Sunday, May 14, 2006

First Impressions from Turkey

It has been 6 days since I came to Turkey. Even though I have been insisting that I have no adaptation problems, maybe there is. When I am out, there are way too many people than I am used to, and they all look like having a good time. People joke with each other all the time. Socializing is the number one goal in life! Jobs, obligations, paying bills, etc. are secondary. I have been trying to analyze people’s behaviors and try to generalize some of them. Before, I wouldn’t think that there were some common Turkish characteristics. Now I do! Everybody is so emotional; this is both negative and positive. Positive, because you feel like people have souls, I miss that in states, most of the time people look like robots to me. For instance, if you walk in to subway in US, you would not have any personal conversation with the salesperson. In Turkey, you do! And it is so natural. They can recommend you something for you good, or just chat about nothing spontaneously. You can be buddies with a person in this country in seconds. Now I understand and realize why I was being depressed back in States. I am a part of group culture. As much as I like being individual, that’s how I was raised. If we go back to Turkish characteristics, does not matter they are poor, rich, religious, not, young, old, educated, female, male, and any kind of profession, they talk a lot. They can comment about anything. Food and tea are so important. They don’t make plans, things just happen. Get ready for surprises. Everything and everybody is usually a bit late than planned. Traffic, too much talking, or just being laid back.

Everything looks funny to me. I look around as I am in zoo. When you get on the metro or bus in US you just keep quite and wait for your stop right? Here, everybody talks. About the new bridge being built, or the new government, or somebody’s husband cheating on wife or somebody graduating, buying a new car, anything, and anybody and always in an excited way. Wow, I realize I am such a Turk…


My mom says I am changed; she blames me by being too judgmental. I know I am but she does not see that it is a big change for me to be here in Turkey with a lot of Turks after spending 2 long years in States by myself without any Turks. I am more energetic now; I used to sit around a lot. Now I like doing stuff, organize, plan. I used to spend more time with friends than family, now I hardly want to see them. This is weird. I just want to be myself or family. I think it is just too much stimulation for my brain. Plus we went to Ankara, saw even more people, and came back today. I had a simple life in dc; it is going to take time.

Oh, the best thing, I have been constantly eating yummy food. As I said, it is the main purpose in life. I eat variety of things but I limit the amount.

My skin feels better, it feels and react to organics and nature right away.

Before I came. I wanted to go to bosphorus and taxim so bad, now I feel so good with my family I don t even wanna bother .funny.

I am not stressing out myself as I used to, I can’t find the reason I am just relaxed. No complaints. I didn’t miss anything not one thing about States yet. Just a few people. I want to go back to complete my education but there are also very good opportunities here I’d like to consider, we’ll see. It is early to say something.

One bad thing, people smoke a lot, that bothers me. Especially my parents smoke a lot and think it is normal. I am worried about their health.

There are things I am worried about in family that I don t want to get into now. Because I am happy to be here now, I don’t want to get depressed by thinking about issues that I can’t solve.



September, 1, 2005, Istanbul

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