And Now a Break from Our Regularly Scheduled Program for this Important Message

When I started this blog, I promised myself that I would only write about things that would shed a positive light on Turkey.  But today, I’ve decided to write something that may seem a bit negative, however, it is truly just a major difference to which I have had a hard time adjusting. 

Sometimes, Turks can just make one mad.  Literally mad.  I often feel like I ought to be tied up in an insane asylum.  Then I remember the stories of Saray, just outside of Ankara, enough to make me “sit up and fly straight,” as Pop would say.

Traffic here can make anyone crazy.  I’m used to lots of cars on the road.  I’m used to sitting in traffic.  After all, I am from PHILLY!  I’m even getting used to the fact that there is rarely a stop sign on a four-way intersection.  Even worse, few stop for red lights.  But hey, I live here.  When in Rome, do as the Romans.  My friend Artie taught me that as a kid, during one of my first road trips to Philly.

So here I am trying to go with the flow.

But I can’t.  Not today.  Instead, I am going plum mad or as my new kanka would say, “bat-shit crazy!”  There’s nothing like the help of an English teacher when I am at a loss for words!  Thanks Girlfriend!

The Turkish culture of “I insist” makes me completely nuts!  I can’t seem to adjust.  The Turks are a perfectly lovely people, but they INSIST on everything, to a point where you might just want to give them the Homer Simpson maneuver, you know, grab them by the neck with both hands and keep on shaking. 


Homer & Bart

 For example, Turks will always insist on refilling your plate, two, three, four times, until you literally think you are going to toss cookies right there at the table.  And then they insist some more, bringing you 4 or 5 desserts on a plate, followed by fruit and nuts at about midnight.   I guess they never saw that scene in Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life.”  Instead of pulling my hair and screaming, I would like to try out my British accent and cry, “I couldn’t eat another thing.  I’m absolutely stuffed.  Bugger off.”  But that would be an insult and there’s one thing I have learned, you don’t want to insult a Turk! 

Thin Mint Wafer

Aaaahhh, the Turks.  Nothing makes them happier than being helpful.   I have been the gracious recipient of numerous things that I just don’t want, don’t like, don’t fit, and that create more work for me.  For example, no one has bought me clothes since I was about 13.  My mom gave up on me.  I’m not just picky.  Women have varying shapes and one size does not fit all.  Now I have in-laws who constantly want to give me clothes.  They aren’t my style.  They aren’t my size.  And frankly, it’s just embarrassing to me.  I can’t take it anymore!  I’ve even had pajamas given to me by family friends whom I have never met!  It’s just weird.

The in-laws also love to stock my refrigerator.  There are just two of us here.  But my refrigerator is often stocked with enough fruits and vegetables to feed an army – or at least the entire Henson clan for one week – and that’s a lot.  It makes me feel bad to throw the food away as it spoils.  In addition, I don’t know how to cook half of it.  For example, I was the recipient of about 4 lbs. of sour cherries.  I was told to make juice with it – that was pretty much the full instruction.  Well, I didn’t want to make juice.  I had other things to do.  And I don’t own a pitter – after at least 3 attempts of shopping for one.  It killed me to get rid of them, as they had been hand-picked by the family. 

 You might think that saying “no” in eight different languages may get your point across.  But it doesn’t.  I have even pleaded to no avail that I have nothing else to do but go to the market.  It just doesn’t work.  That market I go to apparently doesn’t have the right kind of ground beef.  “So here’s a kilo from another neighborhood.”  Reminds me of the SNL skit of Mommy Dearest.  “I wanted to buy you a pony for your birthday.  But your mommy told me how much you like raw liver, so I bought you a pound.”  (It’s not the Mommy Dearest part – just the pound of meat!  My in-laws are awesome people.)

Faye Dunaway as Mommy Dearest


Well, I could go on but I think you get the point.  The Turks love to do things for others but it often is just too much!  After writing this blog, my hubby is not going to be a happy camper with me.  But the news is the news and it had to be said.  I don’t mean to be ungrateful.  And believe me, I know that there is noting but good intentions behind all of these gifts.   It’s just that sometimes enough really is enough. 

Call me crazy.  Or is that what they call looking a gift horse in the mouth! 

The Gift Horse

6 thoughts on “And Now a Break from Our Regularly Scheduled Program for this Important Message

Add yours

    1. Hey Chris! Sorry to hear that and wishing you well with the MIL. Mine is great actually. She will give anything for her children. She’s just trying to be helpful. I’m really lucky.

  1. Hi T,

    No stop signs! Not stopping at red lights! You as a pedestrian are seriously at a disadvantage. If your walking it seems you might want to strap on some bumpers on your butt and go for it. Driving your new car seems like a roll cage is in order. That style of driving and walking is a big change from what your used to. “To adapt is to conquer” and change always brings new challenges and if I know you, all will be done quite swiftly.

    Throwing food away! You and I come from family’s were as that was and is a big no-no. Here in Sharon Hill food never gets thrown away. As with you we cook for our immediate need. Anything left over gets frozen for future use.

    Frustration leads to confusion and confusion leads to indecisive decisions both which are not a part of you. I am confident that you will “conquer” your new challenges and move on for the next adventure.

    Clothes…………that’s another “Jerry Springer Show”. Different cuts on everything, you find in here State Side, so I can imagine what your going through with the fitting process. Hey, you could always just wear a Sun Dress…8-) nah, that’s not you either.

    Well T., we in Sharon Hill love it so keep it coming!

    “When in Rome, do as the Rome’s do”.


  2. I will admire you until the day I die for the talented writer you are, your wonderful sense of humor and your honesty. No matter how much love and family surrounds you in your new home…its not easy living in a foreign land with everything very different from your home! Took me a week to figure out how to call home from Australia…. Keep writing! xoxo

  3. Hi Terry!

    Just had to respond to this one – brought tears of laughter to my eyes and made me remember what it was like living in Cairo. Just wait till the people at the market (if you ever make it back there!) start “insisting” you take this or that, or try their items right then & there!!!

    It is one of the hardest things to adjust too. When I lived in Egypt one of my landords gave me a Coptic Bible – in Coptic! – and then wanted to talk about different passages each time I saw him!

    Good luck! And don’t forget to vent 🙂


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