‘That’s why I’m here’: Even with her much travels, Mrs. Z claims Auburn feels like property

There are a few constants when navigating Auburn’s campus: It will rain — a large

There are a few constants when navigating Auburn’s campus: It will rain — a large amount. There will be persons on the concourse making an attempt to get your interest. The Chick-fil-A will be active at lunchtime. When you walk into the Panda Specific, Mrs. Z will be there to greet you. 

Zeynep Bilgili, affectionately identified by her coworkers and frequent friends only as “Z,” has been a continuous existence at the campus Panda Specific because its 2010 opening. 

“I like to get the job done in the campus mainly because just about every day, I am observing the identical faces, and I know their orders most of the time,” Bilgili said. “I like to communicate to them, and they know me way too. It is form of pleasurable when I see them every day. 

Bilgili moved from Turkey to the United States with her household when she was only 19 decades outdated. 

She has lived in Auburn considering the fact that then, and she mentioned it was an adjustment to go from dwelling in the major town of Istanbul to the Plains. Nevertheless, Bilgili explained she has come to appreciate dwelling in this sort of an “easy metropolis,” where by her commute to operate will take only 20 minutes, somewhat than the three hrs it would acquire in Istanbul traffic. 

“I definitely like to be in Auburn,” she explained. “I do not want to go to Atlanta, or to the big town. I am feeling that I am protected in Auburn.”

Bilgili has a degree in tourism and hotel administration, and she has worked in the food items business for more than 15 several years, each in and out of the U.S.

She mentioned that she has frequently labored two or a few work at a time.

Now Bilgili works primarily at the campus Panda Categorical, but she also performs at the Opelika store on weekends. She mentioned she once in a while also supports the Montgomery and Columbus, Georgia merchants. 

“Last Might I opened the Opelika retail store,” she claimed. “Opening is kind of tough because you have to get anything, and you have to find the new associate [manager] and the new prepare dinner. … But it was enjoyable for the reason that it was my very first opening for a retailer.” 

Bilgili and her partner Ilker, or “Ike” for brief, have two youngsters — 10-calendar year-aged Lara and 7-calendar year-outdated Maya. 

She explained one particular of the reasons she enjoys her campus occupation is that it lets her far more time with her family. The campus Panda Specific frequently closes before than off-campus destinations, and the University’s summer months and winter breaks let Bilgili time to vacation with her loved ones, from time to time to see her extended relatives in Turkey. 

“Before COVID, we traveled a lot, truly,” she claimed. “Every break or every single vacation, we want to go somewhere. I’ve been to New York I have been to Las Vegas I have been to Florida. I also like road visits.” 

The shorelines in Turkey are attractive in the summertime, she mentioned. 

While she loves the flexibility to vacation, Bilgili reported her preferred component of her work is forming connections with the learners she sees each day. 

“I like to be with the pupils,” Bilgili explained. “They are sharing with me almost everything, like, ‘Oh, I’m going to graduate this year,’ or, ‘My loved ones is coming to city.’ I like to be section of them. If a thing fantastic is going on in their existence, they are telling me.”

Her position at Panda Specific has authorized her to hook up with college students with whom she has managed friendships more than the many years, some of them also from Turkey. Getting to know her visitors — and not just their orders, but their lives — is what would make Bilgili’s get the job done satisfying. 

“That’s why I’m listed here,” she explained. 

Karon Martin, Bilgili’s coworker at Panda and one more familiar face to several college students, has recognized her for pretty much five a long time. 

“She can recall so lots of people’s orders,” Martin reported. “She’s own with the friends.” 

Even when the Panda Categorical is busy, he explained, the ambiance that Bilgili supplies is exciting and even peaceful. He explained her as amusing as well, something her regulars and buddies like about her. 

Bilgili and Martin expressed their thanks to both equally Panda Express and to Aramark, but more especially to their friends. 

“We love Panda, and we adore you,” Martin explained, laughing.