Last April Vacation week we took the bold step to take our first family vacation outside of the US. We went to Europe - Woo-hoo... It required a lot of planning, some curb balls along the way but overall it was absolutely amazing. After Rome and Greece our final destination as the beautiful country Turkey!
|Taksim Square - The nostalgia of tram|
|The Little Tourists|
We had known very little about this country and what a treat for the eyes this place had. Even though quit chilly, temperature wise, this place as full of Tulips (My absolute favorite amongst all flowers after lilies). Wherever we went we could see carpets of Tulips. I had never imagined Turkey and Tulips go hand in hand, I used to imagine Holland and Switzerland when I thought of tulips!
|Colorful Glass Luminaries|
|The truly grand "Grand Bazaar"|
|Street Cats - Neel's only favorite thing in Turkey|
But every time we stepped out, Neel would search into his pockets for any remaining Turkish Lira form his allowance and would make sure he had several coins. This was definitely not for him to buy something for himself but for another very special reason.
|Coloful steets of Istanbul|
|The gorgeous Hagia Sofia|
On the day of my Birthday, he told me something that made me cry and made me proud at the same time. We were going out for dinner and as we walked down the street he saw a kid trying to squeeze his head between his knees to keep him warm. I gave Neel some money to give it to the kid. As we walked a little further down we saw another kid, I gave him some money once again. Neel stood there and didn't move, I pulled him on the side and asked him what was it and he started to cry. And in his broken voice he asked - "Do you think this money can keep him warm and buy him food, this is nothing Ma." I told him Neel we can go and give them some more and he said "but how can you walk away like they don't exist. They are kids just like me, why cant you treat them like your own kids" . I did not have a single answer to any of his questions and I was feeling ashamed! ashamed that my little boy can feel and think of the pain of this harsh reality while I was able to look past it accepting it as "harsh reality". In a second, Neel had changed everything for me. The thought of celebration of my birthday, of a great vacation, all of those feelings were taken over by the raw feeling of pain and I felt so little in front of my little boy. Neel refused to eat anything for Dinner, his exact words "I've lost my appetite". He asked the server to pack his food into two separate boxes. That was strange. I asked him why and said that it was enough food to give to the two kids we had seen on the street while walking to the restaurant. My heart as pumping harder with every word that was coming out of his mouth.
|Always be the giver my little boy!|
He even said "I'll ask Mama to give the money I've been saving to Bill Gates when mama goes to Seattle next time" (his mama/ uncle works for Microsoft :) ) Such is my Big Hearted Little Boy.
I know someday he will do something good for the world, and I am very fortunate to be his mother.
|Street cats of Istanbul sure must miss Neel|