Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Visitor at Home

It's nothing new for an expat to feel she no longer fits in at home, that her adopted country has changed her; I've felt the change slowly happening over the past four years.

My first visit home, four months after moving here, I over-identified with everything Canadian; ditto the following year. But at one point, I started to see things I'd never noticed before -- how cold Torontonians are compared to Turkish people, or how stingy they appear compared to Turks.

And then I started forgetting to re-adapt on trips back to Canada, standing too close to the person ahead of me at the bank machine, or rushing to get onto a bus instead of patiently hanging back until everyone else had gotten on.

But this summer I was truly amazed at the 'Turkishness' of my cultural observations:
  • I couldn't get over how dog crazy everyone was, and found myself slightly appalled at the sight of dogs on furniture (note: I used to have 2 Labs who slept with me on more than one occasion -- no judgement, dear Canadian friends!);
  • I couldn't keep up with everyone's punctuality, nor did I understand their impatience when dinner wasn't ready before 8pm;
  • I was surprised by the casualness of men's and the skimpiness of women's summer attire!
As lovely as it was to be 'home' again, I seem to have lost the ability to just step off the plane and right back into the culture I grew up in; it seems if I ever move back to Toronto, I'd have to go through a process of acclimatization not unlike what I went through when I moved to Turkey.

1 comment:

  1. What a great post - I love how specific you were about the differences, so true! Even I found myself consistently running behind others' schedules over the summer break. 10 minutes after the appointed time was not quite as de rigueur as it is in Turkey!