Jaana, Can, tell us a bit about yourself.
Can: We are an exotic couple. Jaana is from Estonia and I am from Turkey, and in Jaana’s words “we theoretically are a completely incompatible couple”. Hot vs Cold blooded, Extroverted vs. Introverted, Muslim vs. Non-religious, Meat-addicted vs. Vegetarian… but we have managed 7 years together so far. We met while we were in University, thanks to a cultural exchange program and we managed to constantly see each other and even live together for certain period of time, before finally move in together in Germany.

What brought you two to Germany?
Jaana:  This man drove me to Germany
Can: Cheap higher education in a good university brought me here,  and then the job offer from a big international company made me stay
What was the first cultural shock you experienced in your relationship
Jaana: For me it definitely came to the lack of  personal space need or a very different understanding of what “personal space” means
Can: For me instead the fact she seems not to need to socialize
What was the first thing you taught the other about your traditions/culture
Jaana: When I met Can, he was already quite aware of Estonian culture, so it was more like I was asking him questions about his culture” Can: Turkish food culture was my way into her heart
What is a typical meal you tend to cook from your countries?
Jaana: mashed potatoes with creamy mushroom sauce
Can: Manti, or Rice dishes, like rice with chickpea sauce or beans. If only she ate meat, it would open the gates to so many wonderful dishes!
Which traditions do you celebrate?
Jaana: From Estonian culture, we do a form of christmas, Rastlapaev. Then we have Shrove tuesday, when I prepare special breadbuns with cream. Also I celebrate Estonian republic day
Can:  I participate  to Republic day celebrations-  a ball in a hotel, organized by the consulate.  Sometimes I also celebrate ramadan bayram
Jaana: Oh! We also celebrate the mushroom season, going to the forest for picking mushrooms. Very important ritual for me
What is the thing you miss the most from your home country?
Can : I miss  socializing with random people, hanging out with my friends on random streets and drinking together enjoying life
Jaana: I instead miss nature, my cats, and being able to go to the forest anytime for relaxation.
What is the thing you like the most about the other’s culture ?
Jaana: I love the sound of Turkish language, and their community spirit and social culture
Can: I love that everyone is so driven to do good to their own country, and that they have an incredible ownership and pride about Estonia and their culture. Also it is so interesting to realized that the country is run like a start up company- a lot of innovations, especially tech-wise, is initiated in Estonia although not a lot of people know about it!
Which language do you use in your daily life? is it difficult to communicate to each other?
Can: We speak english, although we both can also speak a bit of each others’ language (Jaana spent a full month with my family last summer to get fluent in turkish!). We do not find it difficult to communicate, even we both use a language that is different than our own.
What are the pitch and peak of living in Germany?
Jaana: We are both not too picky. The pit is  probably the language barrier. Culturally though, Germany is quite close to Estonia, so nothing major to complain from my side.
Can: The pit for me is the lack of community spirit, I find Germany a bit too individualist.
Jaana: Regarding the peak, because German and Estonian cultures are so close, there was no huge surprises in living here. This is my peak.
Can: For me the fact that, since Germany hosts a big Turkish community, I can access all turkish things that i could possibly need
Do you have any plans to go back to your home country?
Can: at some point…. our plan is to have two houses , one in Turkey, one in Estonia. We would love to be able to spend winter in Estonia and summer in Turkey.

Read more:
Meet Özlem (from Turkey) and Javier (from Spain)
Love across the Estonian language divide
An Italian in Europe

About the author

Simona is Italian, established in Germany since 2009 to fulfil her dream of experiencing living abroad and learn another (tough) language. She is trying to blend with her new hosting Country, while keeping a foot beyond the Alps to stay in touch with her roots. She loves hanging out with her very international group of friends, planning her next trip and filling up her bookshelf.