Lucy, our Managing Editor, experiences the world from Turkey

March 15, 2012 10 comments

Meet Lucy! Lucy is our Managing Editor here at Pocket Cultures, the woman without whom Pocket Cultures wouldn’t exist! Lucy is British but she and her husband and their baby daughter Samira live in Turkey. Today, Lucy tells us about her love of seeing the world, what she misses most about the UK and why she loves living in Turkey and learning new languages.

Lucy, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’ve been fascinated with languages and other cultures since first visiting France as a teenager. Throughout university my school friend and I worked part time jobs during the summer holidays to save up and travel for a few weeks. Now I’ve lived in four different countries and still love learning languages – currently I’m working on my Turkish and trying to learn Arabic too.

Where do you live? Where are you from? If those are different, can you tell us a little about what inspired your move?

At the moment I live in Turkey. My husband Karim and I met in Spain and we thought it would be good to live in a third country as we’re both from different places. We both liked Turkey so here we are!

If you would describe yourself as multi-cultural, tell us a bit about what culture you most identify with and why. If you have kids, what culture do they most associate with?

Well, I had a thoroughly English upbringing and never lived outside the UK until I was 19. However since then I’ve lived in several different countries and my husband is not British, so I suppose I identify less completely with English culture than before.

Now part of my family is Libyan and Italian and at the moment most of my day to day interactions are with Turks so of course that alters the way I see the world and behave with other people.

I’m curious to see which cultures our daughter will associate with. She hears English, Italian and Turkish on a daily basis and since we joined a couple of international playgroups she already has friends from many different nationalities.

Can you describe a typical day for you?

Well, since I have a 4 month old baby this answer would have been very different a year ago! For the last few years, I worked from home doing freelance consulting as well as running PocketCultures so I used to spend hours every day in front of the computer.

These days I normally get up sometime between 6 and 8am, feed the baby and have breakfast with my husband. Then whilst the baby naps I catch up on what’s going on with PocketCultures. Later either I take the baby for a walk outside, or we meet neighbours or friends for coffee or join in a playgroup. To get to the town centre from where we live I have to take a dolmuş (shared taxi) and then a tram so I don’t go very often. But our neighbours often organise meetups at home and I sometimes meet friends in a nearby shopping centre.

After the baby goes to bed in the evening I have dinner with my husband, do some chores and hopefully get time to read for a while.

What language or languages do you use on a day to day basis?

English at home, Turkish everywhere else. We also have some Italian and French-speaking friends so I use those languages quite often too.

What is the best part of living in your country? The worst?

Nobody is going to believe this but I really miss English food. Having said that Turkish food is pretty good too. The worst thing about England is the weather and the lack of intercultural awareness.

The best part of living in Turkey is the people – they are extremely friendly and welcoming and in general tolerant and flexible. For me the hardest thing is having to negotiate frequently. I’m not used to it and so I find it hard to get into the ‘game’ sometimes.

Describe a favourite typical meal from your country

The most typical English meal has to be the roast dinner, or ‘Sunday roast’ (because it’s traditional to eat it for lunch on Sunday). It consists of roast meat, which could be beef, lamb, pork or chicken, accompanied by potatoes and lots of vegetables. We eat the meal with gravy, a kind of sauce made from the meat juice. There are also various accompaniments depending on the type of meat, for example mint sauce for lamb, horseradish sauce for beef.

What’s something that visitors are often surprised by when getting to know your country/culture?

How cold English houses are. Despite the cold climate we use the heating as little as possible. Plus many houses are old and not well insulated, so they can be quite cold. We are used to it though.

About the author

Carrie McKeegan
Carrie is an American who just moved from Bali to Mendoza, Argentina. Carrie caught the wanderlust bug early on from her parents, who raised her in Mexico City. Carrie and her husband David have lived in New York, London, Barcelona, Costa Rica, Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo, and Bali before moving to Mendoza. They are actively working to pass on the travel bug to their young son Timmy, who has already been to twelve countries.
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  • Interesting mix of cultures going on at Carrie’s home and circle – that’s fantastic!
    Funny that she should mention the lack of intercultural awareness as a negative aspect of her home country. I actually became in contact with all sorts of different cultures and nationalities when I spent time studying/working in the UK; but then, I am originally from Argentina, and over there we are a bit isolated from the rest of the world.

  • Turkey intrigues me, I’d love to go there one day. Now I have an excuse: visit Lucy!

  • Hi Aledys, thanks for your comment. You made me think more carefully about what I meant! You’re right that there are people of many different nationalities living and working in the UK, and in general people are tolerant of differences. But it only goes so far – for example I once read a survey which found people of Indian origin in the UK feel they are only accepted if they behave like white people (it used the term coconuts: brown on the outside, white on the inside). What I was really thinking though when I wrote that, was the approach of many British when travelling or doing business abroad. If you interview with a British company, in most cases they will view it positively if you speak a foreign language, but you will rarely get hired because of it since most people expect to be able to do business in English wherever they go. Well, I’m only talking from my own experiences and it’s always dangerous to make such generalisations. So thanks for pulling me up on it!

    • Sorry about the mix-up in my previous comment, I should’ve written, “… at Lucy’s home,” not Carrie’s!

      Thanks for explaining that point. I find it very interesting to see how different people perceive the same aspects in a different light depending on their own experience. That’s why we have Pocket Cultures, I guess!

  • Nuria

    I love how Samira is being exposed to so many different nationalities and languages! I hope I can do the same if I ever have a baby ;) Great picture, btw!! Turkey seems such a fascinating country, hope my dream of visiting it one day comes true!

  • Thanks Nuria! The photo is in the far east of Turkey, near to Mount Ararat. The light was so bright and the landscape really striking. Very different to the part where we live.

  • You’re right! I WAS surprised by how cold the houses are! When I was there in August, I wanted to wear gloves inside.

  • I love the idea that you’re bringing your baby up in a 3rd culture!

  • It is amazing how all of us on Pocketcultures seem to be constantly on the move looking for new adventures! You have to be very game for that, willing to discover and it is very rewarding for ourselves and for our children as they grow more tolerant and open minded when exposed to multi culturism!
    Nice to learn a little bit more about you Lucy.