Posted by: mollyscafeistanbul | August 23, 2009

the carpenter

jonas the journeyman

jonas the journeyman

One day a young man came into molly’s café wearing an old german outfit of flared black pants, a white ruffled shirt, and a black vest. I asked if he was a musician, as he looked like he would fit in with the cyclown circus, a street musician group that often came to the cafe. he was surprised at my question and told me he was a carpenter, a journeyman. I had not really thought about the origin of that word, but now I know where it comes from– a man who journeys as part of his training. He did his apprenticeship and then to be a journeyman he had to promise to travel for 3 years and a day. He had to wear the same outfit every day and was not allowed to get closer than 50 km to his home in Copenhagen. He joined one guild but then left it, but was still following the journeyman rules. His grandfather did the same thing many years ago and in fact the tradition is several hundred years old. These young men are not uncommon in Europe, especially Germany and Switzerland. If he goes into a bakery there, for example, he does not have to pay. Wherever he goes, he has to find work. I had him fix the door on the bathroom in my café, as it had been not closing. We borrowed a planer from the carpenter across the street — the carpenter was very curious about jonas but was quite willing to lend him the tool. After that, when jonas stopped by, I would give him tea and something sweet, more if he was hungry.  Jonas met a turkish girl and learned some turkish and finally they got engaged so that they could travel together. On that day jonas wore a tux and then it was back to his daily outfit. They left to hitchhike around turkey and then overland through georgia and other places to get to a country where they could get to japan. By then his time of being a journeyman will be over but he wants to get as far as he can. jonas is just one example of the many interesting people who come into molly’s cafe!


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