It is with sadness that we all bid farewell to Adam, a "guest" Fulbrighter who has been with us the entire journey thus far. Adam is a Byzantium specialist and has enlightened us with his wisdom numerous times during this trip. He's leaving early, based on pre-arranged conditions, to attend a family wedding back in the States.
Just a little anecdote about our beloved Adam...
When visiting one of the old churches, Adam just very naturally started talking to a group of very enamoured old ladies about the paintings. He became "instant tour guide" and dazzled this group of tourists with his command of the period and his knowledge of the paintings. I'd been standing a bit off to the side, just eavesdropping on Adam's impromptu lecture, and I couldn't help but move closer to hear what he was sharing. I ended up listening just behind his shoulder, and at that moment, one of the old women exclaimed, "Is this your boy? You must be very proud of him!"
Well, having just turned 50 in April, I'm still going through a bit of a mid-life crisis in my head, so that comment just crumpled my moment! Really, though, Adam is 24, and he is the same age as my daughter Alicia. So, without a doubt, he could be my son!
And so, dear Adam, this is just to let you know that if ever I had a son (I have four wonderful daughters), I would want him to be exactly like you! You are kind, generous, filled with knowledge, have your priorities straight about what matters in the world, are a superb teacher in the classroom and in makeshift settings in Turkey, and have a biting wit that makes me smile and smile. You're willing to try that liquidy yogurt with the salt and even a sip of my Turkish coffee just to say you did. You are ready to tackle homemade lentil soup when you return home, which will remind you of every meal here in Turkey. I envision the frozen food supplies in your freezer dwindling as a result of all the "fresh" food you've consumed here. Plus, you are a superb consulant when it comes to shopping for clothing... What more could I ask in a son????
We're going to carry around a cardboard replica of you and insert you in all the upcoming photos as we move from Konya to Pamukkale to Ephesus and then back to Istanbul. There will be a hole in all of our hearts without you on the rest of the journey.
I wish you memorable adventures as you navigate the Konya and DeGaulle Airport in Paris. Fear not, for you are loved...
What I will remember most about you, however, is your ability to put all of us at ease with our questions. You have been the "go to guy" about the Byzantine Period, and you always gently answered each of our questions, without making us feel less than or ignorant in the process.
And so, I bid you good journey with these Turkish proverbs, which you live so beautifully...
"Good actions are never lost."
"It is not disgraceful to ask, it is disgraceful not to ask."
"A heart in love with beauty never grows old."
We will miss you, Adam! A good journey to you, dear friend and son!!!
Marianne/Mom and Pop