I totally want to be a spy now. Even more so than a ninja, though a combination of the two would be ideal.

This new found desire to be 007.2 came upon me after attending the Japanese Defense Force Day celebrations, held at their residency in Ankara. Due to my Aunt’s pregnancy exhaustion, I was lucky enough to join my Uncle on his diplomatic mission to gather information (read: gossip) and eat free food as a representative of my country. As a penniless traveller with ideas of grandeur, the situation suited me just fine.

You see, I utterly adore soiree’s in which I can hold lengthy conversations about politics (where I listen) and philosophy (where I should learn to listen more). I tend to find myself engaged in discussions with gentlemen of an older generation, to whom I am far too young to be appealing, but interesting enough to converse with – neither threat nor temptation. And it works perfectly. I love having the opportunity to gain insight from those with drive, ambition, and most of all, experience. I enjoy flexing my cognitive muscles and settling in for a real, meaty discussion – be it about Terry Pratchett or problems in the education system. It’s one of the reason I find my Uncle so interesting – he may talk A LOT, but he’s never uneducated on the subjects he covers and I find myself continuously learning. For example, I didn’t know that England was not a country. Now I do… but really, that’s not common knowledge is it? Oh well…

After the fanfares and the booming drums of the national anthems had ceased, and the inaudible speeches had been delivered, we hobnobbed. It was a lot of fun – I enjoy being charming (at least that’s what I call it). While chatting with an Egyptian counsel, I learned that the poor man, along with all his diplomatic colleagues, were not permitted to marry anyone who wasn’t also Egyptian. It seemed unthinkable until I remembered that their country had been a dictatorship until recently. D’oh. He was a delightful man however, so well done Egypt on the class of your civil servants. Props yo.

Untitled design(2)The one thing about being entertained by my family in Ankara is that I have been exposed to situations and people that would not normally have crossed my path. Ambassadors, journalists, leading business people – it’s an experience I wish I could have more frequently. As was the case of this evening, where we finished off  by the Sake bar, in conversation with the Polish Defense Force Attache… his name was long and escapes me, but the man was hilarious. After quite enjoying the first 3 types of Sake on offer -green bottle, brown bottle, green bottle #2 (no idea what their real names are, can’t read pictures) – I had to agree with the jovial Pole on his summation of the 4th – a white bottle containing 20 year old Sake. “It tastes like fish and mushrooms!”.

And it really, really did.