Friday, October 13, 2006

Quarterly random bits

Before heading back to Geneva for 10 days, and since we’ve been in Turkey for four months and a bit, I thought I’d share a quarterly review on random bits and mysteries that remain to be resolved:

  1. The average Turk is generally rather laid back in terms of timeliness (yavaş, yavaş), quite gentle and soft-spoken… Except behind the wheel. Watch out! Bye bye Dr. Jekyll, Welcome Mr. Hyde! Honk-Hoooonk! The relaxed Turk turns into speeding lunatic who has to overtake the car ahead even if he'll be turning off the main road 20 meters later anyway. Huh? It's like: "Hurry up so I can go home, lay back and relax!" Still a mystery to me!
  2. Turkey is a control freak’s paradise; you’ll be able to let your controlling instincts run wild and no one will get offended when you remind them to come/go finish the job/ - in fact it’s the only way to get things done here.
  3. When speaking with locals or ordering in a restaurant, remember Greek salad is not Greek, nor is Moussaka. And Baklava is certainly neither Greek (μπακλαβάς) Serbian (баклава), Romanian (baclava), nor Lebanese (بقلاوة).
  4. Do the sales people realize that helping and encouraging you to buy from the shop is part of their job?
  5. Luckily, the ones that are helpful really go out of their way to give you a hand!
  6. Any given supermarket or market has at least 300 different white cheeses which are totally indistinguishable from the outside (all square blocks in saran wrap)
  7. Petrol is the most expensive on earth!
  8. When stopped by the police, or by an annoying promotion-person just say “turkçe konuşmiyorum” (I don’t speak Turkish) and you’ll instantly get an apologetic smile and a wave to move on.
  9. Advocating the use anti-perspirant /deodorant that promises 7 day efficiency is a very near sighted strategy... (euh, gross!)
  10. Ataturk is never a subject to joke about
More, with a fresh perspective, when I return!
I'm so happy to be going home!!!!!


Brooke said...

Ah, the life of an expat and the thrill of going home. Have a wonderful time and eat all the fabulous foods that you've been missing.

I certainly see much of your number one observation here in Serbia. I find it so incredibily strange that people are in such a rush when driving but totally relaxed in the rest of their lives.

Kristian said...

Hey thanks for the comment on my blog. I have one question: How hard is it to get a job in Turkey?
Bc when I lived in Brasil it was extremely hard getting my work permit, bribe here to get things moving. Grease the wheels of motion.

Oh if you and your husband really want a vacation go to Brasil you'll have a blast.

caroline said...


You have a great blog... I am living in Geneva and might be moving to Istanbul for my husband's job. And was wondering if it was easy to find a job in Istanbul, being a woman and not speaking Turkish?

Thanks Caro

Sandra said...

Hi Caroline,
It shouldn't be too difficult to find a job in Istanbul, but it all depends on what you want to do. I know of a few people who have started teaching English there with barely any Turkish or giving lessons to children (maths, etc.) alternatively you can try contacting some NGOs there (you might be asked to start off on a volontary basis). Try the Swiss Embassy for tips or visit or the IWI
also, suncatcher might be able to help -duke is in Istanbul. If you're moving to Turkey, Istanbul is definitely the easiest city for you to find a job in with no Turkish and being a woman.
Let me know how it goes, &
Good luck!