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Lidia: Hos Geldiniz

In our InterNations Recommended Blog section we let you take the spotlight! Expat life in general is, of course, a perfect breeding ground for great, user-generated reads, and life in Istanbul makes no exception. Take your time and browse the great blogs showcased in this article!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Istanbul, etc.

I’m a typical Polish woman with two kids, a full time job and a household to look after. :-) I lived in Poland my whole life so when an opportunity came by to move to Istanbul for a short period assignment with my husband I found it a chance to escape the daily routine I have followed for the past several years and the predictable future. I wanted a new experience, a chance to see and learn a different culture and language. I’ve been in Istanbul since March 2014 so half a year now and I am starting to miss Poland. If you ask me if I like it here, I’d say that I still haven’t decided. But maybe because the weather is getting worse...

When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?

Quite soon after I arrived this idea popped up. I wanted to record what I have seen and will see, share some thoughts on this oh so different culture and people, have some nice photos I will return to when I’m retired :-)

Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?

I like sharing my impressions of the books I have read by Turkish writers Elif Shafak (my favorite!) and Orhan Pamuk. I also like my analysis of Turkish middle class and how they bring up their kids. I enjoy writing about my travel and sightseeing, e.g. my visit to Konya. And stay tuned for the rest of my holiday travels soon!

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?

Yes! I did and still am! If I were to stay here for good I don’t know how long it would take to get used to this life. I could write a thesis on this topic but the most noticeable difference is that life here is much quicker, more intensive, more chaotic, more… The traffic rules the world, your decisions as to where to go and what to do depend on iPhone applications displaying which roads are currently least crowded! In Warsaw, it’s easy. You want to go somewhere, you just go. Here in Istanbul there are no places to ride bikes, do sports easily, the prices are the same as in Poland but… they are in Turkish liras here… The language is difficult and English is not so common. In short, life here is difficult and I still don’t know how they cope.

Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Istanbul? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?

No, I wasn’t prepared. I would have taken at least a few classes in Turkish before coming here. It’s not the same as self-study. The language is the key in a society that is not fluent in foreign languages.

Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?

Well, as I mentioned, my Turkish is very bad. I bought a washing machine from LG. The technicians were to install it the next day. The crew arrived and as all of them (difficult to count how many technicians / handy men) passed through my apartment, I pointed them to the kitchen. They looked at the machine and conversed extensively in Turkish among themselves and... they started to leave!

What is it? - I asked.

The guys looked at each other, then at me. One was braver than the others:

Siemens – he pointed to his badge – LG – he pointed to the kitchen. PROBLEM.

And they left, leaving me with a new and unusable washing machine.

Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Istanbul?

  • Learn Turkish.
  • Bargain.
  • Don’t trust anyone who calls you “friend”.

How is the expat community in Istanbul? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?

Not really. I decided I would try to blend in rather than stick to other Polish people or expats. But perhaps I was wrong.

How would you summarize your expat life in Istanbul in a single, catchy sentence?

Ha! Catchy – not my cup of coffee – I will follow the poet:

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.  (İstanbul'u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı )

Sven Baudach

"My business partners, also mainly expats, and me, we always use the wonderful InterNations Events as an informal get-togethers."

Maggy Roswick

"With all the great information and contacts provided by InterNations, it was no big deal to get settled in Istanbul."

Global Expat Guide