Uniquely Tara in Turkey

I had one of those uniquely "Tara in Turkey" days that is the direct chemical reaction of my personality mixed with Turkish misinformation and kind stewardship. The element in my personality that I refer to here is my chronic indecisiveness, or lack of trust in my own decision-making process. Compound this with my habit of waiting to do something until the last minute so that I need to rush, and you have created a space for many, many mistakes. Now combine these bad habits with misinformation garnered from the general Turkish public wishing to be helpful or Turkish government offices wishing to be unhelpful, and you have created several hours of waste.


It started with me rushing off to my dentist appointment, son in tow, on the wrong day. Of course I didn't know that at the time.

Allow me to welcome you into my brain: do I take (1) the bus or (2) the dolmuş, metro, walking combination? Well obviously I want the bus. But remember, the shortest way is the one you know, "en kısa yol bildiğin yoldur" and I knew the tri-ped way. The reason I'm familiar with the longer route, in fact, is because I already took the bus to the same place last week without actually arriving there. It involved going one hour away from the city, a ride filled with clues that something wasn't quite right, and then an hour back to my starting point bringing me physically no closer to my destination, but much closer to the shedding of the ego. Yes, the guy at the wrong Dental Hospital told me: herşeyde bir hayır vardır, or: there is a "good" in everything, which is the kind of stuff I love to hear because it makes me feel good when I get lost. By the way, I just spent 20 minutes trying to look up the more figurative translation online, but alas, it produced only crap. Please suggest a better one. I always took this expression to mean: "everything happens for a reason that we can't always know." Anyway, I spent the second hour-long bus ride trying to figure out what that could be. (1) I really liked the woman I sat next to on the way there, with her smartness, or, in other words, her quick understanding of my needs, jokes, questions: usually my encounters are full of misunderstandings or questions targeted at me: how did I learn Turkish, where am I from, is Turkey more beautiful or America... She had none of those, and still I learned about her that she worked on shifting nights shifts at a bakery, had recently moved, had a 6 year old daughter and really was one of those rare Turks that follow how my brain works and guesses my needs before I state them. And yet, she was a covered factory worker. I love when my presumptions are knocked to the floor and swallowed up in flour. (2) Plus, I got a chance to listen to my downloaded book: Infinite Possibilities and get inspired. Of course the first part of the second hour was full of heat and crankiness, but that was soon replaced with a bit of (3) laughing at my own expense, thus the ego shattering. The end of that story is that I got back almost literally to my starting point, 2 hours later, and this time took the metro and then walked about a mile to the dentist, only to make an appointment for the next week.

Back to the more recent past: We walked to the bus stop/ dolmuş stand with mixed intentions, still undecided about the route, and my own pressure on myself, both b/c we're running late and I know we'll be really late with the triped solution and possibly not as late with the bus, though of course my success rate with that mode of transportation does not encourage me to try again, makes me short and grumpy. So just as we're about to get on a bus, I remember the warning: "en kısa yol bildiğin yoldur," causing me to hop in the first empty dolmuş I see and take the route I had taken before through trial and error. We ended up being hot, sweaty and 45 minutes late. Luckily, we were there on the wrong day! On the right day, we took the right bus, in ease and comfort, and only arrived 30 minutes late. The "kind stewardship" I mentioned at the beginning corresponds to all the advice and misdirection I get when I ask about the "yol." It's far, or it's close, or you can't walk it, take a bus... I get opinions, not facts, and still I ask and still I'm surprised that I don't trust myself more than the false information I am about to receive. I guess i just really love Turkish roulette.

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That title is brilliant! Hilarious! Thank www.StrategicStraits.com for it. I will give one example, of what it means to feel cultural norms impact at even the most basic level, and then another of wh