Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wednesday Mailbag

When your kids are speaking to you in Turkey, do you know what they are saying? Or do you just fake it? How much Turkey have you learned? Are you fluent? What is your favorite Turkish food?

Love you,


Dear Christie,

You pose some excellent questions.

Before answering them I must first say yes, Chris and I, all our coworkers, and the entire international community here were very happy to be woken up at 4:50 am to hear there is a new President-elect of the USA.

There were cheers and hugs and congrats tossed about all day.

Time for us to start defending the President to our parents instead of the other way around.

In regard to your question, Chris and I find the Turkish language a great outlet for jokes and laughter.

We started loving the language before we even got here.
I think you might fondly recall a post with Chris singing along to a Turkish pop CD "Santa, Santa, Santa, Santa, sleigh the Santa down."

We also had a "Gule, gule" party hosted by the lovely Moss family, and laughed about Gule, gule to no end.

Since arriving in Turkey, the language humor has only increased.

When the microwave you've had for one week breaks, when strange men come hang flags in your house, when the Dr. tells you you need to go see a Dr., when Blogger gets blocked...we can always rely on Turkey talk to help ease our pain.

Take "okay" for example.
"Okay" in Turkish is "Tamom" (spelled phonetically for your pleasure).

So yesterday as I was trying to heat up a piece of pizza in the microwave, I told Chris "I think the microwave has already broken," and he responded with "tamom your mom."

Here's another one.
"There is not" in Turkish is "yok".

So, the day we learned that Blogger had been blocked, Chris remarked "freedom yok."  
I replied "happiness yok."

After that exchange Chris began using yok at the end of many sentences.  Some which make sense and some which don't.

"Responsibility yok," is questionable.

"Good morning" in Turkish is "goo nigh den" (again, spelled phonetically for your pleasure).

Chris likes to say "goo nigh den" before we go to sleep.  
I spent the first month here correcting him every night, but have since given up.

Interacting with non-English speakers has become a fun game. Since they don't understand our words and only respond to our inflection and gestures, we can say just about anything. 

Chris prefers to throw in "burning elephant apartment" when he is asking a question, and I have used "vacuum snorkel radar" a time or two. Then we ponder how many Turkish people are doing the exact same thing to us. 

Technically, it's a pretty insensitive game. But it gives us a laugh and we make sure to wait until the poor Turk is out of earshot.

If we are feeling particularly annoyed that we cannot communicate in this crazy language, we speak Spanish.

The other night at the grocery store we couldn't find the lettuce and asked the Turkish sales associate "donde esta la lechuga?  Es verde, se come en ensalada..."

Sometimes Chris thinks he's rainman and just starts translating whatever the shopkeeper is saying.
"Merhaba, nisesilniz chae eiojf sdofijff"
"Oh, okay, he wants to know if you know how to darn socks."

I can honestly count to six and I know when my teaching partner Verda is telling the kids something about me because I hear her say "mlereif ofeowij sdofidjf MS SARAH dfijoweij..."

So to answer your we know Turkish?  

Do we fake what we don't know?

Our favorite Turkish food is yet to be determined.
We have to be very careful what we eat as we are delicate flowers and take ill to almost anything not chalk full of good 'ol Western preservatives.

Thanks for your question Christie, and happy post-election day.

Much love,
Sarah and Chris

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