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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....

Claire from Izmir

by Claire Ölmez

-Tell us a little bit about yourself... What made you come to Turkey?
Simply a desire to be different, see the world, explore

- 14 years is quite a long time. Can you compare your first years here with today?
24 not 14!!!!! There is no comparison as far as consumer goods; road conditions, communications, etc are concerned. What probably hasn't changed is the underlying Turkish culture and approach to life.

- Has living in Turkey influenced your approach to life?
Actually, I think my own philosophy of life (if one can have such a thing in one's early twenties) fitted in quite easily with what I found here, at first. I liked the friendly relaxed atmosphere and the unpredictability. However, the initial attraction soon faded and when I had to live without an infrastructure I could depend on, I soon realised how frustrating that could be. So I became more realistic and more appreciative of the culture I had left behind.

- Turkish language? You must be fluent now? When did you dream in Turkish first?
I actually can't remember - although I know at the time I was amazed. Especially because in your dreams you are far more fluent than in reality! Being able to communicate with people who have no English, opened up a whole new world for me. I felt I was really beginning to understand the country rather than perceive it through a filter of translation.

- Let's talk about Izmir Region. What has retained you there?
We actually came to Izmir 10 years ago, but I'd always wanted to settle on the Aegean coast. For someone coming from Great Britain, the climate and the beaches are already enough of a pull, but I have to confess that it was the thought of living 'down the road' from Ephesus and other fabulous ancient cities that really inspired me .... and I have to say they still do. If you come to a country like Turkey out of choice you have to be a bit of a romantic- it's the exotic east as far as most of us are concerned. So, when the power is cut for the third time in the same evening, I think of the ancients who lived here and get out my oil lamp. It's actually a privilege.

-What do you do in your daily life?
I teach English and some Drama in high school here in Izmir.

- Family?
Three children? Sorry...one husband, two children

- Have you traveled a lot in Turkey? Tell us your discoveries
Yes Yes Yes....too many to tell here.

- What is your preferred characteristic trait of Turks?
There are many... here's just one that comes to mind. Despite blood feuds in the East, I find most Turkish people incapable of holding a grudge- they are very forgiving.

-What is the annoying one?
Everyone is so loud ! ... Horns, loudspeakers, voices... gives me a headache.

-What was the annoying one?

The way some people refused to speak to me directly when they realized I was a foreigner. Even though I spoke to them to show that I could communicate, they would prefer to direct questions or make personal comments about me through my husband, all the while staring at me. Drove me wild.

-Turkish Cuisine?
At first I lived on muzlu pasta. Then I discovered home cooking. I have a long-standing love affair with aubergines.

- Any suggestion to new comers to Turkey?
Come with an open mind and get to know local people rather than staying exclusively with ex-pat groups.

- Any suggestion to people planning to visit Egean region...
Depends what you enjoy - good wind surfing??? Beautiful coastline, great beaches? Ancient Greek/Roman sites? Sites of early Christianity? Good vegetarian dishes with olive oil? Local wines? Brilliant markets? Easy travel to Greek Islands? I can't think why you'd want to stay in Istanbul!




Lisa from Kadıköy
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Aisha from Istanbul
Amanda from Bursa
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Ashley from Kadıköy
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Carole from Kalkan
Caroline from Kuzguncuk
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Latest comments about this article

 By Lisa McGeorge  26.11.2003

I planned to move to Turkey two years ago but my family pursuaded/begged me not to go having returned to the Bodrum area 2/3 times a year for 5 ears. I so regret this decision (as I knew I would) and now, having discovered this web site my passion for the country has returned and am keen to re-surrect my plans. Thank you.

 By Peter McNab  17.11.2003

Claire´s comment about keeping an open mind and getting to know people in the community is absolutely right. If you want to get something done here, it will get done; you just have to be patient. We love living in Turkey. Thank you Claire

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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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Carole from Kalkan
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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
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Marc from Kosuyolu
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Maya from Izmir
Michelle from Göztepe
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Omar from Ankara
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Paolo from Beşiktaş
Pat from Göreme
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Patricia from Kartal
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