The other day I was telling a friend about how it feels to be a foreigner in Turkey. I think it can be pretty well summed up in this short story:
One day we went to a local park. The park has a small zoo and aside from two very active monkeys, it's mostly just farm animals and some strange looking birds. Nothing special, but still exciting for kids.
I walked around the cages with Elise, looked at the animals and listened to the people around us:
"Look mom!! It's a goat... and a baby goat!!!! Look at how cute it is!!!"
"I see that dear! What a sweet little goat!"
"Wow dad! There's a monkey! It's looking at me! I wonder where they got that monkey from!"
"Ooooh!! Listen to the noises those birds are making... that's so funny!!"
Elise and I stood in front of the monkey cage and watched while some boys fed them spicy doritos through the fence. She turned and said something to me in English. I answered back. In English. Suddenly all heads turned toward us.
"Look mom! Foreigners!!!"
"Daddy! Look! It's a cute little foreigner. She has blond hair!!"
"Ooooh! The little one has blue eyes!"
"You're right sweetie! I think they must be German!"
"Maybe there's more of them around here! Where did they come from? I wonder what they're saying to each other."
I turned and looked to see if there was an empty cage beside the monkeys. We're obviously far more exciting than they are. And if we lived at the zoo, maybe as an added bonus we'd get some free doritos!!