Nuray Aykin is a Turkish woman who was blessed with a forward-thinking attitude for her generation.
Her conception was not planned but a miracle or divine intervention, encouraged her parents to return from the abortion surgery and instead pour their hearts into giving their daughter the best life they could.
Born in a small village, she later spent time studying at a university in Ankara, the capital of Turkey, before moving to America to pursue a career, a choice many Turkish women did not have.
She was successful and worked at various universities as a professor, while in her personal life she married, had a child, divorced and then remarried.
Along with her career success, motherhood was a task that she fiercely enjoyed and her son continues to receive unconditional love and support in everything he does.One way, Nuray proved her love as a mother, was to write a book about Turkish culture and traditions.
The decision to do this was sparked by a pivotal moment that fills a mother with both pride and dread. Her son left home to pursue his own path in life.
A Book about Turkish Culture and Traditions
In the 130-page book Nuray tells her son, the story that led to his birth. She explains the difficulty of raising him in the USA while still believing and adhering to Turkish customs and traditions. She talks about her own hurdles in life and her book presents a great insight into Turkish family life.
Now, I am a woman who has always fled the responsibility of motherhood, so it is impossible for me to understand the depth of love a mother has for her children. I did though; find enormous pleasure when Nuray delved into the characters of her family.
Going back in time, to before the invention of washing machines and vacuum cleaners, I was delighted to get a fly-on-the-wall view of life for three generations of a Turkish family.
Where My Genes Come From: My Family
Nuray paints a clear portrait of her grandfather, who they called Kara Dede. Born in 1905, he lived to the ripe age of 94 and during that time, was the village “Del Boy,” namely the man who could get his hands on everything and anything.
Despite his passion for gambling, Nuray had a close connection with her Kara Dede, who insisted on keeping up with technology by being the second household in the village to have a phone installed.
This infuriated grandma who said Kara Dede was tinkling with the devil’s products.
Grandma instead focused on running a household on a tight budget, by making soap, tomato paste, olive oil and selling vegetables. She could not read or write but her knowledge of housekeeping was second to none.
Grandma used to go with Nuray’s mum to wash clothes on the river banks and always moaned about someone stealing their chickens, maybe in denial because Kara Dede often took a chicken to the house of the local woman who had “easy virtue!”
Lastly, it seems, Nuray’s relationship with her dad was turbulent. As a Turkish civil servant, he accepted a humble place in life and refused to take opportunities, instead spending his wages on paying off Kara Dede’s gambling debts.
He later turned to gambling himself and from the book, it is unclear whether Nuray has dealt with these memories but instead she writes about the good times, in the book meant for her son, his grandson.
Americans will love Nuray’s tales of adapting to life in America after a humble upbringing in Turkey. Arriving in 1981, she struggled with understanding the accent, driving in the fast lanes and ordering a meal when she realised her English was not as good as she thought it was!
Also, if you are in a cross-culture relationship with a Turk or have a passion to learn about Turkish culture and traditions, you will enjoy the book.
Further Reading : Read reviews and purchase the book on Amazon from this link : Pomegranates and Grapes: Landscapes from My Childhood
Alternatively, learn more about Nuray on her blog.