Everyone I know is aware I want to go back to Turkey, particularly Istanbul. If my friend Liz McNally wins the lottery, she’ll be sending me to Istanbul she says. (Thanks Liz!) I don’t want to be a tourist though. I really want to BE there and so it may be that I’m waiting for the perfect time. In the meantime, I continue to keep myself immersed in the poetry for now (Rumi, Nazim Hikmet) and reading Orhan Pamuk (I’ll definitely visit his Museum of Innocence) and browsing through the extraordinary magazine about Turkey called Cornucopia.

I have two Turkish friends in Nanaimo now: Mustafa Zevkli who owns the Kebap at Departure Bay Beach and Ali Esin Engin whose import business is called Bronte Turkish Homeware. Ali imports beautiful ceramics, lamps, and textiles from Turkey. And he gives Turkish coffee readings.

multiculturalfestival2015 007blogI met Ali at the Multicultural Festival a few years ago and ever since I’ve been imagining having a Turkish coffee party at my home. I have the Turkish music and Ali would bring the other supplies: Turkish coffee, beautifully decorated cups and saucers and Turkish delight. I haven’t planned the coffee party yet but I had a Turkish coffee reading on Sunday morning at Haz Beans. That’s where Ali gives the readings on Sundays. You can give him a call or email him to make sure he’s there. Telephone: 250-802-9243 Email: aliesinengin@hotmail.com

Tasseography is the term given to coffee readings. Tasse from the French word for cup which is derived from the similar Arabic word tassa, and the Greek suffix – graph (writing).  Ali learned the art of coffee reading from his grandmother beginning when he was five years old. He’s from Kadikoy, a district in Istanbul that is on the Asian shore of the Bosphorus.

multiculturalfestival2015 030blogI loved the strong coffee which is brewed slowly with ground coffee beans, cold water and sugar. When I was almost at the bottom of the cup I turned it over and placed my ring on top of the over-turned cup. That offers some of my energy to the reading, Ali said. I made a wish and he said it would come true very quickly.

The shapes of the coffee grounds inside the cup and in the saucer each have a meaning. There was a key which means a move and there will be more room than I expected – presumably in the new place we’ll eventually move to. A slipper means the comfort of home and a vacation not far from home. My future will be more relaxing and fun. That’s what I’ve been planning! There was a piano, a heart, a ship, the letter M, and a big book. The ship indicates a cruise (I am going to Vancouver!) and lengthy travel to a place where I will have the best time ever. M can mean more of a connection with someone whose name begins with the letter M. And it can mean loving myself as my name begins with M. The big book refers to a book that is different from what I usually read, learning something and practicing whatever that is. (Ali mentioned Reiki as an example which is pretty nifty as I definitely value “energy work.”

evileyebraceletI’m going for some medical tests soon and the coffee reading actually gave me a positive outlook. The tests are the scientific approach. The reading is the intuitive, mysterious yet affirming approach. And I also wear an “evil eye” bracelet (actually I have three of them) which is a talisman to ward off the evil eye. I’m well covered.

multiculturalfestival2015 014blogThe Nanaimo Marine Festival is coming up on the weekend and Ali will have a table of his wares along with other vendors downtown. I suggest you have a look for his table to see the beautiful textiles, ceramics and maybe he’ll have some Turkish coffee for sale and some Turkish delight. (That’s Ali displaying a bed cover at the June 2015 Multicultural Festival in June where I bought the plate detailed above.)  If you’re not in Nanaimo, you can order online. Visit the Bronte Turkish Homeware website.

I never knew I loved the sun
even when setting cherry red as now
in Istanbul too it sometimes sets in postcard colors
but you aren’t about to paint it that way

from “Things I Didn’t Know I Loved” by Nazim Hikmet translated from the Turkish by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk