Wednesday, May 18, 2011

beware of single girl



Ladies and gentlemen, I've done it. I've finally finished my teaching certification course, and I've found myself a cosy and bright little apartment in the thunderous, beating heart of Istanbul. I've been running around like crazy, signing leases, changing locks and learning that apparently, a single foreign female moving into an apartment alone can be misinterpreted as something completely different than what it is, by older upstairs neighbour ladies. I was warned, with a furrowed brow and dagger-like eyes, that I'd better not be bringing home a different man every night. Often it seems that people here— and in other parts of the world, whole-heartedly equate single foreign female with promiscuity. Being a solo female yabancı in Turkey can be a real frustration sometimes, so can travelling alone. Assumptions are made, and people just can't wrap their heads around why a nice girl like me isn't married and popping out the çocuklar. At times like these, I admit I miss the States, where nobody cares who you are and what choices you've made or plan to make— but this is what it is to live in the world; you learn to adapt and to bend to cultures which are not your own, and in that flexibility, you find strength. You hope that perhaps, by just being yourself, you might be able to open some minds and hearts.

I'm already devising strategies to win this lady over.
She's going to love me.

12 comments:

renilde said...

Ofcourse she will Szaza!
Wishing you all the best in your new home.

Joy said...

Congrats on finding a new place! Enjoy!

Generally, I find if "play nice" and try to communicate a little in Turkish, it makes being a "yabanci" so much easier. Plus, I bake some goodies for my landlord now and then. =)

black bear cabin said...

congrats on finishing the teaching course, and of course on your new place! im sure when given the time and chance your neighbor will grow to love you! share some of your art with her over a cup of tea to break the ice :)

szaza said...

Thank you, Renilde, Joy and Lisa!
I will have to make some sort of sweet thing and have her over for tea once I get furniture... then we'll see what happens!

barbara said...

Congratulations, on finishing your teaching certification AND on finding a cozy apartment.

There is no doubt whatsoever that when the lady/ladies upstairs get to know you and your artwork (mmm, might keep back some of the more outre stuff....8-))and your sweet nature they will no longer look askance but will "smother you with mothering".

You are one busy young woman!

szaza said...

Thank you so much, Barbara!
Let's hope I can win them over :)

Selma Aydemir said...

Somestimes it can be really terrible as single woman.Because being woman does not have a value without man.They often think that you should have a problem,otherwise you would not be single.But our people are helpful and mostly friendly to "yabanci",not like Germany for e.x.If you are not sure or did not like any conversation ,just look a bit serious:))

szaza said...

Yes Selma, I have found it a bit difficult at times, being a single woman in her thirties, in this part of the world. It's a shame, and I suspect people here are rushing into relationships out of a fear of being alone or thought of as "having problems," as you said. I don't know. All I know is that I don't feel any less without a man.

Sue Pownall said...

Congrats on the course & new apartment.

I understand about the dangerous single girl thing, although I'm a lot older. I now have an imaginary ex-husband and when mention of children I shake my head sadly and say Allahkarem

szaza said...

Thank you so much, Sue!

Yes I need to learn how to say "Haven't crossed paths with the right one yet" in Turkish— which according to Google translate is something like: Henüz doğru ile yollarımız kesişti yok. Somehow I suspect it isn't translating properly...

My neurologist here thinks I get migraines because I am depressed that I am single, and last night my taxi driver kept asking me if I was married. I just told him yes to avoid that look of pity. I'm so sick of it.

albina said...

Congrats on the teaching course completion and a new place! Your story also reminded me of Thai custom of answering to question "are you married?" with "not yet", it seems to calm people down, as suppose to simple "no" that gets them going, he-he... I hope that cultural mores will not stop your doctor from performing his/her job - ask about ocular migraine, btw. Good luck!!!

szaza said...

Thank you, Albina!
I have noticed that "yet" is the magic word here as well.