Höşgeldiniz! It was the first word I saw when I walked into TÖMER (a Turkish language school), a night after I arrived in Turkey. Naturally, I wondered how such a ridiculous string of letters and characters would sound like.
You must understand me, I have practically used English my whole life, a little bit of French and of course, a number of local languages in Ghana. I know about the other languages in the world but, this,… The “word” must have something to do with welcome. That much I gathered because right underneath the strange string of letters was the word WELCOME.
So i walked right ahead, İ was going to register to learn Turkish, and I hoped I will be “welcome”.
My first experiences in the country were not too pleasant or easy. First of all, I had a hard time finding my way to a pay phone. I found it strange that nobody I came across, apart from the gentleman at the foreign exchange stand spoke English in an “international” airport. I had read that the predominant language within the country was Turkish but considering Portugal, a Portuguese speaking nation that has a sizeable number of natives also speaking English, a global language, I kind of expected a similar situation here. Alas, here I stood lost with no means of communication. Eventually, I found my way out of the airport.
After some other events I have safely locked away in the “never-visit-again-cabinets’ of my life, I arrived at my dorm and I met Asia, and oh, how she made me feel welcome. Someone at last who would speak gibberish as well as English. She would later be a real friend to me (another story for another day).
Fast forward eight months and I have finally finished my course. İ walked past the same sign, even though I’m nowhere near perfect in the language and I have bouts of doubts and uncertainty about what word or expression means what sometimes, I don’t think its so strange anymore. In fact, I wonder – How cool is it that a whole sentence is said in one word? Höşgeldiniz – You are welcome.
Embrace whatever new experiences you are facing and find the good in it. I bet you will find many ‘cool’ stuff to add to your reservoir of experiences.
The mind is a phenomenal tool designed to do marvellous things only if we train it.
what are some of your experiences in new places?
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