19 Jan


After 32 years, I found myself live-chatting just now to my first Muslim friend ever, in Istanbul where she has lived since the mid-’80’s.


My friend and I met at university in a Slavic dance troupe where we practiced the first half of the schoolyear for shows we took on the road the second half. I was in the troupe for two years; she was in it my last year.

I think we were drawn together by our common modesty, mine as a born again Christian and hers as a Muslim. We often had one dressing room for everybody on tour, which meant that I bought a Danskin to go under my costumes so that I never had to wander around in my underwear in between sets. You never knew who you would run into backstage!

I remember wandering campus with my friend, arm in arm, the way that it is done in Turkey, and thinking how touching it was that she treated me like one of her sister-girlfriends there.

And then there is my graduation picture, the two of us with our arms around each other, celebrating and sharing joy in my accomplishment. The tall American girl and the diminutive Turkish one.

I now know that she finished her PhD before she left the States to return to Turkey. And married. And had two children. One of each. Her daughter is now in my state, going to college in her own turn!

What a wonderful world!


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