Francine Cabral

 My name is Francine Cabral and I am a marketing director and community liaison for Whole Foods Markets in Northern Virginia. I have to say this has been a very wonderful experience. I did not know very much about the Rumi Forum, except for a Turkish cooking class I took through ATFA which is the American Turkish Friendship Association in Northern Virginia. It was a twelve week course and I had such a wonderful experience during those twelve weeks, and making Turkish friends, that is something actually how I came to know about Rumi Forum. I was actually invited through one of my friends, and one of my friends here is Sumeyye, and I kind of expected the Turkish people be very hospitable and gracious. The food would be delicious of course, having tasted it firsthand in Northern Virginia. But I was just really overwhelmed by the hospitality, the warmness. I think just the word that comes to cross me is graciousness, grace; a country full of grace. I was just very also touched by the faith of the Muslim people, and how everything they do as a society as an extension of their faith. They just really live it, live out their faith. So that has touched me personally, also spiritually inspired me in my own faith, you know to do the same. Of course everyone; I didn’t know anybody on the tour, I didn’t know what to expect either, but I have been very surprised, the lively surprise to getting to all of you. We all have different personalities, something unique to contribute and like Ruth said we all cared each other very well, so I will miss you all. Also I was very impressed by Ali and Sumeyye; they were wonderful wonderful hosts, and gracious hosts of the tour. I couldn’t have organized a better tour. I mean if I had to say what the most prototype ideal cultural tour would be, this would be it. I recommend this to anyone wanting to come to Turkey and really get a taste at many different levels. Most cultural tours are usually one dimensional; this is really multidimensional touching the culture at many different levels: Getting to see the schools and having dinner at family homes, being just welcomed part of an family, I think is very unique, and interesting way to express the culture. I think these trips should just go on for as long as they can because I think they really do give you an understanding of the culture. Of course as being a language major for undergraduate studies I am always interested in different cultures and languages, and of course, I’ve come away loving Turkish culture and the language even more. So this has been a wonderful experience. Thank you Ali and Sumeyye! Umm, tesekkur ederim, cok guzel Turkiye! So I recommend this to anybody wishing to experience cultural immersion firsthand. Thank you very much!

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