Hello! Where you from?

Hello! Where you from?

These four words were originally met by a cringe from me my first few days in Turkey and I’d usually end up ignoring them. But once I changed my approach and learned to engage instead of ignore I found that when I stopped, opened up and reciprocated conversation with the person who spoke them (be it a so-called tout, shop owner or street straggler), seven times out of ten, I was glad I did.

If after the initial exchange, the conversation goes well and they want to continue talking, the five question Q&A is usually followed by “would you like to have a cup of tea?” to which lately, I’ve been replying, “sure!”

“Apple tea?” some of them ask me… and then I laugh out loud.

“Uh, no, regular tea.”

“Why not apple tea?”

“Because it’s tourist tea. I don’t drink that shit.” Then they laugh.

TIP: Some apple tea is not made from apples at all. There are versions of apple tea made of a powdery substance full of chemicals that’s then mixed into hot water. This tends to be popular with tourists. Opt instead for the real thing and order a Turkish (black) tea. Or if you really like apple tea, make sure you are getting the real deal.

The people that I have met so far in Turkey are the kindest and realest people that I have ever met. They are so open minded and willing to talk about anything and everything. Being mostly an introvert back home, it’s been a great thing for me to come out of my shell and talk to people. It hasn’t been hard at all here, since the people I’ve met have been so open.

The open door

For example, my first day walking around Antalya, I met this guy who worked in a carpet shop. He’s also from Konya (like Mr. Blue Eyed Boy). We ended up talking about spirituality and decided to keep the conversation going over lunch.  As we walked to find a spot to eat, he was like skipping down the street, happy as could be, saying, “I’m so happy to have met you! I love that you are so open minded!” It’s so innocently sweet.

Cat-napping on Turkish carpets
                                              Cat-napping on Turkish carpets

Another thing that I love about Turkey are the multiple ways to meet new people.

Last night I was in my room at the guesthouse, drinking some wine and writing while charging my laptop with the heater and lights on. All of a sudden everything went black. The power went out.

OMG! I blew a fuse!

Now I have to go downstairs and get someone. So embarrassing!

Only when I opened the door, I realized that it wasn’t just my room – there was no power on the entire floor.

I BLEW THE POWER OUT ON THE WHOLE DAMN FLOOR! FML.

I tried to navigate in the dark, looking for the stairs, cursing to myself when I heard a deep, husky voice say, “There’s no power anywhere.”

I squinted in the direction of the voice to find it’s source and instantly my feelers went up –

I smelled reefer.

Through the shadows I made out what seemed to be an older Turkish man and a German woman sitting on the balcony, sharing a joint. “This happens all the time in Antalya,” he told me.

I looked around and sure enough, none of the buildings had power. At least I wasn’t responsible!

They offered me a smoke, but I had declined. Being stoned in a power outage didn’t sound like a good time to me. (But it did smell hella good!)

Instead we chatted for a bit about traveling around Turkey, traveling solo and me wanting to visit an ancient Hellenic-Roman port town called Side (see-day). After talking to them, I realized it wouldn’t be an easy thing to do on my own with public transportation. I guess I’ll have to come up with a Plan B for that.

Amazing view of Antalya
                                           Another amazing view of Antalya

So, even though the power outage could’ve been seen as an inconvenience, it did lead me into meeting these two really awesome people.

My advice is when in Turkey seize the opportunity to meet others, you never know who you’ll end up talking (or smoking) with!

To sum up, I really love being here in Turkey. The people are so kind and interesting! I feel that, because of the peoples’ openness, my heart has opened up here as well. And I’m very thankful for that. Something I’ve noticed by watching interactions between people is here you are liked for who you are and what your character/heart is made of. Your outer appearance is not as important as who you are inside.

And that’s what’s really important in life.

It’s an amazing thing to be surrounded by.



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