A search term on expats lead a reader to my blog this week and it has prompted me to write this post. The search term used to find my blog was “mental health of expats in Turkey”. I was intrigued as to why someone was asking this. Had they been traveling around Turkey and come across the totally crazy expats that occupy these shores? Were they thinking of moving here but were concerned about what expat life can do to a person’s mental health and well-being?
Whatever the reason the fact is that when you come to Turkey, you will definitely come into contact with one or more expats unless you are camping in the back of beyond. We are everywhere but mainly tend to gather in packs on the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. I am not normally one for stereotyping people however life in Turkey as an expat does change your outlook and personality. When you meet us, you will be able to place us into one or more of the following four stereotypes.
Expats in Turkey – Group One – Mr and Mrs Frugal
They can normally be spotted in a bar arguing with the owner over the price of beer. When you point out that they are throwing their dummy out of the pram for the equivalent of a mere twenty pence, you will be subjected to a long winded lecture that it is not about the price but the principal. If Mr and Mrs Frugal do not get their discounted beer then the owner of the bar will subjected to a flurry of insults and threats that no expats will ever visit their bar again.
Solution – Point, laugh and carry on drinking. Nobody takes any notice of them and neither should you.
Expats – Group Two – Mr and Mrs Anti-Turkey
Unfortunately Mr and Mrs Negative were under the impression that they were moving to paradise. They expected blissful days in the sun with not a worry in the world. Of course, a combination of bad but insignificant events have lead Mr and Mrs Negative to believe that the Prime minister of Turkey personally hates them with a vengeance and has implemented a campaign to get them out of the country. Instead of helping you to know more about Turkey, they have an effect that makes you want to throw yourself under the nearest passing bus.
Solution – Wear a disguise; change your hotel or even resort. Just do anything to avoid them at all costs. Negativity is contagious and after thirty minutes of listening to them you will be signing up for a life supply of Prozac.
Expats – Group Three – Mr and Mrs Know-It-All.
Mr and Mrs Know-It-All are like a double sided coin. They can provide you with a lot of useful information however their attitude of talking down to you like a three year old makes you want to shove a rotten Turkish kebab down their throat. Do not under any circumstances, question the knowledge of Mr and Mrs Know-It-All as you will find yourself thrown out of their gang and social invites will dwindle down to nothing.
Solution – If you want an active social life, then understand and comprehend the meaning of one way conversations. If being part of the gang is not an issue for you, just ignore them but be prepared for your ears to be burning 24/7.
Expats – Group Four – The Type We Love
These expats have settled into the community with realistic expectations. They know they are living in a country with different customs, traditions and a language barrier. They will share information and help you in such a way that a long term friendship is formed. If you come across these expats then treasure them and use them to find out everything you want to know about Turkey whether you are planning on living here or simply traveling around.
“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.” – Oscar Wilde.