This is a bit of an off the cuff article today, yesterday I had two separate discussions about independence and feeling the loss of it since living in Turkey. How do you find your independence in Turkey and how did you loose it in the first place?
Independence is something we all have and enjoy and we all measure our independence differently and not all us will even recognise we have lost it, until we do lose our independence.
Independence to many is having a job, being able to come and go freely, deal with day to day problems, speak to people easily, deal with paperwork, go to the doctors, be able to go out to restaurants, pubs and so on.
You build up your independence from an early age, testing the boundaries of your family until you find your own limits that make you happy and then no doubt take that independence for granted.
But having moved to Turkey you may just find that you loose your independence again for everyone it will be slightly different, some more than others and some may never notice any change.
Suddenly we find ourselves more dependant on our husbands for many things we used to take for granted in our previous lives back home. Suddenly daily task and problems are made just that little more complicated and we can’t deal with them on our own
How does this happen, why do you loose your independence?
The biggest factor is normally lack of knowledge of Turkish, even if you are at a moderate level, filling forms, visiting the doctor or dealing with officials, which when your first move here you do a lot of. Even going to the shops to getting daily essentials, to buying ladies toiletries becomes a hassle, even find out your Bra Size here can be a bit of task!
So you have to ask your husband to help you, and it can take away a little of your pride and your independence for not being able to manage these tasks, leaving you feeling a little drained and frustrated.
Even if your Turkish is at a good level, you may still find yourself frustrated with the very male dominate culture where women tend to be ignored. I never get involved in any official dealings as its better if my husband deals with these matters Man to Man!! But if there is a problem or I disagree with an discussion suddenly I find I can’t comment, not just because of the language barrier but if I do I will most likely just be ignored anyway. I am certainly not used to that! And again you get this frustrated feeling, that you just want to scream at them “ I DO HAVE A BRAIN!!” arghhh
Going to the doctors and dentist can be a bore as well, not understanding all the jargon and using broken Turkish with some hand gestures and demonstrations like you are playing a game of charades and having to take your husband along to deal with ladies problems. Blush!!
At first you may not even notice these little changes in your independence while everything is new and shiny, but then one day it hits you, you find your constantly up against it. This then can make you feel depressed and frustrated and you wonder why you came here and how can you get your independence back.
Its also hard for your other half to understand the frustrations especially if they have never lived outside of Turkey and faced these problems. Sometimes your frustrations break out and turn simple things into arguments between you and your husband leaving you both bewildered.
How do you keep your Independence living in Turkey?
Well first up is to make sure you have a good level of Turkish you don’t have to completely fluent but so you can follow the jist of conversations and get your message across and slowly you will become more fluent. But never worry if at first you can’t make yourself understood, it takes time and your level will improve the more you speak Turkish and build your confidence up. Making mistakes is how we learn for next time!
Make friends and not just expat friends, make sure to make some Turkish friends as well. These friends will help you have some time out of the house, help you out with Ladies problems and issues that you can’t turn to your husband.
Don’t rely on your husband for everything, I am certainly a little guilty of this, instead of going to the buy the bread and bits and pieces for the home, I normally send my hubby out to get them. Where is in fact the more you do these little daily tasks the more you feel your independence return or stay which ever and boost your confidence in learning Turkish.
Find something for you, most of us can’t work, but you can find a hobby, sport, get involved in groups and charities or even find something to do online like a blog or run a support group. All these things give you a sense of purpose and something you can do just for you in the day and help you increase your independence again.
And my last piece of advice is a bit of a strange one, but stop thinking your a Yabanci (foreigner) start thinking of here as your home. This is your home now, ok maybe where you are right now is not perfect or maybe it is. But if you never accept Turkey and where you live as your home, you will never feel fully settled or confident about living here and you will limit your own independence by creating fears and worries that don’t exist.
Finding your independence change, can be extremely frustrating, but never forget that your in a partnership now and just like every marriage around the world, roles change and merge and you will find yourself with new roles and new things in your life that you didn’t have before. Do lean on your husband from time to time, there will be times he will need to lean on you to. So never feel ashamed that you can’t do everything here in Turkey yet. Because one day you will wake up and realise you do have your independence and it was never really lost.
© 2013 – 2015, Kerry Arslan. All rights reserved.