12 Ways Living In Turkey Will Change You Forever

  1. You’ll never be able to walk past a grape vine anywhere without collecting “just a few” leaves to make a batch of dolma later.
  2. The word ‘normal’ will be a part of your everyday vocabulary. In Turkey, the word normal is used all the time to refer to something usual or typical, as in “I’ll have a “normal” cola”. This refers to the full sugar, original recipe kind. The concept of what “normal” is can be really vague and ambiguous until you understand what the cultural standards are.
  3. You will worry like an overbearing grandmother that people will get sick when they are “improperly” dressed for the weather. The culture’s incessant nagging about covering up WILL wear you down, eventually infiltrating your brain’s command center.
  4. You will run after your kid with a forkful of food to try to get in that ONE last bite. In Turkey, people are obsessed their kids are not eating enough, so children are gently and persuasively force-fed their meals, and constantly grazing on snacks.
  5. You will think of kofte, the ubiquitous Turkish meatball, as health food. The consumption of red meat is strongly encouraged, strangely enough, despite so much evidence published in medical journals claiming it’s not optimal. However, this will ALSO seep into your brain as the truth at some point.
  6. No matter what country you end up in, your grocery shopping will never be complete without (at the very least), cucumbers, tomatoes, and a tub of plain yogurt….and then parsley, mineral water, and a bag of dried chickpeas…..well, also good olives, fresh lemons, onions, and feta…(it HAS to be Turkish feta of course)…the others are just cheap copies.
  7. You will forever seek out, and STILL get excited by finding Turkish products abroad like olive oil, pomegranate sour, and Ülker chocolate and sweets.
  8. Not a week will go by when you don’t think your windows are hideously dirty, but you probably won’t find a housekeeper willing to perch precariously on the ledges, cleaning the outer glass for $4 an hour.
  9. You will drive like an aggressive maniac. Nobody will be able to cut you off, or match your parking abilities. If it’s raining, you think its perfectly acceptable to pull up onto the curb to drop someone off, or pick them up.
  10. You will forget all about personal space.
  11. You will think there is so much free parking everywhere….empty sidewalks…empty fields of grass.
  12. You may find yourself casually sharing intimate details of your medical history with distant acquaintances…even strangers, (but I hope not).
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Coffee. Beer. Climbing Tall Things.

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