They tell you that “location” is everything. I have never been one to embrace the life of the “salesman”, (I tried it once a decade ago and my therapist thinks that maybe another 10 years should set me aright). But, if you are in the business of trading goods…then the old phrase fits. Location is everything.
Late Evenings in Kazasker
This column, however, has nothing to do with commerce and everything to do with geography. The last few days we have been overwhelmed with all the things that go along with changing cultures, language, and home. The process of uprooting your life and moving to the far side of the world can be difficult to navigate.
Let me taxi around this for a moment: A few years ago we lived in a major European city. After the honeymoon stage and the romance of travel wore off, we experienced what every Third Culture family will tell you about…Culture Shock. When it hits, you want to hole up, watch “Seinfeld” reruns, and shut the world out.
However, we have found the exact opposite in Istanbul. When we miss home and family, get frustrated with our language struggles, or hit the wall physically or emotionally…we find therapy in getting out and spending time with the Turks.
After living in Los Angeles and San Diego for over 38 years…we have learned to love Istanbul and its inhabitants and have, surprisingly, acclimated quickly to the cultural differences. These people are amazing. I know we will eventually have bad experiences and run into people that are unkind. But to date, 4 months into being “Istanbullus”, we have yet to find a Turk who isn’t quick to laugh or smile.
I look forward to the good natured sparring that takes place in the tourist areas as the touts try every trick in the book to get you to spend your money. We have found them easy to disarm with politeness and by remembering that their culture and style is different than ours. Lonely Planet said it best…you have to realize that these are the “pro’s”….have fun with them and be polite….(my paraphrase). After all…this is their City…right?
The last few evenings we have been up and out late, walking the streets at midnight. The weather has turned balmy, the trees and shrubs are in bloom and the smells in the air are jasmine and roses. The breeze off the Sea of Marmara is light and cool and the moon is full….