How to Improve Your Turkish – Part 2

If you want to improve your Turkish I hope you don’t have to go through what I did.  If you haven’t been following my saga on how I managed, click on the link to read Part One.

Just to be sure I waited dört (4) rather than üç (3) business days before I texted the bank (again) for a şifre for my university entry and dining hall card. Each day I tried it was no go. Still lacking a pin number with which to load money on my card, I took my lunch to work every day and sat alone while my colleagues went off to the yemekhane to enjoy a three course meal for only a few lira. Six business days after signing the second contract with the bank, having shown them my pasaport and yet another futile phone call to the central office at merkezi, I went to the local şubesi (again). At least now I knew where it was the walk wasn’t as long and tiring as the first time. Once there I was told I should be able to get a pin number because all my documents had been received by the other branch (a long hot walk down a hill, round a corner and so on). I told her (again) that I still couldn’t get a pin number because the bank needed to güncellenecek my phone number, although I still failed to understand how they could update information they didn’t have.

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The only highlight of a long hot walk to Fikirtepe was this fabulous mosque built in 1985 featuring brilliant tile work on the minaret. Not exactly Iznik but it works!

We both bit our lips and issued our individual language versions of the sound ‘hmmm’ while the teller fiddled with the computer keys. Suddenly she said “Oh, they haven’t recorded your phone number”, and asked me for it. Then she did some more mysterious things with the computer and printed out a form for me to sign. When I looked at it I saw it simply asked if I was me, myself, and if the phone number that I’d just told her was mine, was actually mine. I thought it was interesting that they needed my passport to allow her to ask me these questions, given my passport doesn’t include my phone number. This being Turkey however, there is bound to be some logic in there, somewhere. I hope. After I checked the number was correct and signed where directed, she scanned the sheet, sent an email somewhere and then went out the back to consult with the manager. I watched anxiously through the frosted glass as they talked but she quickly came back out and told me to send the text requesting a pin number one more time (tekrar).

I did so and quickly received a mesaj, a different one this time. At this point my Turkish failed me and I couldn’t understand it. I held out my phone to her and she quickly read it before telling me I was all set. “Gerçekten mi?” I asked. Could I really put money on my card now and go and eat at the personnel dining hall? Kesinlikle, she replied, I could even go outside right away and use the ATM to yaıtırmak some money but I declined. Even though she was absolutely certain it work, I felt it was too much to expect I could get my pin number AND deposit some money in the account on the same day!

Finally getting my pin number left me unsure as to whether I should laugh or cry so I just slunk out of the branch, slightly stunned. I had really thought I would have to resort to bringing lunch from home everyday for the next semester or two, while I waited for the problem to be sorted out.

Now, I wonder if I can sort out the problem I’m having with my cable television company

If you’re looking for an easier way to learn Turkish I recommend you start with Lonely Planet Turkish Phrasebook & Dictionary. For those of you who are really serious about improving, I find Turkish Grammar by Geoffrey Lewis hard but useful

About Goreme1990

I’m Lisa Morrow, the person behind www.insideoutinistanbul.com. I was born in Sydney, Australia and grew up a leafy middle class North Shore suburb. After finishing high school I went to Sydney University but failed to find my niche. After working as a public servant, cleaner, sales assistant, waitress, bar maid and car counter, I went overseas. Once there I hitchhiked through the UK, travelled in Europe and arrived in Turkey just as the Gulf War was starting. My three months stay in the small central Anatolian village of Göreme changed my life. On my return to Australia I earned a BA Honours Degree in Sociology from Macquarie University. An academic career beckoned but the call to travel was louder. After several false starts I moved to Turkey and lived there for ten years. In 2017 I moved to Lisbon, Portugal, but continue to travel regularly to Istanbul. In addition to my blog I've written a travel narrative memoir called "Waiting for the Tulips to Bloom: Adrift in Istanbul" and two collections of essays, "Inside Out In Istanbul: Making Sense of the City" and "Exploring Turkish Landscapes: Crossing Inner Boundaries". I have a regular segment on San Francisco Turkish radio and in early 2017 I released an audio walking tour called "Stepping back through Chalcedon: Kadikoy Walk", through VoiceMap. In addition I write for various international and Australian magazines and websites, as well as for this blog. A full list of my published articles, with links, can be found on the Writing on Turkey and Writing Beyond Turkey pages.
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