My latest guest blogger is Karin Tıraşın, who I met at the IATEFL conference in Brighton in April. Karin is Norwegian and lives in Turkey, so I was as usual nosily interested in how she came to make that move, and what it was like to live in such a different environment. She graciously agreed to explain…
It’s your birthday and you’ve just been given the best gift ever – some brand-new high-end super-sonic gadget you were dying to get your hands on. So, what’s the first thing you do? Start pressing buttons to see what miracles may happen? Or, do you read the instruction manual carefully from start to finish and then decide what to do? The way people answer this question can tell you a lot about who they really are.
It can also tell you a thing or two about me. I’m Karin, a Norwegian, who because I’m near manual-fobic and only read instructions (and warnings) as a last resort (and usually after it’s too late anyway), suddenly found myself teaching English in Turkey about 10 years ago.
Most people assume that I settled in Turkey because I fell madly in love with a Turk, but that’s just half-true as I had already married and had a son with my Turk in Norway before deciding it would be fun to see what living in his country would be like.
If I had read the manual or listened to the warnings, I might never have left good old safe Norway. Luckily I didn’t. Also, if I had been less persistent (or “stubborn” or “like a dog with a bone” depending on which of my friends you ask), I might never have stayed. Thankfully I wasn’t. After surviving the culture shock that I should have (but didn’t) read about in the manual, I adapted so well and loved it here so much that now I don’t think I’ll ever leave.
My decision to become a teacher happened much in the same way, and I stayed a teacher for a long time much for the same reasons. When I was a student at University, teaching just seemed like a good enough idea. It certainly wasn’t a calling and it took me years to get from “I’m not really sure I like this” via “I think I can maybe do this OK after all” to honestly feeling that I love my job.
Thank God I didn’t read the fine script too carefully or give up too easily. I might have missed out on the best job in the world.
Another thing I’m glad I didn’t miss out on, is this year’s IATEFL conference (my first!) and all of the wonderful people that I had the pleasure of meeting and learning from there. It is funny how that also happened as a result of me not reading the manual very well. The manual in this case being an e-mail from my HOD telling me about a blogathon she thought I “would enjoy”. I didn’t realize how time-consuming and difficult it would actually be to edu-blog, but of course couldn’t just quit once I’d gotten myself into it.
Well, I’m glad I didn’t because I discovered once again that miracles can happen when you press buttons at random; not only did I win the trip to Brighton, but I met a lot of truly remarkable people there – one of them even offered me a spot on his blog as a guest writer…
Thank you Ken for this opportunity, and thank you dear reader – for reading, in spite of the title!
Love from Turkey