Last Monday was my first one month anniversary living in Amsterdam. When I look back, all I can see is my last day in Turkey at the airport, waiting for the flight with tears in my eyes. I thought time would go really slowly while killing me on the inside silently. Yet I was so occupied with people and things, did not even realize how fast a whole month passed.
Not that I am unhappy with what I have now, but there are still certain things I feel homesick about.
- Breakfast: There is an undeniable fact about Turkey. The food varies across the country but no matter where you go, it is just great. My personal favorite is definitely our big and rich breakfasts. I can have (Turkish) breakfast for all 3 courses. Although I am a big fan of ham and cheese croissant, it can never be a real substitute. I used to live in Beşiktaş where you can find one of the prettiest streets of İstanbul, full of cafes serving breakfast all day long. I do miss having long breakfasts, dipping my bread into sucuklu beyaz peynirli menemen, freshly made Turkish tea, fresh veggies, pastries and all of the rest. The best part of this routine is sharing your food but also laughter with your friends or family. Ain’t no better way to start your morning.
- Taxis: As I have recently learnt how to ride a bike and still trying to improve my skills, I mostly find my way around in Amsterdam either simply by walking or by using public transportation. And I love being able to walk wherever I want to. İstanbul is no place to take a nice, joyful walk. Yet it works its magic in times of need. Taxi drivers in İstanbul uses their sixth sense and even before you know you need one, they magically appear right in front of you. You do not need any application to match your perfect taxi driver. Yet in Amsterdam, I do not remember seeing a taxi besides very, very central areas. I just want my taxi driver to come and find me when I think of him, is that too much to ask?
- Spontaneity: Dutch people are super planned and organized, but maybe a bit too much for my Turkishness. I love being planned and organized too, but never would have imagined I would have coffee appointments in my agenda regularly. When making plans for 3 weeks ahead of time, I mostly do not need to check my agenda because I do not plan further than 5 hours ahead. This makes me miss Turkish spontaneity so much. Sometimes you just do not make any plans and decide to stay at home all weekend long, until you do not want to anymore. But there is always a simple solution for this. You pick up your phone and call a friend to meet in an hour. This works like a charm, always! I really miss having plans without making plans. One simple phone call may take you away from your book, and then next thing you know is having munchies at 6.00AM after a long night of partying.
- Hospitality: I am sure you can easily find plenty of articles and heartwarming stories about Turkish hospitality. No matter what you do, where you come from and where you go, you always feel welcomed in Turkey. Do not be shocked if a complete stranger spends hours on stuff just because you briefly asked for guidance. Or when you are invited to a family dinner on the second day after meeting someone. Shop owners will offer you free tea or coffee and you are never expected to pay for them. A couple of days ago I visited a Turkish couple for a house viewing. Mother of the house got really heartbroken when I rejected her coffee offer and asked me to stay over for dinner maybe for 6 times (you may also check out the term Turkish mother to learn about this unique type). It may seem weird for the ones who are not used to it but this hospitality always made me feel safe back at home. If you need help, there will always be someone to help you. If you need to go somewhere, there will always be someone to take you. Random acts of kindness will always find a way to cheer you.
- Tankard: The alcohol, especially when imported, is super expensive in Turkey due to heavy taxation. This is not the case in the Netherlands and I am super happy to be surrounded by a huge variety of beers. Yet I am still not used to drinking beer in a tiny glass. I do miss holding a tankard and feeling like a true Viking every time I took a sip from my cold chill beer. Beer tastes better when the glass is as big as my head. Only true beer lovers can relate to this giant problem.