Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Adapting to Time, Tea, Olives, and More

I wanted to jot down a quick post about things I am learning and adapting to:

1) Turks use military time. Instead of 2:30pm to denote the afternoon, they use 14:30. I know it's simple math to add the numbers to hours past noon, but I have found myself counting on my hands to make sure I am accurately keeping track of time. So odd to see 19:00 marked for a 7pm dinner call. But fear not, I shall soon be an expert.

2) Turks use British style to denote dates. In America, we would denote September 1, 2015 in short date as 9/1/2015 (month first, day second, year third), but Turks use the British style of 1/9/2015 (day first, month second, year third). For single digit days and months, this is really confusing. My brain is trying to learn new faces, names, Turkish words, and now a new way of arranging numerics. The funny thing is that Pakistan also uses DD/MM/YYYY format so I remember learning to write dates that way when I went to school there as a little girl.

3) Turks don't wait for their turn. I experienced this when I attempted to apply for my visa in the Boston Consulate office, and I experienced it again at the Istanbul airport. There is no respect for waiting for your turn to be helped. Turks love cutting lines, asking their questions, and interrupting someone else being helped. I found this to be extremely frustrating at the airport because I was frantic about missing my domestic flight from Istanbul to Ankara and I expected to be served with proper customer service. I quickly realized that was the American in me and I needed to keep an open mind to fully experience Turkey.

4) Turks love tea. There's no freshly brewed coffee; they use powdered/crushed coffee beans which they mix with boiling water, milk, and sugar. Tea, on the other hand, is widely enjoyed here. We have tea/coffee breaks scheduled twice a day for our Orientation. Not to mention the assortment of cookies they offer reminds me of Pakistani bakeries.

5) Turks love olives. Like tea, olives are also very enjoyed here. Turks love all kinds of olives; black, red, green, other colors. At the Niza Park Hotel, olives are served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And I have made it my goal to eat at least three black olives a day. This reminds of my Boston roommate Abi who used to indulge in a can of black olives with me. Did you know that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of olives make them a natural for protection against cancer?  Looks like I'll be eating healthily here!

6) Turkish money is called lira but the acronym TL is pronounced "Tay-lay". The subunit of a Turkish lira is kuruş (pronounced ko-roosh), just like cents are the subunit of a dollar. One Turkish lira is equal to 100 kuruş. So far, I've only seen 1 Turkish lira coins and I'm not sure if they have coins for kuruş. That is all on this one, just a cool cultural thing I thought I'd share since currency is kind of important :)

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