Istanbul, Father’s Day, and a Turkish Wink

Long flights are a great opportunity to reflect, especially on the return trip. On my flight from Istanbul to Los Angeles, I thought about the clinics I taught in Istanbul, the people, and Father’s Day.

I went to Istanbul to give a series of presentations and workshops to the fitness instructors at Hillside City Club, an exclusive fitness center and spa with three locations in Istanbul – two on the European side and one on the Asian side (part of Istanbul is in Eastern Europe and part is in Asia, an interesting fact I didn’t know before).

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For the first time in my speaking career, my lectures and workshops were difficult to deliver in the way I wanted to because of the language barrier. Even with the interpreter, much of the dynamic gets lost in waiting for the translation. But as the week progressed, I became more comfortable and realized that a high-five, a laugh, a wink goes a long way to close the gap left open by spoken language. Regardless of where we come from, regardless of our culture, our religion, our faith, people are still people. And everyone likes a high-five and a wink.

Perhaps my audience didn’t understand every word I said. Perhaps they didn’t understand my funny New Jersey accent or my quirky humor. At first it bothered me, but I realize that it’s okay. Not every punch line needs to get a laugh. I enjoyed myself just the same and I sincerely hope my audience did, too.

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How ironic or purposeful it was that my final clinic of the week, for the runners of Istanbul, fell on Father’s Day. During my run from my hotel early in the morning before the clinic, I thought about my father, who passed away when I was eight years old, and how proud he would have been that his son was speaking on the other side of the world. During that hour I ran, it was me and my dad.

After the clinic, one of the attendees came up to me, bought two of my books, and said, “You filled my heart.” That alone was worth the 13-hour flight.

I met a lot of great people in Istanbul and had a great time teaching classes and seeing the sights! Even got a workout in at the track with my new Turkish friend!

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Thank you, Blue Vision Fitness Academy and Hillside City Club, for inviting me to your beautiful city, making me feel like a celebrity, and giving me the opportunity to share my deep passion with Turkey.

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