Frederic from AnkaraAn interview with Frederic Griffin
Tell us about yourself
I'm a 33 years old Frenchman married to a beautiful 34 years old Turkish lady. I have met my wife about 12 years ago while studying in the United-States.
What made you come to Turkey?
The marriage. Turkish women do have something special about themselves that is both attractive and entrapping :)
What do you do in your daily life?
I am a jack-of-all-trade. IT and Trade with Europe and North America.
One son, Alex Kaan, 2 years old and definitely a good mix. Healthy, witty, Alex has managed to redefine my perspective on life and its purpose. There's nothing like it.
Can you compare your first days here with today?
I have gone from being lost, to surprised, pissed-off... to being surprised and pissed-off. But I'll keep some quick and shallow answers for the following questions :)
Has living in Turkey influenced your approach to life?
Living in Turkey has definitely influenced me in learning to give time to time, appreciating the present moment. More precisely, I have rediscovered family values long lost, or on the brink to be in our western cultures. Although the typical foreigner (Western) may find the closeness of Turkish families a burden in some (read:many) cases (as in help-me-i-am-chocking), one cannot help but to appreciate the strength, love, help Turkish families have for their loved-ones. That is a lesson for those of us westerners, a reality-check.
(next) Ok. I have not learned the language in schools as I was usually trying to get out of here and go back to either the US or Europe. I have, however, managed to learn as I went, and can communicate without much problems on a broad range of topics. Shame on me :(
Let's talk about the region you are living in?
I (we) live in Ankara. One of the most boring place for its size. Unless you:
a) Work In the Construction Sector;
b) Work For the Government;
c) Are a Student;
d) Are the Spouse of an Ankara-bound company (wo)man.
To me, Ankara has very little to offer a foreigner (and Istanbulites). Unless you fit in either a), b), c) or d) move to Istanbul.
Have you traveled in Turkey? Tell us your discoveries
I have traveled a bit in the Aegean region, which is marvelous, along with Cappadocia. When visiting sites such as Ephesus, Urgup et al., I could not help but to think or feel that this is, indeed, the cradle of the Western civilization.
What is your preferred characteristic trait of Turks?
Warm and friendly, the Turks are easy to approach, and have time to strike a conversation. Turks are polite, almost as if following a code of conduct that can easily be transgressed by us "Gavurlar" :)
Better served with Raki, domates, biber and the almighty Beyaz Peynir.
What was the annoying one?
How much space do I have? :) Turks lack precision, timing, responsibility, and planning. Turks usually blame everyone else for their mistakes and the bureaucracy/red tape are driving me crazy. In addition, I believe the Turks have a complex of inferiority.
One of the seven wonders (or is that eight?) of the World
Any suggestion to new comers to Turkey?
Prepare for one Mega culture shock and have a plan-B. Turkey is an amazing country in which under the Turkish Culture, you will find many different flavors or sub-cultures. Turkey is best experienced with time, and moderation :) If you are non-married, have a Turkish friend negotiate rates for you (be it apartments, cars or anything of value). Travel, travel, travel... This place is packed with historical and "theological", this is the one spot where you can mingle with the Greeks, Latin (Romans), Hittites and more. Be straight forward and have a good times, Turks are the most hospitable people I have met around. Just remember to be polite and respectful (that stands for any place you travel to).
Oh, one last thing, do not refuse food, take it in your plate, eat a bit, and leave it there... :)
Any suggestion to people planning to visit your region?
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