Updates, impressions and other stuff

I have to tell you that life is so different now that I have my apartment.  I’m starting to feel like I have roots.  I’m getting to know my neighborhood, how to find transportation, where to buy things, etc.  For the first time since arriving, I feel like I can make it here.  I was talking about culture shock this past Saturday night with a new American friend, Matt (thanks David for the intro!), and how having your own place was essential.  Every time I step out the door, life gets confusing – not being able to read signs, having every “conversation” through pantomime and sound effects, wondering if I’m offending someone, etc.  So, having a haven is important.  It’s mine, it’s safe, and I understand it.  Well, to be honest, I haven’t figured out the dishwasher yet (it’s all in Turkish!) but I’m getting there.  Ha!

The apartment is being completely refurbished by my landlords, and is almost completely done.  I moved in a little early because of the whole” homeless situation”…so as soon as it’s done, I’ll post pictures.

Went to Ikea this weekend.  Yep, there’s one here.  Actually, two – one on the European and one on the Asian side.  It’s huge, and looks just like the one at home.  Picked up some essentials and a few pretty little things to help personalize my place a bit.

Tonight I’m going to an event organized by Internations – an online community of global thinkers.  The website has been a real help to me, and I’m looking forward to putting faces to names, making new friends, and finding possible job leads.  What I really like about this community is that it’s not just expats – it’s also Turkish people.  A nice mix.

A few other things:

  • Went to a bar called Belfast Pub this weekend.  Ironically, there are no Irish beers on the menu, but they apparently have quite the St. Patrick’s Day celebration, with green beer and all.  Also,  I had tavuk (chicken) fajitas that were actually decent.  No cheese, not much spice, but hey, decent!
  • There’s a dry cleaner across from my apartment, run by this old man who gives me the biggest smile every time he sees me.  Yesterday, he called me in so he could give me a hazelnut cookie.  Sweet.
  • Another neighbor (I think) sort of yelled, or lectured at me yesterday.  Hard to tell since she was speaking Turkish.  🙂  She didn’t like where I put my trash.
  • Found a bookstore that carries some books in English- yahoo!  Bought a novel by Elif Shafik, the most popular female Turkish author.  Really looking forward to reading it.
  • I’m starting to read the Hürriyet Daily News – one of the local papers.  It’s time to understand and appreciate what’s happening here – and it’s an exciting time with a big election on June 12th.
I’m headed now to an area called Kadiköy, to pick up my cell phone (which already broke!).  I’m taking a dolmus, which is a minivan that you ride for under 2 Turkish lira.  You get on somewhere along the route – you just wave them down, get in, give the driver your money, and tell him when you want to get off.  I don’t know how to say “I want off here, please” so I usually just mumble something and exit with another rider.  I’m laughing as I write that – so many things that you don’t realize are so darn complicated when you don’t know the language.  Last night, you should have seen me trying to order a pizza.  Tried first online, but couldn’t understand the Turkish, then after about half an hour, called and thankfully someone spoke enough English.  And enjoyed my pizza with beef products that look like, but don’t taste like, pork.  Ha!
I wanted adventure, right???  Who knew it was going to come in pizza?

 

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nonsequiteuse
    Jun 07, 2011 @ 06:18:33

    Had to be kind of nice at Ikea, with products named with a bunch of nonsense words that don’t really have any meaning but whose meaning you don’t need to know. A break from what I can only imagine is the quiet terror of looking at Turkish words you desperately want & need to know. I cannot get over how brave and bold you are.

    Reply

    • houstonchick
      Jun 07, 2011 @ 10:04:40

      Andrea, you are right!! I felt almost at home there. Lovely to have moments where I actually feel somewhat in control.

      Reply

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