Expressing yourself in Turkish feels like drawing with your tongue. There are multiple phrases that don’t have an equivalent in other languages but that give us an insight into how the Turkish culture is struck, in quite a graphical way.
When I lived in Turkey, I noticed that there is an expression for almost any situation in everyday life.
Let’s say you have visitors arriving at your home or your office. You would greet them by saying hoş geldiniz (~ you came pleasantly). They would reply with the following words: hoş bulduk (~ we found it pleasant).
When they leave, you’ll say güle güle gidin (~ go with a smile). They will answer by wishing you to stay pleasantly: hoşça kalın.
In between the greeting and the leaving part, there most probably will be some (or rather a lot of) eating and drinking. Your visitors will be likely to praise what you serve them, if it’s homemade, by saying elinize sağlık (~ health to your hands). You’ll respond like this: Read more…
This week’s photo challenge inspired me to go on a photo tour in Zürich, Switzerland’s largest city.
Here’s what I came up with:
Red: The Swiss flag blowing in the wind, attached to a boat on Lake Zürich. This reminded me of the ferry boats in Izmir and Istanbul that I used to take as a common means of transportation. The colours of the Turkish and the Swiss flag are the same which probably enhances this association.
Orange: Migros – one of Switzerland’s two largest supermarket chains that I first came across when living in Turkey.
Yellow: The zebra crossings are yellow over here (in Germany they’re white). I was quite surprised by the fact that cars actually stop when you’re standing near them (in Turkey they don’t).
Green: Schnägg is the Swiss German term for Read more…
It’s that time of the year again: The holy month of Ramadan (Ramazan in Turkish) has started as of today. For thirty days, Muslims all around the world will be fasting from dawn to dusk.
I was first introduced to these practices throughout my 1.5 year experience in Turkey. Apart from being a religious tradition, Ramazan is pretty much a cultural event as well. I was told that the fasting is mainly about self-reflection, self-control and understanding the misery of the less fortunate ones amongst us. In Turkey, even those who are not particularly religious may join the fasting in their very own way, for example by avoiding alcohol or cigarettes during Ramazan. No one is obliged to fast. It’s a personal decision. Children, elderly people, the ill and pregnant women are excepted anyway.
Those of you who have been following my aNadventures for a while may know that with the occasion of Ramazan, I annually set myself a challenge: Read more…
”Hey, this is Bluejay. I need to leave town for a few days and I was wondering if you could take care of Bob in the meantime… Ummm, yeah, that’s about it. Give me a call when you hear this.”
As I was listening to my friend’s voice on the mailbox I thought Sure, why not? and that’s how Bob and I ended up spending a weekend together.
Bluejay dropped him off at my place and the first thing Bob did was smell my feet. Then he looked up at me and wagged his tail. He ran past me and inspected every room. I found out that he particularly enjoyed the view from the balcony. We spent a few hours watching the neighbours down in the garden. I told him about the lady that spreads all the rumours, about the retired teacher across the hall and the soon to move in couple. Bob attentively listened to every one of my words and kept on wagging his tail. Read more…
Every year, over the Whitsun weekend, Berlin hosts its famous Karneval der Kulturen (Carnival of Cultures). It’s basically a huge multinational open air party full of music, dancing and culinary pleasures reflecting the diversity of Berlin. The event culminates in a large street parade with performances from all corners of the globe.
This year, as my friends and I were making our way through the crowds, I spotted a barber’s shop that had promptly been transformed to sell cold drinks. I thought this was a genius idea. It reminded me of the simplicity I had come across in Turkey so many times. As I was preparing to take a photo of the scene, the barbers / bar men proudly posed in front of their newly created business.
For other interpretations of On the way, have a look at this week’s Photo Challenge.
Recently I found myself comforting a dear friend who was crying uncontrollably. One of the first things that came to my mind was to fetch a glass full of water and to make her drink a few sips to make her calm down.
The next day, when my friend’s sorrow had faded, she jokingly told her mum about the incident and that I’d brought her some water: “No one has ever given me water before when I’ve been upset. I was wondering why she was doing it. Maybe to recover the tears I had cried?”
Recurring to water in such a situation is without doubt something I learnt in Turkey. I remember being surprised myself, at first, when the answer to fainting or crying seemed to be water.
In the Turkish culture water is of special importance. Read more…
Today is a special day. This is not just any post. It’s the 200th post I publish on this blog. Already?! Wow! Let’s celebrate! I invite you all to a virtual glass of çay and of course there’s lots of chocolate as well. Afiyet olsun, everyone, enjoy!
I’d like to thank you all for following, reading and commenting on my aNadventures. Throughout the last years, this blog has been a great platform for expressing my thoughts and ideas, for playing around with words and pictures and for getting to know like minded bloggers from all around the world:
That’s you. Ranging from Afghanistan to Zambia ̶ danke for being out there. If you weren’t, I’d probably write it all down anyway but it’s just much more fun to actually have a network to share my impressions with, to interact with and to be inspired by.
A special gracias also goes out to Read more…
In the process of clearing out my room, I just came across an old notebook. Amongst lots of Turkish phrases and framed in bright colours, I recognized my own hand writing stating the following words:
“Try to see people in their own context.”
We tend to be absorbed by our own way of understanding the world. We sometimes don’t dare thinking out of the box and are caught in a kind of tunnel perspective. We assume that our own truth ought to be everyone else’s.
Take the above picture, for instance. What do you see? A beach, some buildings, palm trees and two dozens of boats? Read more…