Thursday, May 17, 2012

In my own comfortzone


As usual, it has been a while since I last posted a blog. And yes, as usual I will try to post more regularly.

About 2 weeks ago my family and I were on vacation in Turkey. We bought our own little villa there last winter and this was the first time for us to see it. Until then all we knew about it was from photo's and my in-laws. It turned out to be even nicer in real life than on photo's.

Anyway, having spend a big part of my life abroad, out of the Netherlands that is, I was surprised how out of place I felt in Turkey. Especially compared to Egypt. But today, while listening to the radio, I realized that for the first time in my life I moved to a country where I wasn't able to make out anything from what I heard unless it was English. Arabic is so different from European languages, that you're never tempted to assume you understand. Before moving to Cairo, I've been to countries where peopke spoke western languages, even Pakistan, where English seemed to be the native language, which it isn't by the way.
After more than 2 years in Egypt, I've grown accustomed to hear people talk and not know what they're saying. Arabic turned into background noise, something that's there but my brain gave up trying to understand what it means.
Now in Turkey, it was a completely different story. My brain kept on trying to make something out of these seemingly random noises.
Important to mention that my wife is Turkish and when she's with her family, she tyically speaks a mixture of Dutch and Turkish, so I usually can make something out of it. But on Turkey there was no Dutch or even English to give me some hints on what the discussions are all about. But my mind has not reached a state where it would dismiss it to be just background noise, instead it kept on trying to understand. And since Turkish is a completely different language not based on
either Latin or German...

Bottomline, after 2 years of not understanding (almost) any Arabic, I'm pretty comfortable abput not knowing what's going on. Something that I need to get at when in Turkey.