Sunday, February 19, 2012

You'd Think........

After 1.5 years in the Middle East, you would think that I would be used to the nuances of this culture.  True, most of the time I am not surprised by what I see.  It isn't new or noteworthy to me anymore.  But sometimes, I am still uncomfortable.

Case in point: our family outing to the mall today.  I barely noticed the shepherd grazing his cattle in the median of the interstate.  The insane driving almost seems normal now.  The horse drawn buggies hardly get a second glance.  Everything that would be strange to American eyes was uneventful and quite normal to me.

But I CAN NOT get used to the obsession with my blue-eyed boy.  Strangers scooping him up, handing me their cell, and asking me to take their picture with him.  I know they mean well.  They are gentle and kind and so complimentary.  It's not even that I am fearful for W's safety, because I truly am not.  I just don't think my Western self will ever completely get used to this.  I have come to expect it, and even prepare for it-but it always takes me aback when it actually happens.  I shutter to think how many Turkish cell phones have a picture of W on them.  One lady even made it her screensaver a couple months back.

The other thing I will never get used to?  The Turkish notion that lines are meant to be cut.  My mother experienced this first hand on her trip here.  In America, we have proper respect for a line.  We know we wait our turn-and most of the time, things go smoothly.  Over here, not so much.  I may think I am standing in line, but to a Turk I am just standing around.  They proceed to walk right in front of me.  It happens ALL THE TIME.  Today, it happened at McDonalds and the arcade.  I have experienced it in airports (customs is the worst), restaurants, shopping malls, and tourist sites.  Pushing, jostling, crowding. No order, just chaos.  At least that's how I see it.  They seem totally at ease with it.  It's how this culture does things.  They don't think they are being rude or pushy at all.

And then, there's this.....
Look closely....the car is full of chickens.  We see this kind of thing ALL THE TIME.

It makes me wonder how long you would have to live here before it truly becomes normal.  How long before my "Western-ness" would evaporate.  I guess I will never know.  But I can say this-2 years barely scratches the surface!


  1. Oh Sarah! Ummm...getting used to all of those things...that would be a "No" for me too. Girl, I had a mom cut right in front me while we were waiting for the boys to sit on Santa's lap, and I'm still not over it (or at least this lets me know I'm not since I brought it up. :) And little W...he's as celebrity as Mason Disick/Kardashian. Oh how funny! :) Hope you have a great week!