When living abroad its the little things that you take for granted at home that really matter. Getting on the bus, buying fruit and veg at the local shop, getting a bank account (yet to try but know thats going to be a great experience!), going out on your own-especially when you have travelled over here as a couple, having time alone IS mandatory, but venturing out on your own can be a little daunting at first. So says the fiercely independent woman who don’t want no help from no man. It’s the little things that make living abroad such an experience, that make it more than a holiday, something that I think could benefit most people.
As a native English speaker I fall victim of my own ignorance. Going into a shop with a shockingly minimal knowledge of Turkish and speaking at them in English and half expecting them to understand. Don’t get me wrong I am making an effort to learn Turkish, perhaps not as much as I should, but I am trying. I find the language baffling, its so different to anything I have heard. Ever.
Everyday it is starting to make more and more sense, but I still have a long way to go…
The experience that comes to mind whilst writing this post relates to the acqusition of a sim card for my brand spanking new (probably fake), archaic 45 lira Nokia phone (THE must have accessory for any self respecting foreign teacher).
My search for a sim card began at Beylicum Mall, Beylikduzu. Destination Turkcell. I tentatively entered (I always feel insecure when entering shops here because of my terrible Turkish), walked up to the desk and repeated ‘sim card’, believing this to be the universal term for said item. I was not far off the mark with that one, sim kart being the Turkish, but my Brummie accent often betrays me. I was eventually understood, the sales assistant took my passport (don’t ask me why they need your passport) and proceeded to speak to her colleague. I hear the word Yabanci thrown around and it becomes clear that she is trying to figure out what to do with me, or more likely, how to get rid of me.
She eventually turned to me and made gestures along with words I wished so much to understand, signifying in a not so friendly way that I could not get a sim card, pointing at my passport. Of course I tried to explain to her in my most simplified English that you in fact can purchase a sim card as a foreigner, why all the other teachers have managed it! Try getting that message across with hand gestures! Yabanci yok, Yabanci yok (literal translation, foreigner no) was all it took to get me out of her hair. In that moment I felt frustrated and slightly worthless, annoyed at my inability to communicate.
Needless to say, in the end I got a sim card. I was lucky to find vendors that could speak enough English for us to understand each other . A bit. The moral of the story is of course to learn Turkish.
Easier said than done. Heres to trying….