Dress shopping

21 Jun

After breakfast at Ilker’s uncle’s house, we left to go dress shopping at his uncle’s store (his uncle owns 4 bridal salons). I was a little surprised when I figured out that his aunt wasn’t coming, but all the boys were. At this point I again explained to Ilker that I was feeling a little overwhelmed by everything and that I needed him to stick with me through the dress process. I told him that since I would have no females there, I needed him to give me his opinion and play the part.

On the way we found out that Ilker’s dad had taken the bus up and would meet us at the salon. Now let me interrupt you here, and tell you that in Turkey there is a very traditional way to greet your elders…and his parents had told me that they would like me to greet them that way. At this point, I had not reviewed this with Ilker and couldn’t really remember how to do it, When me, Ilker, and Ahmet (his cousin) walked into the salon, there sat his dad. I sucked it up and attempted and totally butchered the greeting. Feeling bad and awkward about this I looked up and was completely overwhelmed by the tulle and white fabric that surrounded us. Almost all of the dresses were similar style…the corset bodice and low cut full skirt…which I did not feel confident would look good on me. After choosing a few to try on, Ilker’s uncle took me to another salon to choose a new dress for my henna night. A salesgirl whisked me behind a curtain, motioned for me to take my clothes off and then began gathering things for me to try on. I put on the first outfit and she pulled back the curtain to an audience of Ilker, his father, his uncle, and his cousin who all just stared at me blankly. She said something in Turkish, closed the curtain, told me to take of my clothes and got something else for me to try one. At this point, exhaustion was setting in and I was becoming more overwhelmed. The second outfit was the one I chose…as I was ready to be done. I know that sounds so ungrateful, and I feel terrible for even thinking about it…but it was just too much.

Henna Dress

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We left there and went back to the other salon to try on dresses. Again I was taken back behind the curtain and told to take off my clothes. After putting the hoop skirt on me ( yes! A hoop skirt) and the first dress over my head…two sales ladies worked to tighten the corset. All the while they were pointing at different parts of me and speaking to one another in Turkish. I had no idea what they were saying, and as someone who is not totally comfortable with my body, I immediately began to imagine the worse. After looking at dress one, I decided to try on dress two. Again with the pointing and chatting and my feelings sinking lower….by the time they pulled back the curtain, I wanted to cry…and then Ilker was gone. I waited for him to come back, while the woman continued to talk. Dressed in this fruffy dress, in the middle of a store, in the middle of the mall, exhausted, overwhelmed and feeling like an idiot. The saleswomen kept calling for Ilker’s dad to come look, I think they thought he was my dad, and he just stayed outside the store. Finally, Ilker came back…but would not give me an opinion about either dress. Finally, in a moment of desperation I chose…the second one…ultimately because the top looked kind of like sea shells, which reminded me of Ariel in The Little Mermaid 🙂

My dress 🙂

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After getting dressed again, I asked where the toilet was and was directed to the water closet. After paying to enter ( yes paying!) I discovered no bathroom that I was used to. This restroom only had Turkish toilet as I was gathering up the courage to pop a squat 🙂 I realized the was no toilet paper…only a bidet. At this point, I consider it a personal victory that I did not cry. I stood there for a minute and tried to figure out now to ask for help…but couldn’t. In the end, I just washed my hands and left. We left the mall and headed to Ilker’s grandparents house for family meeting number 3.

Ok seriously Ilker’s grandmother may be the littlest woman I have seen…she literally came up to my boobs! Luckily, I did not botch her traditional greeting, but I think my skirt was too short and that she wasn’t the biggest fan of me. Still feeling upset from the mall, hungry, and exhausted I tried to be present and gracious, but am pretty sure I didn’t pull that off. Finally, Ilker and I went to a back bedroom to take a nap ( again I twin beds) where I slept for like 2 hours in some of the deepest sleep I think I have ever had in my life. Seriously, I haven’t been this tired since Bonaroo!

When Ilker woke me up, he told me that more people had arrived to meet me and that I had to get up. I pulled myself together, wished for a toothbrush and hairbrush and went out to meet more family! Luckily, we had a wedding album with us, so all I had to do at this point was sit, smile, and say thank you.

After what felt like FOREVER it was 9:30 and time for us to leave for the bus station. As soon as we got on the bus, I fell asleep. Ilker woke me a few times to ask if I wanted food/ water, but I was too afraid to eat….not knowing what my bathroom choices would be ( a problem that still plagues me 🙂 )

We finally arrived in Konya, at Ilker’s parents city, at 5:00 AM. At this point, I was beginning to feel extremely nervous for the last important introduction, Ilker’s mom. At this point I had not showered or brushed my teeth in 24 hours. One of the things that made me so nervous about meeting Ilker’s mom, Anne, was that she had explicitly laid out her expectations for our introduction. With the previous screw ups fresh in my fuzzy mind, I was so worried that I would royally screw up. However, I think she was just so glad to finally see us, that she forgot all about her expectations and pulled me into a huge mom hug. She was the first person, since landing in Turkey, who did not make me feel like a newcomer and instead instantly made me feel like family. At that moment, I forgot all about wanting to cry, and how overwhelmed I felt, and instead was able to look forward to the next 2 weeks of getting to know my inlaws, as well as to experience the mother land with Ilker. By 6AM we were fed and finally in bed, and I will tell you that we did not get up until 2:30 the next afternoon!

***as a side, I can now look back at this day and laugh….didn’t take me long to get there…so please laugh with me 🙂

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