What to Consider Before Moving Overseas

What to Consider Before Moving Overseas

June 16, 2010

With less than three days until takeoff, I’m not thinking in complete sentences, thus another list. Here are some things that are worrying me today, in no special order:

Will I get to know my Turkish neighbors?

Apartment hunting last January in Istanbul, Sankar and I took advantage of a generous 3M housing allowance, choosing a place that featured a Bosphorus view and several guest rooms. The other tenants are locals, and Turks have a reputation for warmth and hospitality, but I am wondering whether more affluent might mean less friendly.

Will we be able to see the indie films we love?

First of all, are those smaller movies shown in Istanbul? Second, given that Friday and Saturday nights are peak traffic times, will we be able to get to them? And what about television? newspapers? magazines? Are we going to feel cut off?

Will I be able to adjust to being stupid for the next six months to a year?

I take a great deal of pride in my competence, but upon arrival at Istanbul Ataturk Airport, most of my know-how will vanish. Frustration will rise as I misunderstand directions; commit language errors, some possibly offensive; and come home with orange juice (suyu) when I wanted milk (sut). I have learned that taking life less seriously, taking myself less seriously, is the key to succeeding in a new culture. Wisdom can be a stand-in for expertise. But can I develop the necessary flexibility at such an advanced age? I will let you know.

One thought on “What to Consider Before Moving Overseas

  1. Good luck, Sue. I’ve always told my language classes that it’s okay to feel stupid – it means you’re trying! Generally, people want to communicate and will put up with people who make the attempt. Of course, a glass of wine helps a lot. (Not a suggestion I make to high-school students, though.)

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