has been teaching at Bilkent for the past 4 years). ATASC-SD member Sengul is even teaching them Turkish! Some people there were married to Turks, like Victoria Kırtay, environmental scientist in the US Navy, who lived 2 years in Istanbul and wedded a Cypriot Turk.

Some were children and adult children of Turkish and American parents, like Canan Serdar (who was responsible for selling 42 copies of EH to enthusiastic attendees that night) and Defne Jones, with whom we share a mutual friend (Marlene Elwell from Bilkent University in Ankara).

Still others were cajoled into coming, like Davis Kayemba from KPMG, whose friend had attended our LA Book Soup event earlier that week! Davis, you enjoyed yourself, admit it!

And at each appearance, we have had the staunch support of the local Turkish community. The San Diego Turks who joined us included: soprano singer Ayşe Underhill whose husband Robert penned MIT Press’s highly regarded linguistics book Turkish Grammar; Pamuk Bilsel and her mother Hilal; Nazlı and Sibel Güner and Sibel’s friend Katherine Lo; Seda Doğan; and Gül Abut, to name just a few...

After the event, we enjoyed drinks with our hosts at a neighboring bar, which was hopping with Cinco de Mayo revellers!



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