Saturday, September 13, 2008

Nazar Degmesin!

While I'm having a pretty quiet weekend of just getting things done, this is a weekend of wishing good luck and good vibes to all our family and friends and their families in Texas who are facing Ike right now. I'm trying to get what information I can on the news and the internet, but its still dark there and for sure noone has gone out to assess any damage yet because the storm has not blown through. Hopefully that will be uneventful with only minor damage for everyone. "Nazar degmesin", "nazar olmasin", as they would say in Turkish, which means knock on wood, or in certain context, I would say more than just knocking on wood.

While they are pretty relaxed about a lot of things, one thing they take serious is nazar, or the evil eye. Those of you who have been to Turkey know that the blue bead is like a good luck charm and very important. They put it on the outside or entrances of their houses, hang it on the back of their cars or from rearview mirrors, wear them as jewelry (which can be really cool) and even safety pin small ones onto babies clothes - babies wear them for the first several months of their lives on the back of one of their shoulders. I'm not so organized and for sure would forget and throw it in the wash....that is not to overshadow your thought of the safety pin opening and sticking the baby.
Its also not unusual for someone to share good news if they are on the verge of something good. For example if you are going to buy a new house, or get a new job it is better to wait until its happened because the theory is that jealousy or bad vibes might interfere with the deal. Its happened to me once that someone told me they liked my necklace and then within seconds the necklace mysteriously fell off by itself! Was sharing this story of nazar with my boss who has been to Turkey several times and her watch broke after the same person told her she like her watch...hmmm. Buy a nice new shirt, spill something on it, someone will tell you its nazar.
Other cultures are superstitious as well, not just Turkey - we all have them. In my previous job in Dubai a guy I worked very closely with on a daily basis did not tell anyone in the office his wife was pregnant - not even his guy friends. We all got a text message on our mobile phones one Saturday morning announcing the birth! He is from India, and I don't know Indian culture very well so I can't make that generalization. I have heard of many Indians not buying any supplies for a baby until it arrives for superstitious reasons, but to not inform anyone and hide the pregnancy is pretty extreme. My other Indian colleagues were pretty baffled by that one too. I wondered how she managed at work, or if she quit before she started to show and never left her home for 9 months?
Today Nazar came to mind because Ester, our helper, has not been feeling well. Her blood pressure went up today. I publish to the world via this blog yesterday that we have help at home and I am so grateful for it. As a result, she gets sick today. Nazar. Now I'm sure its not my fault she isn't feeling well, but you see how it works. She is much better now, but I've insisted she rest and am going to take her for a check up in the coming days.
We're not such superstitious people, but there have been times when Sarper and I have thought we might be getting a lot of bad vibes. Most recently, we were dealing with some banking things here and nothing was going right with it. We immediately wondered if we shouldn't resort to our nazar boncuk (our little blue beads) to ward off any bad vibes. In retrospect, I think its just the banks here that are incredibly unorganized for certain transactions - everyone had the same kind of nazar. We now know how to work the systemless system.

So, just in case, I'm posting a nazar boncuk - its a photo of the one we have in our hall here - on this post just in case...sometimes things are just too coincidental and better to be safe than sorry!
Nazar Degmesin (that "g" is silent by the way)

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