Connie: Endings, Beginnings and Panic
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Istanbul, etc.
I moved to Istanbul from the wilds of Idaho. Seriously. I am probably safer here. I've only been in Turkey since the first part of August. I have had several careers. I am currently working as a primary school counselor.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I had so many friends in the states who kept saying they were jealous, and asking me to keep in touch, that it seemed like a good idea to create a community postcard of sorts. It keeps me connected and is a way to share my adventure en masse.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
“Friendly Times”, this is one of my favorite entries so far. It pretty much encompasses my beliefs and my hopes. It's also about friendship, which is invaluable when living in a foreign country.
Tell us about the ways your new life in Istanbul differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
Lets see, I moved from a large house in the woods with moose, bear , owl, beaver, and about 21 other people as my nearest neighbors. I drove 40 miles rt per day to work. I now live in an apartment with 17 million or so neighbors, and I walk 2 minutes to get to work. There aren't any moose in the complex. No I didn't experience culture shock. I don't know why, but it's been a nice change of pace.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Istanbul? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I was fairly well prepared. I did my research and started learning necessary bits of the language before I departed. I would have left half of my sweaters at home, and I would have found renters that actually paid their rent.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
Second day in Istanbul, I was at professional development training, and on break pushed the wrong “button” on the toilet. Washed my feet instead of flushing the toilet, and flooded the bathroom floor. Can you say oops, that's a bidet button? Try to explain the squishing sound when you walk back into the room.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Istanbul?
- Let go of your expectations about how things are “supposed” to be and accept the nuanced and not so nuanced differences.
- Stay positive about your experiences, even the frustrating ones.
- Let go and drink it all in. Malbec is good.
How is the expat community in Istanbul? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
Actually, it's somewhat akin to the circus life I think. We tend to find one another quickly, and form fast deep relationships. I've met some wonderfully like minded people, not all of them expats, and some of them quite a surprise.
How would you summarize your expat life in Istanbul in a single, catchy sentence?
Best thing I've done for myself and others, in a long time.... paradise is right around the corner.