Wednesday, July 21, 2010

An Aegean Wedding

Last weekend, a friend of mine, Valantis and his fiance, Sinem, celebrated their wedding. Valantis is a Greek-American whose family on his mother's side lived on the Turkish coast before the political troubles forced to leave.  Due to the rift in relations between Turkey and Greece, such inter-marriages are not as common as they were in the past.

One song in Turkish and another in Greek, but by the end of the night, everybody was dancing.  In the photo below, Val's family is dancing in the traditional style.  His delightful mother invited me on to the dance floor and when I gave my usual excuse, she said with a shrug, "What is there to know? You lift you arms in the air and you move your hips a little."  Obviously the dance shown below is a little move involved and, knowing my normal lack of grace, I wisely sat on the sidelines and took photos.

The woman in the purple dress is Val's mother. Such a delightful woman. I had met her a few days before the wedding and I was immediately charmed. So full of contagious enthusiasm and energy. It was her first time coming to Turkey although she had heard stories most of her life. Due to the troubles between the Turks and the Greeks living in the area back in the war of Turkish independence, her family was forced to leave. emigrating to Greece and then to America.
On the day I spent with her, Val and Sinem, we crossed the bay from Karsiyaka to Izmir proper. The air was cooled by the sea but moist.  The sun had already fallen behind the Yamanlar hills but  the sky was filled with color.
She turned to us and said, "I am living in a dream."

This last photo is my favorite.

Congrats to Val and Sinem, bringing together the best of Turkish, Greek and American cultures.


  1. Just wondering why I can't see the photos?

  2. Ah...I've got them now...beautiful pics and what a lovely setting for a wedding. Looks like it was a very happy event.

  3. Thanks for the feedback.

    By the way...Let me know when you have a chance to come to Izmir, if only for an afternoon. I feel like we've met and known each for years! Still it would be nice to sit in a quiet nook in Alsancak and drink a glass of wine and gab our socks off.

  4. That sounds like a great idea, although with my lack of transport, it's not easy for me to get over to Izmir, and back in time for the last village bus!

    However, if you are able to get over to Milas or Bodrum at any time .....a glass of wine or two and a good chat sounds just the job (you have my email let me know)

  5. Thank you for sharing this beautiful wedding. You had responded to a post of mine on the TV show Lost. Just now getting back to you. How sad is that?

    You mentioned MadMen. I have not watch that but am working my way through many shows. Currently watching Breaking Bad on DVD. Will try out MadMen.

  6. I went to my first Argentine wedding back in February, and it was a blast! It was interesting to compare Argentine wedding customs to American ones, though all in all, I'd say they are pretty similar.

    This multicultural wedding looks like it was great fun. How lucky that you could be there to celebrate with your friend. Congrats to the bride and groom!

  7. Wonderful! Reminds of the weddings in Bosnia, happy times happy people.

  8. thanks for this blog! ive been devouring it! i love all of the cultural clips, and the modeling of a beautiful merging of cultures (greek and turkish), this living in harmony that is all of our birthrights.

  9. I just found this post which made me very happy. I am Turkish woman. In May 2011 I married a my Greek fiancee in the Greek island of Leros. We had similar dances, music and two families joining. Every time I see other Greek-Turksih couple joining their lives and families together tears come to my eyes... As me and my husband love to say- world peace-one couple at a time! Thanks for posting.


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