Sunday, December 05, 2010

Home and Away

I make a point to not try and find the differences between my "new" home and my "old" home. You don't want to spend so much time finding differences that you fail to see the similarities. You also don't want to get so homesick that you don't enjoy the experience. So you have to stay positive and look for the good.

That being said, I can overlook most things. But there are a few things that I am just not sure I will get used to, no matter how long I live in Turkey. These include:

  • Techno music -- this is played everywhere. You know the song Dancing Queen? I heard it on some guy's cell phone ringer yesterday. And the ringer of a normal, everyday Turkish man. It is that type of music that is played everywhere in Turkey. Truly it's like the country is trapped in the 70's.
  • Bread -- While there are some fantastic pastries, the majority of bread is served very dry and very hard. In fact, bread will be served at dinner that is simply toasted but does not include any butters or oils. It's similar to how Nigeria eats their meat very chewy and dry. I'm not sure it is something I could ever get used to.
  • Garbage -- With two boys in diapers, we often have a need for garbage cans. But they are nearly impossible to find! In the U.S., for the most part, trash is a person's responsibility. At fast-food restaurants, you throw away your own food. Trash cans are everywhere. Here, trash seems to never be the person's responsibility. Other people pick up your trash. Littering is the norm. This is difficult to get used to. I'm not sure I ever can. There is also no recycling. Feels wrong every time I throw something away. But not sure what else I can do.
  • Lines -- It is hard, as an American, where lines are the norm, to release the need for people to wait their turn. Last night JB was waiting to order at a fast-food restaurant. A mother and son walked in and just walked right in front of him. Now, truthfully, the mom and so didn't see anything wrong with this. And it was not surprising when the person at the counter asked JB what he wanted next despite the fact that there was someone standing in front of him. Yesterday, I got in a crowd waiting for elevators. I was completely unable to determine where I was supposed to go or how I was supposed to wait. The Turks seemed to have a rhythm to their waiting, but I had no idea what it was. It's a fairly helpless feeling. You just have to be okay with being passed by in hopes that you will make it to the front at approximately the correct time. If you get frustrated by this, you'll go crazy!
  • Personal space -- We have unwritten rules regarding personal space in the U.S. So do the Turks. But I'm not sure what the Turkish personal space issues are. I was the only person on a narrow elevator so I stood in the back facing the middle. The door opened on a floor and another woman got on and she stood in the back right across from me, facing me. It made me feel very awkward. Men walk very closely together and will often be seen holding hands. It's quite different and difficult to get used to.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I remember for my birthday -my Indonesian friend took me downtown for icecream and window shopping -she held my hand as we walked and looked...i must have been the most tense person she ever did that with -but i felt the love...after 25 years i come home and realize the warmth of male and male friendships and female and female friendships was expressed very beautifully there --not sure i ever got used to it but miss it! I did in the village get used to the feeling of a girlfriend sitting on the step above me checking for a way to sit and relax together, and feel close! ;) tante Jan
PS I think i told you we got called into Eddies' preschool the year we were home because Eddie did not stand in line at the drinking fountain and just pushed in at the front of the line! I was told he acted like he was a little king there --well he was treated like a little king in Indonesia with his blonde hair and blue eyes -they loved him!