The long way around: Lerzan Altan and Melike Dogruer glad to be ‘back home’

Lerzan Altan and her mother, Melike Dogruer, have settled in Morehead City after a winding journey that went through Istanbul, Turkey. (Contributed photo)

Rebecca Jones, special to the News-Times

MOREHEAD CITY — From Istanbul, Turkey, to Morehead City, this mother and daughter team say they are finally back “home.”

Lerzan Altan and her mother Melike Dogruer are from Istanbul, Turkey. Altan was born in Mobile, Ala., but when she was five-years old. her family decided to move back to Turkey due to her grandfather’s passing.

Dogruer decided to return to the U.S. following her retirement in 2014. She chose North Carolina as her new home be placing a map in front of her and drew a straight line from Istanbul to the U.S. Dogruer then moved the line down a bit to accomodate warmer weather and landed in North Carolina.

She also figured the climate would be similar to her native Istanbul if she settled in somewhere along the coast of North Carolina, which turned out to be the case.

Lerzan then retired in 2015, following her son’s completion of his Bachelor’s Degree from Massachusetts Institue of Technology. Lerzan decided she wanted to be closer to her son as well as be back where her childhood began, so she decided to move to the U.S. and live with her now North Carolina-living mom.

After 4 years of separation from her son and a sizeable time difference, Lerzan admits it feels good to be, at the very least, on the same continent as her son. As well as being talk to him whenever she would like and see him much more frequently.

North Carolina is now their home. It’s been nearly six years since Dogruer moved to Morehead City and five years for Altan.

Dogruer learned how to sew at the American High School she attended in Istanbul. She followed that interest through the years just as a hobby. Dogruer now makes beach dresses which she sells at the Olde Beaufort Farmer’s Market from a type of Turkish towel named “peshtemal,” which they import from Turkey.

Mother and daughter are now working to get more involved in charitable organizations to help members of their community who are less fortunate. The pair believe that helping their community in difficult times is the best way to thank them for welcoming them back to the US.

And the pair are very happy to live in Morehead City amongst their neighbors and consider themselves lucky to know the group. They also have group of friends who they have gotten to know through the Olde Beaufort Farmers Market, non-profit organizations and their work.

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