Maria, the Greek model, I became friends with on my transit flight from Mumbai to Delhi in January 2014, told me that in Creta, where she is from, they use a lot of Turkish words in their daily language due to the Turkish influence on the islanders in the past. Among those words, Vegera was a popular one. I told her I had never heard of such a word before and asked her what it meant. In her thick Cretan accent, Maria said, " When people sit together all night, talk , dance, eat and drink, sing songs, until the dawn. When they have a good time together around a table, that's when we say we make vegera." There are certain words in almost every language that echoes the culture, traditions and history more than anything. You can almost visualize the word in action in that culture- if you know it well. Since that time, I decided that's what my blog should be named after: "Vegera." It brings as much happiness to me as the word Keyf-i Alem ! Even though my blog's initial name Entry Level Philly and its objectives will continue to resonate throughout my entries, I believe that Vegera is more appropriate for the way I live my life- at least at this point in my life. So, this blog will be about anything from restaurants and bars I visit across the world, especially in Philadelphia to my travels across the world and life adventures- which somehow make up a lot of crazy stories in my life and to Brand stories, aka advertising.
However, more than anything, and especially recently, I have been writing a lot more about branding and advertising. A print ad, a video, an inspiring story about a brand or a company. I write about those stories that inspire me and provoke me to think deeper into the matter. It is because I find the ad world absolutely fascinating, with lots of imagination and creativity but also strategic thinking. It is like watching a sci-fi show. I'm an aspiring advertising professional and more specifically an account planner. So in Vegera, you'll find plenty of ad related posts.
Lastly, who is the author of Vegera? She's originally from Istanbul, Turkey- trying to figure out where on earth she wants to travel next.Currently, In Philly, working as a communications specialist for a small medical supply company, located outside the city. I work with people-mainly athletes with disabilities. You'll also probably see some inspiring stories from my work life, as you read this blog. When busy saving up money for traveling/ or concerts, i.e. busy with stressful work life, I like observing people, their behavior, interactions with others and drinking wine.This should be enough info on the author now. You'll probably find out more as you continue to read my entries... There will be a lot of personal opinions, feelings and emotions articulated.. Hope you stay long to make vegera with me .. Ciao.
The other day, I met a girl from South Korea at a journalism event in Center City. She was, just like the 90% of the participants there was a freelance journalist, who had recently moved to Philly from NYC. As soon as i mentioned i went to college in Lancaster, she was excited to tell me a story about how she got to visit Lancaster recently to buy Amish products from Central Market for a wedding she attended in…. Turkey. Suddenly, my attention shifted from her visiting my college town in the US to her visiting my home country, Turkey. It was a coincidence that she even mentioned Turkey in this small talk we struck on the sidewalk in the middle of the pedestrian traffic. She was there so recently that it made me feel connected to her right away. One of her friends from the Columbia Journalism School had her wedding in Ankara, the capital, but her bacheloratte party was held in Istanbul- the right choice. She was so excited to meet another Turkish person in Philadelphia that she decided to tell me about her adventures in Istanbul but particularly one that stood out the most among all- the Turkish Hamams. At first, I giggled as I thought she was going to tell me about how awkward and funny everything was and how women working there were really rough on them while massaging and cleaning. Instead, what I heard was very positive, in fact so positive that it inspired me to finally write the long over due post about a unique experience i had during my visit in India this past winter, but I’ll get there..
The girl from South Korea started telling me about what a unique and fascinating experience the Hamam visit was, as her eyes glowed. ” if you are plannig to have a cool bonding experienxe with your friends at your wedding, you have to do this!!” i found it hilarious that she was giving me suggestions on a wedding that is not even in near future in a mystery location in the world - no, it’s most probably going to be Turkey actually. She told me about how all women sang Turkish songs, danced, ate snacks together. ”It was such a spiritual experience that I wanted to stop time form moving forward. I suddenly felt something deep growing inside me. It was overwhelming and soon i found myself crying. It was very spiritual.” When I asked what it was that really moved her so much, she told me it was a combination of the peaceful feeling of being away from her country, feeling completely immersed into a new culture and spending quality time with her friends in an enchanting atmosphere.
I didn’t need to ask anymore.. I knew that feeling. I felt similarly in India in December. I was with my friends and visiting one of my closest friend’s hometown, got a chance to finally meet all her famy and friends and the city she was born and in love with: bombay. On my very last day in Bombay, Right when i was getting ready to say goodbye to everyone to catch my flight back to the US, Dadi, Aradhana’s grandma , grabbed me and Disha by the hands and took us to her mandir, the family temple for us to prayer. As an atheist, I felt weird about it but thought it was all part of the cultural experience and was ready to embrace it. But What I ended up experiencig in that small room was far more than cultural. Dadi told us that in that room she had a representation of all Gods in Hinduism, because “one most learn to respect all gods and should not prioritize one over another. ” We were in a very small room in Aradhana’s apartment, with marble floors and nothing else muc. There were picture frames of Dadi’s deceased husband along with the God ornaments or statues. The simplest religious place I have been to in my life.
Nevertheless, I felt something so powerful growing inside me in that temple as I breathed in the fresh odor of the oaky scents burning there. It was as if The gods were welcoming me into this holy place. Dadi encouraged us to say a prayer. In any other circumstance, I would have felt uncomfortable, but that moment I felt like I had a burning desire to express myself right there. I thanked gods for having an incredible and supportive family and a fantastic group of friends in many parrts of the world who are there for me no matter what. I thanked for having the opportunity to travel around the world despite so many complications I encounter. I felt an overwhelming and powerful feeling inside me while I was saying my prayer and realized that tears were flowing down my face. I couldn’t stop it. And I didn’t want to stop it..
The South Korean girl and I had simliar experiences during our travels felt both emotionally overwhelmed and empowered by some force in an environment so different from our usual surroundings. We both found spirituality in a foreign country around foreign people. The reason why some people take time off in certain stages in their lives to travel the world in order to find peace and love suddenly made sense.traveling and spirituality really are interconnected.