Wednesday, January 25, 2012

101 Things I Will Miss About Turkey

I have been in Turkey for nearly one and a half years. Here is a shortened list of the things I will be missing!! I linked some of these with a few of my past posts, if you want to read/browse and learn some more! :D
  1. Izmir
  2. Turkish Coffee
  3. Hadise
  4. Turkish Airlines
  5. Nargile (Hookah)
  6. Skiing In Uludag
  7. Bayram
  8. Yaprak Sarmasi
  9. Manti
  10. Turkish Language
  11. Taxi Dolmus
  12. Recis
  13. Alsancak Night life
  14. Cheap Travel
  15. Bios Rock Bar
  16. Movie Nights
  17. O Ses Turkiye
  18. Bazaar
  19. Sahika / / "Avrupa Yakisi"
  20. Gulsen
  21. School Friends
  22. Bufe & Pastavilla (School Lunch Time)
  23. Turkish Hand Gestures
  24. Turkish Superstitions
  25. Bar Street
  26. Cesme (The sea has 4 tones of blue)
  27. Foca
  28. Raki Balik (Fish and Traditional Turkish Liquor)
  29. Brick Roads
  30. Crazy Turkish Drivers
  31. Istanbul
  32. Tavla (Backgammon)
  33. Taksim
  34. Ferry Boat
  35. Simit (Turkish Bread)
  36. Fresh Tomatoes
  37. Delivery Service for every and any food vendor
  38. Cheap Cell phone bill (15$/Month, unlimited everything)
  39. Mesir Macunu Paste
  40. Sushi Sundays
  41. Late Night Cafes
  42. Trivial Pursuit
  43. Scrabble
  44. Smoking Area at School (Everyone's hang out spot)
  45. Last minute decisions
  46. Trip to Istanbul for one night
  47. Turkish Coffee Fortune
  48. Throwing your arms up like you are flying and snapping during an oriental song
  49. Team Hadise
  50. Birthday Celebrations
  51. Hidirellez
  52. Soda Water
  53. Karisik Ayvalik Tost
  54. The Belief in the Turkish Eye
  55. Twitter Parties! :P
  56. The Eyzan (The call to prayer)
  57. The Sunset from my home
  58. The Turkish Barber Shop
  59. Turkish Shave
  60. Hospitality
  61. The Sea
  62. Water Sports in Marmaris
  63. Sun Bathing
  64. Turkish Tea
  65. The Markets
  66. Driving in Craziness
  67. Showing Chest Hair! ;)
  68. The Exchange Rate (More for your money)
  69. English in a Turkish accent
  70. Walking on the sea side on a bad day
  71. Mavisehir (The district I live in)
  72. Karsiyaka, Always better than Goztepe! ;)
  73. Yasar University's International Office Staff (Love Them!)
  74. Marmaris
  75. Deciding to go out at 2AM
  76. Efes (Turkey's Fresh Beer)
  77. Taking off your shoes as entering the house
  78. Kissing each other on the cheek
  79. No Homework
  80. The way a Turkish will tell you if you look tired, bad, or fat.
  81. Karaoke Sessions in the Kitchen with Burak
  82. Drinking Tomato Soup at Kircicegi after every clubbing night! (Tradition for Turks)
  83. The Belief in Energies
  84. Baklava
  85. Open-Mindedness of my friends
  86. The Love of Ataturk
  87. The Confusing Mapping of the City Streets
  88. Turkish Proverbs
  89. Hanging your clothes to dry
  90. Hamams (Turkish Baths)
  91. Turkish Concerts
  92. Learning something new every single day
  93. Sunshine at least 300 days out of the year
  94. The weekly cleaning lady
  95. Turkish Rice
  96. Our pet rabbit, Noel
  97. Virgin Mary's home / Ephesus / Syrince "Wine Tasting Village" (All one tour)
  98. My AMAZING host family
  99. Iskender Kebab
  100. Not drinking from the faucet but water dispensers
  101. Turkish Flag and its Colors

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Going To The Movie Theater In Turkey

What does everyone do when they are bored and not tired? What do you do when you want to go out, but also don't want to get to crazy, or spend too much money? What do you do for just enough entertainment? I say go to the movies! Yup. Go to the movies, grab your popcorn, choose the best seat and enjoy. How does the movie theaters differ in Turkey compared with America?

You buy you ticket which is around $8.00, depending on where you go. Then comes the deal breaker, refreshments. You will spend a minimum of 5$ for a drink and 5$ for a popcorn. If you get the super size popcorn or drink, you can get a "free" refill (Sharing with friends is the best way if you want/need refreshments). Then you carry your super sized everything, trying not to drop even a cent worth of popcorn to the huge dark cinema. You find the seat appropriate enough to view the entire film with the most viewing pleasure. The movie ends, and you rush to the bathroom, after drinking your extra-large beverage.

To start off, Turkey is one of the quickest countries in Europe to offer an American/popular movie. They can usually offer the major movies on the same release date as its original. I must say that going to the movies is one of my favorite simple pleasures in Turkey. To be specific, going to midnight movies is the best pleasure. So after an evening at the cafe, playing backgammon and drinking Turkish Coffee, everyone gets in the car and drives to the nearest cinema.

Like America, they have matinee, student, and adult prices. For a student, at midnight, is 11TL (About 7$). A major difference in Turkey, is that you have to select your seats on the ticket before entering. Now while this is not a problem while going to a midnight movie it poses problems other times. For example, One time we were going to Harry Potter in Marmaris in the middle of the day. We chose our seats and were stuck by some younger kids that kept screaming for Harry Potter. Let it be known, we went again later to actually enjoy the film.

While America likes to rip every cent out of your pockets and the food and beverage stand, Turkey is quite reasonable. You can get a menu of different offerings or order single items.  My typical treat is a menu with a medium popcorn(small in America), a can of sprite, and a bottle of water; all for only 8TL(5-6$). When I first arrived in Turkey they did not have those huge buckets of popcorn, but within the past 6 months, Turkey has adopted some American style and started offering large buckets, but the downfall for you popcorn lovers, no refills, unless you can sweet talk the server.

They still offer 10-15 minutes of non-stop commercials in the beginning of the movies, then the standard trailers for other upcoming movies. So, like America, you can make it to the actual film even if you are 15 minutes late. Americans, you know that feeling, it's half way through the movie and you have to run to the bathroom; however, you never know when is a good time to make the race so as to not miss any good parts. Well in Turkey, they offer a nice treat called a "break." That's right, at some point in the middle of the film they will stop it for about 5-10 minutes so you can use the restroom or get more treats. If you are like us "midnighters," you can just tell them to continue the movie.

Many countries are different in this next subject, subtitles and/or dubbing(dublaj). In Turkey, American movies are shown as original, with subtitles in Turkish at the bottom of the screen. Very few movies, like Harry Potter are offered dubbed.

In the end, it is much more pleasurable on your wallet, bladder, and viewing to watch a movie in Turkey! If you make a trip to Turkey, I recommend taking a late evening trip to the local theater and experience even this simple foreign difference.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Turkish Language

Turkish is on of the major languages of the world, being the official language of Turkey. there is also a high usage (Population of Turks) in Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus, Germany, France, The Netherlands, The United States, and Australia. Turkish is not related to any other major language of the Middle East like Arabic, Persian, or Hebrew, nor European. For this reason Turkish has almost no similarities in vocabulary or grammar with other languages, such as, English, French, and German. This makes learning Turkish difficult for speakers of other languages; however, it does have a regular structure with few exceptions, unlike English. Turkish is made up of mostly native words, while using a few loanwords from Arabic and Persian.

"one who says "I'm from the turkish nation", before everything must definitely speak Turkish.
  • Turkish is an agglutinating language, with exclusive suffixation: Anne (Mother), Annem (My mother), Anneme (To my mother).
  • Gender and definite and indefinite articles do not exist.
  • Instead of prepositions, Postpositions are used. Benim icin (for me).
  • Turkish is a subject-object-verb language. Example: Ben eve gittim - I home-to went (I went home).
  • All forms that effect a verb are added by suffixes to the end of the verb. For example: Git (go), gitme (Don't go). 
  • There is vowel harmony.
  • Contains 29 letters; 21 consonants & 8 vowels. [Turkish words are read exactly as they are spelled. There are rare exceptions, unlike the English language ( See: read the 'o' in one & bone)]
Turkish is a fun language but sometimes tricky if you directly translate. You can come to a general conclusion, but in songs and TV shows, it is hard to understand what they actually mean. Turkish is very poetic and deep, there are also many proverbs; in fact I hear a proverb at least once a day while living here. Below are some simple examples of how the meaning is different from the direct translation:
  • Cep telefon kapat. - Close the pocket telephone (Turn off the cell phone)
  • Isik ac. - Open the light (Turn on the light)
  • Nerde oturuyorsun? - Where do you sit? (Where do you live?)
  • Ask Kac Beden Giyer? - What size does the love wear? (How many lovers can you have?)
  • Ne haber 'Naber'? - What news? (What's up?)
  • Ne var, ne yok? - What is there, what is there not? (What's up?)
  • Memnun oldum. - I am satisfied. (I am pleased to meet you)
  • Tuylerim kalkti - My hairs got up (I got cold chills / I got goosebumps)
I recommend you living in Turkey to learn Turkish, because every Language book I have come across explains wrong, or is too basic, not accounting for present day Turkish. If a textbook is your only method to learn I recommend "". It is the best textbook I have found.

Some basic Turkish to use while touring:
  • Merhaba - Hello
  • Benim adim _____ - My name is _____
  • Nasilsin - How are you?
  • Iyiyim - I am good.
  • _____ Nerede - Where is the _____?
  • Hosgeldin. - Welcome.
  • Hosbulduk - I feel welcome
  • Gule gule - Go with a smile (good bye).
  • Neden - Why?
  • _____ ne demek? - What does ____ mean? (for example, a particular word)
  • Turkce bilmiyorum - I dont know Turkish
  • Tesekkurler - Thank you
  • Bir sey degil - Not at all (No problem)
Turkish In Use ;)

*Some of this info comes from ""*

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Years in Turkey!

New Years is a time for celebration, preparing for resolutions that will last no more than one week, and a time you spend with family and friends. How do you spend your time on New Years? In America, until you are a certain age you are asked to stay and spend it with family at home with some special foods and games. When you get a certain age to drive you are given a 2 hour talk about why you are not allowed to be out late, and that you will expect 50 calls until you get in the driveway, and the dangers of drinking and driving. (Which I believe this is a very important talk for kids that age.) Then you get to the age where you realize the dangers of drinking and driving, and decide to spend the whole night with friends, while calling home sending your New Years wishes.

As you know, in America, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, AND New Years all less than 1.5 months. Not that we don't love our families, but when you come to a certain age you want to spend the last holiday with friends; in a way its to much family in that certain time. (Again, not to say that we don't love our families, because I know I sure do!)

In Turkey, there are some similarities; people are split between staying at home with families or going out with friends. Since there are no other close holidays, it is not uncommon to hear that many individuals spend the time with family. Since there is a great public transportation system and a very cheap rate for taxi cabs, there is no worries about drinking and driving. For this reason, teenagers and young adults, if not spending their time with family, they typically go out rather than staying in for a house party.

Some typical things young adult's do for New Years Eve:
  • Take a trip to Cesme - An hour drive beach city where you can go to clubs and sit on the beach.
  • Go to normal clubs in Alsancak.
  • Go to one of the many concerts (Famous singers give concerts around the country)
  • Take a trip to Istanbul for a night on the town, possibly seeing a special concert.
  • Travel to Uludag, Bursa - A ski resort town.

For me, last year I went to Istanbul for one night (flying in the evening and flying back in the early morning) to watch a Hadise concert. This year I decided to go with my host family to Uludag in Bursa, Turkey.

2010 - 2011 New Years Concert with #TeamHadise:
Hadise Acikgoz
Team Hadise
Team Hadise having a sip of Starbucks before the concert!
While the time was filled with skiing and playing in the snow, New Years Eve was filled with something else. Of course there was Santa Claus (Read my Christmas post to see why there was Santa Claus on New Years: Christmas in Turkey). After spending quite some time to get ready (With everyone wanting to look there best), we went to the dining hall to enjoy a fancy 3 course dinner that was served timely. We then went to the top of the hotel and watched a concert by Fedon, a Greek-Turkish singer. It was a classy concert of course, so there was special tables you stood at. We ordered red wine and was served fruits. After this we went to a dance club to end the night at about 5AM.

All in all, I can say it was my first high-class New Years celebration. I really enjoyed it, but I did miss the American tradition of spending it with family or friends at a house party.

You can see information about my ski trip last year to Uludag here: Livin' it up in a Turkish Snow Globe!

2011 - 2012 New Years Pictures:

Uludag, Bursa, Turkey