Becoming Turkish

I’ve made the decision not to go to California this summer and to stay put in Istanbul. I will probably take a few long weekends to cities in Turkey, but overall, I want to start saving money and not always spend it on traveling. Traveling can be really expensive, and it tends to sneak up on you. It’s always the little things.

However, this decision caused a bit of panic because what am I going to do for six weeks? Most, if not all, of the people I work with are traveling which could mean a lot of Claire Time. Let’s be honest here… who doesn’t enjoy Claire Time but six weeks is a lot of anyone’s time so I knew I needed a plan.

Last night, I went out for drinks with a Turkish friend of mine. He’s from Istanbul and I was talking to him about the small bubble that expats can and mostly live in. It is very easy to hang out with just work people, particularly when they are nice and fun. However, I want a balance and a life outside of work with dinner parties and art galleries. You get the idea. So I have come up with a plan for this summer that I call ‘Becoming Turkish’ and it looks like this:

1) Take an intensive Turkish language course
2) Get a swimming pool pass from one of the hotels
3) Get Google Certified
4) Take ceramics course
5) Continue with Pilates
6) Explore the outer areas of Istanbul with new language skills
7) Relax and get ready for new job
8) Take a Turkish cooking class for desserts only
9) Develop a circle of friends outside of school
10) Continue to be awesome (sounded good)

Great plan, right? I am the type of person who enjoys a loose schedule so having this will help me focus on things that I want to accomplish but also to enjoy Turkish culture. I even bought a book called ‘The Essential Guide to Customs and Culture – Turkey’ – I already feel ahead of the game!


  1. Susan Wachowiak

    Sounds like a great plan Claire, and although California will miss you, I think this “down” time (sort of) will be good!

    1. Mom, you are the best!

  2. Jude Pidgeon

    Great plan. Putting your focus on exploring Turkey should have some interesting results. Just enjoy.

  3. This sounds like a great plan! I love a good plan of any kind, so maybe I’m overly-enthusiastic, but this sounds very sensible. My top tips for meeting Turkish people are doing a language course and going to other kinds of classes – which you’ve totally got covered.

    I’m writing something at the moment about how to make friends as an expat in Turkey – what are your top tips?

    Good luck with it!

  4. Victoria.

    Love it. Immerse yourself, what a great place to do it. We have a lot of local friends. Makes a big difference! Enjoy! What is the new job?

    1. Hey Victoria,
      I am the new tech integrator! Super excited. I think the local aspect will make this a much richer experience too!

  5. That sounds like a wonderfully balanced plan, Claire. A sprinkling of a little bit of everything :). I sure will miss your visit, but I think you’ve got the right idea here. Enjoy!!

  6. Kim McDermott


    I imagine it will be a nice change of pace to relax and enjoy Turkey rather than traveling around. Almost like you can allow your roots to grow deeper into Turkey. Enjoy the adventure and rest up for your new job! I look forward to reading more about it.

    All the best,


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