In Turkey, everywhere we turned there were carpets…
…dressing up every room in the house.
Sometimes in the most unexpected places.
There are special prayer rugs in the mosques.
Even Turkish camels use them.
Cats love them too.
They really really love them.
And so do I.
They are important to the tourist trade.
I was willing to do my part to boost the economy.
But how to choose?
So many variables. Size, color, intricate patterns…
We knew we should research the market, measure the space, photograph the rug, walls, and furniture we wanted our purchase to match. But we didn’t.
The wine helped. Hospitality is customary in Turkey, but it doesn’t hurt to soften up potential buyers. We didn’t care: we knew from the start we would walk out with a new carpet.
Relying on instinct, we pared it down to two rugs. Then Metin explained the symbolism, and the deal was sealed. The tulip border on our favorite was a common Turkish motif, symbolizing the Garden of Eden.
Tulips recall Turkey’s rich history and culture, from the ‘tulip mania’ that brought “the Konya flowers” from Turkey to the West, to the many doors of understanding and appreciation opened on this shared journey.
One border design depicts water…
…for freedom and triumph over difficulties, because water follows its own path around, below or above any obstacle.
It also symbolizes fertility.
Red is for vibrance, passion, happiness. The ‘S’ border is for the first letter in the Turkish word for love.
The oleander flower, strong and drought resistant, stands for protection. It can be poisonous but is used to treat cancer, epilepsy, heart conditions, and more. Thousands of years ago Roman soldiers took it to cure hangovers.
Could our Turkish carpet brother be reading us so well that he could tell us exactly the story we want to hear? Love, passion, protection, and satisfaction guaranteed? Absolutely!
We weren’t worried about cutting the best deal or finding the best bargain: that was the happy ending to someone else’s adventure. It was the love story that stood out for us, the one we felt invested in, the one we happily bought into.
And the rug was a perfect fit–although not where we’d intended to put it, but–surprise!–we found an even better place for it, and we love our carpet more than we hoped or imagined.
We choose our own stories, just as we choose a carpet or a mate.
A little glass of wine can help. Don’t worry about the ticket price, go by instinct, and carry it home. Not every day can be a magic carpet ride, but these things hold their value, and a good one will last a lifetime.
All images and words copyright 2015 Naomi Baltuck