Balance Between Being Part of a New Culture and Not

I have always found it hard to get acquainted with the local people in Istanbul; it’s been easier to get acquainted with expats. Thus, this is my reason for speaking to expats more. I’m often told that a certain food would be too strange for me, or a certain practice would be incomprehensible because I am an outsider; the more I am told this, the more of an idea that I am not welcome here.
I remember when the Georgians used to feed me, be excited to show photos of their families to me, light up with excitement to get me involved with them, treat me as if, I, too were Georgian. There was one dinner once in someone’s home when there was a toast and the grandfather said, ‘As long as I was in Georgia, I was one of the Georgians’.
I think, though, that there needs to be an acknowledgment of my having come from a different place but that I am also human.



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Deborah Kristina

Author of ‘A Girl All Alone Somewhere in the World’, ‘Confessions and Thoughts of a Girl in Turkey’, ‘From Just a Girl Grown Up in America’. (