An outsider’s perspective after 3.5 years in Istanbul and 1.5 weeks in southwestern Germany.
Interacting with cashiers
Turkey: Ah yes, here is an obviously foreign person, I shall talk to her with minimum expectations of her knowing Turkish. Oh, she speaks some Turkish! What a pleasant and unexpected surprise. I will laugh gleefully in her face at how cute it is that she’s trying.
Germany: Here is a normal German person, I shall speak German to her… wait, what is she saying? Is she trying to speak German? Are the words coming out of her mouth a known human language? *narrows eyes* Is she foreign, or perhaps just very, very stupid?
Hard liquor in grocery stores
Turkey: There is one tiny shelf behind the cash register, please request what you want and then provide your life savings, dignity, and firstborn child’s soul as tender.
Germany: Feel free to peruse our aisles of booze at your leisure, or if you are pressed for time, grab one of the many travel-sized bottles located near the cash register for your convenience, that will be €1.79, enjoy 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Turkey: 45°F (7°C) and rainy
Germany: 45°F (7°C) and rainy
Passing strangers in the aisles of stores
Turkey: You in my space, BITCH? YOU WANT SOME OF THIS? *takes off gloves, throws them on the ground, prepares for sparring and body checks*
Germany: No eye contact, ever
Turkey: Many Turkish phrases repeated several times, multitudes of cheek kissing and waving at the door
Germany: Awkward eye contact
Turkey: Oh, you want to keep your forests undeveloped? Bwahahahahahaha! You’re HILARIOUS.
Germany: YOU get a forest! And YOU get a forest! EVERYBODY gets a forest!!!!
Windows in apartments
Turkey: Silky, draping, sumptuous curtains; fantastic for adding ambiance and elegance to your home
Germany: Very functional, industrial-style electronic blackout shades; fantastic for pretending you live in a cave
Turkey: Tuna Can and Ufuk are TOTALLY legit and normal names; also, let’s make the words for “bread” and “man” almost identical so foreigners can embarrass themselves by asking for fresh, hot men at the bakery
Germany: Let’s just go ahead and put the word “fahrt” on all our traffic and pedestrian signs