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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....

Omar from Umraniye



Thanks to Omar Alani for sharing his experience in Turkey with us.

Tell us about yourself.
My name is Omar Alani. I am a 39 years old male. I am from Iraq but also have US citizenship. My hobbies include reading Sci-fi, fantasy and horror novels, reading about animation production and film directing, listening to music (mostly heavy metal, even though I am very quite person) I am also very interested in the Internet and computers in general. I just love my Pocket PC and use it almost for everything.
My mother language is Arabic. My English is very good.

What made you come to Turkey?
I came here to direct an animated feature film with a number of my colleagues.

What do you do in your daily life?
Well, I go to work in the morning after sending my daughters to school. Normally I stay home after work. Our work is very taxing. Moving around in Istanbul takes a lot of time. Especially since I live and work at the Anatolian side of Istanbul. Yet I do go occasionally with my family or my colleagues.

Family?
I am married to the most wonderful woman in the world and have the three most beautiful daughters in the world. My oldest daughter is 12 years old my two younger twins are 5 (non-identical twins). My wife's brother in law is working with us with his family, so we have a small clan here in Istanbul.

Can you compare your first days here with today?
I first came to Istanbul three and a half years ago. I came alone with no family nor friends. My loneliness prevented me from fully enjoying the wonders of this city. Yet I fell in love with Istanbul and still am. Nowadays, my family and I feel at home here. There is no other place we would prefer to live in except going back to Baghdad after this get better.

Has living in Turkey influenced your approach to life?
Yes very much. Living in a foreign country and being unable to fully communicate with people has given me a fresh outlook on life. I have not adopted with a strange situation. I have adopted to the strangeness of the situation. I have learned this; If you cannot change a situation, you can change the point of view from which you look at that situation. In this way you will almost always be able to find a bright side of any situation.

Turkish language?
My Turkish is not as good as I wish. I can communicate with people on basic issues. I have a simple Turkish teaching software on my PC and a Turkish phrasebook and dictionary, but it still it difficult. Turkish language has many Arabic words, and the Iraqi dialect has many imported Turkish words, but the grammar is totally different.

Let's talk about the region you are living in?
I am living in Umraniye. Even though it far from most of the interesting places in Istanbul, and most expatriates live in places far away, I like still like Umraniye. It is more open than most places. The community in Umraniye is more conservative than the average in Istanbul, a more eastern approach to life, which suits us well.

Have you traveled in Turkey? Tell us your discoveries.
Since I have come here to work and our work is so intense, I have not had the chance to see much of Turkey.

What is your preferred characteristic trait of Turks?
Turkish people in general are friendly, polite and they just love children. It is normal for my girls to get compliments from total strangers. Turks can get hot tempered sometimes, but being polite to them can go a long way. I just wish my Turkish was better. I would like to really get into a conversation with my neighbors and many other friendly Turks.

What was the annoying one?
Annoying? Anyone dealing with the Turkish authorities will really understand the meaning of the word annoying. Especially Emniyet

Turkish Cuisine?
Turkish cuisine is similar to Iraqi cuisine in many ways. Yet there are many delicious dishes not available in Iraq. I really love eating here. My colleagues and I always talk about the future of our work. We discuss the possibility of working in other countries. What worries us most is that we will truly miss Turkish food. My favorite Turkish dish? I don't know really. I love all kind of pides. I love kumpir. I love gozleme.

Any suggestion to new comers to Turkey?
Nothing specific special comes to mind.

Any suggestion to people planning to visit your region?
Well Umraniye is not a place for tourists. It is a very nice neighborhood for living. It is open and cheaper than other districts




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 By marbling  22.10.2006

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