Many times there are expressions in other languages that are summed up in one or two words, where in English we flounder with sentences and metaphors and get lost trying to express the same idea. I found a very beautiful example of this a few weeks ago while working in Kabak Valley, Turkey. Apart from teaching yoga and tending to tropical plants, I was asked to re-paint the camp signs that would lead the weary hiker to Reflections camp. Armed with oil paints and a motley assortment of brushes, I put my steady hand to the test. Comfortable with my task, from months of house-painting jobs which helped pay for my trip, I completed six fresh signs.
One afternoon, after putting the final touches on my most prized sign, our cook took a break from chopping garlic to examine my work. “Very nice,” he said, “Eline saglik!” I looked at his quizzically, “Health to your hands!" he said. He explained that this expression was used when one truly enjoys the labors of others, whether someone has cooked a delicious meal, or created a lovely work of art.
This has now become my favorite Turkish expression, a succinct compliment as well as a sort of benediction to your wellbeing. So to all my friends out there, whether your hands are busied preparing food, making music, building a home or painting a canvass: Eline saglik!