Yesterday, my friend and I took a jaunt to the fields of Boğaziçi University, Turkey’s premier technical institution, to practice some yoga and some Capoeira. The school is situated at the summit of this hill, and you ascend to reach the school, you can see the Bosphorus River in all its beauty and grandeur.
When we got there, I started walking on my hands for a warm-up. The next thing I know, I was inundated with Turkish people wanting to take pictures with me. Literally. I’m not joking. They came from out of nowhere, totally unexpected. One guy even told me I had the perfect body and he asked me what I did to get my physique. I told him Capoeira and a bit of gymnastics will would make him cut and strong (because it will).
The pictures say it all. To be honest, I kinda like the fanfare, since I normally don’t get such attention: it’s a big ego boaster. Perhaps I shouldn’t say this, revealing my short-comings to the world in such a manner, but there you have it.
When they finally left, my friend and I began doing some Capoeira. I was teaching her the ginga, the fundamental movement of Capoeira (it means “to sway back and forth”). I then took to flipping because I love it so.
Afterwards, as we were going to this restaurant on campus to get some water, some young Turkish boys playing basketball hailed us over to the court. For those who know the stereotype of Black man, I’m sure you can guess what’s coming. That’s right, they wanted me to play basketball with them. 😀
Now, you should know about me that I don’t play basketball whatsoever. However, I’m pretty athletic and can make my way around the court without too much trouble. I figured I would indulge the stereotype for these young Turks since they were, masha’Allah, very respectful and energetic: they took to calling me “abhi” which means “big or older brother” in Turkish. Besides, I’m sure they don’t see many Blacks, if at all. Why not play with them?
The little boy with the blue shirt had some serious spunk. He walked up to me and he said, “Taman! Taman!” which roughly means, “Come on! What’chu got! Where yo game at?!” (I’m employing some Ebonics latitude when translating from Turkish to English, so bear with me).
I responded, as any Black man would, “Aight! Let’s go!”
…and it was on, one-on-one, me and the little Turk…
Gotta spread the love, the lingo, and the attitude to all the corners of the world.