Monday, November 20, 2017

Congrats to Expat Sofra contributor Lisa Morrow on her new book!

Lisa Morrow has a new book! 

We asked her for a quick write up on her latest work, and she was happy to oblige. Here is an excerpt that should cause some discussion, let us know what you think! What cultural differences have you experienced that proved difficult or enriching?

 Waiting for the Tulips to Bloom
by Lisa Morrow

Ever since I was little, I’ve loved to escape into books. Reading about other people’s lives, daydreaming about living somewhere unknown, thrilling to amazing adventures. Books made me realise I wanted to escape the suburban world I’d been born into and live a life without limits.  
When I was older and started to travel, my dream became a reality.

When I moved to Istanbul I was living in a suburb again, and thought I’d settle right in. On the surface everyday life seemed the same, but the myriad small differences in this Turkish suburb were bewildering. Not having grown up in the culture or with the language, at first I often had to second guess meanings. I was keen to fit in but had to balance this desire with trusting my instincts, otherwise I’d lose myself.
I started writing to make sense of my new world. Short stories and snippets of my life in Istanbul formed the basis for my blog It was so well received I went on to publish two collections of essays, Inside Out In Istanbul: Making Sense of the City and Exploring Turkish Landscapes: Crossing Inner Boundaries.   

As anyone who’s ever lived in a foreign country knows, the changes and differences can sometimes be challenging and hard as well as wonderful and enriching. Reflecting on this is how my memoir, Waiting for the Tulips to Bloom: Adrift in Istanbul, came about. Here’s an extract from the book to show what I mean.
“Over the next few days we visit more (estate) agents, but most of the time they speak no English at all, and are very traditional. This means women are frequently ignored, either out of respect for their position as another man’s wife, or because they are not considered bright enough or possibly worldly enough to understand what is going on. Luckily, during the tea drinking ceremony Kim can hold his own in Turkish. He easily understands the oft repeated comments about the weather and the traffic and is able to respond as expected. However, as soon as we put our spoons in the small tulip shaped glasses to signal we don’t want any more, the agents look at him to lead the conversation. What follows feels really strange. I’m the one who starts talking, yet they ignore me and look and talk directly to Kim. Much as I want to, I don’t make an issue of it because the chance of these men changing their attitude towards women is zero to nothing. More importantly for our purposes, if I get angry this will reflect badly on Kim, because he will be seen as a man who can’t control his wife. He already has a hard enough time in Turkey on account of his name, and I don’t want to make his life any worse. In Turkish ‘kim’ means ‘who’ so introductions are very tricky, and as a result, a lot of people view him with some suspicion, as if he is trying to deceive them in some way. In addition, being from a Mediterranean background he looks very similar to them but can’t speak the language fluently, further confusing things.”
I really appreciate Katie and Francesca inviting me to write about my book Waiting for the Tulips to Bloom: Adrift in Istanbul (link - for the Expat Sofra website. I’m excited to be a part of their project and look forward to sharing my new story when Expat Sofra is released.

Inside Out In Istanbul: Making Sense of the City
Exploring Turkish Landscapes: Crossing Inner Boundaries
Waiting for the Tulips to Bloom: Adrift in Istanbul 



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