Thursday, September 6, 2012

New Faces

Fall. Cooler nights. Cool mornings. Shorter days. I love this time of year. At work, this time of year is also when all of the new foreign (American) teachers show up for their new overseas adventure. This year we have a really nice group of new teachers. I have to admit I was dreading this week. You just never know who’s going to show up. Unfortunately, my current employer doesn’t offer much in the way of “help” when foreign teachers first get here. I remember preparing to come, thinking “Surely they will help me in some way.” Even the help they promised, picking me up at the airport, didn’t happen. My welcome to my new home was a 50 dollar taxi ride to my friend’s house with three suitcases because no one from my new employer showed up. Anyway, this is to illustrate the point that they really don’t help new staff at all. This means that when the new staff arrive, they need a LOT of help, from finding a place to live, to getting a phone, internet, electricity, and fixing the inevitable thing or two in their new apartment, to finding furniture and moving it all into their apartment. They basically need everything. Some people are extremely self sufficient and have lived overseas before, or already have friends here, as I did. Others arrive and are immediately crippled by culture shock, and latch onto anyone and everyone who could do things for them. I feel so torn in this situation, because I, too, came, and I was extremely blessed to have friends already here who helped me find furniture and move. I already had an apartment and roommate arranged. I remember how hard it was to get internet and a phone line. I remember that no one told me I could pay my bills online, so I stood in long lines every month for about 4 months. Still, in the past few years there have been a few really independent new coworkers, and there have been a few REALLY dependent coworkers. I want to help people, but at the same time, I don’t want to become their personal assistant, being called all hours of the day and night to fix a problem with their rent/shower/heating/phone/bank account. All of these fears are, of course, totally groundless, and the new staff have been really great so far. It’s nice to see fresh faces around, and I’m actually looking forward to getting to know them all better. Hooray for new beginnings!


  1. Glad to hear Fall is in the air. Cooler weather is always welcomed here! Enjoy the new year!

  2. This is the start of my favorite time of year, too. In Phoenix, I feel human again! What does Turkey look like this time of year?
    You have such a helping heart! Why don't you write down all the wisdom/practical knowledge you've gained as a newbie to the country, including how to pay bills online, and print it out for all the new teachers as they come each school year? That way, you're phone line is less busy AND you help them help themselves.
    Enjoy the weather and the new school year!

  3. Hi K! We actually talked about this the other day. When you first move here, even if someone gives you all the info at once, you can't even process it, because your basic question is "How will I survive today?" It works out pretty well just to help people with things as they come to them. The newbies don't have bank accounts yet, but don't worry, I'll tell them when they get there :) As for writing everything down, there is some literature they get when they get here, but you can't write down everything! It would be a novel!

  4. Sounds like a best selling e-book to me: "How will I survive Today?: An American in Turkey" :-)