Tesisatçı (Or A Why Stranger Put On My Sandals)

You are not just learning language. You are not just learning language. This is the constant refrain in my head these days. You are learning to communicate and there is a way of thinking and a culture that comes with it.

And fortunately because of that my life is full of non-stop foreigner mistakes and entertainment. And one of my favorites so far deals with  my bathroom. Before you read any farther I feel obligated to promise you that this story is free from all gross bathroom humor.

My Turkish Toilet
When I moved into my new appartment the sink was leaking in this bathroom a lot. For a while I just dealt with I put a bucket under the pipe everyday and emptied it once a day lest it overflow and start flowing out into my hall way. I probably would be still doing this until one of my friends offered to call a Tesisatçı (a plumber) for me. Always thankful for help my friend called the plumber. Then my friend left- this is not what I expected to happen.

I suddenly realized it would be up to me to explain to the plumber what was wrong with my sink. I looked up the words for to form phrases like “my sink has a problem” and “the water always flows from there”.  And for the next 30 minutes I did a crash course in Turkish home repair vocab. And forgot the all important lesson: Matt you are not just learning the language.

The plumber showed up during my study session. I pointed out where the bathroom was tried my hand at my phrases I had learned. Everything was going rather smoothly. He tried to turn on the light in there which also did not work (did I mention I have quite the quirky place?). And just as I thought I was nailing this he asked me a question. A question I did not understand. A question I did not know was a question until he said again. I did what I always do in these circumstances I smiled and nod.

This did not satisfy him. He then started repeating one word over and over. Terlik! Terlik! Terlik! I panicked I had not learned this word. And had no idea what it meant. I had not learned this word in my cramming session. He kept saying it. I scrambled for my phone but before I could look it up. He went and put on my sandals and went happily to work.

Terlik- the word for house slippers

He wanted slippers. It is a custom here people in their homes alwaysto wear some form of house slippers. It is also customary to offer them to guests. This to him I am sure was more important to him lest he get his feet wet doing the repair.

If you happen to stop by now I can tell you one thing you will be greeted with an offer of slippers.

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