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My life as an Expat in Turkey - How I made friends in Turkey

2nd February 2016

How I made friends in Turkey

During work on the hotel construction my late wife and I lived in Kemer, where at the time were only a few English speaking Turks. This proved not a problem, as by using pigeon English, pointing and using hand movements, we soon made friends with numerous shopkeepers. By talking with them, it helped them to better understand English, as well as teaching us some basic Turkish. One Turkish friend named Mehmet who spoke German, owned a small leather shop. During sitting and enjoying a glass of cay with him, he soon picked up enough English for us to have a conversation. It was he who first took us to the Phaselis. This historical city set among pine trees, has three beaches, two are of pebbles, while the other is a long soft sandy one. The city became famous after a visit by Alexandra the Great, who loved the area so much; he stayed for over a year.

Another man named Omer, who once worked on cruise ships, spoke good English. He owned a small café where we would meet up for a chat with him and some friends. There were also two young Turkish brothers who spoke English, and owned a carpet shop. From this small gathering we met and made friends with a few expats who like us were living in Kemer. One Turkish man named Ahmed, introduced to us by a work colleague, became a good friend as did his family. It was Ahmed who found the land, with his company building the house I still own.

Our favourite place to meet was at the Mandelina Bar, not far from the company apartment we lived in. The Turkish owner and his German wife made everyone welcome, and would join us for a chat over a few beers. Slowly our circle of friends expanded, with our later invited to several of our Turkish friend’s home to meet their families. As Turkish people are so friendly and hospitable, it made living in a strange country a pleasure. We found that whenever we had a problem, by talking with one of our Turkish friends they would either sort things out, or find someone who could. This of course was both welcomed and much appreciated. It was our Turkish friends who helped us after our dog Ashley became badly injured after attacked by dogs, and someone using a sharp instrument to the back of his head. Without their help he would surely have died.

By sitting and talking with our new found friends and numerous friendly shopkeepers, it helped us to better understand Turkish and Turkish culture. In general, we had more Turkish friends than other expats. It is thanks to them and my present wife Gulden, that after all these years I still enjoy living here.


About Author:

My name is Colin Guest, a retired 74 year old Englishman married to a Turkish lady and living in Istanbul, Turkey.
Since starting my working life as an apprentice joiner/shopfitter in Plymouth, Devon, England, I worked my way up to become a foreman shopfitter, and later a supervisor, project supervisor, finishes advisor and head of a quality control team on a 52 storey luxury apartment block.
Over the course of nineteen years, I have worked with both architects and interior design companies, with my both advising and controlling interior finishing works on several palaces and a number of five star hotels. These were spread through fifteen countries in the Middle, Far East and North Africa.
As I have always enjoyed writing, apart from writing and publishing my e book An Expat's Experiences of Living in Turkey
Due to my rather different style of working life, I have written “Follow in the Tigermans Footsteps.”

Although a memoir, it reads more like an adventure book and includes many thrilling, crazy, humorous and several life threatening experiences I encountered during this incredible time of my life. Instead of a boring 9-5 job, I enjoyed a life most only dream about.

Comments (1)


2nd February 2016 Dear Colin, You are right living here is an adventure. Sometimes hard but like you explained, so,so unlike a 9-5 job. One day I will have to return to the UK but when I do, I will recall all of these most wonderful of experiences. Thank you, I enjoyed reading your article "My life as an expat in Turkey".

Regards Diana

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