Friday, September 07, 2007

Who is she?

Some of you may know about me from my comments on this blog or may have even been reading my blog The Armenian Odar. For those who don't I'll just tell you a bit about me.

Like Hans, I am originally from Holland, and like him, I left my native country and ended up living on the other side of Europe, in Armenia in my case. I moved to Yerevan almost three years ago, after traveling back and forth between Holland and Armenia for over four years.

I guess there's something I like about the country and the people, otherwise I wouldn't have stayed and made my home there. ;-) This doesn't mean that I am not critical about Armenia, its people, its leaders and its Diaspora. There is lots of room for change without the country losing its character and culture. But that's for later posts.

When Hans asked me about my profession to put in the sidebar, I send a text message back: That's a good question: What IS my profession? I work part time at an international IT-company, this is the job that pays the bills and that I would trade in any time for something more interesting and less brain-killing. I work part time at an NGO in Yerevan that works on women's (rights) issues as a program manager, website-administrator and general IT-savvy person around. This is the job that I do because I love it, the people are nice, the work is interesting and I learn things and new skills. Finally, I teach Dutch to private students, which is something I rolled into by accident, but I ended up enjoying teaching. I guess Hans picked the right one (even though I am not a practicing lawyer), as that is the job I like best and that is in the direction of what I really want to do for a living.

When Hans asked me to join him, Vasilli and Yasemin as co-blogger, it wasn't hard to say yes. But at the same time part of me was thinking: "What am I getting myself into?" What with all the problems and the history between Turkey and Armenia. I am sure sensitive subjects or discussions will sooner or later come up, but I am not here to impose my opinions on anyone, let alone spread hatred. I just want to share with you pieces of life in Armenia, the way I see things here and issues that are 'in the news' here. Things like that.

So, I hope you'll enjoy my posts here.

How I settled down in Turkey

When I filed for a work permit in the USA in May 2002, my lawyer in Miami told me that it would be difficult. Especially since the USA was heading towards a recession and the 9/11 attacks made the USA more careful. So he told me to go on a long holiday in the Netherlands (you always have to pick up your work permit - if granted - in your country of birth). I made flight reservations for Miami-London-Amsterdam on June 1, and back Amsterdam-London-Miami for the 6th of July.
Since I didn't want to stay for 5 weeks in the Netherlands I booked a trip to Istanbul for mid June as well, since a girl wanted me to come over 'maybe you can help our company'...
So, on the 10th of June I flew to Istanbul and this girl showed me the first 4 nights Leila, Reina, Sunset and a Mexican bar/restaurant in Etiler. I was shocked! In a culture shock! So different than I expected...and I extended my trip twice - Turkey was playing in the World Soccer Istanbul was INTO that, and me too - no need to go back to the Netherlands.
My planned trip of 5 days became a holiday of 14 days. In the end, I didn't have to go to Turkey since the USA granted me a work permit after 10 days...which my Brazilian girlfriend by then, announced me while I was in Turkey...
Anyway, this girl who asked me to come over to help her company 'seduced' me with all these nice restaurants and places. You can find her here...))
Yes, I had to go back to Amsterdam and pick up my work permit and I flew back to Miami in July, where I made the decision to 'emigrate' to Istanbul. Where I married on June 7, 2003 in Ciragan Palace...with this girl, who in fact kidnapped me from my nice place in Miami..))

If you ask me: 'Do you like Turkey', I will say: 'I love it'. People are relaxed but are not aware of the treasures of this country. Yet, I don't like some die-hard Kemalists and ultra-nationalists who are sickening this country all the time, giving Turkey a bad name.

But when being abroad, I am always looking forwards to go back to Istanbul, my last and ever Love.