Tag Archives: Turkey

Probably because I come from a third world country, I am not civilized enough to understand any of this… (Part 2)

The "Watch" by Gerald Murphy This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.      You are free:         to share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work.
The “Watch”
by Gerald Murphy
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
You are free:
to share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work.

So where was I? Oh yes! I was climbing up the ladder of disappointments, rage and tears in the bureaucratical artifacts making life ever so difficult here in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Surprised? I was…

I had to register for the TEFAQ, the French exam to prove that I am Francophone enough to live here in Quebec. Well, TEFAQ is sort of the French equivalent of TOEFL… Have you ever registered for TOEFL? You can do everything, I MEAN everything ONLINE from one particular website, without having to search all the different establishments that may be giving the exam, while registering. For TEFAQ, I had to google search all establishments giving the exam, plus the prices were different (how is that even possible?) and figure out how to get to their online registration site. Well, most did not have one, or dates or something was missing! Except for McGill! Thank you McGill, for figuring out the internet.

Plus, I have registered for a few classes and applied for CSQ, the first step of permanent residence and am paying rent on a regular basis in Montreal. I have undertaken similar endeavors in different countries, it was never a big deal. I have used the internet to make my payments for exams in Turkey, for work permit and rent in Australia, to register for a number of things here and there. It was always simple, use your credit card, and voila! You do not have to do anything else! Worst case scenario had always been depositing the amount into a specified bank account and sending the proof of payment, which, needless to say, can also be done online!

But here, for some reason, old school checks are a favorite. You have to send a check for course registrations, rent (!) payments, governmental applications (which LOVE payments) and anything else you can think of!

And of course, if anything goes wrong in the mail, or if the recipients happen to lose that little piece of paper representing a certain fraction of your account balance, you are the one to be blamed and miss your chance for whatever you were sending your money for.

Now, here is another little experience my friend and I had: He won tickets for the Just for Laughs festival here in Montreal through the company we work for and since I am such a great friend, he picked me as his plus one. It is a big deal! He already has tickets that have been paid for, right? All we have to do is choose the shows we want to see and everything will be fine. That should not be so hard once you have your registration ID number, right? A very easy task that can be done online; time and nerve saving!

Instead of a huge web address to get the easy task done, they have inserted a huge phone number, so that we can easily reserve places for the shows we want to see.

I called them. On the phone, I learned that most shows we wanted to pick were already sold out. So making a representative wait for our decision, still on the phone, with major difficulty, we picked the shows and paid for the delivery of the tickets.

Oh nothing is ever free in Canada! Not even a show ticket you may have won!

Then we waited… Nothing, no mail, no ticket, no e-mail for a month…

So we decided to call them… No answer…

Now my friend has given up on the show and does not care for any other prizes that might take a toll on his time and energy. Side effect, I am not being taken to a comedy show…

In an era when plane tickets can be bought online and printed, when tiny codes are used as entrance tickets or even as currency, why is it so hard to make online registration and payment available?

But I still love you Canada. It is this naive side of you that makes you so attractive, and safe, as I like to believe.

Not quite finished, yet. More to come: Health and Banking…


So, where was I? And where am I now?

Female Trapeze Artists
Female acrobats on trapezes at circus. Hand-colored lithograph by the Copyright by the Calvert Litho. Co., Detroit, Michigan, ca. 1890.
From the Library of Congress
[PD] This picture is in the public domain.

I was away on vacation for a few weeks, back home in Turkey, visiting, hugging and talking to friends and family, remembering what it feels like to be loved…

No, I take that back. I do feel loved now, here in Montreal, so far away from Anatolia, but being back there gave me space to err… Spending evenings with parents helped me remember the feeling of having a safety net underneath my acrobatic jumps between jobs and housing quests. It reminded me they would be there for me no matter what I did, and they would not let me fall even when I missed a swing…

Seeing my friends, observing the sincere happiness in their faces to see me, knowing that they accept me with every attractive and weird aspect of my personality gave me confidence… They embraced me and invited me to days where social anxiety was a thing that only belonged to an outside world among strangers… It gave me confidence to make silly jokes and voice experimental ideas that had not yet fully formed but needed to be pulled and tugged at to find its final shape and place in my head.

Being back home gave me confidence to reassert who I really am, without having to censure thoughts or actions in accordance with who I am frequenting.

And now, after almost two years in Montreal and more than a year at a steady job, I feel a similar fort of friends building up, though still in its preliminary stages of construction in certain ways… I feel more freedom in my moves and fewer filters before words formulated in my head become words in others’ ears. I feel greater courage in taking bold steps as I slowly bond with a small but strong group of allies.

Yet, one thing that cannot be subsidized is the safety net family offers. I have to accept this as the cost of immigrating away but it does not change the fact that I miss crowded family gatherings. Although we do not celebrate Easter holiday in Turkey, I wish I could be at my grandparents’ dinner table, waiting with cousins for our share of the chicken…

Happy Easter! Enjoy all the love you find!

Turkish Coffee

Kahve Keyfi
Image: Enjoying Coffee by anonymous from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Enjoying_Coffee_Pera_Museum_2_b.jpg

Based on one of Sarah Selecky’s daily writing prompts (http://www.sarahselecky.com) : Describe the brim of a coffee cup.

As the thinly ground coffee and water boil up in the cezve and become inseparable under the rising foam, guests become restless with anticipation for the hot smokey taste in their mouths, conversation warms up and gradually deepens. As soon as the small cups of Turkish coffee are delivered to eager mouths, the strong sensation on tongues are rendered even more bitter with every sip after a bite of sweet turkish delight only to be mollified with shared life experiences. With each sip, more coffee grounds find their way in between taste buds, rising the heart rate with the sudden strike of high caffeine, maximizing the joy felt in good company and intriguing topics. When the cup contains more grounds than the mesmerizing liquid, cups are turned upside down on saucers and golden rings are placed on top, and thus another round of anticipation commences. Once the golden rings lose the last sheds of warmth of the coffee cup and become as cold as pebble, all conversations pertaining to worldly worries cease and the woman with the strongest sixth sense takes over.

Image source: http://www.kemalhalukcebe.com/kahvefali.html

She turns the coffee cup carefully and the one whose coffee induced lip traces mark the rim listens to their fortune; they may receive news from overseas in 3 weeks or 3 months or 3 years; the fish is another sign of “kismet”, soon the right person will ask their hand in marriage; sometimes there are evil eyes so the coffee enthusiast should have hot lead poured onto fabric held above her head as a precaution against evil intentions. One by one, everyone is filled with the news hidden between dried up coffee grounds in the cup and satisfied, goodbyes are exchanged until the next coffee gathering.

Coming to Canada (1): Leaving Home

It has been more than a year since I got here! I still remember the anxiety that kept boiling up in me for a year before I made the “flight of my life”. I had done several life changing flights where I thought there would be no going back and I had always gone back although to a life that was much different from before; people had moved on, new job opportunities were ahead and new dreams in my head.

However, before each journey, I was full of hope. The best part about embarking on complete life changing travels is the hope I feel before I know what I will encounter. Each time I know that things can go completely wrong as they did when I worked in the Arabian Peninsula for a year, but I cannot help the heightened joyous emotions.

At 4 am in the morning of the flight to Montreal, I woke up to my alarm clock and began a major run through my parents’ stairs screaming “energy blast!”

On that day, I had quit the job I loved at the college I adored a month before. I had emptied the apartment I was crazy about, the apartment I had wished to live in for years, the apartment I felt I belonged to. The apartment and neighborhood that gave me the sensation that I belonged somewhere in contrast to many of my peers who have had to change countries every few years following their parents’ business assignments in different parts of the world. That apartment had witnessed me at age 3 fall off a chair and break my arm, advance to my first teenage year, move to different countries and come back a few years older, and finally, move back in there as a grown woman only to be married a couple of years later and leave the country a year on. Emptying this apartment and moving on was hard and made me question my decision: I was finally settled down. I had a car, two cats, a good job, great friends, and family living nearby. Why leave now?

Because I had lived it and was ready to move on. In a matter of four years, my life was at a level that I found satisfactory but not quite… fulfilling.

Thus, I was screaming “energy blast!” at 4 am in the capital city of Turkey.

These are Posts…

letters unread

These are letters I write to people I left behind in my country. People I miss talking to and pouring my heart out to. People I love to joke with, share my secrets with, be nasty with, yet never offend or get offended by. These are people I like to gossip with. Tell how I feel when I am muffled when surrounded with others… These are people I never feel lonely with.

These are letters I write and stamp… but never send. These are letters left unread.