You know you are a foreign kid being raised in Istanbul when…

1) Your mother speaks two languages: one for indoors, one for outdoors.

2) Your mother dresses you according to which friends you will see. Turkish friends: undershirt required. Anyone else: no undershirt.

3) You’ve heard your mother answer the following questions 2,347 times: Where are you from? How long have you been here? What do you think about Turkey? How old is your daughter? What’s her name? Are you teaching her Turkish? Are you working?

4) People on the street tell your mother with joy how ugly you are!

5) This is your lovely view on a winter day. 

6) You hear a resounding “MASHALLAH!” wherever you go.

7) People often gift you with bracelets that have an eye on them to protect you from the evil eye. 

8) When your mom talks about watching “her shows” she is referring to Turkish soap operas.  And, your mother always qualifies her confession by saying it’s purely for language learning. 

9) You think it’s normal that workers at the local grocery store sweep you out of the cart and feed you bananas and pickles to your heart’s content.

10) Alarm clocks? Who needs an alarm clock. You utilize the calls to prayer, the samit seller, the boza man, the rooster next door and the many ambulances to ensure you are up at the crack of dawn.

11) You think it’s normal that your “yard” is a plant in the corner of your living room.  

12) Your mom can carry you and a load of groceries up 4 flights of stairs without breaking a sweat.

13) You don’t know what a dollar store is, but you know what a 50 kuruş table is.

14) You’ve never eaten an apricot or peach in winter.

15) You eat cucumbers, olives and white cheese every morning for breakfast.

16) When you are thirsty your mother gives you ayran to drink out of a tea glass.

17) You have no clue why someone would drive to the grocery store that’s only 1 mile away!

18) Your mother doesn’t stand behind you to push you on the swing at the park. She’s right by your side ready to catch you as you slide out the bottom. You think this is the activity, not swinging.

19) Old ladies pretend to spit on you.

20)You think it’s normal that everyone in town knows your name.

21) Your mom is the only mom at the park that goes down the slide with her kid. She is also the only one that kicks around the soccer ball with the older boys.



Anymore to add to this fellow Istanbul mamas?

About Melissa

Melissa is a wife, mama and fan of all things Turkey. Among other adventures, Melissa loves living life in Turkey while raising her daughters. On IstanbulMoms you can hear about her adventures and escapades, tips for success, strategies for untangling the culture, and ideas for enjoying life in Istanbul to the fullest.

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