As you probably already know (or don’t care), I lived in Turkey for 6 years before moving to China. For the first 2 years before I moved to Istanbul, I lived in a small city called Kayseri, on the edge of Kapadokya (aka Cappadocia to the tourism brochures). For a single foreign woman moving to Turkey, it was probably an odd choice of first destinations. It’s isolated, traditional, religious and quite conservative. I was one of maybe 4 foreigners in a city of 800,000 people.
Most of the women there who were my age were busy at home being housewives and a huge percentage of those (if I ever saw them) wore headscarves and those ubiquitous raincoats outdoors. I was pretty much alone in my uncovered pixie cut bright red hair and, um, unique fashion sense, a glaringly bright foreign beacon amongst the sea of dark mustached men in the streets. Genders were segregated, marriages were often arranged ones and unspoken social rules were complex and frequently, embarrassingly broken by me. (more…)