Friday, January 30, 2009


I thought I'd heard that YouTube had been unblocked in Turkey (following one very long blockage indeed), but apparently it's blocked again. Or maybe it was never unblocked in the first place.

I'm just saying.

Back In the Bull

Six months in the States seems like it was a very short time now that we're back in Istanbul. A week of no Internet was to be expected, I suppose. It was a simple matter of a cord rather than any stupidity with the phone company, though the cord that didn't work was a replacement of another cord that also didn't work which BE had bought the day after we returned. We had to wait for the weekend so BE could replace the replacement cord. I would have dealt with it myself, except we weren't actually sure if the problem was with the card, the cord, the modem, or Telekom, and I couldn't think of a way to schlep the computer, the hardware, and the boy to the shop. Plus, even if Telekom operators were capable of repeating things in Turkish slowly (rather than loudly), my paralinguistic abilities Turkish are still not up to telling whether or not they're lying (which they often do, in my experience) and if, "There is no problem with your line" in fact means, "I can't be bothered to do my job and I don't want to talk to you anymore."

It's funny how quickly one can de-acclimate to a place. I'm back to cringing at how close other cars come to ours while we're on the road, or how people use their cars as a means of pushing, or how much people push other people, or bump into you or knock your kid over without at least apologizing. I'd gotten to like the American notion of personal space, where people in crowds mostly manage to avoid touching other people. There's way too much touching here. And noise, I've lost my tolerance for that too. Loud music is everywhere (often bizarrely inappropriate, like Motherfuckin' P.I.M.P. in a toy store) and voices constantly squawking over PA systems. Our visit to the toy store to buy LE a carseat resulted in me bolting, partly from the noise, but also because the woman who should have been helping us kept shoving me out of her way to answer her cell phone, and leaving was just easier than getting pissed off or trying to do anything to remedy the saleswoman’s obnoxious behavior.

But de-acclimation has its upside as well. A lot of things I'd gotten used to, like crooked narrow cobblestone roads and the shapes of the buildings and the oldness of things and the smell of it here, suddenly seem thrilling and new again. Even people have gotten interesting to look at, where everything from their dress to their gesticulations to their ways of walking are so totally different from Americans', and it all seems sort of exotic and far away from home. It's the way living in a foreign country is supposed to be, and why people at home are always so much more thrilled by my life in Turkey than I am. To me, everything that was once different here became normal and just part of life, and living in Istanbul was no more or less interesting than living anywhere else.

I'm sure the glow of novelty will wear off soon enough, but until then I'll just try to enjoy it as best as I can. At least the food is good.