The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

The Clues

My neighbors in the plane watch a television show together on the tiny screen in front of her seat. She sits straight on, often smiling over as he cranes his … Continue reading

October 21, 2016 · 4 Comments

The View from Here

The little boy sits on a gargantuan chair. It is a huge display to show the craftsmanship of the maker. The chair presides over the airport food court. Parents have … Continue reading

August 8, 2016 · 3 Comments

Another Route

My taxi driver waves me off when I try to help put my suitcase in the trunk. “It’s heavy, really heavy,” I warn in Turkish. He tosses it in and … Continue reading

June 13, 2016 · 5 Comments


“Tavuskuşu var, tavuskuşu var!” The little girl is squealing over the presence of peacocks in a small aviary near the restaurant. Her calling spooks four white doves, who flap into … Continue reading

May 23, 2016 · 2 Comments


Passing the produce market, a woman in a pink coat walks alongside her preschool child, and calls over her shoulder to her own mother who has stopped at the tempting … Continue reading

May 4, 2016 · 1 Comment

The Vocation

As people merge into a line to board our airplane, a Grandmother steps up and then steps back. She asks the boy behind me if he and I are waiting … Continue reading

April 27, 2016 · 9 Comments

The Day Tour

The family traveled from San Diego to New York, New York to Istanbul, Istanbul to Kayseri, and then collapsed into a hotel room for only few hours before heading out … Continue reading

April 15, 2016 · 6 Comments

Because I am Learning

The clerks at the market wear the same black polo shirts, the same nametags, the same gazes up from where they sit to where customers stand. When it is my … Continue reading

January 18, 2016 · 10 Comments

Not Bad

It is a blessing to live across the street from a market with such lovely fruits and vegetables. They are a feast for the eyes. Plus, it’s handy since there … Continue reading

January 4, 2016 · 8 Comments

Her Point of View

The woman totes water in heavy blue jugs. In the shade, the spot is cool–in the sun, the spot is temperate. Winter and summer must be severe, but October is … Continue reading

December 30, 2015 · 4 Comments

Airport Starbucks: No, I am not an Inspector

The people at Starbucks always spell my name Peych (or Peç), so I answer to it. At the Ataturk airport Starbucks, a barista with very dark, but well-groomed eyebrows calls, … Continue reading

December 28, 2015 · 5 Comments

Solo Flight

The little girl stands on the porch of the family business and talks to herself. She’s in the middle of a fascinating one-way conversation. She waves an imaginary friend over … Continue reading

December 7, 2015 · 4 Comments


When I get to 12D and place my bag in the carry-on space, a woman in her seventies is standing at 12B holding up her boarding pass for me to … Continue reading

December 2, 2015 · 9 Comments

Taxi Tidy

The man with distinguished gray hair wears tan loafers, navy slacks, a powder blue dress shirt under a brown vest. He looks dashing, and he’s sweeping. He clears cigarette butts, … Continue reading

November 27, 2015 · Leave a comment

Here You Are!

I understand a translation of “Buyurun,” the exclamation of the two young boys, is “Here you are!” They are calling it out, toting two huge bunches of flowers that they … Continue reading

November 25, 2015 · 5 Comments

Kindred Kid

She is wearing a magenta rain jacket with floral buttons. She’s probably in fourth grade, maybe fifth or sixth. She’s been watching me out of the corner of the eye … Continue reading

November 18, 2015 · Leave a comment

Siblings and ‘Staches

The youngest child of a huge family is drinking Ayran, a beverage made of yogurt and water, as far as I can tell. She is at a table packed with … Continue reading

November 13, 2015 · Leave a comment

Crossing Guard

I’m waiting to cross the street, watching for a few hustling taxis to pass, when I feel a presence on my right. I instinctively move a bit to my left. I am … Continue reading

November 9, 2015 · 1 Comment

Big Sister

The morning bus is packed, and I am standing in the baby-carriage corral near the front. There aren’t many parents rolling their babies on board at this hour, so it has … Continue reading

November 4, 2015 · 9 Comments

The Humbling Scenes: Part II

So I knew I couldn’t walk to my Turkish class, and would need another plan. I stared at a map and felt some vague hope that if I went to a … Continue reading

October 28, 2015 · 8 Comments

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