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Maddie: Maddie's Vine

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 am a South African that lived in the Cape Winelands surrounded by Vineyards, who moved to Istanbul September 2012. My first priority was to find the local wines.

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

My friends always wanted to know where I've been eating, what wine I'm drinking and 'can we get the recipe?' So now I can tell them to read my blog.

Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?

I only write about things I love and want to tell other people about.

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?

Obviously the traffic in Istanbul was a shock to me!  I miss going to buy my wine straight from the winery and having lunch on a wine farm every day. Oh, I miss good Bacon and Pork.

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

We have been living Germany and England, so I am use to living in a different culture. Make sure all Visas are correct before leaving your home country.

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

My driver in Istanbul told me that they have a saying in Turkey "If you don’t drink Raki with your Fish, the Fish will cry." I love this saying, so I make sure I have a glass of wine with my Fish. I don't want my fish to cry.

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

  • Make sure you read about Istanbul's people, traditions, and neighborhoods before you move here.
  • Read as many expat websites and other expats tips and experiences in your new city.
  • Read blogs from people based in Turkey. It is written in real time and about genuine experiences.

I have a little notebook that goes everywhere with me. I write new words I've learned in there, places I visit, places I want to visit and people I meet. This is my reference when I forget something. I bought an A-Z notebook and started my own dictionary. I write all the new words I've learned in it every day. With time you will learn so much, you will surprise yourself.

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

Everybody is very helpful. It is important to take part, but also do not forget to go out of your comfort zone, out of the expat community and explore the real Istanbul and the people. Always be positive, as you will get that back. Look for the beautiful things in the city and the people.

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

Istanbul is a city with many layers and personalities and my heart bubbles over with excitement when I go and explore and experience something new in this amazing city with the most helpful, friendly, giving people I have ever met.

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