October 18: Lily, Selcuk

Lily sells carpets.  Not only that she has her own carpet shop, right across the street from the Ephesus Museum in Selcuk.  I was introduced to Lily by Sue who lives on Vashon Island, a short ferry ride from my home in Seattle.  Sue, who is herself a weaver and who has lived in Turkey and traveled to Turkey many times, also is the proud owner of a carpet she purchased from Lily.

When I first contacted Lily, she responded right away, in a very open and friendly email.  She approved of our choice of a place to stay in Selcuk, assured me that she, too, loved conversation, that we could meet in her shop, and that she would drive us to Ephesus.

We arrived in Selcuk after a six and half hour bus ride from Antalya.  The bus system in Turkey is outstanding.  The scenery on this leg of the journey was wonderful.  We found our hotel with no trouble at all.  It was delightful – clean as could be, run by Osmond and his family, a small swimming pool in a small but lovely garden, and roof top dining outdoors.

Well, though we had been soaking p the sun and swimming in the Mediterranean the day before, by the time we arrive in Selcuk the temperature had dropped to 6 degrees celsius and, according to the TV it was snowing in Istanbul!  Osmond insisted that it was OK to eat outside on the roof, and I guess it was if you don’t mind wearing all of your warm clothes and eating with your gloves on!

Oh, and he indeed assured us that Lily would be by to pick us up about 8:30 the next morning to take us to Ephesus.

And, so she was.  Lily is a delightful young woman.  Her parents had had a hotel she told us, and had retired and sold it.  She now had her own business and also daily took folks from the Nazar Hotel to Ephesus and back.  This was only about a five minute ride we discovered, and we agreed that Lily would pick us up at 2:30 in the afternoon after we had toured Ephesus to our heart’s content.  Ephesus by the way, is one of the best preserved (or restored) ruins of the Roman Empire.  Completely awesome! ! !

But for me, a visit with Lily was just as marvelous.  We went directly to her shop; Jim went to get a bite to eat, and Lily and I settled on a sofa in her shop for a visit.  Yes, she is a business woman.  Yes, she is one of the 7% of Turkish women counted as “employed,” (outside the home, not supported by father or husband.)  Yes, she is a member of the Chamber of Commerce.  Yes, she is a rare model for other young Turkish women her life demonstrating that getting married while young is not the only possibility.

And, yes, at 36, she is independent, owns her own shop, experiences all of the challenges of that, as well as the joy of directing her own life.  She sells – and sends – carpets to customers all over the world.  Her most recent customers were from Colorado in the U.S. and from Ireland.

With Lily’s positive energy and courage and “Hugs” from me,