Full credit to Jack @ ‘Perking the Pansies’ blog; it’s so good it deserves to be plagiarized; and to Natalie of Turkish Travel Blog further down the page.
Expatriates, like everyone else, come in all shapes and sizes – the mean and the mannered, the classless and the classy, the awful and the joyful. The abbreviated epithet ’expat’ simply doesn’t adequately express the myriad folk who have chosen to live here In Turkey. To add a little descriptive colour to my posts, I’ve devised some new words to depict the numerous variants of the species.
- Emigreys: retirees serving out their twilight years in the sun, most of whom seem to be just a little to the right of Genghis Khan and who bought a jerry built white box in Turkey because it was cheaper than Spain (well, it was at the time). Everyday emigrey life operates within a parallel universe of neo colonial separateness preoccupied with visa hops to the Isles of Greece, pork sausages, property prices and Blighty bashing.
- VOMITs (Victims of Men in Turkey): vintage desperate ex-housewives with a few lira to spare who shamelessly chase younger Turkish men. Predictably, such relationships rarely last once the money runs out. Thank you to Sara for this one.
- Semigreys: those too young to retire in the conventional sense, who are living the vida loca on the proceeds of property sales. Plunging interest rates present quite a fiscal test to those trying to maintain a hedonistic lifestyle on dwindling assets while waiting for the pensions to kick in, assuming there will be a pension to kick in given the parlous position of the public purse.
- Vetpats: veterans who have been living in Turkey for many years. Usually better informed than their peers with a less asinine view of the world, vetpats have taken the trouble to learn Turkish and are better integrated into the wider community. Some have even acquired Turkish citizenship and are fortunate to have found gainful employment on the right side of the Law.
- Emiköys A rare breed of seasoned pioneers, Emiköys have forsaken the strife of city life and deodorant for the real köy mckoy and eek out a life less ordinary in genuine Turkish villages. They get down, dirty and dusty with the locals, contribute meaningfully to their small rural communities, keep chickens, get unnaturally close to nature and talk Turkish to the trees (well not always, but I’m sure some do).
- Sexpats: discrete grey men of means who are serviced by young Turkish men in return for a stipend.
- Hedonistas: Those who enjoy a carefree existence of total self indulgence liberated from the binding ties of responsibility or the worries of tomorrow.
- The Ignorati: A collective term for those who live in utter ignorance of the history and culture of their foster land, shout loudly in English and see the world at large through the narrow-minded pages of the Daily Mail (or The Daily Bigot as I like to call it).
These terms are not mutually exclusive. It’s perfectly possible for an emigrey to also be a vetpat VOMIT and a fully paid up member of the ignoble ignorati, and many are.
I have received several suggestions from readers to add to the Pansy ex-pat lexicon.
- Thank you Greg for ‘emigays‘ to describe well to do old queens spending up their life savings because you can’t take it with you and no children to fret about (That’ll be us then).
- Thank you Tom for the deliciously naughty ‘cowpats‘ for those I really can’t abide and would flee to the next town to avoid.
- Thank you Carole for the ‘MADs’ (My Ahmet’s Different) for those delusional VOMITs who think that their Turkish man is somehow different from the rest because “he really loves me”. Who are they trying to kid?
Whatever the reason the fact is that when you come to Turkey, you will definitely come into contact with one or more expats unless you are camping in the back of beyond. We are everywhere but mainly tend to gather in packs on the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. I am not normally one for stereotyping people however life in Turkey as an expat does change your outlook and personality. When you meet us, you will be able to place us into one or more of the following four stereotypes.
Expats – Group One – Mr and Mrs Frugal
They can normally be spotted in a bar arguing with the owner over the price of beer. When you point out that they are throwing their dummy out of the pram for the equivalent of a mere twenty pence, you will be subjected to a long winded lecture that it is not about the price but the principal. If Mr and Mrs Frugal do not get their discounted beer then the owner of the bar will subjected to a flurry of insults and threats that no expats will ever visit their bar again.
Solution – Point, laugh and carry on drinking. Nobody takes any notice of them and neither should you.
Expats – Group Two – Mr and Mrs Anti-Turkey
Unfortunately Mr and Mrs Negative were under the impression that they were moving to paradise. They expected blissful days in the sun with not a worry in the world. Of course, a combination of bad but insignificant events have lead Mr and Mrs Negative to believe that the Prime minister of Turkey personally hates them with a vengeance and has implemented a campaign to get them out of the country. Instead of helping you to know more about Turkey, they have an effect that makes you want to throw yourself under the nearest passing bus.
Solution – Wear a disguise; change your hotel or even resort. Just do anything to avoid them at all costs. Negativity is contagious and after thirty minutes of listening to them you will be signing up for a life supply of Prozac.
Expats – Group Three – Mr and Mrs Know-It-All.
Mr and Mrs Know-It-All are like a double sided coin. They can provide you with a lot of useful information however their attitude of talking down to you like a three year old makes you want to shove a rotten Turkish kebab down their throat. Do not under any circumstances, question the knowledge of Mr and Mrs Know-It-All as you will find yourself thrown out of their gang and social invites will dwindle down to nothing.
Solution – If you want an active social life, then understand and comprehend the meaning of one way conversations. If being part of the gang is not an issue for you, just ignore them but be prepared for your ears to be burning 24/7.
Expats – Group Four – The Type We Love.
These expats have settled into the community with realistic expectations. They know they are living in a country with different customs, traditions and a language barrier. They will share information and help you in such a way that a long term friendship is formed. If you come across these expats then treasure them and use them to find out everything you want to know about Turkey whether you are planning on living here or simply traveling around.
Expat Forums and Blogs.
If you are thinking of joining our merry little band of crazy expats in Turkey then here are some resources that you might find helpful. If I have missed any off that you know about then please feel free to add them.
Turkeys For life – Life From the View of Two Expats in Fethiye
Perking the Pansies – used to be about Expat Life in Bodrum – then they moved to Norwich
Turkish Muse – Expats In Izmir
Adventures in Ankara – An American Expat Living in Ankara
Being Koy - An Expat Living in The Village of Kirazli
Ayaks Turkish Delight - Life For an Expat In a Traditional Turkish Village
Stories From Turkey - An American Family Living in Istanbul
Foreign Perspective – Jake talking about Expat Life in Adana
“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.” – Oscar Wilde.