They ask when they find out that my husband is Turkish. Or when I talk about vacationing in Turkey with our kids.
Or when some Hollywood starlet says something like, “Oh, I thought Istanbul was a town.” (Yeah, I know, I winced at that one, too.)
And, you know what?
I still don’t have a good answer
Because, summing up Turkey, or any other country or culture, for that matter, is basically impossible.
It’s like asking a mom what labor’s like. (Okay, it’s not that extreme. )
Because, when you’re talking about a country as big, as diverse, and as old as Turkey, there aren’t any simple, succinct answers.
But that doesn’t stop people from having questions.
The Top 3 Questions I Get Asked about Turkey
Over the years I’ve fielded a lot of questions about traveling in Turkey. I’m not an expert but here’s my take on some of the questions I get:
- Do you wear a headscarf when you’re there?
Nope. Sure, if I’m visiting a mosque, I’ll put on one out of respect. But, in my normal goings-about, I’ve never worn, or felt pressured to wear a headscarf. Ditto for the abaya, the head-to-toe robe-like dress that some Muslim woman wear. Not that I’m adverse to wearing a kaftan at times. Hey, they’re comfortable and good at hiding belly rolls.
- Is it safe?
There’s something about Turkey that makes some people very nervous. And it’s not just Americans who get the willies. Back when I lived in Madrid and was heading out for my first trip to Turkey, a well-meaning Spanish friend tried to talk me out of going. “What if you’re kidnapped and sold off as a white slave? Or tossed into a Turkish prison like that guy in Midnight Express?”
Considering that I wasn’t a) a top model or b) a drug dealer, I wasn’t too worried. Twenty-years and two kids later, I’m even less so. I mean, really, have you seen my waistline lately?
- Is it true you have to walk several paces behind your husband?
Heck, no! And I don’t see my Turkish female relatives plodding along behind their spouses either.
Okay, that’s it for our Turkish Q & A today. I’m sure I’ll get more insights when I’m in Turkey this summer. In the meantime, I’m turning it over to you.
Got any questions of your own about Turkey? I’m all ears.
Photo courtesy of Photoxpress