Meet Your Neighbors: Darmers traveled the globe

Bill and May Yuan-Darmer can share many interesting stories related to their teaching profession.

They've both sampled the foods and cultures in Turkey and Switzerland.

Bill also has taught in Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia.

They have a 10-year-old male cat named Wawa that had a prominent part in one of their trips abroad.

In July 1995, they flew from Los Angeles to Istanbul, Turkey.

Bill would teach an accelerated program through a university and May Yuan was going to teach second-grade students.

Wawa was 3 years old and traveling in a pet carrier with them in the passenger cabin of the jet.

May Yuan gave Wawa a tranquilizer pill, but it did not work.

The cat tossed and turned endlessly in the pet carrier on the first leg of the flight to Paris.

She gave him a second tranquilizer for the final part of the trip from Paris to Istanbul and, again, it failed to work.

"It was about 2 a.m.

when we got to our apartment in Istanbul and got him out of the carrier," May Yuan said.

"There was a little step up into the bathroom.

Wawa put a paw on the step, his head down on his paw and shook his head."

"It was like he was saying, 'Where am I? What happened?' He could not comprehend the situation."

But the night was not over.

Around 6 a.m., the Darmers were awakened by strange noises.

"An African black scorpion had gotten under the front door and was trying to walk across the marble floor," Bill said.

"Wawa reached out with one paw and whacked it against the wall.

He did that five or six times and then we pushed the scorpion out the door."

Turkish food was wonderful and similar to Greek food, May Yuan said.

They had to observe some restrictions while in Turkey.

Women had to keep themselves fully covered in public, May Yuan said.

You also could not speak out against the Turkish government, Bill added.

"Every classroom has a picture of Otaturk, who is revered as the father of modern Turkey," May Yuan said.

"In their culture, he's similar to our George Washington."

Otaturk died in the 1950s and Turks commemorate the date of Oct.

10 and time of his death of 9:05 a.m.

each year, Bill said.

All traffic, vehicular and pedestrian, stops for 3-4 minutes of silence, he said.

The Darmers learned the basics of the languages in the countries in which they taught.

"We learned Swiss German in Switzerland," Bill said.

"There were 42 nationalities represented at the International School of Bern, which had about 280 students."

One of the dishes the Darmers enjoyed in Switzerland, where they spent three years, contained elk and deer meat prepared in wine sauce and served with egg noodles.

It was only prepared during the fall, Bill said.

Bill, who was born in Galesburg, Ill., and May Yuan, who was born on Taiwan, met in 1989 on the Navajo Indian Reservation in Window Rock.

They married in 1995.

They moved to Kingman in June 2001 from Robert's Cove, which is on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire in order to get back to the warmer southwest climate they both love.

Bill now teaches language arts and two search (gifted) classes at Kingman Junior High.

May Yuan teaches exceptional student services (special education) to fifth through eighth graders at Palo Christi Elementary School.

In their spare time, the Darmers like to hike, sample different foods and visit flea markets.

Neighbors is a feature that appears Monday in the Kingman Daily Miner.

If you have an interesting story you'd like to share, contact Terry Organ at 753-6397 ext.