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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....

Filiz from Beyoğlu

 Untitled Document

Thanks to Filiz Güçlüfor sharing her experiences in Turkey with us.

Tell us about yourself,
I was born in Amasya and migrated to Australia in the late 60s. I have been living in Australia (Melbourne initially, then in Canberra since 1990) and during all this time, despite being Turkish in origin, I have been distant from the Turkish culture and the language - especially since my move to Canberra. Even being part of the Turkish Embassy's many official and social functions had not satisfied my fascination with Turkey.

What made you come to Turkey?
Having had the urge to travel to Turkey for some time, but always delaying it due to work commitments in telecommunications/IT Law field in my capacity as a Federal Government public servant, I decided to take the plunge and risk living in a very different environment from what I have been used to. Arriving in Istanbul soon after the HSBC bombings did not go down very well with my family, who were understandably very concerned with my safety in this "strange" land. In fact, Dad had stated that I would not be able to survive living in Turkey for more than a year. Two and a half, almost three years later, I seemed to have proved him wrong. :)

What do you do in your daily life?
I teach Law in English in a private University, as well as provide consultancy services on English legal systems to various Lecturers in Law, Law offices and other professionals.

Family?
Although I live alone in Istanbul (my entire family reside in Melbourne) I have been fortunate in having many Aussie family and friends who come to stay with me during their trip to Turkey. In fact, the latest arrivals from Australia have been my parents, who are currently gallivanting around the Southern parts of Turkey in their quest to see as many historic sites as they can in their 6 month stay.

Can you compare your first days here with today?
Well, it has not been easy, even for me who is easily able to adapt to new environments. There has been many a times when I was appalled with the ways things are handled here in Turkey. Unlike most new arrivals, I did not have the opportunity to visit much of Turkey. As soon as I arrived, I was totally busy in trying to settle into Istanbul, which I might add was not as easy as I had hoped. It seems that one requires to provide many documents for all sorts of government bodies, utility service centres etc before one can comfortably settle into living in Istanbul. Knowing a little bit of the language still did not help in my understanding of what an 'ikametgah' was and why I needed it in the first place. I learnt the hard way in querying this document with odd looks that without this document, one really cannot completely expect to settle. So be it. I realised that there seems to be a whole lot of unnecessary paperwork for something so simple as connecting the telephone line. Never did I expect to say this, but how I miss Telstra and its services! One quick phone call and you're done. Overall though,I am adapting but still have problems in assimilating. My English accent when speaking in Turkish doesn't help either.

Has living in Turkey influenced your approach to life?
I can't say that living in Istanbul has been predominantly negative. As a matter of fact, I do feel that it enhanced my life to a degree that I have learned to appreciate time management, the Turkish food and the amazing sites in Istanbul. I have realised during my stay here that one needs to be more diplomatic when conversing and meeting people. Also, I have realised that honesty is not always taken lightly, nor is it a 'good' thing here.

Turkish language?
Although I find it difficult at first in trying to understand what the underlining meaning is from 'simple' sentences in Turkish, I do believe that I am getting the knack in understanding Turkish wit/humor. Slowly, but getting there nevertheless :))

Let's talk about the region you are living in?
I live in a very quaint historic building in Beyoglu. I adore the area as it is very convenient to Taksim's Istiklal Street, great restaurants, Uni and office in Gumussuyu.

Have you traveled in Turkey? Tell us your discoveries

I did manage to squeeze in a visit to Amasya, the place I was born. For the very first time in my life, I celebrated my 41st birthday in the place I was born. It was bliss - nature, surrounding, food and the amazing people were all so wonderful. I had not realised that I had missed being among vegetation until I got to Amasya. I also visited it's neighbouring village and managed to even pick Okra from one of the local villager's fields. An eye opener experience for sure. I shall respect each Okra meal (bamya) from now on as it was so difficult picking it from its bush.

What is your preferred characteristic trait of Turks?
Their helpfulness and like many foreigners who also would no doubtedly have themselves experienced, their amazing hospitality.

What was the annoying one?
Apart from the buerocratic red tape which most new arrivals hwould have experienced, the most annoying that comes to mind, which I have again experienced only recently, would have to be when in a restaurant/cafe you end up getting something else from what you had ordered simply because they were out of the original order. This has happened to me many times. I hate the fact that they could decide for you on what you should be having, and when you refuse their decision, they turn slightly upset or annoyed or even surprised that you have declined their choice :)

Another and most important annoying trait I found in Turks is that employees in most organisations, public or private, especially teachers would tend to refuse to provide or share their skills and experiences with others with the aim of educating them, as in doing so would apparetnly 'jepodize' their own positions at work.

Turkish Cuisine?
What can I say? It's very rich, selective and almost always very delicious. I just however could not get used to eating from outside food stalls, although they do seem to smell delicious. Buying Simit on the way to work is an exception :) As a fan of Thai/Malaysian food, I miss the real tastes of Asia. So, if anyone knows where I could get a 'real' laksa, I'd be most happy to hear from you :))

Another thing I have learnt here is that if you discover a restaurant that serves meat/fish/vegetarian etc, that one ought to stick with them each time one wants that particular meal, rather than trying new restaurants. In this way, the managment likes seeing you again and would often waive the cost of some items off your bill. Something I have never experienced in Australia.

Any suggestion to new comers to Turkey?
If in doubt, always ask - always! Even though one may get different answers for the same thing, still rest assured that the Turks are willing to assist in almost all cases. Never be hesitant, especially in a taxi. Turks don't like to admit fault(s) or that they are wrong.

Any suggestion to people planning to visit your region?
I would highly recommend that they make time to have dinner in 'The Cave' in Tunel, the Galata Tower's restaurant and when shopping in Taksim, never succumb to full price (esepcially if payment is in cash), but to bargain until their heart's content.




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Cornelia from Florya
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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
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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
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Michelle from Göztepe
Molly from Galata
Nilgün from Suadiye
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Omar from Umraniye
Paolo from Beşiktaş
Pat from Göreme
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Latest comments about this article

 By mcordova  13.10.2010

Hello Fliz! Long time ago I was looking to find you or heard something from you!! I don´t know if you still living in Turkey. As you remember I´m Miguel Córdova, a peruvian diplomatic, an once your boyfriend!! I will love to contact you!! Can you send me a email to: [email protected] Please do so and my apologizes if I hurt you any time!! Kisses, Miguel

 By gulperi vural  23.9.2007

Dear Filiz, Thank you for being such a comfort.I arrived in Istanbul after having studied,lived and worked from 1964 to 2006 in Brussels. I was and (at the end of my 8th month here) still am not totally adjusted. I love my work at a private university and have friends but I am often baffled at the way one has to handle human relations. Best of luck,and take care, Gulperi

 By Erin  5.9.2006

Dear Filiz, Thank you so much for the invaluable information. Our backgrounds are very similar. I was born in Turkey but have been living in the U.S. for the past 30 years. I am also planning to move back (right after my divorce is final :)) and hopefully find a job in the legal field (I have a Juris Doctorate degree) in Istanbul. I would love to keep in touch and explore Istanbul with you. Please write to me (if you like): erin_seval at yahoo (formatting disguised to prevent email address farming). Best regards.

 By vlj  3.9.2006

Really enjoyed the article Filiz. Relocating to Beyoglu from uk to teach English in couple of weeks time and found the information both interesting and informative. Can t wait to try out the restaurants etc

 By cmurphy  15.8.2006

A great article from a fellow Aussie. I have been living here for 6 years, and can really relate to many of Filiz´s experiences. Bravo, Filiz. Perhaps we could get in touch, share a coffee somewhere..... :-))) Carol

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