Communication, or the lack thereof, plays a vital role in my daily mishaps here in Turkey. It’s nice to know that whomever I may be talking with will readily try to interpret my pantomimes/ exaggerated gestures – and if that does not work out they will quickly run to find the best English speaker to help them riddle out what the hell I want. But sometimes we (the Turkish stranger and I) have to figure out things the hard way.
Dealing with my cell phone is easily the most challenging thing that I've had to face in Turkey. I can’t decide if I’m just really "bad at cell phones" (absoLUTELY possible), or if this particular situation is exceptional. Nothing about my phone makes sense – not the 13 random texts I receive in Turkish each day, not the miniature screen that is impossible to type upon, not the fact that my phone chooses to call half a dozen random people each and every day without my permission and certainly not the fact that ofttimes it won’t allow me to call and text the folks that I do want to connect with.
I go to Turkcell a couple of times a week to discuss my problems with the employees that speak no English. I bring in handwritten notes (in Turkish) to explain my various situations, because I function in this country as if I were a four year old child. And they respond to me, in like, with handwritten maps explaining their side of the situation.
Here’s an example of what I received the last time I was in:
So, like, yeah, we don’t get each other. That’s cool. I think there are a lot of things that are just different around here. It’s ok, I usually just shrug it off and whisper quietly to myself, “wtf Turkey.”
I found this posted on a tree at my school last week.
I like the message. Kicking should not be tolerated on campus. But do you know what I like even more? I believe the child in the PSA pictured above has removed his foot and turned it into a semi-automatic weapon. It also appears that the assaulter has previously removed both of the feet of the assaulted. And YET the victim is still smiling. That's how it is around here folks. People are happy. EVEN in stressful situations. In the very least they will put on a good face.
So what is the point of all of this?? Well, recently I realized something fairly amazing -- each and every morning that I wake up here in Izmir, I feel grateful. I am so grateful to live in a place where the result of my discomfort regularly turns into laughter. I am surrounded by people who want to help me -- which empowers me to try more new things. I am constantly handed opportunities to see things in a different light in this unprecedented stage of my life.
And you know what? It makes me really happy.