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We will send regular newsletters to our members who have signed up for receiving it during the registration. In 'mymerhaba' newsletter, our editorial staff provides updates, with regard to any information related to places worth visiting, viewing, or otherwise worth knowing, for those who care to know more....

Ashley from Kadıköy

Ashley and Pide
 Untitled Document

Thanks to Ashley Hazell for sharing her experience in Turkey with us.

Tell us about yourself
I came to Turkey in 1993 as part of a plan to travel around Asia but fell in love with Istanbul, stayed and later got qualified to teach English as a second language in order to live here permanently. Have lived in both Istanbul and Ankara, the latter where I met my husband, Davut. We both left Turkey to live in Hong Kong for a few years mid-2002 and returned to Istanbul in September 2005.

What made you come to Turkey?
I graduated as a Textile Designer in 1991 but couldn't find a permanent job so decided to travel. A close school friend got a summer job teaching English in Turkey and I got inspired and followed close behind - Istanbul sounded like nothing else!

What do you do in your daily life?

I teach under-graduates at one of the best universities in Istanbul three days a week, study for my masters degree the other two, and am currently training to regain my number one spot in Turkey in women's squash! I also paint, and repair Turkish kilims when I find the time - a bit scarce right now.

Family?
All my family live in the UK but visit often as they are fans of Turkey. My mum was devastated when I told her we were leaving to live in Hong Kong - no more holidays for a while in Turkey! My husband's family is of course my family and I have met most of them - even those cousins in Australia! They all treat me like a queen, which can be embarrasing sometimes. My close Turkish friends Adnan and Guliz are just like my brother and sister. I also have some very special ex-students of mine who are a big part of my life.

Can you compare your first days here with today?
The biggest thing which I still feel very much the same about is my absolute love affair with Istanbul and Turkey. I can remember the first day being driven from the airport and over the bridge and being so excited at the view below me - I still get that same excited feeling when I know I'm going to cross either bridge over the Bosphorous. The same can probably be said about going to Kapali Carsi Eminonu and Taksim - that indescribable feeling that this place is something special. Being a fickle person, I know this must be love as this feeling has been with me for over a decade!

Has living in Turkey influenced your approach to life?
Undeniably so, and anyone that lives here for a while and immerses themselves in the country and the culture cannot not be influenced and affected positively for numerous reasons. My family recognise this the most in me, and I think this is one of the reasons they appreciate the culture so much too.

Turkish language?
Unfortunately, some of us are natural language learners and some of us aren't, which reading between the lines you can guess my Turkish could be better but I can function more than adequately when need be. Living in Hong Kong and being faced with Cantonese made me realise Turkish is actually a pretty easy language and this time round I've pledged to improve!! Watching sitcoms like 'Avrupa Yakasi' is helping!

Let's talk about the region you are living in?
I'd always lived on the European side previously; places like Besiktas, Cihangir, Maslak but on return we decided to live in the Kadikoy/Feneryolu area, an area I'm not familiar with and so I feel I'm getting to know Istanbul again. It certainly has a more surburban, quieter and slower feel, and I sometimes miss the hustle and bustle of the other side but it makes it more of a thrill when I know I'm going over the water.

Have you traveled in Turkey? Tell us your discoveries
Like many other people, I'm sure, my favourite places are Cirali/Olympos and Kekova in September, and Cappadocia in the snow. Have holiday-ed in most of the favourite spots but have much more discovery to make - especially on the East and Black sea coast. Would always recommend people to stay in small pensions rather than the uniformed resort hotels if you want a taste of Turkey. There are some great 'small hotels' books for guides.

What is your preferred characteristic trait of Turks?
Generosity in their time for you, in their hospitality, in their love and affection. When my dad and stepmother came on holiday with us and we visited my husband's parents, my dad verbally admired the chandalier hanging in my in-laws 'salon' - thirty minutes later it had been dismantled, cleaned by my sister-in-law and packaged up ready to be taken back to my dad's place in England! My dad, outside in the garden, enjoying a barbeque in the warm summer evening, was oblivious to what was happening inside and ended up in tears when he realised what they had done for him!

I love it when the taxi drivers are so pleased that I'm a yabanci but I speak Turkish to them!

What is the annoying one?
The way that Turks seem to have to compare themselves to Americans or Europeans thinking they are inferior to the Americans or Europeans. If you read newspapers like Hurriyet, there always seems to be a reference to a model or a famous person who looks like an American model or a European somebody - 'Bizim Cindy Crawford' for example! Orhan Pamuk in his book 'Istanbul' reflects so well on this obsession with being European.

The insistence that I have to wear slippers when I visit and the obsession with catching a cold or being ill if you don't!

Turkish Cuisine?
We own two kebab restaurants in Hong Kong - currently a hit with the Chinese, the foreigners that live in HK, and the Turkish business people that visit China and HK. The restaurants are a chance to promote my favourites - lentil soup, Iskender kebab, a small 'corban' salad and ayran. Topped off with a glass of tea and a few baklava, what more could anyone want?

Any suggestion to new comers to Turkey?
Find some Turkish friends, discover the country slowly, try all the food and get a taste for raki and efes, pick up a few of the good expressions, learn backgammon and take it easy. You are going to love it. Be patient with the bureaucratic side of things - these still need working on to be more efficient.

Any suggestion to people planning to visit your region?
Check out the view from the Asian side especially from Kadikoy/Moda area. Go shopping or for a coffee and dessert along Bagdat Caddesi. Take a ferry to the islands from Bostanci. It's more relaxed over here!




Lisa from Kadıköy
Aaron from Çekmeköy
Adrian from Istanbul
Agnes from Gümüşlük
Aida from Nisantaşı
Aisha from Istanbul
Amanda from Bursa
Andy from Izmir
Anke from Kemerburgaz
Antonina from Bulgaria
Arlene's Secret Paradise
Ashley from Kadıköy
Borahan from Taksim
Bruno from Datça
Brandts from Holland
Carmel from Bursa
Carole from Kalkan
Caroline from Kuzguncuk
Claire from Izmir
Claudia from Fenerbahce
Cornelia from Florya
Cumali from Adana
Cyrus from Istanbul
Dace from Ankara
David from Van
Dmitri from Beşiktaş
Filiz from Beyoğlu
Fred from Adana
Frederic from Ankara
Hana from Istanbul
Harry from Antalya
Iben from Alanya
Ingrid from Tesvikiye
Isa from Istanbul
Jan from Kuşadası
Jane from Manavgat
Janine from Izmir
Jennifer from Istanbul
Jennifer from Sultanahmet
John from the Bosphorus
Kathy from Izmit
Kayla from Bostancı
Kenya from Beyoğlu
Leela from Nisantasi
Lisa from Sydney
Marc from Kosuyolu
Maria from Moda
Maya from Izmir
Michelle from Göztepe
Molly from Galata
Nilgün from Suadiye
Omar from Ankara
Omar from Umraniye
Paolo from Beşiktaş
Pat from Göreme
Pat from Yaniklar
Patricia from Kartal
Patrick from Bodrum
Paul from Antalya
Pennie from Çengelköy
René from Izmit
Robbi from Dalyan
Rosalind from Alanya
Russ from Gebze
Ruth from Cappadocia
Sarah from Gundogan
Sarah from Sarıyer
Sarah from Sisli
Sophie from Istanbul
Susanne from Fethiye
Steve from Tarabya
Tara from Cengelköy
Trevor from Side
Winter from Australia
Birsen's Horizons
Fred's Trip Logs
Bahar's Views on...
Business World
From Members' Pen
Interviews with Members
Moms & Kids Corner
Pets with Dr. Demirel
The archives of The Guide
The Archives of Turkishtime
Teen's world

Latest comments about this article

 By callerg  24.1.2008

Hi Ashley; I have level 3 teching and Training Qualification in England and would like to teach English in Istanbul. Could you please let me know where I could submit my cv or how do you think that I would find out the vacancies. regards caller

 By usenerta  30.4.2007

hi if you get bored and want to look around please connect [email protected]

 By NEWONE  17.11.2006

Hello Ashley we are a company which teach´s English for companies and business men as a private lesson That´s why we need native teachers in asian side if you interest with our massage please sen us your contact information thanks Nevzat Aktaş contact us [email protected]

 By agnes m  21.6.2006

Hi Ashley, It s been good to read about your experience. I am considering moving to one of Turkey´s biggest Europeanised cities and would like to know more about opportunities to teach English (& French) there. Is there much demand for teaching ? Are there opportunities provided by schools, training centres ? How many ? Is there some (how much?) demand for private tuition ? Any degrees required in particular ? Can one decently live out of working as a teacher - in Turkey ? I will be very grateful if you could provide me with as much information as possible whenever you can best wishes

 By juliet01  12.6.2006

Hi Ashley I am considering moving with my 10 yr old half Turkish daughter to Turkey, Istanbul or Bodrum in a few months time and would like to know about job possiblilites for myself, schools, etc. What are your suggestions, especially for jobs. I currently live in Australia, and do entering of agreements and accounts receivable admin work. Julie and Neriman

 By Fceviksenol  18.4.2006

Hi Ashley, I really enjoyed reading your interview. I just wonder about your parents´ reaction when they first heard that you would marry a Turk?

 By livinginthesun  7.2.2006

Hey Ashley. great interview. My fiancee Lorraine & I are moving to Turkey (Bodrum) in April this year. We can´t wait to immerse ourselves in the culture Pete

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Interviews with Members
Lisa from Kadıköy
Aaron from Çekmeköy
Adrian from Istanbul
Agnes from Gümüşlük
Aida from Nisantaşı
Aisha from Istanbul
Amanda from Bursa
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Ashley from Kadıköy
Borahan from Taksim
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Carole from Kalkan
Caroline from Kuzguncuk
Claire from Izmir
Claudia from Fenerbahce
Cornelia from Florya
Cumali from Adana
Cyrus from Istanbul
Dace from Ankara
David from Van
Dmitri from Beşiktaş
Filiz from Beyoğlu
Fred from Adana
Frederic from Ankara
Hana from Istanbul
Harry from Antalya
Iben from Alanya
Ingrid from Tesvikiye
Isa from Istanbul
Jan from Kuşadası
Jane from Manavgat
Janine from Izmir
Jennifer from Istanbul
Jennifer from Sultanahmet
John from the Bosphorus
Kathy from Izmit
Kayla from Bostancı
Kenya from Beyoğlu
Leela from Nisantasi
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Marc from Kosuyolu
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Maya from Izmir
Michelle from Göztepe
Molly from Galata
Nilgün from Suadiye
Omar from Ankara
Omar from Umraniye
Paolo from Beşiktaş
Pat from Göreme
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