Poetry in Motion

Forgive me, Blogger, it’s been four weeks since my last post. I’ve been out in the world!

We were visiting our son Eli, who teaches in Turkey.  He has adapted remarkably well.

 Eli lives off the path beaten by tourists, but flew to meet us for a visit in Cappadocia.

He came bearing gifts, including Turkish cotton candy, pistachios, dried apricots, baklava, and my favorite–a savory snack with a cheesy crust baked over a peanut.

We brought him a taste of home–Triscuits, Good ‘n’ Plenty, Junior Mints, Reese’s Pieces, dried seaweed, and Girl Scout Cookies.

I’ll tell you more about Cappadocia another time. But trust me: it was golden.

Eli met us again in Istanbul, a huge city with masses of people, dogs and cats everywhere.

The streets and bazaars were a crunch of unrelenting perpetual motion.  I had to snap pics on the fly to avoid losing my companions in the sea of people.

The Spice Bazaar was stimulating to the senses; we were hard pressed to take it all in!

It was fragrant.





And shiny!

It was all Turkishly delightful.

 photo da955380-4628-4a70-a050-0898023cf7c3_zpspvmop7bp.jpg

I sensed invisible walls, like those on subways in New York, Rome, or anywhere multitudes converge and people are reluctant to meet each other’s eyes.  But I caught glimpses, reminders that each person in the throng was someone’s parent…

 photo f95293b5-e233-4cae-91f8-3c3e4d3c083d_zpsnmveifyj.jpg



Friend, spouse, or lover.

On the walk back to our hotel, traffic was barely moving.  Street vendors bravely plied their trade among the backup of vehicles.

Across the street someone emerged from walls raised by Emperor Constantine more than 1500 years ago.  I zoomed in with my camera, waiting for traffic to abate. It was a long wait, but finally it happened.  I looked up to meet the eye of the driver who’d stopped his rig in the midst of rush hour to give me a clear shot.  He motioned to me to snap the pic. I clicked and smiled, he waved, shifted gears, and drove on.

As I watched him go, I saw a Titanic moment played out by a couple of kids from a car’s sunroof.  I snapped it, knowing it wouldn’t be a great shot, but I wanted to record the joy of that moment, theirs and mine, which was heightened by a stranger’s act of kindness.

Then someone was speaking to me in Turkish from a car by the curb.  Was he scolding me for taking photos?  Or holding up traffic?  But he held up his own camera, and in one eloquent motion, he instantly established understanding and common ground between one lover of life and another.  He smiled so warmly I had to laugh and take his picture!  For his open heart, his good humor, his generosity to a stranger and a foreigner, I believe at that moment I truly loved him.  In fact, I still do.

All images and words copyright 2015 Naomi Baltuck

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Photo Challenge: Motion.



  1. After viewing these stunning photos, you are forgiven, Naomi! Beautiful!

    1. Dear Jill,
      Thank you so much!

  2. sue says:

    It feels from your written words as if the senses were assaulted by the bustle, noises, scents, colors of the place… but the photos are lovely. And the last 2 are magical. 🙂 What are those blue eyeball thingies???

    1. Hi Sue,
      Those are charms to ward off the evil eye. They are ubiquitous in Turkey, hanging by every door, from trees, built into sidewalks, worn around the necks of dogs and even some horses that we saw.

  3. Thank you for absolution, Jill, and for making me smile!

  4. Amy says:

    The wonderful smile of the man with the camera was my favorite!! Love it! Thanks for posting!

    1. That has to be my favorite shot too. Thanks for stopping by, Amy!

  5. Naomi says:

    Sounds like a great trip!

    1. Hi Naomi,
      It was a wonderful trip. We saw so much, learned so much, but more than anything, it was just a joy to be all together again. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. How wonderful he’s teaching there and you were able to join him. I haven’t been- one day! You captured it beautifully– the sights and sounds, tastes and connections that make us humans connected. Enjoy your trip!

    1. Thank you, Lisa! It was great to see him, and just awesome to hear him converse with people in Turkish! I hope you do get there. It’s easier to get around than you might think. It’s true that there were crowds, as in most big cities (and in Istanbul there are over 14 million people), but outside of the tourist zones and markets you could find quiet streets and quiet moments.

  7. Such joy and friendship! Thanks for taking me back to Istanbul and for showing me the quieter region we did not get to. ❤

    1. Dear Mary,
      Thanks so much for this visit. When were you in Istanbul? Where did you go and what did you do? Thanks for coming along on a virtual trip to the Spice Market. It’s always good to hear from you.

      1. It was in 2000 . . . Storytelling cruise through ETSU. I might just post my very long journal notes . . . just for fun . . . 😉

      2. Dear Mary,
        That’s wonderful! I look forward to hearing all about it!

  8. Maureen Kay says:

    So many extraordinary incidents and images you recorded with your camera and words…the driver who stopped for you, the incredible sea of people, the street vendor amidst a traffic jam, and more. How fortunate for Eli to have been raised by you so he could so easily embrace a foreign culture, and in turn, how fortunate for those he teaches in Turkey.

    1. Hi Maureen,
      Thanks so much for stopping by. It was one of times when all the stars and planets aligned to create a moment I will never forget.
      I could never do what Eli does–he taught a year in Argentina and seemed to adapt readily. He has enjoyed learning about Turkey and learning the language this year. Next year he will probably be teaching at an IB school in Mexico. We will go see him, wherever he is!

  9. Mary Dessein says:

    Ah, Naomi, you are magical. Your humanity shows me the humanity and wonder in others! Thank you so much. Mary

    1. Dear Mary,
      You are so sweet, but no one ever needs to show you the humanity in the world. You are one of the kindest souls I know! Thanks so much for the visit, and for taking the time to comment. It’s always good to hear from you.

  10. Carol says:

    How exciting! The crowds, the colors remind me of photos shared by my Kat when she visited New Delhi during her spring break.

    1. Hi Carol,
      I have never been to India, but it is on my to-go list. I would love to see those photos!
      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your kind response.

  11. scillagrace says:

    That last smile simply melted my heart! Thanks for sharing your story!

    1. Thank you so much for the visit, and for your sweet response! That was certainly a moment, and it’s pure dumb luck that I was able to capture it.

  12. elisa ruland says:

    Ha, all is forgiven, Naomi, since you’ve delivered another brilliant post. Turkey! What a wonderful experience for your son.

    1. Thanks, Elisa. He has really enjoyed his time there, learning the language, making some good friends.

  13. Ruth says:

    So great to travel with you. What a trip! Love the last shot, too. Sounds like your son is having a great opportunity.
    Eleven years ago my son got a job 6months out of college- teaching in Zagreb. He’s still there!

    1. Oh, my gosh, Ruth! I’m so curious about what your son found in Zagreb that was so attractive. Did he live there in a former life? I’m just kidding about that, but wonder what it is about a place that attracts people so strongly they want to stay there. Did he fall in love and marry into that life? I felt an instant attraction when I came to Seattle, and knew that I had come home. Maybe it’s the same thing.
      I wondered if Eli would fall in love with Argentina or an Argentinian, and it was the same with Turkey. Now he’s probably going to Mexico next year, and I am hoping he likes it, but not enough to stay forever. But if Eli did, like your son did in Zagreb, I’d be happy for him to have found a place that feels like home to him.
      I think we might be going to Zagreb next summer, although it depends upon whether we can make it work with Bea’s plans. We’ll see. But just knowing that your son is there will give me a different perspective of the city.

  14. Sounds like you had a good time visiting your son. 😊

    1. It was really fun to see him, and to get the kids together for the first time since last summer.

  15. dogear6 says:

    What a great visit! I loved the photos and seeing what you saw. Your son does look like he’s adapting well. What made him go to Turkey to live?


    1. Hi Nancy,
      Good question! He and I traveled there in 2012, and he really enjoyed his time there and was intrigued by the culture. The language is very difficult to pick up, but he is managing to get by and working on it. It’s possible that he might be teaching in Mexico next year, which will probably be easier, as he speaks fluent Spanish.
      Thanks for stopping by and haring your response.

  16. Fun post, Thanks. Your son does look like he has adapted well. 🙂 –Curt

  17. Once Turkey wraps you in her embrace she holds a little piece of your soul forever

    1. Hey, Dallas, that’s for sure. My son and I went in 2012, and that was when the fire was lit. When he had the chance to go back and teach, he grabbed it. He has made many friends there, and loves so many aspects of the culture.

  18. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Cappadocia is golden indeed and Istanbul an amazing city!

    1. Oh, yes. There are incredible sights to see in both places. Both are unique and amazing!

  19. Tom Siewert/深思 says:

    A wonderful adventure! Eli looks so natural as local color. Thanks for sharing the experience so beautifully.

    1. Hi Tom,
      Thanks for the visit, and the kind words. I hope you and your lovely family are well.

  20. A lovely post Naomi. Worth waiting for. Turkey is getting near the top of the list – maybe later this year. You make it sound delightful!

    1. Thanks, Alison.
      It is not a difficult country to get around in. especially for such seasoned travelers. You will see some incredible sights, and take many beautiful portraits!

  21. Marvelous! I love these golden moments, time held close for years.

    1. Thank you, Michael!

  22. Your photos are stunning and magnificent. How do you handle such over-stimulation of the senses? And so many people. No wonder you were careful not to lose sight of your family.
    As always, I love, love, love your photo journals. I have to scroll back up and look again and again till I have my fill. The first time wasn’t enough. Nice to see you, Naomi. Thanks for sharing. ❤

    1. Dear Tess,

      You are always a ray of sunshine! Thank you for your encouragement. Actually, when we left the Spice Market, Bea and I got separated from Thom and Eli on an incredibly busy street–should never have stopped to take that photograph! But I’ll tell that story another time.

      Thanks so much for your visit, and for taking the time to share such generous thoughts.

      I’ll be seeing you in China soon, on your blog!

      1. When you mentioned taking pictures and not wanting to be separated, I worried. As you know, crowds of such magnitude are capable of change of direction in no time at all. Always love reading about your adventures. I’ve wondered where you were.

  23. lucy says:

    Thank you so much, Naomi. Wonderful pictures and storytelling. Refreshes my desire to go there for a visit.

  24. brings back memories! Great post and images!! Another adventure!!

  25. Love Turkey! Thanks for taking me back…

    1. Hi Suzanne!
      There is no place quite like it! I”m glad I had the chance to see it again and take Thom and Bea there while Eli is still there. He will be teaching in Mexico next year, so I expect we will also be doing more traveling down there. I hope you and your family are well!

  26. niasunset says:

    Heyyyyy you were here 🙂 I am so glad to hear this, especially you visited your son. Seems that it was a great time for you all. Beautiful post as always, and you now know, why I take so many cat photographs in this city :)… Thank you dear Naomi, have a nice day and new week, love, nia

    1. Dear Nia,

      We all loved our visit to Turkey! I thought of you often when we were there, especially whenever I saw a cat in the neighborhood looking very much at home (and photogenic). I was impressed at how many people feed them, and the way they seem to belong to the whole community.

      Eli will finish up his year in Turkey, and will then go teach in Mexico. I am SO glad that Thom and Bea had the chance to see Turkey while Eli was still there to show us around.

      1. niasunset says:

        Yes, we love cats 🙂 I am so happy to hear that you had a nice days in here. Good Luck for their life, for your children. Thank you, love, nia

      2. Dear Nia,
        Yes, we loved our visit! Thank you so much for your good wishes, which I will pass on to the kids.

  27. ritarivera says:

    This is a wonderful chronicle of your travels. Absolutely love it!

    1. Thank you so much! I hope this finds you well!

  28. Roy McCarthy says:

    Amazing but overwhelming Naomi. There must be some gorgeous, quieter, spots and I’d soon be making a beeline for those. Great that you were able to catch up with Eli.

    1. Hi Roy,
      It was wonderful to visit with Eli. There are definitely more quiet spots, but Istanbul definitely required adjustment after being in quiet little villages, or walking trails for hours and never running into another person.
      Thanks for the visit!

  29. Millie Ho says:

    Great captures, Naomi! Your family is exceptionally well-lived. I really must visit Turkey sometime.

    1. Thank you, Millie! And thank you again! I hope you get there soon. I can imagine your journal and sketchbooks would be put to good use there.

  30. phb2003 says:

    enjoyed going to turkey with you – and what a life adventure for your son. The food exchange pics were fun, and I liked the one word scrolling section (bright, exotic) even though I am int he habit of writing text below my picture – so I actually had fun viewing the image and seeing how both words fit – the above and below – also, I would shave to capture it if I saw someone doing the titanic arms – nice shot there – and your ending warmed my heart – because it is so sweet when someone has an impact like this –

    “For his open heart, his good humor, his generosity to a stranger and a foreigner, I believe at that moment I truly loved him”

    1. Thanks so much for the visit, and for taking the time to share your response.
      When I first got started blogging, I tried it out with words above and below the photo. I decided to go with above, because my photos are usually informed by the word, rather than the other way around, so I give my readers the words and then let them connect the image with the words they have just read.

      1. phb2003 says:

        well I think it works either way – and I have seen both styles across blogs – and now that you mention it – it seems more important on your blog to have the words first because like you said – it introduces/informs and leads us right into it – even tho I still had fun exchanging captions (like the lovers one)

  31. anainturkey says:

    Your pictures capture the overwhelming warmth and diversity of Turkey. I love that country so much. Looks like you had a great time full of new insights. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    1. Thank you! This was our second trip–the first was in 2012, when my son was so taken with it that he went back there to teach. It is interesting to return to a place, and have the chance to see it again through new eyes.

  32. Just like the movies — I’d have guessed Turkey even if you hadn’t said it simply because you seemed to capture its essence in the variety of photos.

    I love that people were tolerant of your taking photos. So many of us get impatient with tourists or don’t pause long enough to give you the photo-perfect moment. What a positive experience.

    1. Hi Kate,
      It was a very positive experience. We just found out that my son is going to Mexico to teach next year, and so I am glad we got while the getting’ was good! So nice to hear form you. Hope you are well!

  33. ShimonZ says:

    What a wonderful post; a Turkish delight. How did you manage to shoot in all directions and not include a few cats too? That’s the only thing that was missing from this fine reportage. Best wishes to Eli. He does look well adapted.

    1. Oh, Shimon, have I got cat pictures! I will bring some of them out in future posts from Turkey. I only scratched the surface with the one post!
      Thanks for the visit, and for making me smile.

  34. I really enjoyed this post, thinking that the photos of the market were my favorite until I got to that final photo, I love that final photo!

    1. Thank you, Cecelia. That was my favorite too.

  35. Lovely photo of Eli. He looks so happy. What a great visit you all had, and the last pic of the fellow photographer is just fabulous. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Sylvia! Eli is very photogenic, when we were kidding around and trying on costumes, he looked so natural that I had to snap that shot. The last shot was pure dumb luck, and a little bit of nerve. Perhaps because he was himself a photographer, he didn’t mind a bit!

  36. Oh, wow. You captured the spirit and essence of Turkey so well with these captioned pictures. Turkey is a place I’d love to visit. But I know it was even more special for you since your son is there. Hope it was a wonderful visit!

    1. Thank you, Juliann! It was great to have him share his current home with us. Next year he will be teaching in Mexico, so I am sure we will be paying him some visits there.

  37. megtraveling says:

    Traveling is the best reason for not posting – it sounds like you made some real connections with people!

    1. It was great! I hope to post a couple more stories in the next few weeks. Thanks for stopping by, Meg. It’s always good to hear from you.

  38. leecarlsonyoga says:

    We are all of one heart wherever we go, if only we can open up and remember. Love from your sis, Lee

    1. Dear Lee,
      So true! Thanks for stopping by! See you soon.

  39. claywatkins says:

    WOW – great photos – you really were in motion – have a wonderful week.

    1. Hi Clay,
      Thanks so much for the visit. I think I have visited your blog before and was impressed. Thanks for the follow. I look forward to following you as well.

  40. VioletSky says:

    Hi, I wandered over here from RestlesJo’s blog. And what a delight!! Turkey is so very high on my list of places I want to see. I almost went by myself (in a small tour group) but changed my mind as I wanted more freedom, but am wary of travelling solo there. Now I almost have something planned with a friend from Scotland. We’ll see.

    1. Thank you so much for the visit! My son and I went to Turkey in 2012. I felt a little intimidated. I can get by anywhere a Romance language is spoken, but was concerned because I can’t begin to understand Turkish. But all I needed to know was ‘merhaba,’ a friendly greeting. It is easier than you think, and I hope you get there soon! Have a great time in Scotland!

  41. restlessjo says:

    Eli looks like a young Sheik of Arabi 🙂 I had to laugh at the snacks you brought, Naomi. None of them meant anything to me. Isn’t it funny how we have our own brands and favourites around the world? It’s easy to feel lost and isolated in a busy foreign city but you seem to have the knack of taking the love with you. 🙂

    1. Dear Jo,
      Thanks for making me smile! We do love the treats we have grown up with, although my kids know Yorkies and Smarties and Cadbury, and one of our favorite all-time goodies is one of Mr. Kipling’s Exceedingly Good Bakewells!

    2. P.S. We were playing dress up at one of those Magic Carpet rides–very touristy, I will confess. But when he put on that outfit I could have sworn he was born in the wrong time and place, and that he must have worn such an outfit in a former life!

  42. Oh, you made me fall in love with Turkey, Naomi! You travel to see the beauty of every soul, and beauty was returned so many times over. I am truly touched by the way you walk this earth. And oh, I would have gone bonkers with all that shopping and Turkish delight!! 😀 So glad you had a chance to meet up with your son. It must have made it all an extra special time. Hugs, Sharon

    1. Dear Sharon,
      It’s so good to hear from you! I can’t tell you how joyful it was for the four of us to be all together again. Eli bought some Turkish Delight–my first taste of it– on that trip to the Spice Bazaar, and it was delicious! Thank you for your kind words. Hugs to you and your precious family!

  43. Suzanne says:

    What a wonderful journey through Turkey. It’s an incredible country to visit, I agree. Your photos take me back there.

    1. Thank you so much for the visit, and for taking the time to share your thoughts, Suzanne.

  44. This is very necessary, full of moments that make this world a better place. Here’s to seeing.

  45. Naomi, what a wonderful experience. My daughter, Vanessa, loved Turkey when she went there on a school trip years ago, for all the reasons you give. She longs to return there on holiday. Wow, Eli, teaching there. Brilliant.

    Do you know of this blogger https://unclespikes.wordpress.com/uncle-spike/ who was born in the UK but is now a fruit farmer in a remote part of Turkey? You might like to check him out, as I love his blog.

    1. Thank you, Sarah. I will check this out. Eli is in a rather remote part of Turkey, in Malatya, famous for its apricots. He loves Turkey, but he just accepted a position teaching at an IB school in Mexico, beginning in August, and still feels torn.

      1. A difficult choice for Eli, but wonderful that his teaching skills are so much in demand. I think he needs to take every opportunity that he can to work with people all around the world while he is still young and then maybe decide where to settle when he is older — like Uncle Spike did. I’m not sure if you saw Spike’s guest post on my blog where he tells his tales of how he ended up settling in Turkey, but just in case you missed it here it is http://sarahpotterwrites.com/2014/10/25/guest-blogger-uncle-spike-change-of-career-continent-and-citizenship/

      2. Thank you, Sarah! I really enjoyed his blog, but I missed this post, and will go back and read it now. Thanks, too, for your thoughts regarding Eli. I am confidant that he will make good friends and have a good time wherever he goes. His goal is to see the world, and this will take him to another part of the world. When he is done here, I definitely see Asia on his horizon.

  46. Laurel Leigh says:

    I’ve missed you and your camera, but I easily forgive you for being gone since you came back with such an amazing post. It’s so wonderful when you bond with a stranger over quiet little moments. It seems like that’s often the favorite thing to take away from a travel experience. Your teacher son is adorable! What a great experience for him to have.

    1. Dear Laurel,
      Eli is so fun and funny. He is very courageous about new experiences. Next year he is going to try teaching English and art at an IB school in Mexico.
      We have seen some wonderful sights, but you are so right when you say that what stands out–we take home with us–are those meaningful memorable interactions that help us connect with the people and feel like a part of a global community.
      Thank you so much for the visit Laurel, and for taking a moment to share your insight.

      1. Laurel Leigh says:

        You’ve done your job well by encouraging and nurturing his adventurous spirit. I’m sure he’s making a difference, and Mexico so desperately needs teachers to help bridge the gaps. It’s such an amazing country but also heartbreaking to see how some people still struggle daily. Although it’s such a mix. My niece lived there for a year and thought the elementary school her daughters attended was harder working than their schools in the US.

      2. How interesting that your nieces attended school there. I think that so much depends upon where the school is, and who is funding it. Eli will be teaching at an IB school, so I suspect that it will be challenging to the students. Thanks so much for the visit, Laurel, and for sharing your insight and your niece’s story. Was the language a problem for them?

  47. There she is! We’ve missed you!

    What a beautiful celebration of Turkish life. I’ve always wanted to go there. You certainly whisked me away with your post, Miss Naomi. Love it!

    1. Thank you, Britt. I love my living room now. We are definitely having an Arabian Nights New Year’s Eve party!

  48. Jamie Dedes says:

    Imagine that gentleman stopping his rig. The kindness of strangers. Would that happen here. Turkey is lovely, eh? So I am told. That is where my father is from but I have not been there. I appreciate all the photos you post. 🙂

    1. Dear Jamie,
      It is a beautiful and unique country with a very complicated and fascinating history. We were very often greeted and treated with kindness from strangers. That incident in particular, or rather one following another following another was such an emotional moment for me. Do you know your when your father came over, and where he was from? Eli was so struck by the culture when he and I went over in 2012 that he decided to go back there to teach for a year, and he has made some good friends there.

      1. Jamie Dedes says:

        He was born in 1902 and left for Greece in 1917 – on his own – he left Greece from the port of Piraeus around 1919 after living for awhile in a rural area that is still not mapped. He came to the US alone as well to – like many from his time and place – earn money to send home to his mother and to provide his four sisters in Turkey with suitable dowries.

      2. It’s wonderful that you have this history–dates and place names. Did his sisters and mother all stay in Turkey? Have you ever read a novel called Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides? It’s about someone who leaves Greece or Turkey about that time and goes to Detroit to start over. You know simply from the fact that it was one of Oprah’s book choices that it isn’t going to be light reading, but it’s very compelling.

      3. Jamie Dedes says:

        Funny you should mention that book. It’s been on my list, which grows ever longer. LOL! His mother and sisters stayed there. I have male cousins who came to the States or went to England to be educated. They didn’t educate the girls. 😦 Thanks for the reminder on the book, Naomi. xo

      4. Jamie Dedes says:

        P.S. – I think it’s fabulous that Eli is gaining this experience. Just wonderful. Good for him.

      5. Thank you, Jamie. I can’t help but worry, but he’s a smart traveler and can take care of himself. He is definitely a global citizen–he is going to teach at an International Baccalaureate school in Puebla, Mexico next year. One of his regrets in leaving is losing a home base in Turkey from which to explore all the tiny little countries around there. But now he will have one from which to explore Central and South America.

  49. pattisj says:

    What an experience! I would have drowned in that sea of people! You always manage to get the perfect shot. Your posts are always a treat, no matter how long you make us wait for them. 😉 Or how long it takes for us to get around to sitting down to enjoy them to the full.

    1. Dear Patti,

      You are so kind! I am amazed at your productivity and the consistent quality of your posts. Thank you so much for your patience!


      1. pattisj says:

        I appreciate your visits, and love the stories you weave into your posts.

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