Kerry: Earth Laughs in Flowers
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Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Turkey, etc.
I am Kerry Arslan and I am originally from Dollar, a town in the smallest county of Scotland called Clackmannanshire. I came to Turkey in 2010 to live full time with my Husband who is Turkish. We met in the classic holiday romance style while I was holidaying here in Turkey. We are currently living in Adapazarı, Sakarya for my Husbands job as an English Teacher.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I worked as a freelance PA before moving to Turkey and a lot of that work was online. I also love to design websites and blogs so doing a blog about my life in Turkey seemed the next step and a way for my friends and family to get a feel of life here. The blog has taken on a life of its own and I am really pleased that I started it.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
It’s not so much an entry but my Turkish Life Interview Series is my favorite section of my blog. A lot of people who are thinking about coming to live in Turkey want to know what daily life in Turkey is like, what the pros and cons are, so I thought it would be great to ask the people I know who live in Turkey what their view on life here is like. It’s been a success and I have been surprised by the amount of people wanting to take part.
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 didn’t have a culture shock like many do. My Husband and I had been together 5 years before I moved out and I had, had time to learn about the Culture and experience it first hand and not just in a holiday situation.
I certainly feel I have a little less freedom than I did back home, more to do with where we live and my poor Turkish. I have found learning Turkish very hard, not only is it a hard language to learn but I also have dyslexia which is getting in the way of me become fluent. I think once I get to grips with the language I will feel better about getting out and about.
But I am happy with life here, I find it more relaxed and the sense of community and family is great. We have fantastic neighbors who have taken me under their wing which has helped me settle here a lot easier.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Turkey? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I think I was prepared for the most part, maybe not for the isolation you sometimes feel not having anyone around who speaks English just to have a relaxing chat with or hang out with now and again, but I couldn’t have changed that as we live here for my husband’s work. I would make sure my Turkish was a lot better before coming here it makes a huge difference to your quality of life being able to speak the local language.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
That’s a hard one, too many to pick from. One we always have fun with is when we would like to have a drink or two which is not often but when we do it turns into something out of Mission Impossible.
The area we live in is very religious and drinking is frowned on to the point that one of our neighbors got caught with a beer and has been branded and Alcoholic ever since!
When we wish to have a drink, we have to travel 20 min to the nearest Kippa as it is the closest place that sells alcohol. We have to make sure we have a rucksack or bag that no one can see what we have.
Once we finally get home with our secret stash, we await nervously for the knock on the door... It seems every time we decided to have a drink our neighbor appears for a visit, which means we have quickly hide the bottles and hope she doesn’t smell anything on our breath! I am sure she hears the bottles clinking!
After all that to remove the bottles we have to wrap them up in newspaper and hide them in the rubbish.
It does make having a drink or two a bit more fun than normal.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Turkey?
- Be open-minded don’t come with a closed mind to life here or preconceived ideas about what life should be in Turkey.
- Integrate into the community, don’t surround yourself with expats, it’s nice to have a few friends from home, but to really experience life in Turkey you must live in Turkey!
- If you only come to Turkey during the holiday season and think you would like to live here, come out of season and stay in the place you wish to live in. Life is a lot different out of season.
How is the expat community in Turkey? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
Where we live there are few expats I’ve yet to meet another English speaking expat here but I have built up a great network of online expats and Mum’s. I think it makes all the difference to be able to have a moan or chat with others. From the people I know online, there is a great sense of community in other areas amongst the expats.
How would you summarize your expat life in Turkey in a single, catchy sentence?
Something new & different every day, from the unusual to the ordinary.