I was having a conversation on an ex-pat forum recently about the way we yabancı (foreigners) are treated by the Turks. It doesn't matter that I (and many others) have dual nationality, and have lived here for a number of years, we are still treated differently.
Don't get me wrong, we are welcomed warmly by most Turkish people. Their kindness and generosity is well documented on my blog. It's just that they seem to think we are at best incapable of organising our lives or at worst just plain stupid. Almost every time I use my Turkish to communicate (and I am confident I am using it correctly) they make out they don't understand or that they haven't heard us. Reading Jack's blog perkingthepansies, this morning reminded me of this, when he mentioned that it's sometimes easier just to speak in English to get a response.
I sometimes get offers of help to undertake the simplest of tasks without asking for it. Mostly I accept it as just plain willingness to help, but occasionally it irritates me. I have the easiest of things explained to me at great length as if I were a 5 year old. Teaching your grandmother to suck eggs springs to mind.
When shopping in the markets, we foreigners are often asked where we come from. When I say I live near Milas, it's almost like they refuse to accept that this is my home...it's where I have lived for 13 years. They seem to find difficulty in accepting that I am English but have made Turkey my home. And we all know that when you buy anything in markets, there is a different price structure for Turks and foreigners. How long does one have to live here to be treated equally? Why do I need to explain every time I want to buy something that I'm not a tourist...just so that I can get a fair price?
Whenever my inlaws are due to visit, FIL never rings me to tell me the date and time they are due...he rings Mr A who then (if he remembers) has to call me. FIL knows Mr A isn't here most of the time, so surely it's best to let me know? Of course I am aware that FIL will do this to a large extent just to annoy me, so I let it go.
Yaşar, Mr A's ex-boss and good friend to both of us, was very kind last Friday and took me to the dentist in his car, then returned to collect me after my treatment. Later, I discovered that Mr A knew all about this because Yaşar had phoned him to let him know. I didn't think much of it at the time. I just thought Yaşar felt it right to let my husband know.
However, on the same day Yaşar informed me that his English girlfriend was due here this week, and that he would like to bring her over to visit me. I invited them to come yesterday, and they were possibly going to bring Gwen.2 with them if she could get away from the shop. I expected them to arrive at around 2.30pm. When it got to 3.15pm there was no sign of them. Gwen.2 phoned me to say that she was stuck in the shop and wouldn't be over after all. It wasn't a definite arrangement for her to come, so I wasn't concerned. She said that she had told Yaşar and assumed they were on their way.
I phoned Mr A a bit later and happened to mention I was waiting for Yaşar and his girlfriend to arrive and he informed me that they would be late. "How do you know?" I asked. Well it would appear that Yaşar had phoned Mr A to tell him this. And Mr A had forgotten to let me know. Yaşar has my number. He knew Mr A wouldn't be here, so why are he and Mr A making arrangements for ME? Is it because I'm a foreigner and I'm not considered capable of sorting it out for myself? They don't do it with Turkish women.
I was extremely irritated by this and told Mr A to ring Yaşar and say that it was too late now for them to come as I had to go shopping, but they could come tomorrow instead....and to please tell Yaşar that if this wasn't possible, or if they were going to be late, to phone ME and not him.
I have to admit to being tempted to just go out...let them arrive late...to find me not here. After all it would seem that I'm somewhat invisible, so maybe I should be just that.
Rant over...back to normal tolerance tomorrow, I promise!