If I Really want to I Can Do it

Pinar Karasoy, Turkey

A bowl of bananas

Pinar Karasoy is a student of linguistics in Ankara where she shares an apartment in a private house with another girl. Her brother has recently married a Dane. We talked together in a hotel in Ankara.

My lessons at the university start early. So I get up and have breakfast with my roommate around seven. We usually have a traditional Turkish breakfast with bread, butter, cheese, tea and olives. Then we try to get ready, our worst time is always in front of the mirror, because we try to be there at the same time and sometimes have arguments about it.

We get on the bus in front of the Atatürk Mausoleum and reach our school in thirty minutes. Between lesson we go to the cafe and all our friends are there. In the summer we lie on the grass or play volleyball. Everybody is with his or her girlfriend or boyfriend, and we are happy.

But when the lessons come the sadness also comes. In this weather you don't want to study and we sometimes skip classes. If you have too many absences you may fail. Now we don't have any lesson because exams have started. We eat our lunch at the university.

One of our friends has a car, and he takes us home in the afternoon where we make dinner. Sometimes we eat sandwiches outside, but we don't go to restaurant as our families don't have much money, and they have to pay for our studies at the university. Sometimes we go to bars and listen to rock music. But we don't go out without our boyfriends, because there are dangerous men in the streets that we are afraid of.

Right now we prefer to buy Video-CDs and watch movies at home, I think this is better than going out. We like to watch French films like "Amelie". Once in a while we also drink beer. We don't study if there is no exam. I think nobody studies, it is enough to go to lessons and listen to the teachers. There is always music in our home, at home you can listen to music you like and dance the way you want to. I think that home life is better than life in the city.

We don't go to university on Saturdays and Sundays. Sometimes we go shopping or to the cinema. In the summer holidays I will go to Antalia to see my family, but I don't want to stay there long because my boyfriend will be here in Ankara.

My family knows my boyfriend but we found each other ourselves, university students don't allow their parents to decide whom they are going to marry. In modern Turkish families the parents cannot stop a marriage.

I think my life is a bit colourless because school takes so much time, and Ankara is a boring city with many politicians.

I had a happy childhood

I had a happy childhood, actually I was happier then. There are no musts when you are a child, and you can do what you want. I have an older brother and a younger sister. My mother was a midwife and my father a teacher.

I mostly played with the boys, we were in the streets and played football, I was the goalkeeper. But in the fifth grade I had glasses, and my father told me not to play ball, because the glasses might break. I was still with the boys, and when my father was not at home, I played football anyway. We also played hide and seek, climbed trees to get fruit and jumped rope. Sometimes we made our own homes the boys were husbands and the dolls babies, and hand in hand we went to visit each other. I still have some of my dolls in Antalya.

When I was five I went to kindergarten. In primary school I always worked hard and got good marks.

We lived in Adana at the Mediterranean but moved to Antalya when I was fifteen, because my brother studied medicine at the university there. My father was retired but he got a small market, and my mother found a new job as a midwife. So the family moved to be with my brother.

It was difficult in the beginning, but day by day I found new friends. I have a very good friend from high school that I really love and still see. There is nothing left from Adana, my life started again in Anatalya, when I was fifteen.

I still prefer boys to girls, my boyfriend is my intimate friend, and I can tell him my secrets and problems, he listens and tries to help me. It is difficult to trust girls there is always competition and jealousy. I don't understand why and I wish it were not like that.

My sister is also a good friend to me and of course my brother. We were always with him in Antalya and our family let us go everywhere with him. When he left for Istanbul, our parents let us go out with friends because they knew them, they didn't restrict our freedom.

My mother is religious my father is not. They let us make our own religious choices, and I believe that we were created by something, but I do not know what he or she is called, it may be Allah or something completely different.

I want to go abroad

I started studying linguistics at the university in Ankara two years ago. In my childhood an English woman came to our town, we taught her Turkish and she taught us English. In high school I had two good English teachers and really loved the subject, one of them supported me.

We have to pass an exam at the university to enter, many people try to take this exam but only few pass it. It is very hard to get into university in Turkey, so I was lucky to be accepted. I wanted to be a simultaneous translator, but my results were not good enough for that. The last year of high school I didn't study because my friend had some problems and I tried to help her. Actually my results disappointed my school and myself.

I am not pleased with the teaching I get at the university. We don't get at chance to talk English with native speakers. The teachers come into the classroom and write things on the board and leave again. I will finish my education and maybe do something else later. I want to go abroad to be an au pair or something like that. Maybe my brother, who married a Danish girl and lives in Sweden, can help me.

One of my friends in Antalya got very good marks, and he went to a good university in Istanbul to become a simultaneous translator. He took leave and went to Malta and Ibiza in Spain. Now he works as a manager of animators for tourists at a hotel in Antalya and practices English. He lives his own life, and will finish his studies without getting money from his parents. I wish I could do something like that.

We had a good American teacher in prep school, she was a former hippie, who had travelled in many countries, she told us about American culture, and her lessons were very interesting. But you can't learn English from books and papers in a university.

It is more difficult to go abroad if you are a girl you have to get permission from your parents. And they think about other people's opinions, I really hate that. I think everybody lives his or her own life and choose his or her good or bad future.

If I went abroad I might be able to find a husband from another country. Actually I don't know if English boys are better than Turkish boys but I would like to see for myself. I will definitely want to come back to Turkey you cannot leave the people you love and your past. I will be missing my brother, who has moved to Sweden, now I cannot see him when I want to.

It would be possible for me to go to another country. If I really want to I can do it!

It was love at first sight between my brother and his Danish wife when they met in Amsterdam. Our family was surprised, but it is wonderful to get a new sister like that. It only happens in movies, but when I think of it I was expecting that my brother might do something like that, because he is crazy.

I wish they will be happy together forever!

May 2004

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