Time to introduce you to another Polish travel blogger. This time let me present you Gosia from Rodzynki Sułtańskie (Sultana raisins), a brave woman who has decided to live in Turkey, and let’s face it, for foreigner this is not the easiest place to settle down… Curious to read the story behind this revolutionary decision as well as more about Turkey from the expact’s perspective? Here is what Gosia has shared with me!
I’m a twenty-something girl from Poland, blogging about my life in Turkey. I’ve graduated in PR, Communication Design and Graphic Design, so I’m in love with both words and pictures – and trying to combine those two passions in my personal and professional life. My friends say I get too enthusiastic about everything and I’m afraid it’s true!
What is your blog about? What do you like to write about the most?
In a nutshell: my life as an expat in Turkey. I write about my travels in Turkey, its culture, cuisine, language, facing cultural differences, and Turkish men, too! But I try to keep my blog personal, so you’ll find much ironic humor and personal opinion, rather than tourist guide.
When and why did you start blogging?
In the end of 2012, I came back from Turkey to Poland for a while. I guess, I just missed Turkey and experiencing its beauty, but also absurds. But to be honest, before I didn’t like blogs and bloggers at all! I knew mostly “lifestyle” or “fashion” bloggers, very commercial and pretentious. It took me a while to get to know travel and expat blogs, which I absolutely love at the moment!
Before coming to Turkey, I used to travel quite lot in Europe. Now I explore Turkey step by step and go abroad not very often. But even going to a village 50 km from my town can be a real adventure! When I have time, I go to see my family and friends and even stay in my family home – relaxing, eating my mum’s goodies. Another thing to keep my in Turkey is my residence permit: staying abroad long can cause problems when renewing it next time and it’s important for me to keep all formal stuff under control.
Why do you travel? What inspires you to discover the world?
When I left my university and graduated in Graphic Design I saw a poster saying something like: “The deciding factor is curiosity and this uncertainty, what you can meet around the corner”. Well, that’s it! Being curious what’s around the corner. And even as a child I was always getting bored easily, so I was a bit of a trouble kid: keeping good notes, but dropping in and out of school, going to the lakeside instead of attending lessons. Writing “it’s all without any sense” on quizzes when I found questions ridiculous.
Now I’m also getting inspired by travel blogs. People leaving everything and exploring around the world. Or working full time, finding time to visit great places. Solo women, travelling with only a backpack, young parents with children. It’s just awesome!
I think missing the flight in Italy, with no money and idea how to get back home. My first hitchhiking in Turkey. The driver told us he has not got any sleep for the past 3 nights, so he asked us to speak to him, as he could fall asleep at any moment. The road was quite narrow and dangerous, at the Turkish coast: I was petrified!
I think also my first sunrise seen here was quite memorable. I was travelling to a youth project in the Black Sea region for 28 hours and wanted to be in bed so badly! But when I was almost falling asleep on the bus, the sunrise was so captivating, I could not fall asleep and miss it.
Your top 3 visited places and why?
In Turkey, I really like Izmir – both city and small villages around it. And of course, olive groves and mandarin orchards! I love them, even though my fear of scorpions you can meet there.
My last travel surprise was an ancient Yazilikaya, placed just about 50 km from where I live – I’m really into mythology and old believes, so being in a place being said as city of ancient King Midas (yes, the one turning everything into gold), and important place of goddess Cybele worship was something really big for me. And the most funny: most of the villagers just got used to ancient monuments and Byzantine graves there, so they just graze goats and cows there.
I can’t skip Istanbul here. I finally can say I know this city quite well and absolutely love it: with its homeless cats and dogs, mosques and churches, sultans’ palaces and squats, Islamic art and graffiti, the rush of street and the peace of Bosphorus.
Maybe it’s a cliché, but I really love the Polish side of Tatra mountains. They’re just perfect.
I live in Turkey, but I spent 6 years in Wrocław – and I really left a piece of my heart there. I love its parks, pubs, market square, student life, and even the zoo!
Your next travel plans.
This month I’m going to one of my favourite Turkish cities – Bursa – this time I’ll try skiing in Uludağ (keep your fingers crossed for snow!). Then I’m planning to explore some small towns in Central Anatolia. Besides Cappadocia, it’s the least touristic region in Turkey. Even South-East and East region, with its promise of Orient and “Middle-East atmosphere” are being visited more often. Then for sure Poland and somewhere to go with a tent – and maybe England, where my sister and her husband live.
Other Polish blogger you’d recommend to follow
I follow many blogs, most of them written in Polish – you can find a full list on my blog.
My last discovery is Ooopsside down blog. I’ve met Karolina i Piotr online, as they asked me about Istanbul attractions before their trip there. And their travel posts and movies are just brilliant – in a couple of days, they’ve managed to capture Istanbul just as I know (and love) the city.
Turkey doesn’t seem like the most obvious choice for a young woman to move to. Why did you decide for this country?
“My first time” in Turkey was a youth project in Sinop, where I met many fantastic people from Turkey. Almost finishing my university, I was looking for a volunteering service or an internship anywhere in Europe -thinking mostly about Germany or Austria. But I’ve found a perfect project for me in Turkey – in a field of media and marketing. It was after the deadline, but I thought: why not? Next day I got a phone call, that they’ve chosen me. So I left my job in Poland, asked my professors if I can make all projects online and come to Poland just for exams – and believe it or not, they all agreed – and I just came here!
And then… in short, professional career met a love story. My partner is Turkish and we decided to stay here. Having him by my side makes all Turkish adventures much more fun. And as a part of Turkish family, I can go really deeper into Turkish culture.
I’d say all legal issues, like my residence permit, opening bank account as a foreigner, trying to get insurance etc. But they’re not challenging because of formal requirements, but rather work culture. One officer says A, another one: B. You’re coming to a bank and you got informed you can’t open an account without residence permit. But to get a residence permit… you need to show Turkish account statement! And so on: many, many absurds. Language can be a bit challenging, too.
Of course sometimes it is hard to see something unfair: like people being constantly cheated by its government, women discrimination. Can you believe, that Turkish coca-cola made a label saying: “Women, what did you do?”. It’s like saying “meal was so delicious” in Turkish, as coke is advertised as a perfect drink for a family meal. But why address it to a woman only? Most of the food advertisements still look like American ads from 50s: happy family of a working man and the cooking woman.
What do you enjoy most there? What would you miss if you have to move out of Turkey?
Turkish tea drunk at the Bosphorus side, crossing a continent for 4 TRY token, simit (Turkish bagel) sellers, shopping on the bazaars, my Turkish family… Turkish optimism (there is no situation without a solution!), breakfast, eating meals together. And many, many more! It just feels like home.
Thank you Gosia for taking the time to answering my questions! Now I feel like planning a trip to Turkey myself!
Is there anything you’d like to ask Gosia about?
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