"By living on their own in a foreign country, Scholars gain a new world view that can’t be learned any other way, with insights into local customs, traditions, values, history, politics, pop culture and so much more."
This is one of the quotes that pops up when you view the Olmsted Foundation's website and I think it is especially important to remember as we read the headlines about Turkey and the United States.
Last spring, when I would tell people that I was moving to Turkey this summer, I could guarantee one of two reactions. The first reaction was one of excitement. Their eyes would light up and a smile would spread across their face as they exclaimed things like "That's so cool!" or "I've heard Turkey is beautiful!" These reactions made me feel so much better about my trepidation surrounding my big move. The second reaction was one of concern, which I greatly appreciated, but was completely different from the first. People would furrow their brow a little, take a deep breath and say things like "Wow! You're brave!" or "I'll be praying for you!" The worst was when they would say "We saw the headlines on the news" before letting their voice trail off. While I know they made these statements out of concern and care for us, but it was tough. I was already nervous and scared and needed their support, not their sympathy.
Monday was a day of violence in Turkey. Six people were killed in an attack in Istanbul and the American Consulate was attacked, but luckily, no one was killed. I'm sure you saw it on the news. It was on every American news website I logged into. This is scary for sure.
I hope that when you read the news that day and heard about the attacks in Istanbul, you also read about the other attacks. In the United States. In Houston, eight people were killed in Houston during a home invasion. In Ferguson, there were riots and a protester died. Two people in Kansas died in a shooting.
Yes, we live in Turkey, where the government and politics are different from the United States. Yes, there is violence. Yes, we will be careful.
But you know what? I think that's a good reminder for us to remember when we come back to the United States.
Yes, we live in the United States, where the government and politics are different from other countries. Yes, there is violence. Yes, we will be careful.
Violence is everywhere, sadly. It is in our home country, as well as abroad. We are not immune to it, just because we live in America. I feel just as safe here in Izmir as I did in Arlington.
I think it's important to remember that quote from the Olmsted website. Our love for our beloved United States grows every day we are here, especially as we navigate things such as applying to universities or trying to obtain residence permits. There are days where I would give anything to go back to the United States and say hoscakal (goodbye) to Turkey, but there are also things that I'm learning to love about our new home.
I follow a photography blog called Humans of New York (you should, too!). They interview people in New York about different parts of their lives. Right now, though, they're in Pakistan for a month doing a similar project. This popped up on my newsfeed the other day and it couldn't be more perfect timing.
I hope that the next time that someone tells you they're moving to an obscure country, you'll remember the two types of greetings. Ask them questions about where they're going, why they chose that country and what they will be doing there. There is always something positive about every experience and we're coming to realize that there are quite a few positives about this Turkish experience of ours.
I promise to update you all on our whereabouts for the past few days, but it's been a little hectic around here, even though we haven't really done much.