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.
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.
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!
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.
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.