Amy: Adventures by Amy
- Recommended Expat Blogs: Turkey
- Jack: Perking the Pansies
- Kerry: Earth Laughs in Flowers
- Terry: Adventures in Ankara
- Duke: Captivating Cappadocia
- Jules: Far from the Sticks
- Annie: BacktoBodrum
- Ellen: Ellen in Turkey
- Susan: Never Miss An Opportunity
- Alan: Archers of Okcular
- Dennis: The Best of Bursa
- Billy: Antalya Living
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Turkey, etc.
I was born in Johannesburg, but raised in the U.S. I moved frequently to different regions of the U.S. throughout my childhood, which is how my thirst for travel developed. I spent the formative years of my life working as a photographer in New York City. I started a Hip Hop music program in Uganda in 2008 and decided to move to Turkey to be closer to Africa. I’ve been living in Istanbul since 2010 and working as a Business English instructor.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I started blogging about my time in Uganda to share my experiences with friends and family. A friend suggested I start a blog as a way to spread knowledge and real life stories.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
“Why the Hell Not?” as it describes my transition from life in NYC to the dusty roads of Uganda, then continues on my new life in Istanbul.
Tell us about the ways your new life in Turkey differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
I’ve never experienced culture shock, but there have been a few differences that have taken time getting used to. The positive aspects of my life include the (slow) learning of a new language, a vast amount of historical and political knowledge about the region, and observing a truly unique culture living on the bridge between the Eastern and Western worlds. The negative aspects stem from people living on this bridge; everyone has two faces. I used to accept people’s ideas and suggestions, but now I think twice to understand if they are speaking truth or for my interest. It’s also been difficult to be treated as a second-class citizen because I’m a woman. I knew before I moved to Turkey this would be the biggest challenge I would face so I don’t take it personally, but some days it’s exhausting.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Turkey? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
Absolutely I was prepared. I visited Turkey in 2009 and that’s when I decided to move here. Istanbul is similar enough to NYC that the transition was quite easy.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
I definitely have some entertaining experiences with my language skills (or lack of). There are some common words that if pronounced incorrectly are swear words. I understand now when people look at me in shock that I’ve used the wrong word!
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Turkey?
- Accept that words are different than actions.
- Attempt to learn the language.
- When invited to someone’s home for meals, go hungry as they will provide more than is possible for any person to eat in one sitting!
How is the expat community in Turkey? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
There are a lot of expats, but because I live on the Asian side and not the European side they are few and far between. I was lucky to have met 2 wonderful expats in my first months here, so I have a good support system of like-minded people.
How would you summarize your expat life in Turkey in a single, catchy sentence?
Laughter is the key!