“While living in Turkey, we learned to love the people, the food and the country”
Anita Donohoe who lived in Ankara from 1959 to summer of 1966 is editor of Ankara High School Connections.net. She often travels to San Francisco and San Diego for mini reunions with people who lived in Ankara and went to the same Department of Defense High School. On March 10th they met at the Birdhouse Grill in Encinitas, San Diego for Turkish dinner and belly dancers.
I asked all attendees about their memories of Turkey and their emotions about tonight. Here are some of their answers:
Jim DeAngelo Istanbul (1964-67) “Jim Joe” went to Ankara School from 1966 to1967 and lived in the Dormitory. “It is always good to see my friends who I grew up with around the world. They make up a family which those, who did not grow up like we did, can not understand.”
Greg Andranovich: Ankara (1964-70, 73-74) and Istanbul (1974-75)
“We have been coming here for many years and the food and the friends make for an excellent ‘homecoming’ of sorts. It’s really great that everyone can get together and enjoy!”
Gordon Welch: Ankara (1971-73)
“I collect photos of me and belly dancers from all over the world. I’m known as ‘little Gerdy Welch’ although I’m 6’4”; I travel a lot and love to see my Turkish brothers and sisters every chance I get. İ love seeing my friends whenever I travel. Ankara was the greatest time of my life. I would not be the person I am, if I did not live in Ankara”
Yvette Melton (Jimerson): Ankara (1970-76)
“Living in Turkey was the greatest time of my life. I will never forget that part of my life, it meant everything to me. Memories of tonight have added to my collection of fun time with my Ankara family and new friends.”
Michael Neff: Ankara (1968-73)
“Turkey is the center of the world over there in many ways! I stay in touch with my old friends from Turkey the most. I also follow a lot of politics that go on between Turkey and the USA now, but that’s a topic for another coming. Tonight is a good chance to see old friends and get my favorite ethnic food, I feel the people here are also a lot more conscious of the value they have from understanding people from Turkey and the Middle East.”
Kathye Mathews: Ankara (1972-74)
“Loved visiting the historical sites in Turkey, especially rock climbing in Goreme. San Diego Mini Alumni, another fabulous night at the Birdhouse, my favorite Turkish restaurant on the West Coast. I miss to eat ‘Kamali Pede’ (Kıymalı Pide) and baklava, Elma Meysu drink,’Chi’(çay) in Turkey.”
At the end of the night Anita gave every alumni evil eye (Nazar Boncuğu) that she brought with her from Turkey. While sippimg their Turkish coffee everyone marked their calendars for October 25 – 28, 2007 when Ankara High School Reunion is going to be held in San Diego, California.
The Birdhouse Grill is a family owned restaurant. Nilferli family members are Sevgi, Atilla and their daughters Julide (Julie), Nilufer (Lilly). They moved toHoustonTexas in 1980. They came toSan Diego in 1996 and opened Birdhouse Grill in March 1997. Julide said “The name Birdhouse came about when my mum saw the location. She said ‘Oh! How small, like a birdhouse.’ This place started with eight tables and we soon expanded to the other side… Still a little place, family run. We run this place like a home. Everyone gets hugs and kisses. Most of our customers are like family members. That’s the old Turkish way. We introduce people to the Turkish way of eating, mezzes and all… Always welcome”