The Lonely Yabanci

We’ve been married for three weeks, and it has been a little crazy. Canim is a great husband. No surprise there. His family and I have gotten closer and we are able to understand each other better, though neither side has really improved their language skills.

Things at work have been rough. My new position is literally giving me gray hair. I found one two hours ago. More work, a lot more responsibility (read: PRESSURE), no extra money, and my colleagues are (inexplicably) still showing resentment towards me because I was chosen for the job.

On top of that, due in part to my colleagues being spiteful, my company informed me that everything in my apartment (which was leased by my job until July of this year) has to be returned (and replaced at my expense) by mid-October. To add insult to injury, a company associate disrespected Canim.

BRO. I flipped out. I showed my teeth. I was scolded by my boss but I refused to back down. Our little intervention ended peacefully and while I know she’ll never admit it, I think she was shocked and a little bit impressed by my ability to go from Glinda the Good Witch to the Wicked Witch of the West and back in no time. I knew I had it in me, but she has only ever seen me being a delicate, agreeable flower.

The thing is I JUST made vows to my husband two weeks ago, so they’re fresh in my mind. I will forsake (or annihilate) all others for him, if necessary. It was necessary.

Feeling betrayed by my already sketchy colleagues, plus being in the doghouse with my boss has made me realize that I don’t have close friends here. I have plenty of people who care about me, and for that I am blessed, but the people in this country who really know me and love me anyway can be counted on one hand, with fingers to spare.

Sometimes I feel like people are “Turkish nice” to me, which means they smile at me whenever they see me, they exchange various pleasantries and olsuns with me, and they may occasionally gush over me because I said one Turkish word or because my dress is cute. But the minute I make a mistake, or raise my voice (in excitement, not even anger), or if I dare to put my foot down for any reason, they will kus me and forever consider me to be an entitled ingrate.

My fellow yabancis are no better. Sometimes they’re actually worse. You’d think our foreignness would lead to a sense of camaraderie. Instead, it leads to a sense of competition, where one party inevitably feels the need to be the boss or the expert.

Why can’t we all just chill out and lift each other up?

This stress and loneliness has led to me feeling depressed. Not necessarily sad, although definitely sad sometimes. But I feel like my battery is low and I just want to escape. I sleep a lot, and I am often irritable towards the one person who loves me for me — Canim.

I wonder if other yabancis ever feel like this. I wonder if this is just a lame pity party and if it will pass soon.

Spoiler Alert: We ELOPED!

"It's a beautiful night. We're looking for something [fun] to do. Hey baby, I think I wanna marry you."

“It’s a beautiful night. We’re looking for something [fun] to do. Hey baby, I think I wanna marry you.”

Your eyes do not deceive you. The yabanci bride who only wanted one small, simple, intimate wedding ceremony will have had THREE celebrations (of varying degrees) before the end of 2015. But hey, at least the first one was small, simple, and intimate. 🙂 

We eloped for practical and romantic reasons. Practical: Housing. It’s a long story, but I was going to have to change (read: DOWNGRADE) my apartment and we were tired of living in two different cities, so in an effort to keep things helal (or halal or kosher or whatever you want to say), we decided to be married on paper so we could live together without feeling a black cloud of ayip looming over us. Romantic: There was no way we could wait until January to be husband and wife. We’re each other’s best friends, partners, teammates, all of that good stuff. To us, engagement is not about figuring out whether or not your fiance is “the one”. That’s what dating is for. I told Canim not to propose unless he was prepared to marry me the next day if need be (why would “need be”? I don’t know but I had to be dramatic to make my point). So, we were ready to be married as soon as we got engaged. Engagement (again, to us) is about planning, preparing, and making arrangements for the future. Where will you live? How will you balance finances? Blah blah blah boring adult things. 

In July, we got my parents’ blessing to go ahead and be married on paper as long as we will still have the reception in January and the American reception in July. Fair enough. Everybody gets a little bit of what they want. I bought a simple lace sheath, my brilliant and artistic friend made me a brooch bouquet (which will be used at all three weddings), I Pinterested a hairstyle, ordered some pink shoes and sixpence coins, and two weeks after I returned to Turkey (August 30th), I became Mrs. Canim. 

In another post, I will explain the process for an American-Turkish marriage ceremony. Most of that was a blur, to be honest, because Canim is SUPER efficient (a quality that did not really shine until I returned to Turkey), so I just had to sign along the dotted line for most of it. 

The Wedding Day: 
Canim took me to the kuafor for hair and make-up at 10:30. Before that, we made a stop at Platin to buy new nail polish for my “professional” manicure. I had a meltdown the night before over my inability to successfully apply two coats of nail polish to any of my 20 nails. I just can’t do it when I’m nervous!

After I was dolled up, my brother-in-law (BIL) and mother-in-law (MIL) picked me up. I was disappointed to learn that the bozos at the jeweler had failed to have my wedding band ready in time for the ceremony. However, I opted to not go Bridezilla on said bozos because, to quote my husband (hehehe), “Darling, here is Turkey. Every time something is wrong.” The end. Full stop. There’s always something wrong, so don’t sweat it. 

One hour before the ceremony, when we were less than 1 KM away from the house, the bozos called and told my BIL that the wedding band was ready. So, BIL turned around to go exactly where we had just come from. He drove like a bat outta Hades to get the ring. While MIL and I waited in the car, she turned to me and said, “The box in the bag is yours.” So I opened it and discovered a SIX PIECE lingerie set. Gorgeous white satin. I was flattered, humbled, and then REALLY embarrassed to think about what must have been going through her mind as she picked out the set. I mean…you know. And she’s his MOM. Agggh. Anyway. 

So, I got ready at his parents’ house, and sat on a bed staring at the clock thinking,”30 minutes until I become Mrs. Canim. This is a big deal.” And I started shaking a little and my eyes were welling up with tears, so my darling MIL swooped in with some baklava (I had 3 pieces – sue me) and helped me buckle my shoes because I couldn’t do it myself. 

The Ceremony:
I’m not gonna lie to you guys. The Turkish marriage ceremony is rather…unceremonious. Canim’s father and two best friends walked me into the belediye wedding salon (aka city hall). He was pacing and waiting anxiously for me to arrive. When we saw each other, we hugged and tried really hard not to cry. After taking lots of pictures, everyone left us alone to say our vows to each other (Turkish couples normally don’t do that, as it is assumed that by showing up for the ceremony, you already promise to be the ideal spouse until you die. But I’m American. I like contracts and having things spelled out explicitly and without confusion – plus I thought it would be more romantic than “evet”). We said a slightly tweaked but mostly traditional version of American vows, but I said them in English and he said them in Turkish. Then, we walked upstairs where everyone was waiting. We sat down, the officiant sat down, said a lot of things that I barely understood because I was waiting (and maybe even leaning in very closely) for the question that sounded something like, “[Yabanci Bride], Canim eş olarak kabul ediyor musunuz?” And I said,”EVET!” But I was too eager and she held up the microphone so I could say it again. Then she asked him, he said, “Evet,” she said some more things, we signed some papers, and she left. One of our witnesses pointed to the floor very urgently but I didn’t know what she was saying. Someone else said,”Ayak!” and I remembered to do this: 

Ayak Basmak - Foot Stomping I stomped on his foot to show who's "boss" - but really, he had made no attempt to stomp on mine - so who's really the boss?

Ayak Basmak – Foot Stomping
I stomped on his foot to show who’s “boss” – but he had made no attempt to stomp on mine – so who’s really the boss? 🙂

We switched our rings onto our left hands, had a short and sweet kiss (once on the lips and once on my forehead, which I found so adorable), and then cut the cake. Oh, this was our cake topper: 

International Love Courtesy of Giving Ink on Etsy! https://www.etsy.com/shop/givingINK?ref=l2-shop-info-name

International Love
Courtesy of Giving Ink on Etsy! https://www.etsy.com/shop/givingINK?ref=l2-shop-info-name

After the ceremony, we took pictures in a park along the sea, but it really felt like taking pictures on the surface of the freaking sun. Then, we went back to his parents’ house to freshen up. After that we had dinner at our favorite restaurant which means “Snow White” but has absolutely nothing to do with a princess or dwarves. 

After dinner came the real party – our “mini-moon” at the Hilton. Let me tell you – I’ve never stayed in a Hilton before, and now that I have, I don’t know how I can ever stay in a pansion or even a different 5-star hotel. That place was a piece of American heaven, I tell ya. It was like sleeping on a cloud. We were treated like stars, with far too many free drinks (including a bottle of champagne), impressive room service, and they let us check out several hours later than we were supposed to. It was paradise. 

All in all, every time I think of that day (aka 5 days ago), I can’t help but grin ear-to-ear. I’m glad we didn’t wait. 

Got the ring (mine is obviously on the right) just in time, so I didn't have to foam at the mouth like Bridezilla. Crisis averted.

Got the ring (mine is obviously on the right) just in time, so I didn’t have to foam at the mouth like Bridezilla. Crisis averted.

Brooch bouquet. :)

Brooch bouquet. 🙂

 

Poppin' bottles

Poppin’ bottles