IV. At home, understanding my journey diary

Well, I am at home now… With everything that is part of it, the berries of my grandparents garden, the fruit cake called ‘Wähe’, singing at a 90th birthday, walking barefoot, seeing my cousin Marloncim who wants to play board games.

Again so many things that I didn’t get or hear about. I have no clue of our current national ministers (7 of them are governing the country, we don’t have a president) or the the corruption scandal of a province government and a constructing company… Yes, there is also corruption here. And very disgustingly hidden. I feel bad not knowing enough or just coherently about the political system, representatives, elections and happenings in the societies in any of ‘my countries’. It would be one of the topics I am most interested in and I have high demands on myself, and still it is not possible for me to follow them deeply in Switzerland, Germany and Turkey, and the result is that I have a partial knowledge without contexts and being there to experience.

In the train back to my house after visiting my grandparents, a young man is talking Turkish… Suddenly I am able to understand parts of it. Half a year earlier it would have seemed far away from me. What happened in those few months? In-between his words I can hear the sound of his prayer beads. Firstly I am convinced that I am making it up, and I have to get up and go to the toilet in order to confirm my fantasy.

In that train I am obviously not coming into any conversation… But well, I also look like an ‘indigenous’ here and nobody is on holidays. I started to check my phone again in the little breaks that I have, instead of just sitting around and looking out the window… Thanks to being repossessed by efficiency I see a mail of Claire. She asks if I arrived well and if I would like to share some impressions. I want to reply and translate a part of my travel diary to English, even though I feel I am not talking as much about the concrete experiences I had during my travel, as I do about this slow transition between two paradigms, that I myself hadn’t expected at all, but that I was gently confronted with and that I slowly incorporated again on my journey.

Partially I was shocked by some images about Turkey, because I had forgotten about them. I was living a far too realistic daily life in Ankara to keep the other perspective in mind. People helped me to remember once more…

I already said that I learned again to define me as myself without saying casually in the second sentence ‘ah yes and I am the girlfriend of a biology student here, maybe you know him?…’ (Although I am always making use of other things in order to define myself; the studies, the home country, some projects or passions, … I am my relations and my actions, so there’s nothing wrong about it). But I noticed that it creates a very different and unintentional image when I say ‘my boyfriend is Turkish’… Because I often get ‘oh, what a sympathetic boy… not at all macho…’ as an answer only when I show his picture.

Elena, the Romanian women, studied international relations, and when talking about the European Union, she said ‘It was no argument to not letting Turkey enter the European Union because of its so called ‘nationalist tradition’. There are a lot of other nationalist countries in the Union and nowadays the original aim of an ever closer merging of the Union countries is anyways obsolete.’

A Hungarian lady told me about a Turkish women near her house in Vienna whom she talked to, who has six children in order to feed the family only through the combined child benefit she receives from her home country and Austria.

My grandparents said, when following the local media, one get’s the impression that I would be put into prison at any moment and as if it would be very dangerous in Turkey.

It feels very far away now… The dolmus in Kizilay… Is it still reality? Rumania and Hungary are already far more present right now… Someone asks, what I was doing, how I filled my days in METU. I don’t remember. It hurts… My life, back there so real, now suddenly seems like a dream. I had forgotten about this perspective, really forgotten. I saw too less black and white back there. After seeing my class mates, the Syrians, Afghans and Somalis in TÖMER, I look at them differently here than I did before. Like persons with more personality, culture and background. But also with a more differing personality, culture and background from mine. And I know that I didn’t loose my experiences of the last semester, that it changed my being and perceiving, and that I should talk about the experiences to everyone that is open to listen. That it doesn’t matter if I don’t know about all the events and contexts, because there is still an enormous bisected space I can contribute some colors to.