Why I am not Turkish at all

Turks are known for their hospitality and dedication. That is at least what I have heard from friends which visited Turkey. I, on the other hand, have lost almost everything what would qualify me as such a person. Since 4 weeks I am in Italy and much of the things I have seen remind me on Turkey and the Turks, just with a little bit more of an European flavour.

  • Food: Turks as well as Italians like to speak about food and to eat. I mean they celebrate their food and then eat it; slowly, very slowly. I, on the other hand, see food as a necessity, i.e. I need it to survive, hence I eat it. Speaking about it? No, thanks! Oh yes, and to make Turks as well as Italians happy, say how good their food is. It’s almost as easy to make them happy as a woman, by saying how nice they look today.
  • Tobacco: The following statement might be slightly biased, due to several years exposure to clean Swedish air. People in Sweden are smart, if they wanna poison themselves slowly by smoking they do it with Snus and do not harm others. Additionally the Swedish government is making it really hard for smokers to enjoy their cigarettes by restricting the area were smoking is permitted. Other countries on the other hand are still years behind Sweden in this respect. Anyway back to my point. I was raised in a family were smoking was disliked and smokers were avoided were possible. Many of our relatives in Turkey were not visited at their homes, because they were smokers. This was also driven by my father who has respiratory problems and can smell if someone had smoked some weeks ago (that saved us as youngster from smoking). Smoking is very common in Turkey, among old and young as well as men and women and unfortunately even very young children. During my childhood I observed many times Turkish families coming to us, and going quite quickly. The reason: many don’t even ask if they can smoke, they just start, and then my father gets very angry, yells at them, takes their cigarettes from them and threw them out. This has given us almost a non-Turkish childhood, because there were really not many Turkish families in Germany, which visited us and I don’t miss it at all. We had always trouble on vacation (is it vacation when you spend 4 weeks to visit all your relatives spread around Turkey?) in Turkey, because bus and taxi drivers had to start to smoke without asking my dad and he had to fight with them. In this matter my father influenced me a lot. I hate places where one has to cross a group of smokers or indoor places where it is allowed, like Heathrow. Italy and Italians are in this respect much like Turks and Turkey, exceptions are of course always present and they prove the theory.
  • “No”. No, is usual understood as no, unless you are in Turkey. If you go shopping and ask for a specific item and they don’t have it and you especially point out that you do not need anything else. They will still bring you everything else they have. If you are invited to a Turkish family you will get food for sure, regardless the time. We often arrived at relatives places during midnight or later from the airport and they always woke up, made dinner or something else for us, although I explicitly said: No. As a child I still had some Turkishness in me and was so kind and ate it up. But since few years, I am pissed of if people don’t take me serious when I say NO. If I say NO I mean NO and if I say “a little” I mean “a little” and not “I am to shy to say YES, so please give me as much as you have, I will eat it up, but will say NO”. People really get surprised when I mean what I say. I do not eat it or send it back when it is too much. And they do not like it, but I don’t care anymore! As a foreigner in Turkey I do not advise you to do this. You should always eat what they will offer you and you have to say YES although you are not hungry. Believe me you will like it, but after many years I am tired of it. That is also a reason why we do not have many Turkish families around the world which invite us on a regular basis, unless they are also not fully covered in their Turkishness. Beggars have a tough live, but in Sweden they behave. They have little notes in their hand which they put in front of you and collect after few seconds and if you want you give them something you do so and if not then not. In Turkey they are often more importunate, but maybe it is a cultural thing. Today, in Bologna at a nice park while feeding our son with water and some baby food, a girl came by and asked for money (that’s what I assumed). I kindly refused and she tried almost 2 minutes and after several NOs she went away. Shortly later a much younger girl came and played with our son, kissed him, embraced him etc. I started to say STOP, because I get a strange feeling if strangers show too much “love”. Then she asked for money, I said NO, she kissed him again, but much deeper. I tried to push her slightly away, because our son started to cry. I and now also my wife, who is much kinder than me, repeated several times NO. She got angry said something and put her finger in her mouth and wanted to press her finger now on our sons head. He, already crying as usual, was hard to silence and I stopped her by grabbing her arm and pushing her away. She started yelling and jumping and tried to put her finger, after spitting on it, on our sons head. He started crying even louder. And I got really angry and yelled at her. She left. Many other little girls came after her, but several NOs were sufficient from now on. In Turkey I experienced similar things.

There are many other similarities, but I should stop now. Blogging is not the solution for my anger. I need something else. Being a father is really tough and all plans have always to be adjusted for the little pasha in order to silence him. I get quite fast angry and loose my patience and start to niggle around about small things. So all points here have to be considered under these remarks. At least I have something to tell to my son when he is older.

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4 Responses to “Why I am not Turkish at all”


  1. 1 Gabriele July 19, 2007 at 3:04 pm

    You had a very bad experience with gipsies..this things make me really angry because they shouldn´t happen in a civilized country. Unfortunately, it can be quite common in some city in Italy.
    Don´t let them come close to your son next time.

  2. 2 ferramis July 19, 2007 at 8:39 pm

    It is not restricted to Italy, don’t worry 🙂 I should start to find some good things to tell about Italy, don’t you think so? I still have some weeks, I might find something 🙂 Stay tune 🙂


  1. 1 Timmy’s Site » Blog Archive » Italians (not so original post) Trackback on July 9, 2007 at 10:20 am
  2. 2 Or am I? « wAnNaBe NeRd Trackback on August 21, 2007 at 12:15 pm

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