Push-me pull-you loyalty: where are global citizens torn?

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in borderlands,community,family,global niche,home,identity,multicultural,origin,self-image

Roxelana by Anton Hickel

By FIGEN ÇAKIR

Why are you visiting Turkey this summer, one of my smart school friends asked, her eyes very wide. “Goodness, it’s all desert mostly, isn’t it?” She no doubt imagined me in flowing robes on the back of a camel.

I went to an all-girls’ secondary school in Britain and back in the early ‘80s we were a bright new breed of young woman. Lucky to be unhampered by adolescent boys, we focused on over-achieving. Getting into the best universities. Being pioneers. Perhaps we were influenced by Margaret Thatcher, a powerful force whether loved or hated. We had a tough school curriculum, too.

Which is exactly why I was stumped by the question. I had never met this level of cultural ignorance first-hand. Maybe I was haughty to assume everyone should know basic geography.

I had been to Turkey several times. A large part of my maternal family, of pre-revolution White Russian descent, was now ensconced in the country. My English father, of expat parents himself, had grown up in a Greek Orthodox community and still speaks with such an unidentifiable accent that people think he’s Italian.

Is this why I had never assigned stereotypes to places myself? Because I could not claim any kind of stereotype as my own?

My impulsive reaction to the friend’s question was to defend the country I was later fated to live in. Now I find so many things here difficult and I miss England. But when I am back there and anyone makes a derisive comment about Turkey and the Turks, my hackles immediately rise.

Likewise, it seems everyone in Turkey has something awful to say about the Brits. Espionage theories. Drunken louts in Kuşadası. Then I feel I have to defend them. I’m practically a double agent.

As a global citizen, when (and where) are your loyalties torn?
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Interior designer Figen Çakır lives in Turkey with her husband and two children dividing her time between developing an online venue for creativity and fostering a love of Turkish fiber and traditional arts.
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  • Jgurel

    I remember back in the fifties being asked “Does your Turkish boyfriend live in a house”? I would reply angrily “No he lives in a tent”…..nowadays when I tell people while I am shopping in London that I live in Turkey, they reply “0h you are so lucky we have enjoyed our holiday so much” So travel has done wonders for people to appreciate different cultures and realise that we are not really all that different.

  • Andrea Sydow

    Love this page! My mix is German/Brasilian/Argentinian and here everything falls into place. Thank you for the inspiration!

  • Pingback: Most affecting: 1 year later « expat+HAREM, the global niche

  • http://www.speakingofchina.com Jocelyn

    I agree with the other commenters — this is a fantastic, thought-provoking post. Thanks for writing it, Figen.

    Not sure if I can add anything new to the convo, but I will say — this resonates with me deeply because of the China vs. US storyline the press feeds us on a daily basis. And depending on the bias of the person I am speaking with, I’ll either defend China or the US.

    I guess that’s one benefit of having a life in two cultures — you see each of them for what they are. Kind of like being married. They’re perfect and imperfect at the same time, but you love them all the same.
    .-= Jocelyn´s last blog ..Ask the Yangxifu: The Chinese doorman closed off friendship =-.

  • http://www.speakingofchina.com Jocelyn

    I agree with the other commenters — this is a fantastic, thought-provoking post. Thanks for writing it, Figen.

    Not sure if I can add anything new to the convo, but I will say — this resonates with me deeply because of the China vs. US storyline the press feeds us on a daily basis. And depending on the bias of the person I am speaking with, I’ll either defend China or the US.

    I guess that’s one benefit of having a life in two cultures — you see each of them for what they are. Kind of like being married. They’re perfect and imperfect at the same time, but you love them all the same.
    .-= Jocelyn´s last blog ..Ask the Yangxifu: The Chinese doorman closed off friendship =-.

  • http://www.italybeyondtheobvious.com Madeline

    great, thought-provoking post – thank you. Love the analogy to double agents!

  • http://www.italybeyondtheobvious.com Madeline

    great, thought-provoking post – thank you. Love the analogy to double agents!

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/knitbox Figen Cakir

    Yes, yes, yes! One can write about a point of view, or an idea, but it’s only worth as much as it is limited. The more voices it brings, the more it grows and blooms.

    All of you have taken one small, humble perspective and nurtured it into so many variables. And it’s so refreshing! I love the idea of seeing ourselves as ‘interpreters’ and ‘loyal to ourselves’ and perhaps this is how I should think of my ‘loyalties’ from now on… by refusing to fall in with others’ stereotyping I am not really being defensive but I am interpreting a new way for them to think about that place/people.

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/knitbox Figen Cakir

    Yes, yes, yes! One can write about a point of view, or an idea, but it’s only worth as much as it is limited. The more voices it brings, the more it grows and blooms.

    All of you have taken one small, humble perspective and nurtured it into so many variables. And it’s so refreshing! I love the idea of seeing ourselves as ‘interpreters’ and ‘loyal to ourselves’ and perhaps this is how I should think of my ‘loyalties’ from now on… by refusing to fall in with others’ stereotyping I am not really being defensive but I am interpreting a new way for them to think about that place/people.

  • http://expatriatelife.wordpress.com/ Judy

    Thank you for such a thought provoking post. I prefer to think of myself as an “interpreter” rather than a “double agent” – an ability to understand and explain the other person’s point of view (even if I don’t always agree with it). In fact I think that’s the most valuable thing I’ve learned from living in several countries.

  • http://expatriatelife.wordpress.com/ Judy

    Thank you for such a thought provoking post. I prefer to think of myself as an “interpreter” rather than a “double agent” – an ability to understand and explain the other person’s point of view (even if I don’t always agree with it). In fact I think that’s the most valuable thing I’ve learned from living in several countries.

  • http://skaiangates.blogspot.com Catherine

    Kari I like the idea of us being loyal to ourselves, becoming more unique as we gather more cultural baggage. That can be a comfort when we feel a little subsumed by the culture we currently live in.

  • http://www.skaiangates.com Yazarc

    Kari I like the idea of us being loyal to ourselves, becoming more unique as we gather more cultural baggage. That can be a comfort when we feel a little subsumed by the culture we currently live in.

  • kari m.

    And this well written post by Figen keeps evoking… I wish I could participate in my first language Norwegian here, so bear with me please… :-)

    On the topic of loyalty I think being loyal to a culture is not necessarily always the aim per se. What we identify with in a culture and how we express this to others might make us good ambassadors on behalf of these cultures, native ones or the cultures which we have grown into or for various reasons know from the inside.

    With the world developing rapidly where more and more people today are on the move between countries, where our multiple agent status is not necessarily for long static as Sezin writes, I think the understanding of “new” mixtures of cultures is becoming important as well. Being loyal to ourselves and the mixed cultural baggage we come WITH and develope INTO is important, a challenge in today`s world where we are being fed stereotypes en masse in the media world.

  • kari m.

    And this well written post by Figen keeps evoking… I wish I could participate in my first language Norwegian here, so bear with me please… :-)

    On the topic of loyalty I think being loyal to a culture is not necessarily always the aim per se. What we identify with in a culture and how we express this to others might make us good ambassadors on behalf of these cultures, native ones or the cultures which we have grown into or for various reasons know from the inside.

    With the world developing rapidly where more and more people today are on the move between countries, where our multiple agent status is not necessarily for long static as Sezin writes, I think the understanding of “new” mixtures of cultures is becoming important as well. Being loyal to ourselves and the mixed cultural baggage we come WITH and develope INTO is important, a challenge in today`s world where we are being fed stereotypes en masse in the media world.

  • http://www.Sezin.org Sezin

    As I’m reading through this fantastic discussion, it occurs to me that we aren’t actually double agents, more like triple agents or multiple agents. As we act and react to the shifting landscapes around us, the places we feel at home even though they might not have anything to do with our actual lineage, we amass a great deal of agency depending on the situation. Nor is our multiple agent status static, even those multiplicities grow, shift, transform even when we have stayed in one place for a long time.

    Figen, what a provocative piece of writing to have evoked so much from all of us! Well done.

  • http://www.Sezin.org Sezin

    As I’m reading through this fantastic discussion, it occurs to me that we aren’t actually double agents, more like triple agents or multiple agents. As we act and react to the shifting landscapes around us, the places we feel at home even though they might not have anything to do with our actual lineage, we amass a great deal of agency depending on the situation. Nor is our multiple agent status static, even those multiplicities grow, shift, transform even when we have stayed in one place for a long time.

    Figen, what a provocative piece of writing to have evoked so much from all of us! Well done.

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/knitbox Figen Cakir

    Anastasia, that’s such an interesting aspect you’ve garnered – it had never dawned on me. It seems we can never escape from stereotyping and yet it seems we do it ourselves without even realizing it, as I must have done when I obviously put my peers into one kind of box.

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/knitbox Figen Cakir

    Anastasia, that’s such an interesting aspect you’ve garnered – it had never dawned on me. It seems we can never escape from stereotyping and yet it seems we do it ourselves without even realizing it, as I must have done when I obviously put my peers into one kind of box.

  • Anastasia

    Thanks for this Figen!

    I would posit we are all double agents from a young age.

    As Tara says, how can we chose between mother and father? That’s our first duality of origin and if our parents are from different places and peoples and customs and temperaments and other characteristics then it’s going to be all the more pronounced.

    As Elmira mentions, eventually we have to grow into ourselves — hopefully taking the best of both worlds with us out into the world itself.

    Lots more to think about (and talk about!) on this topic….

    Another thought you’ve raised for me: sometimes we hold stereotypes about groups we ourselves belong to. Sometimes we think we match up to our peers in ways we actually don’t. Then we only realize it in a moment like the one where your educated, over-achieving, smart friend showed her ignorance of Turkish geography and culture and surprised you.

  • http://www.expatharem.com/identity-messages/ Anastasia

    Thanks for this Figen!

    I would posit we are all double agents from a young age.

    As Tara says, how can we chose between mother and father? That’s our first duality of origin and if our parents are from different places and peoples and customs and temperaments and other characteristics then it’s going to be all the more pronounced.

    As Elmira mentions, eventually we have to grow into ourselves — hopefully taking the best of both worlds with us out into the world itself.

    Lots more to think about (and talk about!) on this topic….

    Another thought you’ve raised for me: sometimes we hold stereotypes about groups we ourselves belong to. Sometimes we think we match up to our peers in ways we actually don’t. Then we only realize it in a moment like the one where your educated, over-achieving, smart friend showed her ignorance of Turkish geography and culture and surprised you.

  • http://www.rosedeniz.blogspot.com Rose

    Figen, this post rings true for me. Before moving to Turkey, I found myself shocked to be interrogated at an art opening of mine by a German co-exhibitor who’s only experience of the Turks was in Germany and who, along with his mother, warned me at length about moving to Turkey. I had gotten used to the loving concern of my family, with whom I learned to communicate about a culture I had yet to fully experience not having lived here, yet, but to be chided by near strangers was a shock. It happened many times in other circumstances, and even now on return trips, I am met with blank stares when I say I live in Turkey, or in an attempt to be conversational, asked about how ‘exotic’ it must be.

    I suppose that doesn’t answer your question about being a ‘double agent’ or loyalty, but what it did do, like your experience with your lycee friend, was prepare me for entering into new territory. And force me to learn how to articulate what I wanted to share (or not share). I’m happy when like Elmira, someone learns something new about both Turkey and America, and gets a broader perspective. In that way, I don’t mind being a ‘translator’. Admittedly, I feel stuck in the middle, I find the best way for me to explain either culture is to be specific to what I know, and not generalize.

  • Anonymous

    Figen, this post rings true for me. Before moving to Turkey, I found myself shocked to be interrogated at an art opening of mine by a German co-exhibitor who’s only experience of the Turks was in Germany and who, along with his mother, warned me at length about moving to Turkey. I had gotten used to the loving concern of my family, with whom I learned to communicate about a culture I had yet to fully experience not having lived here, yet, but to be chided by near strangers was a shock. It happened many times in other circumstances, and even now on return trips, I am met with blank stares when I say I live in Turkey, or in an attempt to be conversational, asked about how ‘exotic’ it must be.

    I suppose that doesn’t answer your question about being a ‘double agent’ or loyalty, but what it did do, like your experience with your lycee friend, was prepare me for entering into new territory. And force me to learn how to articulate what I wanted to share (or not share). I’m happy when like Elmira, someone learns something new about both Turkey and America, and gets a broader perspective. In that way, I don’t mind being a ‘translator’. Admittedly, I feel stuck in the middle, I find the best way for me to explain either culture is to be specific to what I know, and not generalize.

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/tara.agacayak Tara

    Speaking of basic geography … today I found this geography/history lesson prepared by ATAA for 5th graders in Washington D.C.

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/tara.agacayak Tara

    Speaking of basic geography … today I found this geography/history lesson prepared by ATAA for 5th graders in Washington D.C.

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/tara.agacayak Tara

    Oh Figen – you had me it stitches with the comment about being a double agent! Geez.

    What I’m often asked in Turkey is which I like better – Turkey or the United States. I reply that it would be like choosing between my mother and father. Impossible!

    The funny thing is that people in the US only ask me when I’m moving back. As if there could be no earthly reason for me to stay here.

    Offf – why can’t we just be who we are where we are? I like this fluidity idea that Sezin brought up.

    In the first months after I’d moved here, I was struggling so much to adapt and finally took on the motto: “Bloom where you’re planted.”

    But then I guess that doesn’t have anything to do with loyalty. I should know better than to leave blog comments this late in the evening.

    Thanks – I enjoyed your post and everyone else’s comments too.

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/tara.agacayak Tara

    Oh Figen – you had me it stitches with the comment about being a double agent! Geez.

    What I’m often asked in Turkey is which I like better – Turkey or the United States. I reply that it would be like choosing between my mother and father. Impossible!

    The funny thing is that people in the US only ask me when I’m moving back. As if there could be no earthly reason for me to stay here.

    Offf – why can’t we just be who we are where we are? I like this fluidity idea that Sezin brought up.

    In the first months after I’d moved here, I was struggling so much to adapt and finally took on the motto: “Bloom where you’re planted.”

    But then I guess that doesn’t have anything to do with loyalty. I should know better than to leave blog comments this late in the evening.

    Thanks – I enjoyed your post and everyone else’s comments too.

    • Jgurel

      Tara I was only yesterday asked by a young hairdresser who has lived in London for a while whether I preferred Turkey or England. I am always shocked as I came to live in Turkey marrying my Turkish husband in 1956 ….I have difficulty in replying to this question so now in future thanks to you I can reply that it is similar to being asked the question “which do you prefer your mother or father”?

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/knitbox Figen Cakir

    Thank you all for your comments! I am relieved to see that the feeling of being torn is shared so closely and that being a ‘double agent’ doesn’t necessarily mean disloyalty to one (the birthright) or the other (our accommodating host).
    Kari, so true; we are fed so many stereotypes and naive – often dangerously so – untruths about other places that it’s hard to convince people that you’re not flying into a cholera-ridden war zone!
    Elmira, I admire you so much for the way you’ve created a very strong identity, one which helps to shape peoples’ opinions for the better. It’s this which can erase the boundaries, as Catherine remarked, and do away with bias.

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/knitbox Figen Cakir

    Thank you all for your comments! I am relieved to see that the feeling of being torn is shared so closely and that being a ‘double agent’ doesn’t necessarily mean disloyalty to one (the birthright) or the other (our accommodating host).
    Kari, so true; we are fed so many stereotypes and naive – often dangerously so – untruths about other places that it’s hard to convince people that you’re not flying into a cholera-ridden war zone!
    Elmira, I admire you so much for the way you’ve created a very strong identity, one which helps to shape peoples’ opinions for the better. It’s this which can erase the boundaries, as Catherine remarked, and do away with bias.

  • http://www.wondermentwoman.com Elmira

    When I was growing up in Brooklyn I was known as the Turkish girl. During the summer when I’d travel to Anatolia to visit my grandmother I was called the American girl. I, too, felt like a double agent, which for a long time I hated. But after a while I decided why not take the best of Turkish culture and the best of American and create my own identity and loyalty. I find myself agreeing with some of the criticism railed against either culture. Interestingly, however, my arguments in defense of both have become stronger. And that has changed minds in both Turkey and the States.

    • http://www.Sezin.org Sezin

      Oh, Elmira! I know that feeling perfectly. My mother is American and my father is Sri Lankan, but whenever I’m in each of those places I’m labelled as the opposite one. I do grow tired of being asked where I’m from even in my supposed home countries, but I suppose that comes with the territory of a Third Culture Kid/Global nomad.

  • http://www.wondermentwoman.com Elmira

    When I was growing up in Brooklyn I was known as the Turkish girl. During the summer when I’d travel to Anatolia to visit my grandmother I was called the American girl. I, too, felt like a double agent, which for a long time I hated. But after a while I decided why not take the best of Turkish culture and the best of American and create my own identity and loyalty. I find myself agreeing with some of the criticism railed against either culture. Interestingly, however, my arguments in defense of both have become stronger. And that has changed minds in both Turkey and the States.

    • http://www.Sezin.org Sezin

      Oh, Elmira! I know that feeling perfectly. My mother is American and my father is Sri Lankan, but whenever I’m in each of those places I’m labelled as the opposite one. I do grow tired of being asked where I’m from even in my supposed home countries, but I suppose that comes with the territory of a Third Culture Kid/Global nomad.

  • kari m.

    A very nice post Figen, thank you!

    When I first started to live in Turkey as a blond Norwegian in the early 1990s, what people first asked me on vacations back home was the inevitable “do women wear black there, is it summer all year round, do husbands beat their wifes, how is it for you to be blond there; do “they” respect you, is your mother-in-law aware of what the military is doing to the Kurds”… etc…

    How could I be a spokesperson on behalf of issues that had so little to do with me and my actual life?
    Well, these cultural confrontations certainly sharpened my sense of being trapped between two worlds, that`s for sure. Then as I matured as a person as well as improving my understanding of the processes that you go through adjusting in a foreign culture, speaking for myself rather than for the one culture or the other got easier, fortunately.

    But I remember especially how challenging and how very hard it could be to learn all these things by myself with no obvious guidlines at hand nor people around to look to for similar experiences. Of course there were people “like me” I came across during thouse years, foreigners livning in Turkey like me,and we shared so many interesting discussions, but still I most often found that travelling through diverse cultures was an individual travel and no one else could define my truths. Mind you during those first years the Internet was not yet for anyone to access easily and communicating with the outside world was done by letterwriting and expensive long distance calls.

    Whereever you find yourself in the world I wish you a peaceful, fulfiling weekend! :-)

  • kari m.

    A very nice post Figen, thank you!

    When I first started to live in Turkey as a blond Norwegian in the early 1990s, what people first asked me on vacations back home was the inevitable “do women wear black there, is it summer all year round, do husbands beat their wifes, how is it for you to be blond there; do “they” respect you, is your mother-in-law aware of what the military is doing to the Kurds”… etc…

    How could I be a spokesperson on behalf of issues that had so little to do with me and my actual life?
    Well, these cultural confrontations certainly sharpened my sense of being trapped between two worlds, that`s for sure. Then as I matured as a person as well as improving my understanding of the processes that you go through adjusting in a foreign culture, speaking for myself rather than for the one culture or the other got easier, fortunately.

    But I remember especially how challenging and how very hard it could be to learn all these things by myself with no obvious guidlines at hand nor people around to look to for similar experiences. Of course there were people “like me” I came across during thouse years, foreigners livning in Turkey like me,and we shared so many interesting discussions, but still I most often found that travelling through diverse cultures was an individual travel and no one else could define my truths. Mind you during those first years the Internet was not yet for anyone to access easily and communicating with the outside world was done by letterwriting and expensive long distance calls.

    Whereever you find yourself in the world I wish you a peaceful, fulfiling weekend! :-)

  • http://www.bazaarbayar.etsy.com Catherine Bayar

    Figen, great post! “Double agent” indeed – that’s an apt way to describe how I often feel, bouncing as I do between California and Izmir Province. In fact, my husband’s relatives were positively convinced I worked for the CIA when I first visited Mardin a decade ago. Why else would an American go to Eastern Turkey? Cultural ignorance is not limited to the “West”.

    You’re right, Catherine – thinking of myself as a “Westerner” makes no more sense than my husband being pegged as a “Middle Easterner”. We both come from realms so large they can hardly be reduced to such catchall terms. Defining ourselves via the mere geography of our birth or current habitat draws limiting boundaries around our true selves. We expats must be pioneers in erasing those boundaries and finding ways to merge our myriad loyalties into stereotype-busting new paradigms.

    Meanwhile, I’m strangely homesick for the Ecstasy Bar in Kusadasi, our local port of unruly holidaymakers…

  • http://www.bazaarbayar.blogspot.com Catherine Bayar

    Figen, great post! “Double agent” indeed – that’s an apt way to describe how I often feel, bouncing as I do between California and Izmir Province. In fact, my husband’s relatives were positively convinced I worked for the CIA when I first visited Mardin a decade ago. Why else would an American go to Eastern Turkey? Cultural ignorance is not limited to the “West”.

    You’re right, Catherine – thinking of myself as a “Westerner” makes no more sense than my husband being pegged as a “Middle Easterner”. We both come from realms so large they can hardly be reduced to such catchall terms. Defining ourselves via the mere geography of our birth or current habitat draws limiting boundaries around our true selves. We expats must be pioneers in erasing those boundaries and finding ways to merge our myriad loyalties into stereotype-busting new paradigms.

    Meanwhile, I’m strangely homesick for the Ecstasy Bar in Kusadasi, our local port of unruly holidaymakers…

  • http://www.Sezin.org Sezin

    I know exactly what you mean. As soon as I change my location I feel an odd proprietary sense over where I lived before and it gets confusing for people who know me. “But Sezin, I thought you hated…!” Living here in the Czech Republic has a great many challenges, which I tend to whine about often, but when I visit the USA or Sri Lanka, all of those issues are surpassed by the things I enjoy here or the great social services we have that my so-called home countries do not. Also, and even though I’m not Czech, I get really angry with people who try to lump the Czech Republic and Slovakia in with Eastern Europe. Sorry, people, this is *Central* Europe! That really gets my goat. :-)

    While loyalties may seem like something that should be set in stone, through this “push and pull” we’re setting an example that they can also be extremely fluid, like our identities as global citizens.

    A very nice post, Figen.

    • Anastasia

      Yes, Sezin! Little inaccuracies I also feel I must do my part with….for instance we stressed in the Expat Harem book that Turkey is Near Eastern — the former Roman province of ‘Asia Minor’ — neither term heard much any more but a distinction that this isn’t ‘Asia Major’ nor is it Middle Eastern. What difference does it make? If we ascribe stereotypes to places and people (which we do, even if we think we don’t), I’d say these kinds of errors simply add one thick new layer of incorrect assumptions.

  • http://www.Sezin.org Sezin

    I know exactly what you mean. As soon as I change my location I feel an odd proprietary sense over where I lived before and it gets confusing for people who know me. “But Sezin, I thought you hated…!” Living here in the Czech Republic has a great many challenges, which I tend to whine about often, but when I visit the USA or Sri Lanka, all of those issues are surpassed by the things I enjoy here or the great social services we have that my so-called home countries do not. Also, and even though I’m not Czech, I get really angry with people who try to lump the Czech Republic and Slovakia in with Eastern Europe. Sorry, people, this is *Central* Europe! That really gets my goat. :-)

    While loyalties may seem like something that should be set in stone, through this “push and pull” we’re setting an example that they can also be extremely fluid, like our identities as global citizens.

    A very nice post, Figen.

    • http://www.expatharem.com/identity-messages/ Anastasia

      Yes, Sezin! Little inaccuracies I also feel I must do my part with….for instance we stressed in the Expat Harem book that Turkey is Near Eastern — the former Roman province of ‘Asia Minor’ — neither term heard much any more but a distinction that this isn’t ‘Asia Major’ nor is it Middle Eastern. What difference does it make? If we ascribe stereotypes to places and people (which we do, even if we think we don’t), I’d say these kinds of errors simply add one thick new layer of incorrect assumptions.

  • http://skaiangates.blogspot.com Catherine

    This is so true. As an expat not only are we explorers in a new culture but we become spokespeople for whatever culture we left behind.
    Speaking up for Ireland or Turkey is fine, these are tangible to me, but speaking up for ‘Europe’ or ‘Western ideas’ leaves me torn. First these are things I don’t fully identify with (do we ever think of ourselves as Westerners?) and second my location influences my opinion, in Turkey I may argue for things that I’d argue against in Ireland.
    It’s a tangled web…

  • http://www.skaiangates.com Yazarc

    This is so true. As an expat not only are we explorers in a new culture but we become spokespeople for whatever culture we left behind.
    Speaking up for Ireland or Turkey is fine, these are tangible to me, but speaking up for ‘Europe’ or ‘Western ideas’ leaves me torn. First these are things I don’t fully identify with (do we ever think of ourselves as Westerners?) and second my location influences my opinion, in Turkey I may argue for things that I’d argue against in Ireland.
    It’s a tangled web…

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