Monday, October 5, 2009

what's in a name?


The only place I can generally get a soy latte in Istanbul is at a Starbucks. I'm not a fan of Starbucks for several reasons, but mainly I just don't like the way the coffee tastes. Now, I know I am in a veritable coffee wonderland— and yes, there is nothing like a tiny, sweetened silty cup of Türk kahvesi, but sometimes I just want a paper cup of creamy soy and espresso.

The funny thing about ordering a drink at a Turkish Starbucks is that you can order it in Turkish, but the baristas call the drinks to each other in English; a "grande buzlu soya latte," as it is on the menu board, is yelled out as an "iced grande soya latte." If you order the drink in English to start with, the baristas will think you are a foreigner and speak only English to you.

Then they ask you for your name.

This has become a rather interesting experience, as there is no "Samantha" in Turkish. I have learned that the first two "a"s in my name sound more like the Turkish "e"— and there is no "th"— so I have seen my name attempted in a variety of ways:

Sementa
Semanta
Samenta
Cementa

To make things easier for everyone (and for a bit of fun), I've been trying out popular Turkish names: Lale, Sema, Deniz, Leyla, Hande— but today I was caught up in some daydream. Samantha slipped out, and I soon discovered "Sabanta" was scrawled in Sharpie on my paper cup.

Sabanta.

8 comments:

Thomas Taylor said...

Yes. Cementa would have sounded too hard:)

szaza said...

Haha— the baristas' expressions are great too; you can see them turning letters around in their heads.

Siddartha Babbii said...

I like Sabanta! ;)

szaza said...

Thanks, Ben! :)

Olha Pryymak said...

haha, funny. How are you liking Bulgakov?! Master and Margarita usedto be my absolutely fav. book for a loooong time

szaza said...

I am LOVING Bulgakov— thank you, Olha. I've been feeling as though I'm walking around in a fog or some kind of dream-state created by those perfectly chosen words.

dawn.u said...

I've given up on my name, Dawn - Doga, Dogan, Down.... So I now have a 'Starbucks Name' Helen, which sometimes becomes Helin....
love the blog....

szaza said...

Thank you, Dawn! Goodness, I thought Dawn would be an easy one, but people will always surprise you. I think I'm going to be "Sabiha" from now on. It's pretty and close enough to Samantha— well closer than "Deniz" anyway.