Born in the south (74) as the first son of a second son. He attended primary school in there where he learned how to play soccer and doodle in class. He went to Tarsus American College for four years. As a member of the historically significant final boarding class of the school, he survived the tough boarding life of Tarsus where underclassmen are not supposed to take showers during the week and sleep on the top floor of famous Stickler Hall where broken windows are never replaced (and it can be pretty cold in Tarsus).
He had to learn to flex his urine retention muscles to the max thanks to the absence of a bathroom on the top floor of Stickler, where he lived for two years. He also had to wake up at 4 AM to play soccer on the nice lycee basketball court since it was occupied by upperclassmen during regular playing hours. Here he discovered his political side (and his delight in manipulation) and was a member of the Student Council for three straight years (after the student council was founded following a shutdown of many years). He also played in the volleyball team as the worst passer of the team. However, going through the traditional military style education of TAC (in which seniors have more authority in school than the teachers) taught him fraternity.
TAC was the school with the legends and traditions, school bus races on the way home, displaying the Turkish gesture of thumb between index and middle fingers to the same grocer (Sinekli Bakkal) every Monday morning for no reason, tournaments of every sort, school balls in Mersin and Adana, Ayiball – a game with almost no rules, and the famous night sneak out for paca (pron. pacha) (a nasty tasting soup usually drunk after a night of excessive alcohol).
After secondary school, for reasons not even known to himself (sense of adventure, excitement of moving to Istanbul), he transferred to a new school in Istanbul: Koc Ozel Lisesi (note to those who speak Turkish: The name of the school is Koc Ozel Lisesi but not Ozel Koc Lisesi because “ozel olan Koc degil, lise” as often uttered by the ex-military administrators).
This new school introduced him to a new lifestyle with grass soccer fields and an auditorium without huge columns in front of the stage. This also was a new boarding student life with hot showers and toilet paper and boarding female students! However, the school lacked quite a bit including the spirit that was omnipresent in Tarsus. People who hated themselves and their surroundings, no supporters in school sports meets, constant gossip and show-off were introduced.
After a year of searching he got used to the new place where he made great new friends for life. See Yalin and Selim. This time, he played soccer in the school team which usually got eliminated after the first official game every season. He was also in the drama club where he took on the evil roles of Uncle Pumblechook in Great Expectations, and Father Valverde in The Royal Hunt of the Sun, and later the romantic lover Knox Overstreet in Dead Poets Society. He was in the Student Council for two years, where little was accomplished because, in contrast to Tarsus, in Koc, the faculty did not care about students’ opinions (in Tarsus, the students did not care what the faculty thought).
In Koc, he played soccer in various teams against the class of ’92 13 times, class of ’94 125 times, junior varsity 9 times, and the school cooks twice. He also performed the “tavaf” around the “Forum” 13 times/day (counter-clockwise looking from above). He was sent to the discipline committee 2 times for rebelling against the teachers (once for ripping up an old lab report, once for telling the librarians that “[they] would do anything to not see us in here”). He was found innocent in the latter case and started a chain reaction of protest against the bio teacher in the former. His other crimes in Koc include eating tuna sandwiches in the dorm with a toothbrush, putting hairgel on his hair, urinating on the seat cover in the girls’ dorm bathroom when he broke in the final night of school.
Spending the summer before his senior year of high school in beautiful Ithaca changed his life. First, it made him apply to Cornell University where he got in with early decision (which meant that his last day at the university entrance exam courses was Dec 11 ’92). But second and most important, it was in Ithaca where he met his wife who ignored him for 5 long years after which she was persuaded to see him in Istanbul.
Studying architecture during the summer of ’92 made him an engineer. His dislike for the Introduction to Operations Research course, his indifference for car engines, and his thoughts about the unsightliness of the Civil Engineering building made him a Materials Scientist.
After four years, he had to make a choice between 6 more years of polymer labs and the rest. He chose the rest with some hesitation. Deferring his entry to the real world for one more year, he studied Engineering Management in Cornell, which led him to a job in IT consulting in New York City.
He lived in New York City and worked with computers for two years after which he moved to London (with the same company).
London was the best of times for a bit more than a year. After leaving his heart in London, he made the big return to the homeland in October 2001 following a lovely month of military service
Istanbul it is ever since. He is still enjoying himself with his wife and two cats: Abuk and Sabuk.