Tag Archives: Izmir

Thoughtful Thursdays and finishing old thoughts about living in other countries and trying to be universal.

Please forgive me if this post is a bit of a ramble about living in Turkey, and the hope of universal justice.

I regret my comments about Sufism being dead, back in 2005, based on what I’d been told by neighbors, co-workers, and my boss, both up in Istanbul and down in Izmir. Whether or not that was true, for them, it prevented me from continuing the search for myself. I let the fears of others, and my own fear, being told that it’s not safe, even in 2005, for a young-looking woman (Turks were always shocked and then offended that a woman in her 40s, whom they’d taken for mid 20’s, dared to be living alone and working in a foreign country with no plans to go home, marry, make enough money to buy a house, car, health insurance, etc,) dictate my plans. But that was about the best I could do at the time.

Now, looking back at some conversations I had with other bloggers, I see how I let myself get caught up in other mindsets, trying to be part of any society or family group that would have me (sorry if this belongs on a Spanish Sunday, but my Spanish was so bad back then that it’s hardly worth moving this…):

(This clip is  part of an older post…-

 

And, finally, that conversation I had over LJ with someone who asked me in Spanish about my impressions of how the Kurds are seen in Turkey:
“2005-05-06 11:26:00
İsmet İnönü: una historia interesante… ilginç tarih… interesting history…
Yo estaba hablando con mi jefe en la escuela sobre la fiesta de anoche y hablabamos sobre la fieste de Nevrus y otras fiestas (como el de ayer -Hıdırellez). El me decia que los Kurdos no tienen ninguna problema aqui, aunque mi antigua companera de cuarta decia que a los Kurdos Turquia no les gusta y habia descriminacion y aun ahora quedo una guerra contra ellos. Todo los Turkos decian que eso no lo es, y que solamente (los Kurdos) quieren hacer problemas. Es algo interesante. Desde amos lados hay diferente puntas de vista. Pero no sabia que habia algunas presidentes de Turquia que habian Kurdos. Otra amiga me decia que su heroe es İsmet İnönü. Yo estaba un pocito sorprendida. He encontrado unos datos sobre el por alli:”

Basically, most Turks want the Kurds to assimilate, stop speaking Kurdish, and stop complaining.  Hmm, sounds familiar… –

So, it turns out that some of my coworkers may have been right about the once and future Prime Minister gaining more and more power and closing the noose further on the secularist dream of a Laic Turkish Republic.    As I watch nationalism and particularism close in on the world, I see each group looking to its own, rather than to the universal, and it worries me now even more than it did back then.    That is why I write.  Both here on my blog, and in my Work In Progress: justice must be for all of us, as human beings.  No more, and no less.

More on my continuing striving with thoughts next week, friends:

Yassas,   γεια σας!    Salût !  Nos vemos!  Görüşürüz!     ! שָׁלוֹם

Action Items in support of literacy and hope that you can take right now:

1.) Search for two different resources about universalism.

2.) Share them with us in the comments, here, please.

3.) Share your thoughts on how you like each of the resources you found,  perhaps as an update on your GoodReads reading,

4.) Write a blog post or tweet that uses a the word “universal,” tells a good story, and makes a difference. I’m working on that through my historical fantasy #WiP, #WhoByFireIWill. Once published, donate one or more copies to your local public library, as I intend to do.

Dear Readers, any additional ideas toward learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning as part of on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness,  #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind? 

Support our key #PublicDomainInfrastructure  & #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19:
1. #PublicLibraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!, Teach and Learn (Lesson Plans)!

ShiraDest

September, 12020 HE

(The previous lesson plan since this post, and the most recent lesson plan…)

Moody Mondays, a book 15 years overdue, and my arrival in Izmir, with a small side of neo-colonialism

Just over five years ago, I finally published a book that should have been written ten years before that. So, I figure that my book on Black-Jewish cooperation (ok, in DC, not in Izmir, but they are both international cities, after all…) pretty well pre-figures the cooperation between myself, being Black, and Channon, being Jewish, as I hosted him as a guest in my newly rented apartment in my newly moved to city of Izmir, formerly known as Smyrna. What follows is a story of some of the travelling he actually forced me to do when he got there to visit, since I’d done nothing but work my whole time there! So, once again, thanks to cooperation, having a guest is a Mitzvah that both win from. I’d forgotten about that group of Brits buying up land in Turkey: keep reading to see that side of neo-col!

I came across an old blog post from the first visit that a friend (Channon, aka Craig, may his memory be for a blessing) made to Izmir, staying as my guest for a week before bicycling across Turkey, then down around the south, to come back up to Izmir and spend another week with me before leaving for Africa.

My original post:

 

A post I missed: visit from fellow Havnik abt April of 2005

Chanon in izmir

recent travels -Efes, Milet, Bergama (Ephesus, Miletos, Pergamum)

Ok, İ am really glad that Craig is here as a guest because that has given me the impetus to do some much-needed travelling.

We went to see Ephesus, the ancient city with the great library. İt is amazing. Inscrptions in Latin and Greek (mostly Greek) reminded me that İ do in fact want to learn several different varieties of Greek. the library is richly decorated, and very imposing, even in its current state.
The well-preserved ampitheater had absolutely amazing acoustics! İ litterally whispered and Chanon could hear me half-way up the stairs!

The temple of Apollo in the town of Didim retains its magnificence after more than 2000 years. No inscriptions to be seen, but the temple site is quite impressive enough as it stands.

Miletos has a weed-grown complex including an ampitheater and other buildings we did not see.

During our trips we did a good bit of walking, and were pleasantly surprised with many offers for rides. İn Ephesus (Efes in Turkish) we were given rides (unsolicited) by a man selling carpets, and then by a servis van driver on the way up to the site, then by car full of soldiers on our walk back down from the site. The following trip allowed us to meet a man who drove a truck carrying Aygaz (propane gas) on the way to Mılet, Ergul Hanım, a nice lady who offered us a ride in her car as we walked to the beach in the town of Didim after seeing the Apollyon (temple of apollo). At the beach we met 5 British ex-pats who are living near Didim, and listened in on their discussion of real-estate here. That confirmed what a Turkish person told me earlier about the Turkish government being worried about Brits buying up lots of land -they complained about new restrictions on their ability to buy property and resell to other Brits. They also seemed not to have made much effort to learn Turkish, so İ can understand Turkish hesitation at having a large British enclave. The area clearly caters to Brits, with many pubs and British spelling everywhere. they were quıte nice to us, pointing us in the direction of Miletos (Milet in Turkish) after buying us drinks. We talked of the differences in outlook between the ancient Hellenic world and Jewish general feelings regarding modesty, perfection, beauty, slavery and İ realized that my high regard for ancient greek ideals may be at odds with Jewish thinking (at least Chanon’s point of view on Jewish thinking). İnteresting conflict. I admire beauty, strength (both of character and female physical power), general well-rounded ness (the ability to do many things reasonably well, being well-read in many subjects, etc). He contrasts this with an idea of covering and doing one thing very well. We should talk more about that…

We were offered a ride by the gate-keeper at the ruins of Miletos, who actually called a friend of his to give us a ride to the mini-bus stop 4 km away. They were heading toward Sure, but it was nice to have a short talk with them along the way. they are archeologists working at the museum, which was closed at the time we were there. We also met some students doing geo-physical survey, to scan underground for ancient sites. I have got to study archeology!

p.s. -in case İ forgot to say, İ also went with my South Korean hotel neighbor a few weeks ago to see Pergamum, where the ancient church is built on top of a more ancient temple dedicated to the Egyptian god -uh, I forgot…

 

So, it turns out that …  More on my continuing striving with Lx next week, friends:

Yassas,   γεια σας!    Salût !  Nos vemos!  Görüşürüz!     ! שָׁלוֹם

Action Items in support of literacy and hope that you can take right now:

1.) Search for two different resources to translate the word “Hello” into Lx.

2.) Share them with us in the comments, here, please.

3.) Share your thoughts on how you like each of the resources you found,  perhaps as an update on your GoodReads reading,

4.) Write a blog post or tweet that uses a Lx word, tells a good story, and makes a difference. I’m working on that through my historical fantasy #WiP, #WhoByFireIWill. Once published, donate one or more copies to your local public library, as I intend to do.

Dear Readers, any additional ideas toward learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning as part of on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness,  #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind? 

Support our key #PublicDomainInfrastructure  & #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19:
1. #PublicLibraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!, Teach and Learn (Lesson Plans)!

ShiraDest

September, 12020 HE

(The previous lesson plan since this post, and the most recent lesson plan…)

Turkish Tuesdays, and Being an American when it hurts

The Turkish book I’m currently reading is mentioned below the short incident on Judging on the Side of Merit.

 

I was thinking of an episode of a show, Magnificent Century, from Turkey that has been quite popular in many Spanish-speaking countries, and how much I love an early episode showing the entry of the young Sultan Suleyman (The Lawgiver, to the Turks, but known in the west as:) The Magnificent.  His new subjects shout as he rides by: “Remember that you are not greater than God!”  and the young ruler takes his duty seriously, alleviating several glowering injustices on his first day as Sultan.  Yet, I had some experiences when I lived in Turkey that show how defensive any ordinary person can be, seeing another person who seems to represent some injustice. 

I wonder how I would react now, to this same situation:

 

I was just reading the comments of the founder of NVC on reactions in a refugee camp.  It struck me that those reactions were the same as the reactions to me in Izmir.  When I lived in Izmir (in 2005, from March to November), teaching English, one day one of my neighbors saw me walking up the stairs toward our building, and she took my arm (as women often do in Turkey) to walk with me and talk.  But her talk was more of a harangue.  She let loose on me about how my government was blaming them for a genocide which they insist did not happen, and that it was all very hypocritical, particularly when the US operates Guantanamo.  I was thunderstruck that she would hold me, a person who had left my country of origin to find a job elsewhere, and to whom she could direct this rant only because I was one of the rare expatriats to spend the time and effort to learn Turkish, responsible for the Apology request.  So, unfortunately, I responded defensively, pointing out that I personally had nothing to do with my government policies, did not agree with much of those policies, and had not voted for the administration then in power!  None of those defensive arguments changed her speech.  Now I see that, like the man in the camp, she needed to vent.  I wonder if, had I allowed her to vent, simply listening and validating what she needed to say to any random American, would that incident and relationship have ended more positively?
Read, Write, Dream, Teach !

ShiraDest
 from: 20 March, 12016 HE

So, it turns out that people all around the world can be both kind yet also defensive, sometimes at the same time. There is a Jewish concept called Dan LeChaf Zechut: Judge on the Side of Merit, or as we’d say, Give the Benefit of the Doubt.  I shall try harder to do that these days.

Oh, and I’ve just started a kids story called Küçük Kara Balık by Samad Behrangi in Turkish: page 1, and I’ve already got 5 words to look up!

September 29, 2020 –page 1

1.67% “So far, I get that an old fish tells his 12 kids & grandkids a story.
derinliklerinde
Irmakta (hmm: https://elon.io/learn-turkish/lexicon… … ırmak…)

kayadan, … kaya
vadinin… vadi
akmak: https://context.reverso.net/translati…

More on my continuing striving with Turkish next week.

Yassas,   γεια σας!    Salût !  Nos vemos!  Görüşürüz!     ! שָׁלוֹם

Action Items in support of literacy and hope that you can take right now:

1.) Search for two different resources to translate the word “Justice” into Turkish.

2.) Share them with us in the comments, here, please.

3.) Share your thoughts on how you like each of the resources you found,  perhaps as an update on your GoodReads reading,

4.) Write a blog post or tweet that uses a Turkish word, tells a good story, and makes a difference. I’m working on that through my historical fantasy #WiP, #WhoByFireIWill. Once published, donate one or more copies to your local public library, as I intend to do.

Dear Readers, any additional ideas toward learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning as part of on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness,  #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind? 

Support our key #PublicDomainInfrastructure  & #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19:
1. #PublicLibraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!, Teach and Learn (Lesson Plans) !

ShiraDest

September, 12020 HE

(The previous lesson plan since this post was scheduled, and the next lesson plan…)

Thoughtful Thursdays: learning a language to smile at others, or not?

Short story: glad I smiled at someone I did not know -who thanked me, and made me grateful to be alive, back in 2005. And even more recently.

Less short version of the story:
When I lived in Izmir, that summer I took long walks on Saturday afternoons. I had the habit of smiling, or at least nodding, to every person I saw because frankly, I hoped someone would smile or nod back at me. At least acknowledge me as a fellow human being, as I tried to do, even passing the homeless people lining the streets as you go into the Metro (in DC).

So, I nodded at a lady in passing, never met her, just kept going because I was too tired to say Gunaydin (Good Morning/afternoon in Turkish), and my Turkish was only rudimentary any way.
Then I heard a call behind me. I turned to see that woman walking back toward me, and her eyes were glistening.
She put her hand on my chest, nothing scary, nothing sexual, just an ordinary safe contact, and said, in very simple Turkish that was clear and slow, that in five years in Izmir, no one had ever greeted her. She thanked me, and I nodded in return, too moved to get out even one word of Turkish. We both turned and went our own ways. And now, over ten years later, I am glad that I smiled at a random person whom I had never met, and never saw again.
I hope that I can share that joy with …    Everyone.

Action Items:

1.)   Consider:  Do you, personally, greet, or don’t greet, people you do not know?  How did you feel about strangers greeting you?

2.)  How do you think this appears, from the other person’s point of view?

3.)  What do you think about the idea of greeting everyone, stranger or not, and why? 

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness, & #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four key parts of our #PublicDomainInfrastructure:
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare , and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !

In Service to Human Community,
ShiraDest

scheduled in September, 12020 HE

My long-lost language learning goals for Greek: in Spanish! Miercoles Maravillosos de Griego!

Now starting Great Greek Wednesdays, at last!  🙂    Ya, por fin, estoy empezando los Miercoles de Griego Maravilloso!

I actually accidentally started learning a bit of Greek when I lived in Turkey, due to having a couple of friends in Athens, one of whom came to visit me across the Aegean when I lived in Izmir.   Background on that is below, in this post for anyone interested in reading and commenting on how I slowly started to figure out, back around 2005, that I learn a new language much faster by tying it to an old ‘new’ language.  My L1 is English, and my L2 is Spanish, so I found it far easier to learn Greek in Spanish, because:

  1.  using Spanish ‘hooks’ the new Greek words into my existing foreign language brain circuits,   and
  2.   Greek pronunciation and grammar are very similar to European Spanish grammar and usage, so it just makes more sense to learn Greek in Spanish than in English.       Finally:
  3.   this way, I get to practice my Spanish while learning Greek, so less time wasted on English.  🙂

and here is that list I’ve been looking for for a few years now:
“end of 2006 -full fluency in Spanish
” 2010 – Turkish
2015-  Biblical Hebrew
2030- French
2033- Catalan
2035- Greek
2040- Italian”

I wanted to scrub French from my list, but now (2020) I am fully fluent, far ahead of reluctant schedule. I also have mostly reading fluencey in Biblical Hebrew now. I also watch TV shows like Hakan: Muhafiz in Turkish, so I put myself between conversant and fluent in Turkish.

More below, and I can dig up the old posts for those who want to discuss living in Turkey as a bad social experiment back in 2005.  🙂

Still in Service to Community,

Shira

So, I did swim in the Aegean! I’d totally forgotten:
“I had a good day – we went to our coworker Fazil’s house (it took us from 12:30 until 3pm!), where we all ate lunch, went swimming (the Aegean sea is very very very salty!!), walked around Foca (Phocia) and saw a Greek-Turkish political discussion at a large table outdoors on a stage (I wanted to stay and listen but no one else was interested -frustrating as they were speaking in Greek and then translating into Turkish and people were applauding wildly), then saw the last few dances of a show of a Greek folk dance trouppe (their last dance was Romvini in Turkish, a tsifteteli I believe, and everyone clapped but no one danced), then we went home -at 10m, and I arrived home about midnight, but then joined my farther away neighbors on their balcony for some nuts and karpus, and we talked until 1am.”2005-05-06 11:26:00
İsmet İnönü: una historia interesante… ilginç tarih… interesting history…
Yo estaba hablando con mi jefe en la escuela sobre la fiesta de anoche y hablabamos sobre la fieste de Nevrus y otras fiestas (como el de ayer -Hıdırellez). El me decia que los Kurdos no tienen ninguna problema aqui, aunque mi antigua companera de cuarto decia que a los Kurdos Turquia no les gusta y habia descriminacion y aun ahora quedo una guerra contra ellos. Todo los Turkos decian que eso no lo es, y que solamente (los Kurdos) quieren hacer problemas. Es algo interesante. Desde amos lados hay diferente puntas de vista. Pero no sabia que habia algunas presidentes de Turquia que habian Kurdos. Otra amiga me decia que su heroe es İsmet İnönü. Yo estaba un pocito sorprendida. …”

Turkish Tuesdays, Istanbul, late 2004, and Izmir, early 2005, Chanon’s bus Lymeric post

This post is pretty much a reminder that the only way to learn anything is by doing it badly, at first, and then: persisting!  🙂

Some thoughts from back when I lived in Turkey, originally posted at the start of 2020’s global pandemic, but putting in a bit of order as I try to make sense of my longing to get back to languages before I forget them all (glad to see that I’ve improved quite a bit since then!), and to make time to learn all of the lessons from those places where I lived, searching for something that I am not sure how to find.

“cultural note: Kurds, Turks, and Jewish (Sephardic) families all kiss the hand and touch the forehead of the eldest person/host as a greeting. I was quite surprised to see this as a universal custom (ok, at least one Kurdish family and extended friend group, only one Jewish family that I got to spend alot of time with around their extended family, and I’ve only seen Turkish family greetings on TV here in the commercials and shows. The Turkish family I lived with did not do this, but they are quite wealthy, and Americanized).

My Kurdish friends love to sing! They do not however consider me Jewish, because my father and mother are not Jewish. That seems to be the same sentiment I got from the Turkish and Jewish people I spoke with here in Istanbul as well.

Most people use propane gas for cooking. Natural gas is only in rich areas, so far.

Here, the doorway is not the place to hide during an earthquake. Under a table is what my roommate tells me…
2004-11-09 17:34:00″
from:..

“karamsar, dark or negative thinking, really?

A person in Izmir accused me of being thus, for refusing to bring a new life into this world. I beg to differ…
May all people who wander be granted peace of mind, and complete, total Shalom. “

And lastly but most certainly not least of all, remembering old friends who visited (twice!!):

The conversation before the lymeric (ok, or maybe after the Lymeric…) !!   I am very grateful that this friend visited me, as I’d never have taken the time to see anything around me, working as I did constantly, while I lived in Izmir.   May his memory be for a blessing:

“At Ersan Pansyon, just off of Kibris Shehitler caddesi, near my apartment, there is a nice young man who works there, who yesterday offered us breakfast and the opportunity to talk. My guest Chanan does not speak Turkish, so I served as both translator and breakfast guest with him. This has been wonderful. I have forgotten the young man’s name, but he asked many questions about the US, which I translated for Channon from a Boston/NY perspective, and occasionally threw in my own perspective on growing up in the South. One thing that particularly struck me, which I have hear from religious Turks before, is that they are anxious for Americans and Europeans to know that Turkey is different from the other muslim countries, and *is not Arab* -and also is not a bed for fanatical Islam. The current president, as our friend told us, comes from a religious background, as does the family that runs this pansyon, and none of them are fanatics. All do however believe strongly in hospitality and friendship. He told us that all of the people in the world are relatives, all descending from Adam and Eve. This was a wonderful conversation.
2005-03-24 12:52:00”

“2005-03-23 15:10:00
Group Limerick -on the bus!!
Here is a limerick Channon and I composed with the help of several fellow passengers (!)on the bus as we travelled to meet some SERVAS friends (the SERVAS http://www.servas.org coordinator here in İzmir, as it turned out) here in İzmir:

Izmir’de çok kaybolduk
“Hangi tarafa döndük?!”
Mutfak çok pislik
Zor temizledik
Efes’i gördük, mutluyduk

the link to all of his travel limericks is also available from this link, i think… https://lists.ccs.neu.edu/pipermail/craignet/2005/000122.html

=========
Here is my original in a more readable form…
—-
Izmir’de cok kaybolduk
“Hangi tarafa donduk?!”
Mutfak cok pislik
Zor temizledik
Efes’i gorduk, mutluyduk
—-

…sorry, thought I’d posted the translation with it:
In Izmir we were lost all the time
“Which way did we turn?!”
The kitchen was really dirty
We had a hard time cleaning it
We say Ephesus, we were happy

2005-03-25 14:15:00
Los EE y el emperio Romano; ABD ve Roma emperyum; US and the Roman Empire…
Estoy trabajando para amigos en leer sus documentos en ingles, escuchando a Nuevo Flamenco muy bonito (me sorpresa que Slash puede tocar la gitarra tan bueno asi!), y preocupando por me permiso de trabajar, y yo estaba pensando en los EE y Roma, que similar; En los ultimos años, la culta del emperor y los valores familiares fue mucho hablado (me temo que he olvidè a esta idioma, y nunca fue tan bueno, asi que me perdoneran, ustedes queridos leeredores…). Una buen amiga me decia que los EE y Roma tienen muchas cosas en comun…

*cringe* now for the Turkish attempt -I’m still trying to translate the last line :
*ahora en Turquesa, aunque estoy tratando de traducir a la ultima linea de la respuesta de Silmaril…

Çalışıyorum ve düşünüyorüm -çalışma vizem nerede? Düşündüm ki ABD ve Roma Emperyum çok beğenziyor.
***
As I shuttle back and forth between trying not to worry about where the bleepety bleep bleep bleep my bleeping work visa is (lost in Ankara …), work on reviewing the English documentation for some friends, and reading this paper on Global Civil Society …

Memories.  Neither misty nor water-colored.

Working on learning.  öğrenmeye çalışıyorum.

How the Arts/Media and Public Policy influence one another, and how Time Banks can help!

When I lived in Izmir, a Turkish TV spot shocked me: it showed an image of an elderly Black man, evidently homeless, sleeping in a stairwell directly beneath a sign that pointed up the stairs and read “White House” followed by the caption “Yorum Yok” or “No Comment.” This was about the same time that a major Turkish newspaper criticized the Erdoğan government over the death by hypothermia of an elderly homeless man up in Istanbul, sparking outrage among my Turkish coworkers. These two media pieces, taken together, led me to wonder about the links between the media and public policy.

When I was a kid, PBS School House Rock spots taught me things like the Preamble to the US Constitution, and how bills become law.  These and other PBS shows like Sesame Street demonstrated the concept of cooperation and taught a generation of kids ideas of fairness, social justice, and may have helped pave the way for later laws passed once we became adults on issues ranging from birth control and same-sex marriage to the Affordable Care Act.

In like manner, shows like El Ministerio del Tiempo, in Spain, provide social commentary and critique, while framing various often opposing views on social justice, cooperation, and the policy elements that can encourage those values. Similarly, the Turkish family show Sihirli Annem also showed a generation of kids in Turkey respect for women, social justice and cooperation. That generation is now part of the push-back against radicalism in Turkey today.

All of these shows are examples of how the Arts and Media can influence Public Policy, and vice-versa. Time Banks, when encouraged by local government and community-based organizations, can help in facilitating access to the arts through Open Access Cable, local arts organizations, and extending Time Bank credit to local artists through mural projects and other local culture projects, for the benefit of both local and extended communities.

Join or start one in your community now!

Read, Write, Dream, Walk !
ShiraDest

October 18th, 12017 HE

– My long-lost language goals and conversations lost (in Spanish)

Interesting that this post was in July, yet it took me months to arrange to leave…
“I always keep a bucket of water full for just such occassions (which are frequent, as it turns out). I am just tired of fighting this. I have alos learned that the culture is much more innuedo-based than I thought. It turns out that someone we know thought I wanted to date him based on something I said about marriage! The fact that I come from a much more direct culture and Turkey is a much more indirect and hint-based culture is a serious problem for me. I think that much of what I percieve to be dishonesty is really a by-product of the Turkish/Asian preference for subtlty (they are a subtle culture while America is definitely not!). The Jewish community is very interesing here. And they have helped me to understand that I will never be accepted as Sephardi. That is one goal accomplished. Another is learning that not only is the Lesbian community completely in hiding and mostly closed but they also really do not want an American coming to try to help them in any way. Took learning enough Turkish before I discovered that one. And as for being accepted (in the closet) as a member of Turkish society, the answer is -only if I give free English lessons and do not make any money in Turkey (and convert to Islam so I can marry a Turk). Which brings me to my last goal, learning about Sufism. It is dead and the city of the Sufies (Konya) is a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism that Turkey is working hard to repress. I was also disappointed to learn that my big brother here in Izmir also believes that Kurds are mostly thieves and (a word I do not know) bad people. So I have met my 5 major goals for coming here, I have learned alot, I cannot do any real good here, and I do not want to stay. But the food is awesome and I have learned how to make my favorite dishes already. So that sums up Turkey, now it’s time to leave.”

and here is that list I’ve been looking for for a few years now:
“end of 2006 -full fluency in Spanish
” 2010 – Turkish
2015- Modern Israeli (and reading fluency in Biblical) Hebrew
2020- Egyptian Arabic
2023- Palestinian and Jordanian Arabic
2025- Portugues
2030- French
2033- Catalan
2035- Greek
2040- Italian”

I wanted to scrub French from my list, but now (2020) I am fully fluent, far ahead of reluctant schedule. I also have mostly reading fluencey in Biblical Hebrew now, though Israeli Hebrew is off of my active list. I also watch TV shows like Hakan:Muhafiz in Turkish, so I put myself between conversant and fluent in Turkish.

And, speaking with a Dutch friend who’d lived in Turkey for a year or more before I arrived:
“2005-07-25 08:32:00
psych. damage… (and damned phone)
Sylvıa pointed out that i seem to see most women (tight clothes, sex before marriage, etc) as sluts according to a comment -they think we are all sluts- that i made as we talked about how the Turkish guys treat foreign women. İ also realized that i had caught myself mentalliy agreeing w/Cengis abi about kurds being theives etc. İ am starting to pick up not only the racist sentiments many people here hold but also the ingrained judgement against western clothing styles and glbt people and open sexual mores that some of my closer friends hold (my religious friends here). But my princples say that those things are all ok -they donot hurt anyone. İ am also starting to look down on myself as a lesbian due to the shame of having to keep it a secret. Cengiz abi again told me not to tell anyone. but i promised myself not to be in the closet anymore a year ago. All means that i am getting no better for being in a society that mostly hates who i am. Even in a perfect apartment and my dream job here, the society at large remains the same -dissaproving of me and seeing me as an outsider only good for certain things. İ will be objectified as long as the system pays us more to work here based on an accident of birth (being native speakers) and people will resent it.”

So, I did swim in the Aegean! I’d totally forgotten:
“I had a good day -i met my Azeri coworker Nazile and we went to our coworker Fazil’s house (it took us from 12:30 until 3pm!), where we all ate lunch, went swimming (the Aegean sea is very very very salty!!), walked around Foca (Phocia) and saw a Greek-Turkish political discussion at a large table outdoors on a stage (I wanted to stay and listen but no one else was interested -frustrating as they were speaking in Greek and then translating into Turkish and people were applauding wildly), then saw the last few dances of a show of a Greek folk dance trouppe (their last dance was Romvini in Turkish, a tsifteteli I believe, and everyone clapped but no one danced), then we went home -at 10m, and I arrived home about midnight, but then joined my farther away neighbors on their balcony for some nuts and karpus, and we talked until 1am.”

https://shiradestin.wordpress.com/2005/08/20/kind-people-who-told-me-to-be-harsher/

And, finally, that conversation I had over LJ with someone who asked me in Spanish about my impressions of how the Kurds are seen in Turkey:
“2005-05-06 11:26:00
İsmet İnönü: una historia interesante… ilginç tarih… interesting history…
Yo estaba hablando con mi jefe en la escuela sobre la fiesta de anoche y hablabamos sobre la fieste de Nevrus y otras fiestas (como el de ayer -Hıdırellez). El me decia que los Kurdos no tienen ninguna problema aqui, aunque mi antigua companera de cuarta decia que a los Kurdos Turquia no les gusta y habia descriminacion y aun ahora quedo una guerra contra ellos. Todo los Turkos decian que eso no lo es, y que solamente (los Kurdos) quieren hacer problemas. Es algo interesante. Desde amos lados hay diferente puntas de vista. Pero no sabia que habia algunas presidentes de Turquia que habian Kurdos. Otra amiga me decia que su heroe es İsmet İnönü. Yo estaba un pocito sorprendida. He encontrado unos datos sobre el por alli:”
From:
https://shiradestin.wordpress.com/2008/11/04/posts-made-from-turkey-in-later-time/

– I post I missed: visit from fellow Havnik abt April of 2005

Chanon in izmir

recent travels -Efes, Milet, Bergama (Ephesus, Miletos, Pergamum)

Ok, İ am really glad that Craig is here as a guest because that has given me the impetus to do some much-needed travelling.

We went to see Ephesus, the ancient city with the great library. İt is amazing. Inscrptions in Latin and Greek (mostly Greek) reminded me that İ do in fact want to learn several different varieties of Greek. the library is richly decorated, and very imposing, even in its current state.
The well-preserved ampitheater had absolutely amazing acoustics! İ litterally whispered and Chanon could hear me half-way up the stairs!

The temple of Apollo in the town of Didim retains its magnificence after more than 2000 years. No inscriptions to be seen, but the temple site is quite impressive enough as it stands.

Miletos has a weed-grown complex including an ampitheater and other buildings we did not see.

During our trips we did a good bit of walking, and were pleasantly surprised with many offers for rides. İn Ephesus (Efes in Turkish) we were given rides (unsolicited) by a man selling carpets, and then by a servis van driver on the way up to the site, then by car full of soldiers on our walk back down from the site. The following trip allowed us to meet a man who drove a truck carrying Aygaz (propane gas) on the way to Mılet, Ergul Hanım, a nice lady who offered us a ride in her car as we walked to the beach in the town of Didim after seeing the Apollyon (temple of apollo). At the beach we met 5 British ex-pats who are living near Didim, and listened in on their discussion of real-estate here. That confirmed what a Turkish person told me earlier about the Turkish government being worried about Brits buying up lots of land -they complained about new restrictions on their ability to buy property and resell to other Brits. They also seemed not to have made much effort to learn Turkish, so İ can understand Turkish hesitation at having a large British enclave. The area clearly caters to Brits, with many pubs and British spelling everywhere. they were quıte nice to us, pointing us in the direction of Miletos (Milet in Turkish) after buying us drinks. We talked of the differences in outlook between the ancient Hellenic world and Jewish general feelings regarding modesty, perfection, beauty, slavery and İ realized that my high regard for ancient greek ideals may be at odds with Jewish thinking (at least Chanon’s point of view on Jewish thinking). İnteresting conflict. I admire beauty, strength (both of character and female physical power), general well-rounded ness (the ability to do many things reasonably well, being well-read in many subjects, etc). He contrasts this with an idea of covering and doing one thing very well. We should talk more about that…

We were offered a ride by the gate-keeper at the ruins of Miletos, who actually called a friend of his to give us a ride to the mini-bus stop 4 km away. They were heading toward Sure, but it was nice to have a short talk with them along the way. they are archeologists working at the museum, which was closed at the time we were there. We also met some students doing geo-physical survey, to scan underground for ancient sites. I have got to study archeology!

p.s. -in case İ forgot to say, İ also went with my South Korean hotel neighbor a few weeks ago to see Pergamum, where the ancient church is built on top of a more ancient temple dedicated to the Egyptian god -uh, I forgot…
Current Mood: cheerful

– Being an American when it hurts

I was just reading the comments of the founder of NVC on reactions in a refugee camp.  It struck me that those reactions were the same as the reactions to me in Izmir.  When I lived in Izmir, teaching English, one day one of my neighbors saw me walking up the stairs toward our building, and she took my arm (as women often do in Turkey) to walk with me and talk.  But her talk was more of a harrangue.  She let loose on me about how my government was blaming them for a genocide which they insist did not happen, and that it was all very hypocritical, particularly when the US operates Guantanamo.  I was thunderstruck that she would hold me, a person who had left my country of origin to find a job elsewhere, and to whom she could direct this rant only because I was one of the rare expatriats to spend the time and effort to learn Turkish, responsible for the Apology request.  So, unfortunately, I responded defensively, pointing out that I personally had nothing to do with my government policies, did not agree with much of those policies, and had not voted for the administration then in power!  None of those defensive arguments changed her speech.  Now I see that, like the man in the camp, she needed to vent.  I wonder if, had I allowed her to vent, simply listening and validating what she needed to say to any random American, would that incident and relationship have ended more positively?
Read, Write, Dream, Teach !

ShiraDest
20 March, 12016 HE