If I had any preconceived notions about Turkey, it was that it would be completely different from the U.S. Believe me, it is COMPLETELY different, but after being here for almost 3 weeks, i've started seeing some very American things. For instance, the films over here are in English with Turkish subtitles. The only films not in English are other foreign films which are played in their native tongue with Turkish subtitles. It is odd but Turkish in its own way I suppose. The Turkish cinemas have 10 minute intermissions during the movies. :D it gives for a nice reprieve.
Some things i've noticed are:
1: First of all, don't kid yourself into thinking that something is a certain way until you see it done or said multiple times by multiple people. Soooo if someone says something different about the things I am going to share with you, they might be right and I might be right. Most likely they are right if they are Turkish. Anywayssss.
2: Bread and tomatos are eaten at EVERY meal. Whether they are fresh tomatos put on bread, or squashed tomatos in soup that you mop up with bread. These two food items can be relied on at every meal. (: And they are quite tasty.
3: When visiting family, the hosts give the guests shoes for inside or outside, depending on where the tea/meal is being served.
4: There are two separate greetings. for the younger adults it is a kiss on each cheek. For the older adults (the grandmotherly and grandfatherly old), you kiss their hand, bring their hand to your forehead, and then kiss on both cheeks. These are both to be accompanied by merhaba which means "hello."
5: Ladies and gentlemen smoking has become a food group. Mostly for women though.
6: Never fear. Food is near.
7: When children visit family with their family on the Turkish holiday Ramadan, the children are given money by the hosts.
8: The younger women usually serve by themselves only when older relatives live in the house. With visiting family such as brothers and sisters everyone sort of helps out.
9: At first i figured the men would be served first while the women waited, then when the men were done the women got to eat. Yeah. Not true. After a couple of days I saw from my host dad that men are very helpful as far as heating up dinner, toasting buttloads of bread, and making tea. pretty much only those three things. I'm quite sure they are allergic to dishes. (:
10: You haven't seen or step foot in a nice, huge, comfortable living room until you have been in a Turkish living room. Turkish living rooms are by FAR the nicest rooms in houses. The rugs are luscious and huge. the couches are very numerous too. (: and of course big screen T.V.s larger than my bedroom ornately decorate the living rooms. Never has a living room been so refined yet so comfy.
11: Turkish people's fingernails are impeccable. I never really noticed American fingernails but Turkish fingernails are ridiculously clean. Especially the mens. weird, I know.
12: Not a lot of Turkish people keep pets. Most of the pets they do keep are dogs. They feed strays though :D for me, feeding strays is probably one of the best parts of Turkey. The compassion they have for animals is absolutely wonderful! My host dad throws out breakfast leftovers for the birds in the morning. He goes out and whistles to them while spreading the grub. It is absolutely hilarious.
13: White is a very popular color over here. My mom thinks it's because of the weather, and it very well could be. I think it's more of a fashion statement though. Men in white jeans, women in white dresses, and both in white shoes. I thought it was odd, then I realized that I had just painted my fingernails white.
14: Black people are very scarce here. And the use of the word "nigger" is used. Turks don't realize how offensive it is because they aren't around African-Americans. My host brother visited Chicago, IL two summers ago and said that was where he saw his first African-American. I've been here almost three weeks and have seen three African-Americans. Two of them were on T.V. playing in a soccer game though so it doesnt really count.
15: When visiting family or at my Rotary meetings, the people squinch their eyes at me. It's like a gesture of welcome, also letting me know that they are pleased with my presence. This gesture immediately puts me at ease.(:
This jumbo load of information is all for now. I certainly hope I didn't bore you! Oh, one more thing. Coca-Cola is universal. And I still don't like it.