While rocking together on a porch swing in the cool Mediterranean night, my husband turned to me and asked
How are you feeling about Turkey?
Naturally, my first instinct was to say “good!” but, I wanted to give a more detailed answer than that. Between jet lag and all of the running around we had been doing, I had been very tired recently and he was worried about how quiet I had been for the week we had been there- and that I hadn’t been my normal, bubbly self.
I assure you all, I am just exhausted.
But anyway, I started to really think about how I felt about Turkey. Really. And the word that kept coming to my mind was
But not different in a bad way, like how my mom uses it to describe food she doesn’t like…but different in a..different sort of way. I know you shouldn’t use the same word to define or describe a word, but there it is. Turkey is different than the US. It just is. If you come here looking for a western experience, you are going to be very disappointed. The traffic is different, the speaking is different, the way of showing affection is different, the buildings are different, the lifestyle is different… the only thing that isn’t different is that we all bleed the same blood. It is so different.
I can understand how culture shock could flatten a lot of people who aren’t prepared for this huge change. I suffered it myself the first time we came four years ago. Fortunately I know what to expect this time around, and have been mentally preparing myself for this change for several years. Also, I have the huge benefit of the love and support of family (in Turkey and back int he US) while I am here. That definitely helps take the edge off.
A bit of advice to those struggling with a culture adjustment- jump in with both feet and leave America (or wherever you are from) at the airport. Fighting against your new home will only make you miserable. Embrace it, enjoy it, and find the parts that give you comfort.
I hope it keeps working for me too :).