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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....

Isa from Istanbul

 Untitled Document

Thanks to Isa for sharing his experience in Turkey with us.

Tell us about yourself
That's a long story. I am not a spring chicken any more. Writer/journalist: used to cover sports, especially soccer-football in the US. Covered the Cosmos, Philadelphia Fury, Textile and the national team for soccer newspapers. Got to know Pele and Beckenbauer, Werner Fricker, the US team that defeated England in the World Cup Quarter Finals (all before today's US side ever played a match as kids), did a course in a FIFA referee school. Was on the boards of governors of several US American regional associations.

My verse/haibun/travel essays/criticism/reviews have appeared in journals, little magazines and on-line e-zines. Photographer: also football, exhibited several times in Turkey as a Turkish artist, also as a Swiss artist and as a US American artist. Several photography awards. Academic degrees in linguistic anthropology, anthropology, literature and education. Science journal editor. Active in science e-lists and e-zines. Military training in meteorology. Training in psychiatric social work, in curriculum development, in music and art.

Professional experience in education, in NGO management, fundraising and media relations. Professional experience in food, restaurant, and hotel management. Lived and worked in Brazil, USA, Turkey, Middle East, Palestine. Traveled throughout North and South America and Western Europe and the Middle East. Speak English, German, Turkish and a smattering of other languages.

What made you come to Turkey?
Fulbright Fellow in education. Interest in traditional arts and music. Friendships in Turkey.

What do you do in your daily life?
Now I am working on a special project, involving colleagues in several countries related to niche tourism in NGO experience. Mostly researching on the Internet right now. Early planning.

Family?
I am a Swiss national and a New Yorker. A country boy with city credentials. Grew up in a huge household with brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, family friends and others: multi-cultural, multi-lingusitic, multi-national, multi-ethnic household of about 2 to 2 and a half dozen household members, plus pets (cats and dogs and...) plus swans, geese, ducks, some turtles, goldfish, squirrels, rabbits, and with the farm, fish hatchery and all, and our hotel all together, God knows what and who.

Can you compare your first days here with today?
In 1986, it was very different. There were manda (water buffalo) where there is now Vatan Cadessi, and you could buy fresh manda sutu (milk), yogurt for breakfast. Fatih was all back yards with flowers and fruit trees. In Goztepe, there were only beautiful old magnificent kiosks and gul bahceleri (rose gardens) and koyun (sheep) and cobanlar (shepherds). Marmara University had a guesthouse, but there wasn't much else. You could chew the air for breakfast if you were hungry, and trash was thrown out and never seemingly picked up. My friend from California when he got married in Levent could only see farms in any direction. When I used to go to Sile, it was an all day drive. Now everything is different. Thank God the local markets still have the world's best produce and fruit, but it is really NICE to find world-class international teas and cheeses in addition to the Turkish varieties. It is also REALLY nice to see ALL the Turkish varieties of cheeses and teas in all the markets.

Has living in Turkey influenced your approach to life?
Life for me has been easier in Turkey. Yes leaky roofs, no water and no electricity and even no gas bottles sometimes and air pollution and certain bad habits and limited telephone services and bureaucratic hurdles make a lot of things more difficult. But I feel homier, more at ease here than in some other countries, and surer that if there is an emergency my network will hold up under the strain. That may be an act of faith, but that is how I feel.

Turkish language?
Evet.

Let's talk about the region you are living in?
Right now I live in a very family neighborhood with kids playing football, women scrubbing their rugs on the sidewalk and washing the street and the weekly market day, and the world cup in the restaurant around the corner. No bank with walking distance or shouting distance. Bus rides to Taksim take hours. The other day I missed my doctor's appointment in Nisantasi because it took the taxi 1 hr, 55 minutes. Traffic.

Have you traveled in Turkey? Tell us your discoveries.
Artvin to Bati Trakya (West Thrace). Rize to Marmaris. Antalya to Trabzon. Erzurum. Konya. CatalHoyuk. Kackar Daglar. Ayder Kaplica. Bursa. Edirne and all of Mimar Sinan's masterpieces: truly the world's greatest architect. Iskenderun. Nigde. Malatya. Haci Bektas Veli. Aksaray. The tomb of Nasruddin Hoja. Sivas. Eskisehir. Batman. Bingol and Kastamonu are among the most memorable places I have ever seen. Corlu. I am afraid to single out any place. I have memories of the whole country. Special memories.

What is your preferred characteristic trait of Turks?
Turkey is far too complex and varied and rich and there are so many unique and incomparable qualities and characteristics and accomplishments through history that it is impossible to specify any one or two.

What was the annoying one?
Being great means you do not have to be defensive. Greatness speaks for itself. I don't enjoy anyone's milliyetcilik (nationalism), French or American or Saudi or Indian or Chinese or even Swiss milliyetcilik. Today some of the worlds' greatest science journals are full of Turkish surnames, eg: Science, Nature and the Royal Journal of Medicine are full of articles with Turkish lead authors. Accomplishments speak for themselves and no one can take them away. My biggest gripe is the disrespect some people sometimes show for disabilities and people with disabilities, a problem I deal with on a daily basis, but that has really improved a lot too. Driving has really improved.

Turkish Cuisine?
Ezogelin soup . Yogurt here is by far the best anywhere: Manda yogurt is indescribable, to die for.Lokum(Turkish delight). Turkish cheeses. Karpuz - Turkish watermelons! and kavun - Turkish melons! All kinds of Turkish fruit. Tomatoes. Kavurma (a kind of roasted meat). Lahmacun and durum(rolled Turkish flatbread filled with kebab) . Fistik ezmesi. Maras dondurma (icecream)! Sahlep. And now Green Turkish tea (but Turks have to learn to brew it right yet: no more than 5 minutes TOPs, 5 minutes is too long.) There are still one or two restaurants in Istanbul that serve real Turkish cuisine: Turkish cuisine is a LOT more than 10 kinds of meat balls. Kadin budu. Icili kofte. Original 15th-19th Century Turkish sherbet, yani (namely) fruit drinks. I never studied Turkish cuisine so I can't speak to its preparation with authority. I have bought some books to learn more. Turkish cook books.

Any suggestion to new comers to Turkey?
Plan your visit. Visit web sites like couchsurfers.com and other travel-friend sites for helps and hints and places and people to meet on your trip. Guidebooks are good, walking is great. Tour guides? I wouldn't myself.

Any suggestion to people planning to visit your region?
All of Turkey is a place of wonder and surprise and history: it is truly the cradle of civilization as we know it today: Homer, math, astronomy, physics, Abraham's (aws) birthplace, Moses's (aws) birthplace. Tomb of Mary (aws) Mother of Jesus (aws) Birthplace of European universities, philosophy, science, religion, politics, economics, agriculture. Turkey is the home of wheat rye and oats and of cattle farming and of sheep and goat farming and of bread making and it also has saints of all the world's religions buried here somewhere. Architects like Mimar Sinan invented city planning. Humane Mental health care and public hospitals were invented here. All the world's NGOs have their roots one way or another here in Turkey. Every corner has a little bit of world history on it.

 




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 Peter Starr  25.12.2013

Dear Isa, Would you be interested in work involving German into English translation for Prof. Fuat Sezgin? Saygilarimla. Dr. Peter Starr [email protected] Fuat Sezgin Research Institute for the History of Science in Islam

 By rosebilgin  29.10.2007

Hi Isa, It´s a very nice article. I am from Sile, I thought would be nice to talk about more where I am from. I haven´t been to Sile for a long time. I can´t navigate this page, I wasn´t able to find you, would you like to get in touch. [email protected]

 By marbling  17.1.2007

hi this is Ebru from İstanbul. I need to practice. And also I can help u for your turkish language. ıf u want u can write me. [email protected]

Would you like to add your comment about this article? Click here!


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