Reverse Culture Shock? 

I have great news! 

Finally! 

I’ve bought my plane ticket to go home this summer! After two years, I finally will step foot on American soil, and I will tread it for two months (insallah). 

Let’s skip the political drama and go straight to the fear of reverse culture shock. A term for when you’ve been out of your own culture so long, when you return you experience a shock as if it were foreign. 

 I’ve read that culture shock comes in three stages. 

First, the honeymoon stage. Everything is sunshine and rainbows, and butterflies fly out of every crevice you can find. I personally call this the vacation stage. Where all the new things are exciting and you just gobble it up. This is very well documented at the beginning of my “in turkey” posts. 

Second comes the homesickness. The feeling of vacation has worn off because you’ve been away from your country long enough that you must put down your roots here. This is when the every day convenience of knowing- you know- everything, becomes glaringly obvious. You never even realized how something as reactive as checking out in the grocery store line was until you are forced to do it in a country where you barely understand the language and don’t recognize the money. You’re frustrated and angry. This is also pretty well documented on my blog. 

The final stage, much like the stages of grief, is acceptance. You accept your new home for what it is. That some things are good, some things are bad, but you are able to function and generally have a life. It’s gonna take many years to get to the comfort of your own country, but it’s a process. 

I guess that’s where I am? I don’t know. But that brings up the issue of reverse culture shock. 

Now that I’ve basically adjusted to Turkey, will America be the same as I remember it? Or will my Turkish tinted goggles make everything look different? Again not getting too deep into the politics, but will things be harder for me as a hijabi than they were before (side note: it was easier in America when I left than it is now.)?

Since I came to Turkey I’ve become more patriotic. I wave my invisible American flag and recite the national anthem every Friday after school (right after the Turkish one is recited at school).  Every time someone does something ridiculously Turkish I roll my eyes and say “no one would do that in America”.

Maybe I’m a stick in the mud for Turkey, but I am how I am and I prefer my interactions as I prefer them. 

But what if America isn’t the way I remember it? What if I have nowhere to aspire to anymore…

The thought makes my stomach hurt.  

Advertisements

Teachers Day

My first Teachers Day (Turkish observed) was Thursday! 

It happened to fall on Thanksgiving! And TEOG (a national placement test for 8th graders),  so I had a short holiday Wednesday and Thursday.  

Typically students give gifts to their teachers as a thank you for all they do.  Sometimes it’s just flowers, and sometimes it’s some niiiiiice stuff.  One teacher got a tea cup set from English Home! Dang! 

Of course I got a whole lot of nothing.  Not even a flower! Since parents don’t get to meet the native teachers we don’t really count… İ cant lie,  I was a bit sad when everyone else was being lavished with gifts while I sat in the teachers room all by my lonesome.  

Since we don’t celebrate teachers day in the US it shouldn’t make me sad.  But what can I do? 

At least the school gave us gift boxes! 
We also were treated to a night out at a fancy hotel on Tuesday.  Service took us from the school in the evening and we enjoyed a social evening of dancing, eating, and (for everyone else) drinking! 

I was sick but tried to make the most of it. 

But in all honesty, I was in it for the sales! Every shop had a special teachers day campaign. I got new shoes and replaced some of my makeup that I was scrapping the bottom of the bottle for. 

But no matter what, Thanksgiving was on my mind. We again couldn’t do anything because of our living situation… And it’s making me homesick. 

The Obligatory Election Post

As an American blogger (particularly  an expat one) , I’m required to post about the election this week. 

Am I scared? Some. 

Am I angry? A bit. 

Am I disappointed ? Yes. 

Am I surprised? Not really. 

I mean, after the initial shock,  I sighed and shook my head.  America has always had an unfortunate undercurrent of all the -isms . . . Racism, sexism, exceptionalism , and a number of phobias and bigotry.  I’m a big girl and I can acknowledge our downfalls as a nation. 

At first I thought that these election results meant that these horrible things had reached a majority and were socially acceptable now. I was even worried about my own safety when I return home this summer. But then I talked to some people who voted for trump. They didn’t vote for him because they agree with him, they did it because they hate Hillary and the current system.  So instead of being directly terrible, some people just lack empathy and are a bit ignorant to the concerns of the minority. 

It’s better than being hateful. . ? 

So I have hope still that my country won’t fall into total disrepair.  Will there be setbacks? I think so. But hopefully we won’t crash and burn.  

Now it’s up to the rest of us to kick into high gear, write our representatives , and keep up to date on every bit of legislation that comes across the executive desk. Make our voices heard.  We are not a nation of jerks . We are just angry. 

I am American,  hear me roar. 

Happy Turkey Anniversary to Me! (a.k.a 12 Things I Love and Hate About Turkey) 

Well well.  How time does fly. And what a busy week of celebrations!

As of right now, it has been exactly one year since we touched down in Turkey!

We came with so many expectations- none of which actually happened.  I’ve also improved my Turkish dramatically (I now know to say nasip değilmiş to my previous statement), and I think I’ve had about as many culture shocks as I’m going to have.  But that remains to be seen I suppose…

Am I home sick? Of course. When your past 25 years were spent (for the most part)   in one culture/on continent,  you’re going to miss what once was.  But I’m not losing any sleep over it/crying over it. Hell, even hubby is “homesick”  for America, and he only spent 8 years there. But after its been a bit longer, I’ll probably be missing Turkey whenever I go home to the states.

Anyway, here are 12 things I love and 12 things I hate about Turkey, now that I’ve had a year to let it all sink in.  I reserve the right to recycle concepts from my previous love/hate lists here and here, since it’s been a year! Keep in mind, some of these things may be unique to Izmir (but I wouldn’t know, since I’ve only lived there!)

I love…

1. The food/ food culture!  No matter where you are from, you can’t deny that Turkish food is on point.

2. Pazar.  We have something similar in the US (farmers markets and flea markets), but the Turkish Pazar is on a whole different level.  Check out my descriptions of pazars and pazar etiquette here.

3. Celebrations.  Ain’t no party like a Turkish party, ‘cuz a Turkish party don’t stop! The last Turkish celebration  I went to was a wedding, and I had an amazing time! The dancing, the singing, the laughing when my hubby tried to do some traditional Turkish dancing… It was great.

4.  The cost of living.  Compared to the US, the cost of living is quite low. But the standard of living is also lower. Food, clothes (from the pazar), and non – electric things tend to be pretty cheap.

5. Public transportation. This may vary in different cities, but the public transportation in Izmir is top notch. I can get anywhere without a car (which is good for me, since I never got my drivers license changed and I can’t drive stick anyway).

6. Turkish hospitality. Despite the drama, Turks are very nice.  They are always eager to give you something and provide you with lots of snacks and goodies. You will never be hungry or thirsty if a Turk is around!

7. Ice cream.  I don’t know why, but the ice cream here is better.  I think it has more vegetable oil in it, but I like it better.  Even the ice cream from Burger King or McDonalds is superior in my opinion. In the states, I could barely consume a small milkshake, but here?  Give me the large. Hell, give me two! Maybe they aren’t as sugary? I’m not sure…

8. Fruit juice options.  This may seem silly, but I am all about the fruit juice here.  There are so many (cheap!) options that are very good.  I remember trying to find a decent juice in the US that didn’t taste like the watered down version of whatever I bought.  Plus there were like, 100 orange juice options and almost nothing else.  Here? Peach juice, sour cherry juice, apricot juice, ATOM (the best mixed juice ever in LIFE), and then the standard orange, grape, apple… And I personally reach for the nektari (nectar/thick juice).

9. Snacks. Speaking of consumables, Turks know how to make a good cookie/biscuit/ snack.  The chip flavors here are so good!! Not to mention the dozens upon dozens of cookie/biscuit types that I consume like an addict.  Again, in the states cookies were just too sweet and I almost never bought them.  Here? Come at me with that Eti Cin, Yulafli biskuvi, bademli kurabiye…I’m waiting!

10. Rules don’t apply.  This can be good or bad, but for the most part it has benefited me since I’ve gotten here.  In Turkey, rules can be applied very unevenly, at the whim of whomever you are dealing with. This can make your life easier or harder, but so far it’s been easier for me.  I like how I know that no matter what rule comes my way, I know I can wiggle out of it if I try hard enough (yes, this even applies to the government).

11. Haggling.  Haggling here is a way of life.  You are expected to do it, be it at the pazar or at a job interview for a better salary.  I appreciate the fact that it isn’t taboo.

12. Majority Muslim population. I like how I blend in here as a hijabi.  With the majority of Turkey being Muslim, I don’t have to worry about being singled out like I do in America. If you’ve seen my previous posts, I’m not one to apply religion to politics and what not.  Hell, how I practice Islam is often pretty different from how people here do…but I do appreciate how I remain anonymous in a crowd.

I hate…

1. Nosey nosey nosey neighbors. Or should I say,  nosey everybody? It doesn’t matter if it’s the corner store owner down the street or the family friend of xyz years.  Every dang body thinks they need to know all about your business. To the point where you rethink leaving the house if someone is on the street.

2. Not using brand names. Ok, so I’m American. In America we call thinks by the brand name most of the time (honey, I need a Kleenex. Hey can you get some Fanta and Lays? We are running out of chlorox!). Not so in Turkey. Just the other day I asked for sarıkız (a soda), and the cornerstore owner had no idea what I was talking about.  I pointed to it and he said “oooo you mean soda”.  No,  I don’t mean soda! I mean sarıkız! I dont want Uludağ.  I don’t want sırma. I want sarıkız! Ugh! This leads to a lot of confusion, especially when I can’t remember the general term for something (like a cleaning product) but only remember it by the brand name!

3. Family-centric culture.  I’m about to sound like a terrible person, but I’m going to be real with yall. I love my family (Turkish and otherwise).  I like to be around them and do things with them… To an extent.  What I don’t like is when people get offended when you just want to do your own thing. Or when they think they have a right to make your life decisions for you. I miss the level of independence from family that is normal in America.

4. The cost of electronics.  In a world where computers and smartphones are considered a luxury.. You’re going to cry when you see the bill after purchasing something as small as a clothes iron or coffee machine. For example, a standard iron (like a sunbeam brand one) can cost upwards of 70₺. A basic coffee machine with nothing more than an on button can cost 100₺, let alone one with a timer.  Basically anything with a plug is prohibitively expensive.

5. Being unable to communicate. While I am perfectly capable of getting around, buying these at the shops, and haggling at the pazar, I still can’t fully communicate. There are some complex concepts (like emotions), and other topics that require a delicate tongue.  When I’m upset, I can’t explain why to someone who doesn’t speak English without sounding like an idiot. If I want to have a stimulating conversation, it certainly won’t be in Turkish.  I want to be able to express myself to those around me, beyond simple daily tasks! But sometimes it’s better that I don’t speak Turkish so well, since some things I’m thinking are better left unsaid….

6. Still not being independent. It’s been a year and I still haven’t achieved the level of independence I had in the US. Some of it comes from culture, some comes from my inability to pass my plateau of Turkish language, and some comes from my own fear to continue to push my current the boundaries.  Certainly this will improve in time, but for now I hate it.

7. Being sweaty…all the time.  Being sweaty is basically a part of life in Turkey.  Even though I lived in Florida and South Carolina (both hot and humid states), AC/”klima” are a common fixture in my country.  Every house has central heat and air, the buses and other transportation are nearly refrigerated, and you need to carry a jacket in the summer for the rooms you will be in.  But in Turkey? Nah, man. I have never seen central air, only the window units (klima), and even those aren’t always available. With the massive amount of public transportation/ walking comes massive amounts of sweating.  You need to get used to it.

8. Lack of deodorant.  I think this is an issue more for the older generation, who uses “kolonya” (a scented alcohol rub thing.  Its not like cologne as we call it).  Combine being sweaty/hot with not using deodorant…and in most public places, there is a horrendous body odor.

9. The cost of meat.  It’s just…insane. Compared to the comparatively cheap cost of meat in the states.  Fortunately I’m a “zeytin yagli“(olive oil based food) kind of person 😉 so it isn’t that big of a deal I guess…but I find it hard to make some of my favorite things.  On that note…

10. Lack of other culture’s foods.  Where’s my chinese? Japanese sushi? Italian? Mexican? When you do find foods that aren’t Turkish, they are crazy expensive!  All you can eat sushi for 60TL?  When I used to eat it for 12$? Are you insane?

11. Franchises are NOT the same. When I roll up to a Burger King, McDonalds, or Dominos, I expect the food to be as it was in the states (since these are American franchises). NOPE.  The menus aren’t even the same! So when I get that hankering for something familiar…tough luck.

12. Culture clashes.  As much as I try to adjust my expectations, there are just some cultural differences that I can’t get over yet.  For example, women are expected to take a (in my opinion, EXTREME) service role in the house, particularly for guests.  To a point where, in the US, it’s considered rude/degrading to be expected to do what you are doing. This wasn’t a problem at first, because I was foreign.  But after a year, I’m not foreign anymore…and these expectations are falling on me.  Maybe I’m just too prideful, but I very much struggle to meet the societal expectations here.  Fortunately, my husband doesn’t put them on me.  And when we get to move out, we will have more control.  But for now? ugh.

 

What a Difference Coffee Makes

I want to take a second to really focus on something that may sound dumb.  Something I said before, but may have sounded like an off-the-cuff kind of thing.  Like a joke. But it wasn’t a joke. It isn’t.  It’s very, very real.

Coffee (finding the Holy Grail) has changed my life.

 To many people, that probably sounds really really dumb.  Like, come on girl, it’s just coffee.

But is it?

Is it just coffee?

Is it just coffee, or is it reclaiming something from a previous culture that I thought I lost?  Is it one small comfort that had been a routine in my life for over 10 years, that I had to give up during one of the most difficult challenges I have had to face?  Is it, perhaps, a little piece of home that has brought me a little more sanity?

 It’s all of those things, and so much more.

For people who have had to make a huge life adjustment, like moving to a new (and very different) country (or maybe town), you know what I’m talking about.  There’s little things that you may or may not have known were important to you in your old life, that you suddenly don’t have anymore.  Maybe it’s that specific brand of cookie, a lotion that you love, or a special place you liked to go during your free time. But now, it’s not there. On top of the struggle of giving up the life you knew, and shaped, for the last (however many) years you’ve been on this earth… you lost your security blanket too.  That thing that helped keep you grounded, regardless of what you’d been going through.  Something that was always there.

 After  while, you get used to its absence. You’ve gotten past it.  That was part of your old life, and you don’t need it now.

But then…then it’s back.

You have it again!

And you realize you didn’t really get used to it. You hadn’t gotten past it at all.

And slowly, things start feeling more normal.  You start to own the life you have now, instead of just getting through it on a daily basis.  You look forward to the next morning again, because, even if you don’t have anything to do (for now)- you have a cup of coffee to enjoy in the morning.

And for me, that’s enough.

Next on the list? Getting our own apartment, maybe learning how to drive stick, putting myself out there (friend wise)…

But I’ll do all that after my first cup.

With coffee to start my day, I can do anything.

American Things I Took For Granted…

In all of my excitement to move to Turkey eventually, there were a lot of things about the US I took for granted.

Some things I didn’t take for granted, but I still miss them dearly and wish I would have enjoyed them more when I was there.

Sure,  several of these things are still doable/available in Turkey,  but not at the same level of ease/confidence/etc that they were before.  You don’t know what you have until it’s gone!

1. Filtered coffee

If you haven’t noticed my lamenting on Instagram, my supply of filtered coffee is hard to come by.  I miss being able to walk into ANY grocery store and find a dozen different coffee options… Being able to buy a half decent coffee machine on the cheap! It’s basically a God given right in the US to have coffee.  But here? It’s kind of an elitist beverage and it’s expensive when you do find it!

2. Driving

I guess I could drive in Turkey, but I would probably die. People here drive like the rules don’t apply to them (which I guess they don’t, since the cops seem to be pretty “whatever”  as long as there isn’t an accident).  Walking and public transportation is fun, don’t get me wrong, but I would like the option to comfortably drive if I wanted to.

3. Etiquette

You don’t even realize how ingrained your behaviors are until you have to monitor them.  There are so many social norms in America culture that could get you in trouble in Turkey.  I took having an automatic APPROPRIATE response for granted!!

4. Walmart (and other stores)

I miss how, in the most part, goods in the US have specific stores to shop at that are basically everywhere.  Walmart, Ross, grocery chains, Target, and Best Buy for example.  I still haven’t found a mouth guard in Turkey and I’ve been looking for months!!! Where is Walmart when you need it?!  While the specialty shops here are “cute”,  ain’t nobody got time for running all over the city looking for one specific item!

5. Knowing the value of something

Because I grew up in America (and lived on my own for 6 years), I’ve come to learn the value of things.  Tomatoes by the pound, notebooks, jeans, toilet paper,  you name it.  I know what it should cost.  I’m sure it helps that I’ve worked in retail for a long time too.  But in Turkey? I’m just starting to figure it out.  Is ₺25 appropriate for this item? Hell if I know! My husband doesn’t even know the answer anymore! This makes it hard to buy things on my own.  For all I know,  a better deal is right around the corner.

6. Living On Our Own

This is one of those things I knew I would miss, but had no idea at the time it would be this bad. We had thought that we would have everything ironed out and be on our own in 6 months… Well, we are rolling up on month 10 and yet there is no end in sight.  I can’t believe I miss our tiny one bedroom apartment with all of two sticks of furniture in it!

7. Multicultural food

In Turkey you get Turkish food. And Turkish food.  And Turkish food. What’s a girl got to do to get a taco up in here?!  I would kill for some lo mein,  sushi, or a tuna sub from subway! Maybe you can find these things in Turkey, but they are NOT the same!  Not to mention other staples like a good chipotle salsa or sour cream!

Coming soon… Things that are better in Turkey than America!

 

 

Life Decisions

Whyyyyy is life so hard?!

Read that in the whiniest voice imaginable,  and that’s basically been me for the last week.

Let me give you a little back story:

So,  I applied for an office job I saw on kariyer.net (along with a slew of other jobs) that requested a native English speaker for a job handling paperwork and phone calls that are all coming in in English. 

Well,  I got an interview!

Then I got an offer!!

But it’s not as easy as that.  There’s a lot of pros and cons to this job,  which is making it really hard to decide to take it or not.  I’m already dragging my butt producing the necessary documents for a work visa so I can get some advice from other expats here, and other people familiar with this place.

First off,  let me clarify again that I am living with my in laws and we (hubby and I) have no income.  Due to the drama in our lives,  it’s possible hubby won’t be able to work for a few months or even more than a year.  So… Yah.  Pressure. Even though no one is asking me to work or provide for us, I put it on myself.

Let me lay out why this decision is so hard. Let’s start with the cons. I mean,  there are more pros than cons,  but the cons are pretty big.

CONS

1. Commuting
Always a big issue with jobs in large cities… The commute and the cost thereof.  This job is minimum 1hr away,  and the commute is completely by metro (subway style, but above ground.  What else do you call that?).  From my door to the metro is 5 minutes,  and from the metro to the office door is 5 minutes,  but the rest is in a slam packed cabin.  Standing room only (plus a change in trains at one stop).  The cost comes to 100tl per month, not to mention having to get up extra early and come home kind of late.

2. The pay
While the pay isnt terrible, it’s not great.  Gone are the dreams of making big money based on being american/native English speaker.  Yes,  as a private school teacher you can make a nice profit, but these jobs are neither long term nor terribly legitimate (I. E. The working conditions can be bad,  some legal corners can be cut, and other things that are a smidgen sketchy). And I think you recall the hijab problem I blogged about before. But anyway,  the job pays 2.5k a month,  which is not bad but also not as much as someone like me could potentially make.  That’s where things get confusing, because a lot of our expectations are based on rumors and stories, not directly from the horses mouth,  so to speak. While half of this camp says that is a severe devaluing of my abilities, others say I should jump on it because it’s the upper bracket for such positions.

3. Taxes
I have to pay taxes on income to the US ;( boo.

4. Locked Contract
With the work contract, I’ll be locked in for a year. If any better opportunities come along, I’ll be out of luck until the contract expires.

PROS

1. Getting out of the house
A stupid pro according to my husband, but an important one to me. I need to get out of this house! I need to be productive! I need to have something else to do than stare at a blank wall and work as a maid all day! Even my mother in law agrees with this.

2. Good working conditions (or so it appears?)
One of the big red flags I’ve been hearing from other expats is the big discrepancy between US and Turkish working conditions. Since I haven’t had any experiences myself, I’ll let you Google some horror stories (or tell yours in the comments!). But anyway, as far as this office goes… Everyone speaks English (well, but not fluent), the hours are fair with a little leeway for tardiness (9am to 5.30p, but if you are 10 or 15 min late it’s ok because my commute is long), no weekends EVER, clean and modern working space. Oh, and a coffee machine.

3. The pay
While I said the pay isn’t great, it’s also not bad. In any case, it’s a hell of a lot more than 0tl a month, or even worse, spending from our savings (which we’ve been doing since we got here).

4. Additional opportunities
This position gives me the chance to travel internationally on the company’s dime. Plus I’ll be in contact with people that often request private English tutoring (for which I am able to provide with pure profit to me). Oh, and from what I’ve been told, I can take a Turkish course through the company for free for one hour during work hours.

5. Insurance
They pay my insurance (and I think hubby gets added under me as well), which means no more monthly fee for us!

6. Financial freedom, Socialization, and independence
Both scary and exciting… If I have a Monday through Friday job, that means I’ll have to go out into this country alone. Travel by myself. Actually be part of this country. That’s both terrifying and exhilarating. At some point I need to stop being a tourist and start being a citizen (which I’ll be applying for in May İnşallah). Going hand in hand with that, I will need to get a phone, be social with my coworkers, and make some friends (İnşallah. At the very least be a pleasant coworker). Actually, you know, live a normal life for once.

So this is where I’m at. Do you see the conundrum here? While I would be perfectly happy to take a job much closer to home… One in the hand is worth two in the bush, am I right? Personally, I’m leaning towards taking it… But my worrying husband is less excited. I’m waiting on a bit of information from a friend to help seal the deal.

What do you think I should do?

The hunt for the Holy Grail

Since I’ve come to Turkey I’ve been on the hunt for the Holy Grail.  My Holy Grail isn’t so much about the cup, but what’s in it.

I’m talking about coffee (no surprise there)!

coffee

I thought it would be fun to share the hunt with you guys,  and maybe it’ll help other expats who are having coffee withdrawals.

So,  I’m planning on having at least 3 installments, comparing instant coffee brands,  Turkish coffee brands, and finally,  filtered coffee brands (most likely Cafe brewed,  because I’m not willing to drop the kind of money a coffee machine is here).  I didn’t think it was fair to compare different coffee types to each other,  since it is kind of an “apples to oranges”  scenario.  I will,  however, give my overall favorite across the board.  Lastly,  I want to rate the coffee on a scale from 0 to 10 based on smell,  taste, and texture.

First,  let me describe my ideal coffee.  As anyone in a predominantly coffee drinking country knows, everyone has different ideas of the perfect cup! For me, I prefer a medium roasted filtered coffee (a slight bitter taste in the back of the tongue, but not overpowering), with a slightly creamy and smooth texture from half and half.  I do like my coffee slightly sweet (two spoons of sugar in a large “American cup”) but not dessert-like.  I’m always down for additional flavorings, particularly nutty (hazelnut, almond,  pecan,  etc) and sweet (vanilla, mocha, white chocolate,  etc).

I expect the first installment will be INSTANT,  and I hope to have it ready by next week.

If anyone has any suggestions,  let me know!

Turkey 315: Cultural sayings, session 2

It was my husband’s idea to continue this segment of Turkey Lessons indefinitely, and I will probably make a new sub-category for it. This idea arose when I was listening to the song Bangır Bangır by Gülşen.  Fair warning- great song, crap video IMO.  If I wanted to watch scantily clad ladies twerking, I’d watch an American video.  But that’s just me 😉

Anyway, I listened to the song, filled in the lyrics, and found a few things I didn’t understand the translation of.  That’s when hubby said that I should put such things on my blog, that many other (american) English speakers may run into these cultural differences as well.  Here are three that he had to explain to me (two are from the song- do you hear them?)

Gül gibi- like a rose

Turkish meaning: something that is nice/enjoyable/lovely.  For example, if hubby is watching a movie and I come in and bother him, he may say to me “Babe, I was watching this movie gül gibi…why are you bothering me?”

American meaning:  Like a rose also means lovely, but usually we refer only to women in that way. You can’t perform an action that is “like a rose” in (american) english, unless you are being quite directly figurative.  E.g. She pricked me, like a rose.  Meaning, the girl is likely both beautiful and also “thorny” in her actions.  Turkish isn’t limited to such direct meanings.

Havalanmak- to hover

Turkish meaning: Besides actual hovering, figuratively hovering means to have an elevated sense of self worth. Be stuck up/ full of one’s self.

American meaning: Again, besides the literal meaning, hovering usually means to stick close to someone.  A lot of times this is used to intimate that the hovering person either doesn’t trust the person who they are hovering over (in romantic relationships), or they are very controlling/worrying (parents).

Güven vermek- to give trust

This one is particularly confusing for me, because the use of this verb is opposite in American English and Turkish. For the sake of the explanation, let’s refer to the person who is actively trusting as the truster, and the person who is being trusted is the trustee (because objects, direct objects, etc are just no fun).

Turkish meaning:  In Turkish, the trustee “gives trust” to the truster.  Effectively meaning that giving trust, in Turkish, means doing something that indicates trusting the trustee is a good idea. E.g. I  give trust to my manager when I give them a full write up of the project.

American meaning:  In American English, however, it is the truster who gives trust to the trustee. Normally in English you can get away with simply saying they “trust” rather than “give trust”, but you can say “give” to make the sentiment stronger. E.g. Your friend must give you a lot of trusttrust you a lot if she co-signs your apartment with you.

So,  hopefully, I will have many sessions of Turkey 315: cultural sayings in the future.  Let me know if you like this idea!  As I said before, figuring out how to speak culturally rather than directly translating is one of the key (and hardest) parts of becoming fluent in a language.  Drop a comment below if you have a few cultural sayings you’ve figured out that you want to include!

Baby Steps AKA: What sucks (initial months)

The full title of this post should be “Baby Steps AKA: What sucks about moving to a country that doesn’t speak your language (the initial three months experience)”, but I thought that would be way too bulky a title and clutter up my blog space.

I know I’ve been singing the praises of Turkey and showing all of the good times I’ve been having (the best that I can while remaining anonymous), but there are some difficulties to moving to a new country…particularly one where the main language is not your own (or close to it- but the alphabet is almost the same so I guess that’s a win).  I like to think of the “learning curve” I’ve been experiencing as baby steps…both, because you learn things slowly and in small pieces, and because I feel like I’m two years old.

DSCN2986

There are so many aspects of living in Turkey that I didn’t even think of that could become a hurdle for me to overcome.  Going from 25 years old and managing my own house (apartment…shack…cardboard box.) and holding down a job/academic career to being basically a child who can’t work or speak or really do much of anything without assistance is quite difficult.  No, it’s freaking hard. FRICKIN’ HARD (read with a southern accent).

These are a few things that I have been having to learn from the beginning. AGAIN.

Language

Honestly, this is a no brainer, and I was pretty prepared for it.  I knew that there was going to be a language barrier- especially when it comes to speaking culturally.  Even with the vocabulary and grammar understanding of a five year old, I’m managing alright.  The hardest part, really, is that some things don’t translate directly from English to Turkish.  For example-  you don’t take a picture, you pull a picture.  Yeah, I know it seems so weird- but if hubby can overcome these obstacles going from Turkish to English, I can too!

Cooking

If you have perused my recipe tag at all, you will know that I am no novice in the kitchen.  I’m not a supreme chef, but I can cook.  However, everything in Turkey is different.  I’m really struggling to adjust to propane ranges rather than electric.  When I first came, I was scared to even turn the things on.  I lean slightly towards being a pyrophobe- no thanks to the ubiquitous stories we are told as children of people burning their faces off with propane tanks/stoves, in an attempt to make us careful.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then I’m sorry, but your parents don’t love you.

Along with the methods of cooking, the spices, I swear, are different.  Is there an enhancer in American salt? I know I should know this already since I’m a food science major- but I focused more on microbiology than production.  Here, I have to use a pound of salt where I used to use a pinch (slightly hyperbolic, but it feels that way). Also, most of the spices Anne uses are freshly ground, so the taste is different.

I used to be able to cook up a breakfast, lunch, and dinner like a pro- but now…I poke around and help where I can.  And some people here are picky… Sometimes, I feel useless.

Laundry

Even the washing machines here were a conundrum to me! They are not the same!  If you are accustomed to a front loading washing machine with buttons for temp/cycles/ etc then you would be fine- but I’m a good ol’ southern gal who uses top loaders with a dial.  While I have now gotten the hang of the washing machine- it is still something Anne does most of the time, because I just don’t know what I’m doing…

And also, drying machines aren’t a thing.  I think this is the case for most of Europe though.  Did you know there is a technique to hanging clothes on a line? Yeah, I didn’t either.  I’m still trying to figure that out.

Those are just a few things for now.  Grocery shopping, hosting, and cleaning the house are a few others that I haven’t written here…maybe another post.  I often feel like a burden on the family- like a useless little girl that doesn’t know how to be an adult.  Especially since brides/daughters play a big role in the upkeep of the house. I really can’t explain how hard it is to go from a card carrying adult to a child.  I really can’t. It’s just something you have to experience.

Fortunately, I have a very patient mother-in-law who doesn’t hesitate to help me, and also accepts my poor attempts at assistance when I offer them.

#expat problems