December 13, 2014

You might be an American in Turkey if...

You might be an American in Turkey if... (Thanks Alan, for your help writing this)

Speaking and language:
  • you've nearly finished two beginning Turkish classes, but you still can't ask "Can you call the water company for me?" You can, however, question the existence of everything in the room and ask profoundly self-reflective questions like, "am I not ironing?"
  • your latest learned grammar point literally translates to "before you don't leave the house, drink a tea"...a bit of a mind-bender.
  • when you assign homework, "oofya"(exasperated sigh meaning "you have to be kidding me") and "enshallah" (God willing) are the most common responses.
  • you tell  a student "I hope it's easy for you" which is an interpretation of the ubiquitous Turkish "Kolay gelsin" (meaning "may it come easily to you")
  • instead of "isn't it?", your go-to tag question is "dimi?", the Turkish equivalent. 
  • you've started including Turkish misuses of English words into your own lexis: "I'm too excited" (I'm really nervous), "Can you control it?" (Can you check my work?)
  • your textbook teaches British English, despite the fact that only 1 of 50 of the teachers in your school is from England. 
  • you subsequently find yourself saying "at the weekend" and "I'm keen on that" in your daily conversations
Call to prayer:
  • students'  presentations are sometimes drowned out by the school mosque's call to prayer.
  • you plan your lessons around the call to prayer, especially if you want to include video or music. It's disrespectful to play music during the call to prayer. 
  • you probably learned the hard way about the disrespectful thing.
  • different singers have different styles--you have picked out a favorite and look forward to his calls.
Tea
  • in your syllabus, you included a rule about cleaning up tea cups after class.
  • people produce sugar cubes from their pockets (lint and all) to sweeten your brew.
  • there's an entire section of every supermarket and mini market completely devoted to tea.
  • students bring you tea, whether you asked for it or not.
  • tea is often served from two containers, one is atomic-strength brewed tea and the other is hot water. You decide your strength: weak, medium, strong, or brand-new-foreigner (mistakenly all atomic strength...you won't forget that cup)
  • you've made the brand-new-foreigner mistake more than once.
Lunch
  • your yearly consumption of eggplant  and tomato has increased by 2000%.
  • you've seen a few two many chicken drumsticks melting into a bowl of watery broth.
  • your salad, and really, all of your food, is swimming in yogurt.
  • you avoid any soup or dish with mushrooms (2 for 2 with food poisoning here)
Coffee
  • your 6 lira Turkish coffee is two tablespoons of drinkable liquid and the rest is tongue-exfoliating coffee grounds
  • your coffee takes 15 minutes to prepare and creates 5 dishes to wash: cup, saucer, water glass, cezve, and spoon
  • a latte at Starbucks is like the BEST treat ever.
Grocery store
  • there are only three types of cereal in the grocery store: cocoa puffs, musli, and cornflakes.
  • students all say they eat "cheese" for breakfast--sometimes nothing else--language proficiency or simple diet--not sure which. 
  • there are 15 different kinds of cheeses in the diary section, but none are shredded, and none are mozzarella.