So we’ve been in Istanbul for ten days. Welcomed visitors on Day 2 of this stay. We’ve been out and about since our feet hit the ground. By the way the word “turquoise” has its linguistic roots from Turkey.
Our departure from Amman was bittersweet. Hated to say goodbye to the people who entered our hearts since our arrival into Jordan. Our lives and our viewpoint have certainly been widened and that is the purpose of this year. To live globally, not just vacation globally. And still without the advantages of language we’re just dabbling.
The last days in Amman were filled with lots of elbow rubbing. We had one day to visit a venture funded by the Noor Hussein Foundation which trains rural women in handicrafts and computers. On the way I was able to have a conversation with the cab driver. It was free flowing and he was willing to talk (in English) and I was willing to listen. I always preface sensitive conversations with “I’m an American woman” and freedom of choice is my overarching theme. I was saying that if the Muslim women in Jordan chose to wear the hijab and dark coat in 95 degree weather I had no problem with their choice. But if their clothing was the decision of a husband, father, brother, brother-in-law, then I think the men should spend the day in the heat with the coat and the scarf. It was a lively discussion. That day we visited the 2000-year-old Qasr al Abed, a small palace. We were climbing the original stairs, touching the walls and pondering the life of these ancient peoples. At the end in the shade of this ancient building we encountered two women, scarved and coated. They invited us to share their hummus and their bread. Both had children who were living in the US. English was very limited, and we shared the hummus dipping bowl and exchanged grandchild photos on our phones. It was a wonderful moment for me sharing bread and pondering the history of the building and its occupants and the moment with these other grandmothers. If we could just listen to the ancients’ whisperings, I’m sure we would find many similarities with their concerns and ours today and maybe they would tell us what did NOT work for them.
Our biggest surprise here in Turkey is how very little English there is. Tech support has an app on his phone which translates English into Turkish which is the only way we could differentiate the shampoo from the shower gel at the grocery store (we think). The four stages of acclimation are honeymoon, hostility, humor and home. I think I’m officially in hostility and it really involves the lack of English. In our previous life when I’ve been living in a foreign country I’ve had a sidekick translator. Here, we’re both struggling. Sometimes, it’s funny, mostly it’s annoying. Yesterday, I was doing the laundry just like I did last week. I was taught by our landlord to push this button, then that one, close the door and magic happens. Except yesterday, the washer buttons must have been switched and the washer ran for 2.5 hours! And the dryer would run for 30 seconds and then shut off. Of course, we can’t read the flashing buttons on the dryer to see what has disturbed the Laundry Fairy. See link to photos—maybe you can translate. The dryer started good, went for 30 seconds and stopped. So I figure, maybe it’s overheated, so I decided to let it rest for an hour. Started fine, went for 30 seconds, stopped, lights flashing. So I did the universal fix—pull the plug and reinsert hoping to reset the cycle. Dryer worked for 1 minute, stopped, lights flashing. So I then go to the computer with the manufacturer name and serial number and google English/machine/instructions. Not so easy to research in Turkish or English. Back to the machine. One of the lights flashing says “Su Tanki.” “Tanki” is kind of like ‘tank’? I discover at the bottom left there is a door, with a plastic tank behind it. It was full. Seems the dryer has a drain that extracts the water from the wet clothing and deposits the water in the tank. “Su Tanki” means I’m supposed to empty the tank. I would have been delighted to do that if the Laundry Fairy had just told me…in English. Dryers fixed! I felt so triumphant! And yet I realize that somewhere there is a bit of hostility. I’m just moving thru the acclimation stages and my TANKI is full today.
Imagine being in a foreign country and expecting THEM to make things linguistically “convenient” for me. So my humbling experience for today is that I am one of those arrogant Americans! Woe to me!
Enjoy the photos and blessings!