Türkiye’de Siyahi Olmak (“Ooo ben Afrikalıları çok severim”!!!)

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Ilk basta anlayamamıștım. Kıyafetlerim mi kötüydü yoksa üstümde bir leke mi vardı? Herkes bana bakıyordu ve farklı olduğumu biliyordum ama bu kadar tepki verileceğini sanmamıștım.
Anlıyorum, bazı insanlar hiç memleketten çıkmamış ve yabancı birini görünce baya büyük bir olay oluyor. Irkı farklıysa da ohoo!

Hayatımda ilk defa beni tanımayan insanlar benimle fotoğraf çekilmek istedi. İlk basta o kadar şok oluyordu ve ben cevaplayana kadar onlar fotograf cekiyorlardı bile!Hatta bazı durumlarda sormadan da fotoğrafımı çektiler. Bazı ülkelerde bu bir suç ve kesinlikle hoş bir davranış değil.

Şu an tanımadığım bir insan benimle fotograf çekilmek istiyorsa eğer, hayır diyorum. O fotoğrafları ne yapacaksın? Seni tanımıyorsam neden seninle bir fotoğraf çekileyim? Evet burada bir yabanciyim ama yapmak istemedigim bir seyi yapmak zorunda degilim.

Siyah insanlara karşı üç farklı bakış açısı var. Her siyah insan Afrikalı, Afrika fakir bir ” ülke”, orada hava o kadar sıcak ki tenimiz siyah. Çok kalabalık aileyi sahipler ve bahçede aslan beslenir düşüncesine sahip insanlar.

İkincisi ise: Siyah insanlar; sempatik gözleriyle bakan, sömürgelerden çıkmış, yazık… yardım edeyim gözüyle bakanlar ve üçüncü ise: Normal insan gibi bakan insanlar. İki buçuk sene içerisinde üçüncü tipte tanıdığım çok az insan var.

İlk önce her siyahi Afrikali değil. Küçük ve basit konularda tartışmayalım.

İkincisi, Afrika bir ülke değil. O bir kıta ve 54 tane ülke bulunuyor.
Hayır, beş sene önce tanıdığın Afrikalıyı tanımıyorum.

Herkes aç, susuz ve fakir kesinlikle değil. Kötü durumdaki ülkeler var ama hepsi öyle değil. Bir kaç tane var.Medya görünüşü baya abartmış ve yanlış.

Zambiyadayken, Türkiye’ye gelmeden önce 2016 da bir olay olmuş. Bizim gözümüzde her yerde bomba patlıyor, insanlar her yerde ölüyor gibi canlandırıldı ve ön yargılı olsaydım gelmezdim. Bu haberde doğru şeyler vardı tabi, bazı insanlar ölmüş ama yurt dışında gösterilen haber farklıydı. Okuduğunuz her şeye inanmayın.

Emin olun yazın Türkiye’de ölüyorum. Zambiya’da en yüksek derece 28, 29°C ve en düşük 11 ya da 10°C. Güneşten dolayı siyah ten oluyor olsaydı orta doğudaki insanların komple siyah olması gerekirdi.

Bazı insanlar kabile kelimesini de çok kullanıyor ve çoğu zaman yanlış şekilde kullaniliyor. Zambiya’da 19 milyon insan yaşıyor ve o insanlar 72 kabileye ayrılmış. 72 tane farklı grup var ve kendi dillerine sahipler. Yakın bölge olan kabile dilleri benziyor ama aralarında farklar var. Mesela bir Konyalının kendi dili var ve bir İzmirlinin de aynı şekilde. İkisi de Türk ama aralarında fark var. Türkiye’de çoğu kiși kendi memleketinde, ailesine yakın yaşamayı tercih ediyor ama Zambiya öyle değil. Kabile olarak yaşamıyoruz. Herkes kendi için neresi daha uygunsa orada kalıyor. Annem ve babamın kalibeleri farklı ve iki tane kabilem var. Bütün kaldığımız şehirlerde hep başka bir kabile yaşamış ve yerel dil ona göre oluyor. Çocukluktan beri farkli dil konuşan, farklı kültüre sahip bir çevrede büyüyorüz ve bizim icin bu çok normal bir şey.

Lisedeyken yurtdıșında okuyacağımı biliyordum ama hangi ülkede olacağını bilmiyordum. Zambiya’dayken yurt dışından gelen yabancılar vardı ve hepsi farklı ırk, din, dil ve kültüre sahipti. Benim için bu normal bir şeydi ve merak etmiyordum o kadar fazla.

Çocukken ebeveynlerim bizi kendi yabancı arkadaşlarına götürürdü ve onların yaşam tarzını bize göstermek isterlerdi. Onun için farklı insanların hayatını çok merak etmedim ya da yaşam tarzlarının nedenini sormadım çünkü herkes farklı ve yaptıkları da farklı. O yüzden buradayken insanların meraklı olması beni çok yoruyor.

Yemin ederim bin defa “nerelisin? “, “neden Türkiye?”, “Saçını naptın öyle? ” ( hiçbir şey yapmadım saçım böyle) ,”Sizin orada su var mi? …(En genis șelale Zambiya’da!).” Aslan gördün mü?” (bahçemizde var) diye sordular. Ve bu cevaba (bahçemizde cevabına) inanan insanlar var ve kafayı yiyeceğim. Bir kişiyle ilk defa oturup sohbet ediyorsak olur. Amaaaaa otobüsteki bir insansın, neden soruyorsun? Bir de bağırıyorlar. Butun otobüsün yolcuların ismimi bilmelerini istemiyorum. Zambiya’da sana birisi bir şey satmaya çalışmıyorsa tanımadıklarına kimse özel soru sormaz.

Ozellikle tanımadığımız insanlara dokunmuyoruz. Offfffffffff. Ne olur hiç bir zaman seninle tokalaşmadıysak saçıma dokunma. Seninle tokalaşıp, sarılmadıysam yakın değiliz demektir. Bir şey unutmayın biz size farklıysak bir o kadar da siz de bize farklısınız. Saçımız da farklı. Hatta bizde saçın kültürde büyük bir yeri var. Bazı insanlar saçımızı çok seviyor ya da merak ediyor ve biz de seviyoruz ama izin almadan dokunmayın. Bunu kimse sevmiyor.

Çok duyduğum kelime zenci kelimesi. Bu kelimenin farkli anlamlarını duydum ve bence hoş bir kelime değil. Bazı siyah insanların bu kelimeyle sorunu yok ve bazıları kesinlikle sevmiyor. Ben ortadayım.

Baska bir ırk özel kavram koyunca ırkçılığa giriyor ve bazı insanlar bunu doğru olup olmadığını da tartışabilir. Benim için siyah insan daha iyi çünkü öyleyim ama başka kavramlar hoş degil. Çogu siyahi insanların kültürlerinde beyaz insanlara verilen bir kavram adı yok ama bazı kültürlerde siyah insanlara bir kavram adı konulmasına gerek duyuluyor ve nedenini anlayamıyorum.

Çoğu Türk “Kesinlikle Türkiye’de ırkçılık yok” diyor ama yabancı olmadan bundan emin olamazlar. Bence bazen insanlar farkında olmadan ırkçılık yapar. Siyahi insanlara ilişkin düşüncelerinde, yorumlarında ya da davranışlarında belli oluyor bazen.

Mesela hiç su olmadan yaşanır mi gerçekten? Ya da evcil aslan ya da fil var mi? Bir gün arkadaşımla McDonald’s a gittim ve sipariş verirken bana “Kanka bana ısmarla” dedi. Tam “tamam” diyecektim, karşıdaki eleman “Bu Afrikalı, parası var mı ki?” dedi. Başka bir gün bir arkadaşım ders verirken ögrencilere orucun nasıl gittiğini sormuș ve kendi için iyi gittiğini söylemiș ve arkasından “Senin için normal. Afrikalısın zaten aç kalıyorsunuz” demiș.

Bazen tam tersi oluyor. Bir sürü insan beni yemeğe davet etti, yardımcı olmaya çalıştı ve o kadar fazla ki bazen kaçırıyorum. Ülkemde tanımadığın insanı evine çağırmazsın ya da tanıdığın insanın evine gitmiyorsun. Önemli durumlarda oluyor ama sadece tanışmak için olmaz. Belki bir güvenlik problemi var. Siyah insanlar cok kibar ve tanışmayı seven kişilerdir ama bize gelen herkesin baska bir amacı vardı. Tarihmizde belli olan şey ve “siyah insanları seviyorum” diyen insanlara güvenemiyorum. Bilmiyorum ama birisi bana söyleyince kaçıyorum. Herkesi sev! Beni tanımıyorsan “seni seviyorum” deme.

Bazı insanlar bunu saf bir anlamda söylüyor ama bazi insanlar biraz abartiyor. Sanki başka bir dünyadan gelmişiz gibi yapıyorlar. Evet fiziksel olarak diger ırklara göre farklarımız var ama temel olarak insanız. Güzel insanız. Herkes güzel.

Aramızda çok fark var ve her zaman bizi ayıran bir sey bulmaya çalışsak hep bulacağız. Din, dil, kültür, ve ırktan önce insanız ve temel şeyler hiç değişmez. Yeni tanıştığınız bir yabancıyla konuşurken bunu unutmayın.

Xoxo,

Zee.

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Coping with homesickness

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So you’re still in your honeymoon phase of being abroad and everything is going great. Well, until being a foreigner sets in and your begin to get homesick.

That happened me to me pretty early along the way. My honeymoon phase ended right after I a set a foot outside the airport and into my new home.

I think this happened because my expectations weren’t met and if they probably were, I’d have had a much longer honeymoon phase. At some point we all get a little homesick especially if you’re away without family and a long way from home.

Regardless, trying to escape and get on the next flight back home shouldn’t be the solution . Unless it’s a life or death situation or close enough for you, then bolt! But for people like me that just need a little more time to cope with new environments , there’s a couple of things that could help you cope with being away from home.

1. Play a tourist!

Get to know your city! Whether it’s a huge metropolitan city or something much more picturesque, it’s all new to you and that means it’s an opportunity to explore.

Take pictures as you go along. Send a couple to your family back home, maybe post some in your social media or maybe just save them to look back to later in the future.

2. Meet locals

Depending on the kind of environment you’re in there are so many ways to meet new people and hang out. In Turkey for instance, people love to go to cafes for tea or coffee and it’s a good way to get to know someone and catch up.

I’m usually not the first person to break the ice but you have to get out of your comfort zone a little. Start a conversation. If that’s not hard for you then perfect. Make a friend. Trust me they blow up into a thousand.

There are some people that never get the chance to travel abroad and many others that love meeting people from different cultures so don’t be shy.

3. Be open minded

I believe that no matter how similar not two countries are the same so you may not like everything about your new home. Heck I don’t even love everything about my own country !

Be more open to new ideas and understanding to their way of life. Some people may not be totally respectful of your culture and beliefs and that shouldn’t bother you.

Immense yourself into the culture. Try the local food. Maybe learn a skill or two. It might not even be something you’ll do for the rest of your life or maybe who knows you might return to your country later and start up a business or introduce something that wasn’t there before.

I haven’t tried all Turkish food but I know there’s lots so maybe one day I could learn some and even open a Turkish restaurant in Zambia. I haven’t ever seen one there and I don’t know if I can live my life there knowing I’ll never have another künefe.

4. Connect with other foreigners

I know some foreigners here that don’t spend any time with Turks and only with other foreigners and I’m over the fence about that. There is a lot of comfort in finding someone who’s in a similar position as you are and understands you. The weight of the world is much lighter but that also kind of takes away from the experience of actually being in a foreign country.

The locals are a huge part of the culture and I think to get the most of the experience of being abroad. If the native language there isn’t English spending time with locals will help you learn the language better and faster and you’ll probably settle much quicker.

I could have never learnt Turkish if I spent all my time with other English speakers.

So just try to strike a balance. Connect with other foreigners and feel a little closer to home and if your stay abroad is long term then try to make friends with the locals and also get acquainted to the culture to make your stay a little easier.

5. Stay in contact with your loved ones

Before I left for Turkey one of my younger brothers was at boarding school and so he sent me the sweetest letter and even though it’s been refolded a couple of times and gotten a few tears along the way I hold onto it.

He wrote about how much he was going to miss me and how he wondered when he’d see me next. How would look like. He wondered what my new home was like. Who my friends were. What I missed about home and what I loved about Turkey.

They care. They’re curious and missing you. Thank God for the internet because now even though they’re away , we can still be connected online. So give your friends and family a call. Tell them what’s going on with you. Big or small. Ask them what’s going on in their lives. What’s happening back home… you’ll feel so much closer to them.

6. Do the stuff you love

If you have a chance to do the things you love while away then do them! It could be painting, photography, taking walks or swimming. You don’t have to stop.

You might even develop other interests or get the opportunity to do something you’ve always had an interest in but couldn’t do back home.

The important thing is for you to have a genuine smile on your face at the end of the day. You might waking up feeling alone, missing the smell of your mother’s food or the laughter of your family but you could give them a call and maybe afterwards meet up with a friend or have a ‘me’ day and do one of your hobbies.

I don’t think you could ever be completely homesick free while away so when you do get homesick just try to keep a positive attitude and remember it won’t last forever.

Xoxo,

Zee.

Turkey expectations vs reality

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Throughout my childhood I was curious about what life abroad was like. At that time, the only place I knew outside Africa was America as I spent a lot of time watching American TV programs. I eventually got to learn of the other continents but I always had this interest in the west and ending up there was a goal of mine.

I got accepted to study in Turkey and quite frankly I knew nothing about the country. Not even its location ! Once it got certain that I was going to come here, I started to do some research. I didn’t get the answers to all the questions I had but I had so many expectations.

Now, the thing about expectations is sometimes they’re met and often times they aren’t. Here are some of the ones I had that you may have too.

1. It’s not safe

You’ve probably seen Turkey somewhere in the news and the talk is always something to do with politics, the attempted coup in 2016 or maybe about some bomb explosion somewhere . I came to Turkey shortly after the attempted coup and honestly I was frightened. I didn’t know what to expect. I thought they’d be bombs flying around everywhere and i was scared to death.

Turkey turned out much safer than portrayed in the media and even though there are happenings of bombing in certain cases, it’s actually safe and there’s no need to worry. I haven’t experienced anything life threatening since I’ve been here so it’s pretty safe.

2. All women have to be covered

One thing I didn’t know about Turkey was the fact that it was an Islamic country. I knew very few things about Islam before coming to Turkey and it was a huge learning experience. An article I had read at the time said women had to covered in Islamic countries and I felt like I had to get a whole new wardrobe because my clothes wouldn’t make the cut.

To my surprise that wasn’t the case when I got here. There are women that wear a hijab and there are some that don’t. I thought wearing a hijab meant zero interest in fashion and that it always had to be dull but that wasn’t the case either. I see a lot of fashionable women everyday with and without hijabs and it’s all just according to ones preference.

Some Turkish cities are more conservative than others so you have to dress accordingly. The western part of Turkey isn’t so keen on the issue but if you think of visiting the east and other conservative cities no one will force you to wear a hijab but you’ll get lots of stares if you have a tank top and shorts on.

3. Women shouldn’t travel by themselves

I read an article that talked about women, especially foreigners, being sexually harassed all the time and another saying it wasn’t safe for women to travel by themselves.

I’ve been living in Turkey for a little over two and a half years now and I took my first solo trip in my 6th month here. I knew very little Turkish at the time and that trip was the first of many other solo trips. I use couchsurfing when I travel and I haven’t experienced anything terrible. If anything, the only problem I have when i am traveling by myself is not having someone to take my pictures.

Most Turkish women don’t travel on their own as Turks generally love to do stuff together but if solo traveling is more your thing then you can do it here too.

4. A lot of people here speak English

Turkish is the official language of Turkey and English is taken as a second language and is part of the education system. Most Turks have English lessons from junior high school to high school but most Turks can’t speak English. Some of them can understand it or read as they know the grammar but very few can actually speak the language.

In bigger cities and tourist destinations you’ll find more English speakers as they often interact with foreigners but as you go to smaller cities or places that don’t get many foreigners then you might have a hard time like I did.

Picking up a few Turkish phrases will come in very handy and turks are often compassionate with foreigners so they’ll always try to break that communication barriers one way or the other.

5.Turkish people are very friendly

You’ve probably heard that Turks love guests and they’re always willing to help. This actually is true and sometimes it actually gets overwhelming. I don’t know how many times a stranger has invited me over for tea or given me their number to call them in case of anything.

They’re always looking out for each other and giving a helping hand to foreigners especially so the hospitality is great.

I sometimes feel a little too much as people just say this but actually don’t do it so my advice is don’t go depending on just promises. They won’t leave you out in the cold but you have to be able to stand on your own.

xoxo,

Zee.

Why you should study in Turkey.

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So you’re probably looking for a change of environment as an Erasmus student or maybe just looking to have an interesting experience studying abroad and where not better to do that than when where Europe meets Asia. If Europe, Asia and the Middle East had a baby , it would be Turkey.

I always hoped to study abroad but frankly Turkey wasn’t the first country on my list. It was more like plan D or E because I didn’t know much about it but luckily I’ve gotten to appreciate a bunch of things about studying here and I’d love to share them with you.

Perks of studying abroad in Turkey

  • 1. You’re going to be experiencing a new culture!
  • It’s not as open minded as Europe but it’s not as conservative as the Middle East either.Like I mentioned earlier , Turkey is Europe, Asia and the Middle East combined.
  • European influence fuses out from Istanbul and other cities of the Mediterranean and halfway through it fades off into the more conservative part of the country.
  • Turkey has a lot of great history as well and they have done a good job at preserving and taking pride in this. You’re going to have the coolest history lesson of your life here because you’ll be in the heart of it.
  • 2. If you have a serious case of wanderlust, you’ll fall in love with the country in a heart beat!
  • Turkey is an all year round holiday destination. I honestly think it gets less credit than it deserves because it’s mainly known for political reasons. And we all know this topic isn’t all rosey and whimsical.

    I am a sun lover and I live for spring and summer. Camps by the beach, by a forest with a nearby lake or visiting historical places and going to places I haven’t been to is definitely my kind of thing. You can do all of that and more here.

    The winter lovers can also enjoy snow and winter activities in ski resorts. There is always a place to visit and each of these places have very unique and rich history.

    Some places I’d recommend you to visit in summer are Bodrum, Antalya and Fethiye. I think spring is best for siteseeing because it’s not as expensive as summer is but the weather is still beautiful enough for you to comfortably travel.

    Cappadocia, Istanbul, Rize, Çannakale and Izmir are on my list too. Uludag is beautiful for winter and it’s definitely one of the best places to spend winter in Turkey.

    3. It’s not expensive to live here.

    So compared to a lot of other countries Turkey is a really affordable country to live in and if you have some dollars or euros with you then you’ll live like royalty.

    The cost of living varies from city to city and the most populated cities like Istanbul, Izmir and Antalya cost more than other cities do. However, the difference isn’t far stretched and more populated cities have their perks too like having more extra curricular activities and opportunities to meet more foreigners so it’s worth it.

    Sometimes you might get discounts as a student and that’s always a good thing if you’re a cheapskate like me. Places like public transport, restaurants and museums offer discounts to students.

    4. A chance to learn a new language.

    I knew not one single Turkish word before coming to Turkey and when I got here to study, life was hard. My university offers Architecture in Turkish and so I had to learn the language. Living in a city that didn’t receive so many foreigners as well also made it hard to get by without Turkish but the longer I stayed and pushed myself , the better I got at it.

    Learning a new language opens more opportunities for yourself, looks good on your resume and makes it easier to interact with new and different people. I believe that you never know where life takes you so learn anything that your current circumstances offer you.

    5. Foodies would love it!

    I’ve been in Turkey for about two and a half years and I don’t even think I’ve tasted half of the Turkish cuisine! From savory delicacies to sugary delights, the food here will have you craving for more.

    The Turks have a serious breakfast culture that includes eggs, cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, fruits, organic jellies and spreadings, salami and definitely bread and tea.

    They also have a bunch of other healthy local snacks to munch on while waiting for lunch or dinner which might begin with some soup. (My favorite is lentil soup!). After the soup comes a main course and this varies on where in Turkey you are.

    The main course is usually served with yogurt or drink called ayran that’s made of yogurt, water and some salt. This will be served with bread as bread is almost like a necessity in the Turkey culture.

    Be sure not to get too stuffed because you need to make room for a mouth watering dessert. Most of these are very sugary so if you have a sweet tooth you’ll absolutely love it and if you don’t, you’ll hate how much you love the dessert and want seconds.

    6. Scholarships

    The Turkish government offers annual scholarships to foreigners in local universities and applying for them is pretty easy. You can do it over the internet and that makes it convenient.

    Applications open at the beginning of the year and students that make it through the first selection have to attend interviews and thereafter the selected students are informed. There are a lot of different departments you can apply for and there are many universities in different pasts of Turkey that you might get placed in.

    These scholarships cover tuition fee, accommodation in a local dormitory, a free bus card in the city you live in and a monthly allowance. The allowance varies depending on whether you’re studying for your undergraduate, postgraduate or masters .

    However most departments in Turkish universities are offered in Turkish language or partially offered in language so you will have to take a Turksih language preparation course, which is fully paid for, before you begin.

    Some private universities offer scholarships too but you’ll have to apply directly to the university. They usually cover a big chunk of your fees and most of them offer their course in English so you don’t have to take a Turkish language course before you begin.

    Whatever your reasons for wanting to study abroad are, I think Turkey would be worth it so definitely a country to consider. I wish you all the best of luck and I hope you have a great time abroad!

    Xoxo,

    Zee.

    Things to love and hate about Turkey

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    Having had stayed in Turkey for a while now I’ve come to appreciate all the things I love about the country and deal with the things I hate.

    It’s not utopia. Obviously. But it’s worth a visit.

    So let’s say you’re somewhere in the world right now and you’re considering to backpack to Turkey and curious about the country here’s my list of things about turkey that I love and hate the most.

    Things I love the most about Turkey

    1. It’s a beautiful country. Really.

    I like to think of Turkey as a real all year round holiday destination. From skiing in Uludag during winter to chilling out on the beach sipping on a mojito on a beach along the Mediterranean and everything else in between.

    I fell in love with traveling when I got here. I’ve always had a very curious and adventurous side of me that just blossomed after I got here.

    I hadn’t ever been to a beach before I got here and five months into living in Turkey I took my first vacation to Bodrum and caught the wanderlust bug and I’ve been in love with traveling ever since.

    2. It’s historically rich

    I may have heard of the Ottoman Empire a few times back in History class in high school but I never was interested in it so I had no idea what its connection to Turkey was. Nothing much comes to mind when I think of Zambia in the 19th century but I can tell you a lot about Turkey then.

    The history isn’t just political or social but also very cultural as well as geographical. From things like traditional Turkish backs (hamams) which where also found in the Roman Empire in the 15th century to places like Cappadocia which is captivating and also magical. The fairy houses and the plains covered in snow in winter make it feel like it was set for a love story and seeing the colorful hot air balloons up in the air on summer mornings is the perfect way to start a day.

    3. The rich culture

    The country is right at the heart of three continents so it’s not surprising that the country is so diverse. Depending on where you are in Turkey the atmosphere might feel European or very Middle Eastern.

    They have unique traditions and beliefs like the evil eye which is believed to bring good luck and keep one safe. You’ll see hot Turkish baths (hamams) almost everywhere and on special occasions you’ll see them dancing away to their traditional folk music.

    4. The food

    Turks love to eat. From their special breakfast filled with olives, bread, eggs, jellies, local cheeses and sausage to mid day snacks and lunches awaiting a tasty delight, don’t be surprised if you again a few kilos while visiting this country.

    One fun fast you may or may have not known is that yogurt originated from Turkey. Turks take pride in that and to this day will eat yogurt with everything. If you mix some yogurt, water and salt you’ll have a drink called Ayran that’s drank all around the country.

    Bread is present at all meals and you know they’ll always have a hot pot of tea simmering in the kitchen. Some of the local places have won world recognized awards just for their amazing kitchens.

    I’ll do a post on Turkish food later but one of my absolutely favorite things is a dessert called kunefe.

    In as much as Turkey seems really great and probably heading higher on your bucket list there are a few things about it that are not so great.

    Things I hate the most about Turkey

    1. A lot of ignorance

    Turks love their country, their nation and anything Turkish. Which is great. Really. However, that doesn’t mean one has to be oblivious to all the other nations that reside their country. Whether or not they’ve traveled abroad.

    Turks have a lot of misconceptions about almost everyone who isn’t Turkish and to live as a foreigner here you have to have the heart of a saint.

    They believe anyone black is from Africa, that Africa is a ‘country ‘ where everyone is poor and starving because that’s what they saw in a documentary from 10 years ago about a village that was having a crisis.

    If you’re white and European, American or Russian, they just want to know how fast they can hook up with you. Because that’s what they saw in a movie. Little girls just looking forward to giving it their v card.

    If you’re from anywhere on the east of Turkey then they just don’t trust you. Period. They think you’re out to get their jobs, land and anything they own.

    Now this isn’t how every Turkish person thinks but unfortunately there’s a certain amount of people that think this way.

    This is the one thing I hate about the country and it’s a very broad topic that spreads into other areas of day to day life. People would have judged you by just your race or nationality or beliefs before actually getting to know you and in some instances there’s a lot of discrimination.

    2. So many bans and restrictions

    If you’re used to living in a country where you have the freedom to look up anything you want on the internet or shop from anywhere around the world then you’ll probably regret moving to Turkey.

    Wikipedia has been banned in Turkey for a while now ( something to do with politics I believe) and I don’t understand why they had to ban they whole site. I recently tried to get my blog on Bloglovin which is a blogging website but I found out it was blocked too. I got in contact with the main office and they got my blog on their server but I don’t have any access to my account because I’m still in Turkey.

    Getting electronics especially phones and laptops from outside the country is hell. You’ll have to pay tax at a local police station before getting your new phone but you might not even be able to get a laptop that just purchased abroad.

    Those are just some of bans and restrictions here that might make things a little harder for you.

    All in all every place has positive and negative aspects to them and it’s just about the good overweighing the bad.

    Photo credit: anadolugram, yeterkigez

    Have you ever lived abroad? What things did you love or hate most about the country?

    Single on valentines… again

    Blog posts

    Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t spend the day of love mopping around and wishing I got a bunch of roses and a teddy bear with the classic words ” I love you” written on it. Getting that wouldn’t have hurt but not doing so didn’t hurt either.

    The only place I could have avoided that day was not logging into any social media accounts and not leaving my room. I stay in an all girls dorm so I wouldn’t risk seeing anyone come back from their date skin glowing, bliss radiating and gifts in hand.

    I knew that I could suffer side effects of a jealousy, self pity and a broken heart after checking my Instagram account that day but I figured there’s worse things in life than being single on Valentine’s Day.

    I saw the sweetest messages of people to their insignificant others as well as flashy gifts of course but one thing I realized was when people write about who they loved it brought me to think about the people that I love. The people that I care for and want to see happy and striving.

    I wondered if they knew whether I loved them or not. Whether they felt appreciated and cared for by me. I wondered if they knew how they made me feel.

    I thought about every person that’s ever broken my heart and trying to find the lesson from all those experiences. I thought of the other people that I’ve hurt.

    I thought of all the things I wanted in someone or out of a relationship and somehow I realized I had all those things spread around in my life in different people. Now don’t get me wrong, romantic relationships are great and I think everyone should should experience one. Or a couple but one shouldn’t beat themselves down for not being in one.

    My single friends and I unconsciously host pity parties where we talk about about how our exes wronged us and how everyone but us seems to be happy. Sometimes we just make ourselves feel better by judging other couples. Not one of our best moments, I know.

    How unaware we are is disturbing to say the least. In our obsession with singleness we fail to notice the people around us that we can talk to and actually be real with.

    The people in our lives we can talk to for hours and whose messages we read in their voices.

    The people who bring us excitement and joy and make us want to live a little more. The ones that calm us down when we’re overreacting and the ones that make you feel alive.

    The person that defend or stand by you through the everything. The ones who believe in you and see all the potential in us.

    The people that if we saw ourselves from their eyes we’d see ourselves for amazing creatures that we are.

    We have this kind of love around us and all we need to do is accept it and allow it to flourish in our lives. And we have to give it too. Valentines isn’t so much about chocolate and roses , which are great, but it’s about love. The one in your life. Whatever or whoever that looks like in your life is what you have to acknowledge and appreciate.

    Your family, friends, education, job, your talents or your pet. It’s your narrative. St Valentine has his and you have yours too. I decided to appreciate friendship that day. To acknowledge the support, joy and love we share. And to aspire for more of it.

    My hope is to keep feeling that way every single day and I hope you do too. We all yearn to be loved and we all want to love. You can decide what that looks like for you. So even if I was single on valentines and I still am, I’m not alone and I’ll never lack love. It’s always there. You just have to choose to see it.

    Zambia the real Africa

    Blog posts

    photo credit : @the_mentalyst

    Hi loves!

    I was recently away on holiday in Istanbul and while there a friend and I were talking about expat life in Turkey. Both of us had had our expectations prior to coming and like most cases, most of them weren’t met and it got us thinking about life back home.

    I realized there were a ton of things that weren’t a big deal at the time but now are things I really miss or appreciate about Zambia.

    1. The colorful culture

    photo credit :@emmyregalto

    Literally and not literally. Okay so many African countries have colorful traditional wax fabric that goes by chitenge, kitenge or ankara print depending on where in Africa you are and at the time this was something I really didn’t like wearing. I always thought of it as too African and I wanted something much more western and out there and it’s crazy how I didn’t see it’s value because now I take a lot of pride in it. For me it represents the diversity and beauty of Africa and joy we possess which is very unique.

    photo credit: @mafashio

    Zambians or rather Africans in general love to go out. They live to party , to get down, to vibe , to dance. Everything. It’s never a dull moment. There’s always a reason to celebrate and this is something I really love and miss about my culture because people always find a reason to turn up. Whereas in Turkey, there are usually specific times and events so pretty planned and hardly ever spontaneous.

    2. Geographic assets

    Photo credit: @theelephantcafezambia

    So while in Zambia the only places I ever visited were The Victoria falls and Lake Tanganyika many years ago. Compared to Turkey it’s much harder to travel solo but I was honestly never really into it and now I regret taking it all for granted.

    Photo credit : @zonke_ena_mush

    Zambia has a lot of beautiful waterfalls, villages, beaches, lakes and national parks that are yet to be introduced to the whole world. I recently discovered a page on Instagram called @discoverzambia which showcases all of Zambia’s beauty and it’s helped me discover a lot of places I didn’t even know existed.

    One of the things I want to do when I get back home is do some local traveling and just be one with my motherland and feel it’s beauty.

    3. Upbringing

    Growing up , I always thought my family was strict on certain things and I admired many other countries for a long time and after seeing life in Turkey I was blown away and realized how great of an upbringing I had. My family always encouraged me to work hard and be ambitious. They told me the world was mine for the taking and I could do anything I believed in and I appreciate this so much.

    I’m glad they gave me the permission to be me and support me because in Turkey ( and I think generally in the Middle East) it’s much harder for women to do things they want to do. Most women are obligated to their family or spouses and that’s the norm here. I’m saddened by it sometimes because certain families go beyond trying to protect their daughters but end up being controlling and they have unhappy lives or live just for everyone else’s sake but theirs.

    I’m thankful that my family is there and wants to make sure I do good but give me enough room to learn things on my own, make mistakes and learn from there.

    4. The food!!!

    . Photo credit :@zambiankitchen

    Africans love meat. A lot. I would never be vegetarian. Tried and failed . I live for meat. Meat in Turkey costs much more than it does back in Zambia and it’s not as good as it is back home. Living in school dormitory doesn’t help either but I miss the culture of having all sorts of good meat and having barbecues every weekend and getting down with friends to booze and good music.

    Photo credit: @zambiankitchen

    There are many other more stuff I miss but those were the main stuff and I guess I just realize their value now that I can’t have them. Hopefully it won’t be long until I do.

    How long have you been away from home and what do you miss about it?

    Xoxo,

    Zee.

    Should I make new year resolutions?

    Blog posts

    I can’t believe how fast 2018 went by and I’m probably a little too late to say this but happy new year!

    No pressure but for all those of you that made New Year resolutions, how’s it going so far? I hope you haven’t given up already.

    If you’re like me then you love to plan. I was much worse in high school because planning for me was really important. I had a written down schedule and I only did things that I had already planned to do.

    I had long term goals, short term goals, weekly to-do lists and daily to-do lists. It was intense. I was very organized but yet very unfulfilled.

    With time I figured that despite how much I worked towards having things go by my plan, they just didn’t. I was very frustrated and felt like I was losing it because I wasn’t in control. I felt like everyone noticed when I wasn’t on my A game and I was probably a little delusional as I doubt they cared that much. Everyone has their own life to deal with.

    Growing up and living in Turkey were like a slap across the face because I realized that things weren’t always going to go to plan and I had to be okay with that. I had to be okay with all the uncertainties and plan if I had to, but not get too obsessed with it. Failed plans just lead to feelings of disappointment and lack of fulfillment which aren’t fun things to experience.

    Yes, I know. The new year feels like a time to start over, be reborn, have this overwhelming feeling of freedom and hope but the truth is, we don’t go through this magical time capsule that just changes everything.

    You’re pretty much the same person you were on the 31st of December as you are on the 1st of January . Maybe just a little more optimistic and suffering through a hang over or maybe doing the walk of shame but it’s still you.

    My strategy this year was not to load myself with a list of new stuff to do. Stuff that I wouldn’t see through to the end and end up feeling like a loser but instead, I decided to see through everything I had already started last year. 2018 brought a lot of new beginnings which I hope to keep seeing through and I’d love to share them with you.

    1. Being aware

    I decided to make deliberate steps into practicing awareness of who I am and how my mind wakes. I figured this is something that can go on forever because we’re complex beings and there’s so much about ourselves to learn and fall in love with and I’ve been practicing small steps to getting to know myself better.

    The more aware of myself that I am, the better choices I can make for myself because then I know what things make me happy, depressed or satisfied.

    2. Figuring out what I want and working towards it .

    One of the dumbest things one can ever do is do the same thing over and over and expect different results.

    I have been that dumb. Many. times. Many many times.

    I’m a hard worker. I’ve spent a lot of time knowing what I want, planning it, but not going about it the right way. Think of a bow and arrow. You have the tools , you see the mark and your goal is to score right? If you don’t focus on the right point and aim at it, you won’t succeed. It doesn’t matter how many arrows you shoot, if you don’t have all your attention and effort going toward your target, it’s all for nothing.

    This took me a while to realize and whenever I forget, I always try to remind myself to know what I want and work towards that particular thing. I don’t have to have an A-Z plan on how I’m going to achieve it . Most cases, that plan won’t even work. All I need is to keep on going. No matter what happens.

    3. Choosing happiness

    The more I become aware of who I am, the more I know what I want and that way I can do things that leave me happy. We all want to be happy right? And I guess everyone’s view of happiness is different. Some people feel the most happy when they shop, or win something, or when they travel or when they get thousands of likes on their Instagram posts. Everyone has their thing.

    I realized that whenever I saw other people achieving all the stuff I’d want to achieve and I wasn’t being very successful I’d be really beaten down about it. Then I’d blow it out of proportion and think of all the things that suck, or why I suck or why life sucks and repeat. Not a good feeling.

    So I went on a social media cleanse. I took sometime off to just shut down all outside voices and perspectives and just look on the inside for the strength, confidence and validation that I needed.

    I didn’t spend time with people I didn’t want to spend time with. I didn’t do anything i didn’t want to but I did what I had to do knowing I was doing it for my future. E.g pulling out an all nighter so I could get an assignment done on time. Didn’t t want to do it then but I’m glad I had the discipline to do it.

    Conclusion

    So when I saw everyone planning out their new year resolutions I wondered if I needed to do the same. In the past years I’ve always written down what I wanted to achieve in the new year and I’d several mental notes on how to go about it but within a few weeks all that drive would be burnt out and I would forget about the he list all together.

    I love to plan but I’m trying to love the process of just letting go a little and letting life take its course. Learning to not put myself under so much pressure but just letting be and doing whatever it is I can.

    It’s not so much about the destination but about the journey and what good would it be planning but never arriving. Yet alone starting. It’s time to act. Just act. You DON’T HAVE to do it. JUST DO IT. Nothing won’t change until you do. It’s all up to you!

    Christmas in Istanbul

    Uncategorized

    As a kid Christmas for me meant getting a brand new outfit, having all my favorite meals in one day and having family around . I always looked forward to Christmas because it was the best time of the year.

    As I got older it became more about saving up as much cash as I could so my friends and I could have fun together. I came to Turkey at the beginning of November and there wasn’t much happening. It was pretty cold and rainy just as it would be back home. I hoped December would liven up like I remember Zambia did.

    December came and there was nothing still. Being a Muslim country I knew Christmas wouldn’t be a big deal but I still hoped it would in some way be acknowledged. But it never was.

    My friends kept asking what I’d do for the day or whether I’d go home and this just irritated me to bits because I had class that day. The best time of they year became like any other. I was really depressed. I had t made many friends so I was all by myself. I took myself to a pastry shop and got some cake like I’d normally do but it still wasn’t the same.

    The following Christmas came around and it was still the same thing. One weird thing is that people would put up Christmas decorations but term them as New Years decorations. In Turkey , a Christmas tree is called a New Years tree. I find pretty hilarious because it’s the real definition of “this is not not what it looks like”. It’s like ” we’re putting up all these Christmas celebrations like everyone else in the world but we swear we are not celebrating Christmas!”

    This semester has been a pretty hectic one and it’s crazy how we’re just getting started. The year was coming to an end I was dreading having to feel lonely and depressed during the festive season again so I didn’t to actually do something about it this time around. I live in a city that has one main church and two others. I go to one of the smaller ones and Christmas celebrations were going to take place.

    I thought of Istanbul and how much I had wanted to go earlier this year and I figured now would be a good time because they have one of the oldest churches in the country and it’s going to be Christmas. I got on couchsurfing and I was looking for hosts and began planning my trip. Once I got everything ready I flew out to Istanbul on Saturday morning and I was there at noon.

    I was really excited about being there and I wanted to see every single thing and go everywhere. On my arrival I met up with a friend of mine in an area called Beyoglu which is located on the European side of the city. I was starving and so we had some street food and we went walking along the busy road. It looked silly drooling over the beautiful architecture which made me feel as if I was time traveling. If you’re an architect or have an eye for architecture then you know what I mean.

    We walked through the busy İstiklal Street making our start from Taksim Square and ending at Galata Tower. We had to wait in line to get in it and it was freezing outside but it was totally worth it. The view from the top was amazing and for a split second I actually forgot my fear of heights.

    That night, my friends got us some drinks and we had a night in. They’d go outside to roll a few blunts and I eventually got tired of being alone so I went to bed because I had had a really long day.

    The next day seemed really short as we only got up way past noon. I was going to head over to the Asian side of Istanbul so I could see some other places do and I got in touch with someone on couch surfing who offered me a place to stay.

    Monday morning and i was looking forward to seeing what the day had a store . I had a rough start when I couldn’t get into any museums as they’re all closed on Monday and I had to make another to- do list. I decided to see The Blue Mosque and Aya Sofia which are located in Sultanahmet Square. I had only been into a mosque once before that and I didn’t want to go in but I figured there’d be nothing for me to lose.

    I expected my host to take me but he sort of bailed on me along the way and I had to go by myself. I took a ferry , a bus and a train to get to Sultanahmet Square from Kadikoy and when I got there it was packed with tourists. The blue Mosque is right across the Aya Sofya and Topkapi is located behind the Aya Sofya. I couldn’t get into the Aya Sofya as it’s always closed and I had to wait two hours to get into the blue mosque as they close during prayer houses.

    I walked around the old town to pass time and had the tastiest velvet cake at a local pastry shop. I got back to the square and this time i got in to see the famous blue mosque. It really is quite a piece of art.

    Later that evening I rushed back to Taksim because I had to attend the church service on Christmas Eve. The church was beautifully decorated and I felt so close to home. Being in a Muslim country the festive season has nothing festive about it a could feel my insides build up with excitement as I got to the church. I felt like I belonged there.

    After a beautiful service I went to a hostel called #bunk, where I spent the night. It was prettiest place and I fell in love with it. I couldn’t wait to wake up on Christmas Day but when morning came I couldn’t get out of bed. It was extremely cold and I missed the morning service as I only got out of bed by noon. It was Christmas Day and my last day in Istanbul and I was determined to make it amazing. The weather was awful but the cold and some rain weren’t going to stop me.

    On my way to Sultanahmet Square I remember getting passed a palace called Dolmabahce and my host had told me to definitely go there. I figured that would be the best time to go and within minutes I was standing before a great work of art. It was divine.

    The architecture was remarkable and it really was fit for royalty. The dolmabahce palace was home to the many sultans of the Ottoman Empire and it’s standing to this day. We weren’t allowed to take any pictures but the palace had many sitting areas, grand dining halls, a magnificent performance hall, prayer rooms, souvenir and gift rooms and so much more. It had so much, I can’t remember it all. I spent hours there just admiring the art and I was a little upset that I couldn’t stay much longer.

    I had dinner with a friend later that evening and attended the night service at church. It reminded me of the time I played one of the shepherds in a Christmas play as a child. I wish I could have spent Christmas back home but I was glad I spent it on Istanbul.

    It’s a beautiful vibrant city so much to see and offer. The food, the history , architecture and culture as well as the diversity. I hope you all had a good a Christmas and I wish you a prosperous new year!

    The most important things I learnt in 2018!

    Uncategorized

    I remember going to a party with my friends on New Years Eve and anxiously looking forward to a new year. I was going to move a step forward in my academic life, was going to turn 21 ( become an official adult ), I was hoping to start a blog and I just waiting for the good things that could possibly happen.

    1. There’s no such thing as a perfect moment.

    I really love to plan and it’s something I did a lot but I made a promise to myself to be more open minded and try new things. My initial plan was to start my blog in March because I thought it would be perfect. Starting a blog in spring. You know, the growth and blossoming of new things. I was waiting to find the perfect moment to do it and that moment never came. I hardly doubt the planet just offers you perfect moments, in most cases you have to make them.

    2. Nothing and no one is perfect

    Speaking of perfect, I met this guy during Spring. He, in my book, was like a breath of fresh air. I don’t know if I can emphasize how the Turkish culture and perspective on many things is different from the western world or anyone with that mentality.

    This obviously finds it way into the dating world where I think it reeks of jealousy and possessiveness. I live in a dormitory filled with girls and I’ve seen a lot of stuff that seems normal here but absolutely absurd for me. Most young couples here want to spend all day together, go back home and talk on the phone all night and repeat. Share passwords, know ones every move and God forbid you hang out with someone of the opposite sex. That’s “love”.

    Back home, I had a friend break up with this guy because he was constantly calling and wanting to know every single thing she was doing. To us, that’s a being creep.

    Anyway, back to my fresh breathe of air, he was different and I was swept off my feet . I felt like I could have met him anywhere else and we’d still click. Caring but not possessive, sweet but not a bore and his brain frequencies just seemed to vibrate on the same wave as mine. It was perfect. He was perfect!

    But nothing and no one is perfect and that fling went downhill before it became anything. We wanted the same things but not at the same time and neither one of us was willing to give up for the other. I was willing to compromise because I just felt like I wouldn’t meet anyone like him ( totally absolutely freaking wrong!), especially not in this country but holding on too tight only made things worse and I found myself heart broken and trying to get over someone that hadn’t even been my boyfriend.

    It’s funny now when I think about it because I think I was just infatuated and maybe a little obsessed with the idea of what we would be. Sometimes I think it’s just way better to stay friends with some people. Just because you get along great in a friendship doesn’t mean you’ll work out as a couple.

    3. A bird never learns to fly until it leaves its nest

    Summer came and I was healing from broken heart and ready to do something new. It was on my to do list after all and I still hadn’t gotten started on my blog. I decided to get myself a summer job when I figured I wasn’t going to go back home. I told a few friends that I was job hunting so they would would tell me if they heard of a vacancy.

    One day a friend of mine sent me an advertisement for a vacancy. It said they were looking for a girl that could work in bodrum (it’s a beautiful holiday destination) and someone that could speak English. I fit in well and so I called the guys that were looking to hire and they said needed a photographer. Now I hadn’t ever used a camera before that moment and I had two options.

    One: avoid making a fool of myself and not take the job.

    Two: stand up to the challenge and nail it.

    Within a few days one of the photographers I was going to work with in Bodrum invited me to a photo shoot session. I figured I could get some experience so I agreed to meet him. I got to the studio where there was a fashion photo shoot happening and they asked me if I wanted to try on a few things and have my pictures taken.

    The model was tall and had legs for days, she was as thin as a pick and I had just had a double cheeseburger before I got there. So yet again I had two options.

    One: avoid looking huge in the pictures, decline the offer and just watch him take the pictures.

    Two: do something new and just try to enjoy it.

    Working for the boutique ended up being a short term thing but I was glad I had decided to do it. I got more confident and I realized how much I loved working around cameras and trying on different stuff. Prior to that moment it wasn’t anything I thought I would have done or even be good at but I’m honestly glad I just went for it.

    My job as a photographer was short lived as well, but mainly because I didn’t have enough experience and make as much as the professionals did and we worked the same hours so that kind of let me down. I did however learn a new skill and meet different people so it was a wonderful experience. I fell in love with photography and I have been ever since.

    So if you meet me in person I’m actually pretty laid back unless I really know you and then I’m like crazy and stuff. I had to find a new job and the only summer job that could pay really well was working as an entertainer at hotels. Now this is a job that super hyper people do because you don’t stop. Ever. And I wasn’t too sure how that would work out but this time around I didn’t have options and I just went for it.

    Again, good decision. It wasn’t the easiest job but I had a lot of fun and I met amazing people that I’m still in touch with so it totally worth it. Leaving the photography job felt like such a huge risk but it was one worth taking and sometimes you just have to let go a little. A bird can only fly once it leaves its nest.

    4. Feel the fear but do it anyway

    I had a really long but good summer and since I worked the whole time I felt like I deserved a treat and so I took myself on a little trip. I always love to travel on a budget and so couch surfing is a life saver for me because I only have to think of my transport. I know that hitchhiking is way cheaper than getting a plane ticket but I don’t have enough balls for that yet. Especially when I’m traveling alone.

    Anyway, I was on one of my tourist shenanigans when I met this guy who happened to be a great photographer and he asked if we could hang out. He said he would teach me a few photography skills and how to use a drone so I was more than excited.

    He picked me up at the time we agreed on and we went to a small town outside Antalya called Belek. I hadn’t been there before and it was gorgeous. The hotels were to die for. The beaches, the tourists all around town, the sun and the spectacular view. To die for! That would have been the perfect first date and I didn’t see it as one which was unfortunate whereas he might have because he had everything planned out to the bit.

    We got to one the resorts he was working at and he asked me if I was wanted to go parasailing. I’m scared of heights because I have this fear of falling and I’m afraid of water. It felt ridiculous and I didn’t think he was serious but he was and in minutes we were about 50 meters above the Mediterranean and I was holding onto that sting for dear life because I honestly thought I was going to die.

    Like that wasn’t thrilling enough we went jet skiing and I held on to him tighter than anything because I didn’t want to fall. That was probably the most I’ve ever been scared but I saw the most beautiful sunset of my life that day. I will never forget that moment.

    5. Live! Mess up,fall in love with you, go after your dreams. Live!!!!

    Once I realized that life’s not perfect I figured I wouldn’t ever be a hundred percent ready to start my blog. There would always be something that could inconvenience me if I let so I just started. I barely knew much then and there loads more I have to learn but I love doing it.

    To sum it all up. It’s been a brilliant. Several ups and downs but I guess everyone has their battle to fight. I’m just trying to not be a better person and not be a bum. I’m exploring new things , unlearning certain things and relearning other stuff and just trying to be a happier being. Loving myself more and more and not giving a f*#k about things that don’t matter.

    What’s 2018 been like for you? Care to share your highs and lows?

    Xoxo,

    Zee.