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Turkey and Me Part 1

Updated: Mar 21, 2023

My name is Cheney and I am the Business Coordinator at World Voyage. I am the person that is responsible to coordinate visas, flights and departures of our candidates. I don’t always feature, but I am always in the background making a new plan for a mutated obstacle.

I too have been the victim of COVID-19, travel bans and entry restrictions.

In August of 2021 our Founder and CEO came up with a plan to send me to Turkey to learn more about the culture. An easy (and safe) way to send me for an extended time, was for me to stay with a host family. I managed to get an amazing host family through our Turkish partner. Part of the deal was that I will be tutoring their little one in English, French and piano in the afternoons while continuing with my normal job during the mornings.

After our match was confirmed, I was faced with my first obstacle – I had to quarantine upon arrival in Turkey for 14 days, a very costly excursion that we were not willing to pay. We opted to wait until the dust settled. Finally, I had a ticket and was able to depart early December, up until 72 hours prior to my flight. A new strain presented itself and my ticket was cancelled as borders were closed once again. Two months passed in a whirl of waiting for a new week for a new announcement, eventually at the end of January 2022 the flights opened up and I had a week to repack my bags and make last minute plans.

On the day of my arrival, I was told that it is my host-kid’s birthday. I was welcomed into my new Turkish home with a house full of people. My host mother looked sincerely excited about my arrival and greeted me warmly. The family has been waiting for my arrival before they cut the birthday cake and what a beautiful moment that was. I experienced a warm family that came together to shower the little one with all their love. My host mom also immediately did what she does best – by feeding me. I am starting to think that in this family they show their love and affection by making sure you are never hungry.

I now refer to the family as my adoptive family and with reason. I am living with my host mother, father, host-kid and the child’s grandmother whom I also now refer to as “Anneanne” (granny). Anneanne cooks traditional Turkish food and even though there is a massive language barrier between us she has learned soon enough what “delicious” means and I had to learn to voice çok güzel (very good) quickly in this relationship.

My first few weeks was spent on trying to find my feet and not let culture shock get the better of me. Even though it is my job to assist our clients who experience culture shock, I was not able to help myself. There were days when I contemplated every life choice that I had made up until this point. Then came the moments where I was able to wander the streets of Istanbul. I fell in love with the vibrant culture and the way that I was able to educate others about where I come from and my culture.

My host mom popped the question and I said yes. What was supposed to be a 3-month educational turned into a 6-month adventure.

More time to learn, and experience.

Until next time...

Cheney Collins 2022/05/23

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