I am sitting in Turkey, feeling incredibly humbled by the acts of kindness I have had come my way today. And as I sit here, journaling these acts of kindness – a reel of kindness and generosity I have experienced in my life comes flooding back. The generosity of spirit is beautiful. It is so intrinsically human and so authentic that it gives me hope and makes me feel proud to be human.
I am in a very small town in Turkey. I have been fortunate to have been coming here since 2019 at different intervals and for different lengths of time. The beauty of that and with the nature of my job is I get to form relationships with the wonderful people in these small towns. The better the relationships you have, the easier your job is. I am grateful that a part of my nature is to love to talk and engage with strangers. I love sitting and chatting with the restaurant owner, the coffee roaster, the waiter, and the gelato man. The stories and lives I get to hear about are amazing and I should write more about the things I have been privy to.
A little flashback to when I was a little girl and I would accompany my grandfather on his daily ‘chores’. ‘Chores” that would have taken my very structured and efficient grandmother 1 hour, would take my Uppa and me half a day. We would go down to Coimbra bakery on the corner and chat with the baker, the teller, and the cleaner. They would know all about me and my family and would all be privy to my grandfather’s wink and entertaining stories. The next stop would be to the petrol station, where George and Elliot would both come to the car, they would chat with us, sing with us and laugh until my grandfather had to remove his glasses and wipe the tears from his eyes. His laughter made my day. He would generously tip them with his wink, roll down his window and sing the “Rigoletto” as we rolled not even 150m down to the pharmacy. I could never stay in the car, the shared moments between my Uppa and his “friends” were too wonderful to miss. And so the pharmacist and nurses would greet us with a “Hello John.” “Hello Miss Day.” and we would enter another round of stories and laughter. A never-ending exchange of family updates and naughty jokes.
And this enriched my life. I became so aware that everyone had something to share. You had to give them the gift of your time and your attention. It has to be important to ask how someone is and listen with attention when they say “My wife is not well, It’s been a hard week.” “I’m so proud of my son, he matriculated today.” These moments are important to people and we need to learn to celebrate each other’s wins and hear people’s struggles. And so it has always been with this attention that I have traveled and engaged. I want to listen to the small stories that make someone else’s life different from mine. I want to know what makes them smile, I want to know what makes them laugh. I want to understand the challenges other people face.
Back to the kindness from today. I work with a wonderful agency in Turkey. And I have made a particular connection with Aisha, an agent from this small town. She is a workhorse, who prides herself on getting things done as well as she possibly can in a country that is not always able to supply the level of quality and timeliness that yachting has come to expect. And yet, she does it time and time again. We have had some insane hair-pulling out moments with requests I have had to throw her way and we have laughed and shared some heartbreaking moments. And yet, the one thing that has stuck out for me about her, is her never-ending kindness. No matter how busy she is.
When I was unable to fly home for my brother’s wedding. I was heartbroken. She knew this. With the delivery of food to the boat, on the day of his wedding, a care package from her and another wonderful supplier, the florist, Ebru, arrived. They showed so much love and understanding at that moment, that my heart swelled with appreciation. Kindness.
And today, after a busy and challenging two weeks back in my chief stew post, I went to get a massage and hammam at my favorite spa here. I had the most wonderfully relaxing and indulgent 3 hours, only to be told that she had arranged for my treatment to be paid for and I could just relax. “We appreciate you” were the words that came back to my message of thanks.
Unreal. Such a generous spirit.
As I walked away from the spa, so humbled by her kindness, I sat down at the restaurant the crew and I had gone to for our crew dinner on Friday night. We were spoiled, they put on such an amazing show and the food was exceptional. It was our Captain’s birthday and they really put an exceptional amount of effort in. I also had a really good piece of fish there. And I felt like that for dinner tonight. So, I sat down and ordered my fish and sparkling water. I chatted to the waiters from Friday night and read my book. Devouring my delicious fish with as much elegance as I could, I put my knife and fork down with the satisfaction of such a good meal. This fish here has been excellent.
I contemplated having a wine. But decided not to and therefore, just asked for the bill. Only, for the incredibly gentle and kind owner of the restaurant to pop his head around the corner and tell me that dinner was on him. Kindness. So much, kindness.
And I felt too overwhelmed with gratitude to not write a post and share how wonderful those 2 acts of kindness made me feel. And also, made me remind myself how acts of kindness can really go a long way. A generosity of spirit is something I always wish to cultivate.
Good night 🙂