During the decade of the 1950’s, the Turkish Sultan, the Prince, and his delegation visited the University of Oriente in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba while my Father was appointed Dean of the College of Law, Business, and Economics involved in Geological Prospecting for Mining Research. At the age of two years old, I was fortunate to be included in all of my Father’s professional, civics, academic, social events, and religious activities with my Mother and family at the University of Oriente in Santiago de Cuba. During 1959, 1960, and 1961, my parents introduced me as the first daughter formally to international diplomats, dignitaries, delegates, special guests, and visitors who met them at the University of Oriente and the University of La Habana in Cuba.
While the Turkish Sultan and the Prince’s delegation visited the eastern region of Cuba called Oriente, my Father was assigned to welcome and host the visiting guests and delegations from the United Nations, Turkey, Germany, France, Bulgaria, Europe, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Mexico, Spain, Brazil, Latin America, Asia, the United States, and other countries welcomed by Cuba. Naturally, I began to meet international visitors speaking in Spanish, English, English, French, German, Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Scandinavian, and other languages–I became motivated and encouraged to learn how to speak other languages in addition to Spanish in Cuba.
Later on, I received a copy of the book titled, One Thousand and One Night or the Arabian Nights in Spanish for me to read about magic flying Turkish carpets and the Middle East open market in Istanbul, Turkey. Then, one night I dreamt that I was visiting the Open Market in Istanbul, Turkey. The next day, I woke up wondering how I was dreaming about travels in such faraway lands.
Several years later, in 1986, my dream became true when I met Nathan Scott Wittler, the first son of the Anglican missionary Reverend Melvin A. Wittler and Mrs. Nancy Wittler Patriquin, who were assigned to live in Istanbul, Turkey by the World Council of Churches, and share U.S. residence in West Dummerston, Brattleboro, in the State of Vermont, New England, USA. Former U.S. Navy PC-3 Nathan S. Wittler invited me to travel to Istanbul with him and meet his parents and siblings, Brian, Kent, and Heather Wittler. So, I did visit the Sultan’s Palace Topkapi, also known as the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey.
Amazingly, my childhood dream came true when the Wittlers invited me to the Turkish Open Market in 1986.