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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....

Jennifer from Sultanahmet

Thanks to  Jennifer Gaudet for sharing her experiences in Turkey with us.

Tell us about yourself
My name is Jennifer. I'm a Canadian who has been living in Sultanahmet for the past 2.5 years. In April 2007, I opened the doors to Java Studio, a coffee bar and art gallery in the heart of Sultanahmet. Prior to living in Istanbul, I lived in Thailand for 7 years teaching English at a private Thai school.

What made you come to Turkey?
Initially, I came as a tourist because a friend recommended Turkey and said I would love it. Once here, I felt very comfortable and after doing a bit of research, realized that the laws for foreigners doing business were much more accommodating than those in Thailand.  By the end of the trip, I had already made the decision to finish my contract in Thailand and move here with the idea to start a business.

What do you do in your daily life?
I run my business.  I tell people the shop is where I live; my home is just where I sleep.  Most days I'm in the shop, but I do try get out to meetings of interest groups I'm part of and on rare occasion I even take a day off and get out of Istanbul.

Family?
It's just me.  The rest of my family is back in Canada.

Can you compare your first days here with today?
Night and day.  I'm more settled now.  These days are a slightly more predictable than the first few months trying to establish myself.  I know the city slightly better and thanks to the improvement of my language skills, I can usually (not always) take care of most things myself without relying on friends to be my translator.

Has living in Turkey influenced your approach to life?
Of course.  Anytime you live in another culture, it changes you.  Although, Sultanahmet is like any other tourist area, filled with sharks and traps, if you look at the Turkish people in general, I think they put our western definition of friendship to shame.  I love that business is more relaxed and starts and ends with tea and niceties, no matter how heated the middle gets.  I love the generosity and the sharing nature of the Turks and their happy gregarious nature.All of these things have rubbed off on me.

Turkish language?
A mouthful for sure.  I've had no time whatsoever for formal studies, but because of the coffee shop, I've picked up what skills I have by listening and speaking to my staff and the suppliers I deal with.  I muddle through, but still have a long ways to go to before being fluent.

Let's talk about the region you are living in?
I live in Sultanahmet, Istanbul; the centre of Turkey and the heart of many different pasts.  The history envelops and swallows you up in its richness and diversity. The call to pray can be heard from a dozen or more mosques singing in duet and stopping you even in the busiest of days to take a moment and remember the beauty that surrounds you.

What is your preferred characteristic trait of Türks?
Their knack for hospitality and generosity.

What was the annoying one?
Turks like to push the envelope, sometimes to a fault.

Turkish Cuisine?
Ohf!!  This is hard for me because in general, I know the Turkish cuisine is fresh and wholesome, but really, after living 7 years in Thailand with the most flavourful food and largest selection of things to eat I've ever experience, I do get bored here.  It's just too bland for me and far to high in carbs.  I crave spice, tropical vegis and fruits and variety.

Any suggestions to new comers?
Immerse yourself in the culture.  Try to learn a bit of the language.  Find some Turkish friends.  Ask questions and try to learn as much as you can about their culture.

Any suggestions to people planning to visit your region?
Come and see me at Java Studio at Balbasti Sokak, 13A Sultanhamet, Istanbul :)  




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Interviews with Members
Lisa from Kadıköy
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Dace from Ankara
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Filiz from Beyoğlu
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Frederic from Ankara
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Harry from Antalya
Iben from Alanya
Ingrid from Tesvikiye
Isa from Istanbul
Jan from Kuşadası
Jane from Manavgat
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John from the Bosphorus
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Robbi from Dalyan
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