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TURKEY
These pages document my time spent flying balloons in Kapadokya . . .
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Chapter 25
"Efenden"
I know what you're thinking . . . Efenden?!? What the heck is Efenden?!? Has Kev finally gone Whirling Dervish?!? I admit to being crazy . . . why do you think I'm over here to begin with?

I'm not really sure exactly how to spell it, and it is a sort of Turkish slang, so my little pocket English/Turkish dictionary does not include it. I'm spelling it how I hear it. Efenden is what most of the local folks say when they answer their phone. Granted, not a lot of people here have cell phones, but the ones I've seen and been able to hear, answer their phone with one word : "Efenden". The first time I heard it, I thought they said "I found him". It is so common, that Sancho uses the word all the time. So much so that I should call him Efenden . . . It's kind of a running joke with Sancho and I . . . anytime we don't know how to say something in Turkish we just say efenden. Like I said, it's a slang or informal way of saying "Hi" to answer the phone. It's the only thing Sancho ever says anymore.

Enough Turkish lessons . . . by now you're saying okay, I get it, but why is the title of this chapter called Efenden? I've explained to you about our "deck" out the back door. It really is a nice place to enjoy the morning sun. Well, one day I was out on the deck enjoying some sun (between snow storms) when I noticed this little orange tabby cat walking along the edge. Keep in mind I've been alone here, halfway around the world for about 2 weeks by now. Alone and constantly harassed by the bosses about one thing or another. So I see this cat and try to call it over to me to see if it will let me pet it. It's young and skinny (like all of the dogs and cats here) and a bit apprehensive. All of the dogs and cats here are "street" pets. The cats are almost feral and the dogs are very stray like, although most of the dogs do have owners. If you're a pet lover, it can be hard to take. So the cat comes over and as I reach out to pet it, it jumps toward my hand arching it's back and immediately starts to purr. I figure it doesn't get much attention and it loves a little bit of love being thrown its direction. At first, I petted its head and then down its neck and back. Whoa! I was told in no certain terms that I was not to go anywhere near the tail! Okay, I understand, its not really used to trusting humans a whole lot. So I just pet its head and neck and halfway down the back. I'm gonna call it a he, just because (it never let me get close enough to be find out which gender it was) . He loves the attention, is purring loudly and walks back and forth rubbing my legs. Every now and then he just kind of turns and hisses at me, ears laying flat. Hmmm.... a little schizophrenic this one....
If he knew we were home, he would come sit at the back door
He would definitely let you know he'd had enough
It got to where this cat would come up on our deck on a regular basis and if he knew we were there, he would sit by the door at the top of the steps waiting for one of us to go out (we never let him inside) and pet him. Once the cat started to hang around on a somewhat regular basis (waiting for the only loving attention it ever got) , Sancho of course had to name it. What do you think was the first thing he thought of? Yep, "Efenden". Since I didn't really have any better alternative, I too, called him Efenden.
Included with this house were deck chairs, and when the weather was nice, Sancho and I both enjoyed sitting out on the deck in the sun. If the chairs were out and no one was using them, Efenden would happily occupy it.
Efenden on a deck chair
The more I saw him, the more comfortable he became around me, the more I could pet him before he got upset and tried to rip me a new one. You were never really sure just when he would decide that he had had enough, but you were positive it was coming. Like I said, as long as you stayed away from his back end, he stayed happy longer.
close up of Efenden in the deck chair
Ooops... I guess he's had enough
It got to the point where, if I sat down, either in a chair or on the steps or even on the stone bench at the table, he would climb up on my lap, take a bath and then sleep. I think it was the only place he felt like no other cat or human was going to bother him, so he really enjoyed it. Even though the neighbors "fed" him, they would just throw some scraps out their back door and let the cats duke it out to see who ate.
(there were 7 or so cats that hung around, knowing and expecting the food to be flung sooner or later. There weren't any cat fights, as the pecking order seemed to have already been established, with Efenden as one of the younger ones, close to the bottom)
Unfortunately for him, he could spend a lot more time sleeping in a lap, than any person could spend letting him sleep in their lap.
Efenden on my lap in the morning
Efenden on my lap in the morning, this time I'm looking at the camera (and into the sun)
Efenden on Joannes lap, next to Sancho
Having left two cats at home with Joanne while I'm here flying and with Sancho being gone, the weather bad more often than good, I enjoyed the company of that little schizo feline. I could tell that he also enjoyed my company. He ended up being a part of the everyday life here, so much so that I couldn't tell the story without mentioning it. I didn't realize he would have a chapter of his own, but as you can tell by the photos, by the time Joanne got here that little cat was pretty comfortable around people and absolutely loved sleeping in laps. He was also a good way for me to relax and try to forget that this trip has had more than its fair share of challenges.
Having the benefit of actually writing this several months after I got home, I can also tell everyone that "Efenden" turned out to be a female. I had been home for a month or so and while talking to Sancho one day, I asked how the cat was doing (knowing that after I left, he was the only pilot and much more alone than when I was there, I kind of figured Sancho would appreciate the company of Efenden much as I had when he had gone on vacation) . He laughed and said that "he is a she, and is pregnant". That's how we found out what gender Efenden was.
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