It has been three years since I first moved to Istanbul, and during this time Istanbul has become my home. In the most surprising and silly of ways I have adopted numerous Turkish traits, here are some of them:
1.) I will not enter a house with my shoes on
2.) I have no restraint when my phone rings during a meal… I must answer it.
3.) Everything can be improved with more olive oil, salt, paprika flakes or thyme.
4.) Plans can change en route, and I am ok with that.
5.) I have accepted that work schedules are unpredictable beasts. This includes late evenings and weekends.
6.) I love olives, tomatoes, cucumbers and cheese…for breakfast
7.) I am not a good hostess, unless I fill the table with treats. Good-bye 1 dish meals!
8.) I must visit homes bearing gifts.
9.) I know I can find work, a new apartment or information by simply spreading the word among friends and family and in a matter of weeks everything will be settled.
10.) I must always have a guest room in my apartment and I expect people to take advantage of this fact.
11.) I eat first, than drink coffee.
12.) I have accepted that people come to events at least 45 minutes past the designated start time…this includes weddings and dinner parties.
13.) I do not look men in the eye and I do not smile at strangers.
14.) I am disgusted by anyone who drinks Raki without mezes and fish.
15.) I have a new appreciation for gold jewelry.
16.) There is always room for negotiation. I have learned to accept tea, make small talk and smile when necessary.
17.) Rules are a suggestion, not a requirement. There is a way to work around every limitation or requirement.
18.) I do not bother sending anything in the mail
19.) I expect produce to be fresh.
20.) I make everything: salsa, salad dressing, marinade, spaghetti sauce, and more. No more processed food in my life!
21.) There is always time for a tea break.
22.) I will see someone I know in Taksim Square. I expect it.
23.) I will not take a taxi, unless I know exactly where I am going.
24.) Travel plans can be arranged at the last-minute. Cars can be reserved upon arrival. Hotels are always available. Tour prices are negotiable.
25.) Kisses on each cheek are an essential way to say hello, goodbye and thank you. I am programmed now. American hugs seem so foreign.