10 Things I Love and Hate about Turkey

I’m taking the nod from Cheryl over at Four Camels and a Coffee to Go (which I recommend following) and doing a list of 10 things I love and hate… however, I think I will continue in her footsteps and keep this list to travel rather than a list of my general likes and dislikes- which you will eventually be able to make yourself due to my constant ranting!  So this list shall be entitled: 10 Things I Love and Hate about Turkey (including the process of going!), keeping it in line with the theme of my blog…and my life!  I think I may make a new list after living in Turkey for a few months…what do you think?

What I love about Turkey…

  1. I love when I speak Turkish and people understand me.  I’m still learning- but when I can converse with someone and we understand each other… SUCCESS!!!
  2. I love being near my in-laws.  I, for one, do NOT have a monster-in-law! I love my new mom and dad, and I am so happy to be able to be near them (not to mention, I can understand them better in real life than on skype…)
  3. Turkish food.  Turkish. Food. Turk-ish Food.  I think that goes without explanation.  How can you not LOVE a huge spread at breakfast time, making jams with your mom and grandma,  chowing down on a 1TL doner from a street window…
  4. Even before I converted to Islam, I loved the sound of Ezan (adhan, the call to prayer).  It’s something you’d have to experience in person. I can’t explain it.
  5. However, now that I am muslim, I very much look forward to the turkish bayrams and religious holidays.  Maybe it’s just me, but anything celebrated is better with family.  Since no one in my family is muslim, my hubby and I are basically left alone for the muslim religious holidays like Ramadan and Kurban.  I can’t wait to celebrate with family!!
  6. While this was on the list of hates for Cheryl’s blog, I have to bring it up.  I love Turkish toilets (aka squat toilets).  They take some getting used to, but it is far more hygienic than western toilets and you dont break your back trying to pull some hovering stunt.
  7. If you go anywhere in the middle east, you will know and share my love of pazars/ bazaars.  I greatly appreciate the availability of produce in Turkey, and I absolutely adore clothes shopping at large bazaars such as the one in Konak, Izmir. ❤ Give me some knock-off designer brands for 5$, I can totally live with that.
  8. I really love Turkish music and the style of turkish dancing and celebrations.  I had the pleasure of going to an engagement party and crashing a cousins wedding while in Turkey- and those people know how to partaaay!
  9. Coming from the US, there’s no question why I love the public transportation available in Turkey.  Who needs a car when you can find taxis, buses, trains, charter buses, and cheap flights anywhere in the country?
  10.  Lastly, being from a first world country, I love the cost of living in Turkey.  Homes are cheaper, food is cheaper, clothes are cheaper… I mean, not everyone has a car and an iphone, but once you get accustomed to the life style Turkey is pretty swell.

What I hate about Turkey…

Now it’s time to get down to the ugly side of things

  1. I hate, hate hate hate, hate. HATE. H-A-T-E dealing with the consulates/ gov’t officials!  In the effort to find out what Visa I need this time around, I am getting different answers from different places- when they actually feel like picking up.  Get it together, Turkey.  And I know that my future dealings with them will be just as joyous.
  2. Honestly, I hate flying.  Not all flying, but those long-haul flights of 10+ hours.  You know, when your feet start swelling, your legs start aching for a stretch, that guy in front of you thinks it’s okay to lower his seat into your space, and you are breathing in unfiltered germy, farty air.  uuuughhhhh!!!
  3. I really do hate the language barrier that I have to deal with at the moment.  It is hard to not be able to communicate with anyone.  While successful communication was my #1 love, not being able to communicate needs to be included on the hates list.
  4. I hate how people come over without calling ahead and want to oggle me.  Since I am a foreign bride, everyone wants to come see what’s up and how I am different.  But sometimes, you know, I need a heads up or just give me some space. Come on people.
  5. I hate that there is no AC, and Turkey can get hot.  I mean, some people have klimas (like a window AC unit), but regular AC is not the norm in Turkey.  Did I mention it gets hot?
  6. I hate the internet censorship!!  One of the websites I use for translations (seslisozluk.net) is banned in Turkey.  I don’t know why…and I’m sure everyone has heard about the censorship in Turkey on the news lately.  I don’t want to get into that just yet, because I want more information, but yeah, generally…boo.
  7. I hate living out of a suitcase.  While our return to Turkey will be different, the first few months will undoubtably be living out of a suitcase.  This situation isn’t unique to Turkey, but I’m still including it because it is my experience with Turkey.
  8. I hate not being independent.  This is really just a gut feeling to something that hasn’t necessarily happened yet.  I don’t like the idea of not being able to go out without my husband.  Not like Turkey is super dangerous, but I am going to get lost and my Turkish isn’t sufficient yet so…
  9. I hate being bored.  Again, I’m just reacting to a gut feeling.  Since I was in high school (7-8 years ago), I’ve always had a job, classes, or other things to do.  In Turkey…I won’t. Not for a while anyway.  On one side, it’s like the vacation I’ve always wanted…but it will definitely get old.  Hopefully my list of hobbies will keep me entertained.
  10. In the end, I hate being far from my birth family.  I don’t want to belittle the love I have for my in-laws, so I need to clarify birth family, since my married family is also important.  No matter where I am, I miss someone. That stinks.

As this started as a sort of chain-letter, I’m tagging everyone who reads this post and has a list they would like to share.  Please tag me in it so I can read it!  It can be any kind of loves/hates list- don’t limit yourself to my topic 🙂

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6 thoughts on “10 Things I Love and Hate about Turkey

  1. A great list which really does showcase the positives and negatives of living in a new country. I think once you get more of the language down, you will feel more independent and comfortable. Language has so much to do with it. Good luck with the government officials etc. as I am doubtful that will ever change! Happy travels, when they happen, Cheryl

  2. Hey, glad I found your blog. Ive lived in turkey for a year and a half . Spoiler alert: it SUCKS big time. Hoşgeldeniz, welcome to hell! Shoot me an email, would ya?

    1. I’m sorry to hear you don’t like it here 😦 it is definitely a huge change from Western countries…and if western is what you want you will indeed be disappointed. My contact info is available on another page on my blog if you want it 🙂

  3. Omg you forgot the overbearing old ladies who think they’re right about everything (and the fact that everyone puts up with it out of respect). I had this awful old landlady. She was constantly trying to take my keys from me so that SHE could let me into the apartment and lock me in at night, and barge in whenever she wanted. EVERY time (not an exaggeration) I left the house or came home she would stick her head out the window and either a. Ask what I was doing/where I was going (I go to the same place every day), b. Try to get me to pay one of HER bills, c. Complain about the fact that I still had my own keys and tell me that she wanted them. She was always shouting down at people from her balcony trying to control whatever it was they were doing. She also hated cats and would throw rocks at them. One time I complained to her son about her behavior, and he LAUGHED and said she was “just a charming old lady.” When I had had enough and was ready to move out and finally found a prospective tenant, she drove that tenant away with her overbearing craziness. Then she had the audacity to whine at me about how she “doesn’t know what to do about money now,” etc etc.

    My friend lives on the first floor of an Istanbul apartment building and complained to her landlord that kids constantly run through her garden. The noise was giving her headaches. The landlord told her to put up a stone fence until they could find a better solution. While my friend was putting the stones up, this old teyze who lives in the building told her that she “better not put the stones there” and that the children should “play freely.” My friend told the old woman that she had talked to the landlord and he had provided this solution. This was her property, after all. Then one day my friend came home from university and the old woman was TAKING THE STONES DOWN. When my friend told her she would put the stones back up no matter what, the teyze said “you’ll be sorry if you do.” What the hell????!!!! What does that even mean??? I’ve also had old women come up to me and straight-up ask me to give them my scarf, or my bag, or something. I hope that these are just isolated incidents and aren’t representative of old-ladydom in Turkey as a whole.

    1. Oh my word that is nuts!! I haven’t had that kind of experience per se, but I’ve experienced rudeness from some neighbors (like burning stinky stuff under our window) but Anne seemed as pissed as I was. Most of my old lady experiences were of the being given tea/coffee, goodies, etc variety. But being the foreign gelin gives you VIP treatment haha. I hope you have better experiences in the future!

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