Sunday, September 11, 2011

What I Still Don't Know

Turkey is not 'user friendly,' as I discovered as soon as I tried to become independent in any way upon my arrival here five years ago. I couldn't find a map of the bus routes in Adana, let alone a posting of the fares, and at any given bus stop, it's anyone's guess which buses actually pass by; places can't be found using just an address and a map; I never saw a phone book. My "aha" moment then was realizing that Turkish people, at least in Adana, operate mostly orally, passing on to each other the kind of information I, as a foreigner, wanted to find on my own. If you didn't know anyone and if you didn't know the language, you were lost.

Fast forward to the present: I've spent the last few weeks at the beach, in the same site I've been coming to with my husband for five years on summer weekends. This is the first time, though, I've stayed for any prolonged period of time; and with children at that! And so I needed to become independent, fast.

Living in Turkey for five years has taught me that water and groceries are always only a phone call away; you just need to learn the phone number of the local market that will deliver. There is often a pool of women who work for residents of a building or site as housekeepers or babysitters; again, you just need to ask around for a recommendation. And the best places to eat, swim and buy fish, while unknown to foreign tourists, are common knowledge to everyone else -- you just have to ask!

And so I arrived here almost three weeks ago, knowing what I didn't know, and immediately set out finding out the answers.

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