Well, it’s been 6 months since I’ve been in Turkey… And they have been very difficult. Some of it is the adjustment factor, some of it is the great loss of independence, but a huge chunk of it has to do with the matter I keep alluding to but refuse to talk much about. Sorry about that, by the way…
The last time I wrote about Things I Love and Hate About Turkey, I was speaking from a memory that was made four years ago… And reasonable expectations of how things would go. Well, the veil has been lifted, and I must admit there are many things I either forgot about, or didn’t know, that would make the list now!
Therefore, I present to you, my 6 month revisit of the things I love and hate about Turkey (and I feel making it 6 things for 6 months is appropriate). I’m going to make this list a 3 and 3, just because that’s easier 😉
Sharing is caring, and in Turkey those are words to live by. I love how, if anyone buys any kind of goodie for themselves, they get enough to share.
One of my favorite things about Turkey is how people are incredibly hospitable. For example, whenever we go to visit neighbors- coffee and/or tea, plus some sort of snack, is definitely going to be provided. Even if you have to wait for a while when you go out for an errand that shouldn’t take long (getting pictures printed, going to the bank,etc), they will offer you a beverage to keep you comfortable. Nice!
So far, in my experience, Turkish people have been very friendly and generally nice. Our local cheese vendor, neighbor, doctor, bank associate, and others have all gone out of there way to show an interest in my husband and I, and our general happiness. Lots of hayirli(si) olsuns going around, and in the case of our elderly neighbor- blown kisses.
1. Lack of personal space
It’s like I wear a sign that says “please touch me, I don’t mind”. Or crowd the hell out of me. This really hit me when a stranger (female, of course. Men don’t get to touch random women without a big fight) walked up to me while I was at the ATM, and started adjusting my jacket hood without even speaking to me. Don’t touch me lady! I don’t know you! And I’m trying to handle private banking stuff here, back up! It’s bad enough when family does it, but complete strangers?
People aren’t people, actually. In reality, we are all only our political opinion. Even more, we all wear our opinions on our foreheads, and therefore whatever you think I believe must be true. Except… none of those things are true. In my experience, people here assume they know your politics just by looking at you (e.g. Head scarf means I’m politically conservative apparently) and will treat you differently based on their assumptions. They will even make your life measurably more difficult. Because people aren’t just people. That is not a thing.
3. Men vs women double standard
Even though this is also prevalent in American cultures, it can be even more pronounced here. Fortunately I don’t have to deal with this too much in Hubby’s immediate family, but his extended family and friends sometimes rub me the wrong way. I know it’s normal here, but I can’t help it! Women are expected to serve while men get the luxury of being serve… Get off your butt and do something yourself, jeez. Let me reiterate that this isn’t something I have to put up with (much).