A friend from Holland came to visit me this weekend. We were having dinner at Kanaat Lokantasi and after dinner of course we wanted tea. I ordered it ‘açık’. Friend asked what sort of tea I ordered. Well, normal Turkish tea, but then ‘açık’, meaning light. That’s the nice thing about a traditional Turkish teapot: you can get your tea as light or dark as you want it – in the upper pot is the tea, in the lower pot only boiling water, and the less you pour from the upper pot the more water you need to fill the glass and of course the more açık the tea. In the Turkish language, I told my friend, many things can be açık. The sky is when it’s sunny, spoken language is when it’s spoken clearly, and of course things like doors and windows can be açık, open. Even women can be, and in fact, I told her, we are both açık women. To her, it didn’t sound like a positive thing, almost insulting. But it isn’t: açık women, they just don’t wear a scarf.
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