If Language Be The Food Of Love…

Eureka!

It means I have found it.

The El Dorado, the essence of life, the I Ching, the holy grail…

It’s a funny thing isn’t it, that when you start exploring a particular topic, the floodgates open and suddenly, you are awash. Where previously you could find or you knew very little, in an instant a whole deluge of opportunities to broaden a particular horizon appear.
 
Those of you who have been following along for a little while now will know my fascination for the trials and tribulations of the translation kind here in my adopted homeland. The nonsensical expressions of the natives, the faux pas of my own making, the idiosyncracies of place names and the general labour of love that is communicating with the locals.

Source: pinterest

And let me put this in context. I come from a land Down Under where women glow, men chunder and pretty much the only language spoken is English. As do the locals – speak English I mean…although there are about half a million Australians in the UK…but I digress.

And my I Ching? It is quite simply the definitive Anglo-EU Translation Guide. Shared with me (wry smile for free) with my over-the-partition German work colleague.

Some were familiar from my Boden Bonanza back in May 2011.  But there were others that were new – and enlightening. ‘You must come for dinner soon’ does not constitute an invitation from a Brit (but may from any of the other nationalities in my sphere). ‘I only have a few minor comments’ is not a well done/pat on the back but is rather likely to precede a complete re-working of…well, everything you were working on.

Needless to say I spent much of my first few years in Blighty hungry and over-worked.

There’s been a spike of visits and page views over my last post, where I introduced you to Jack Scott from Perking the Pansies (reciprocal back-scratching at its best, I say). Jack has set up a very useful Expat Glossary on his site to help the immigrant ingenue in fair Anatolia navigate the colourful, lotus-eating-expat populous. Inspired by this charitable act, I have decided to create a glossary of my own, Mind The Gap! to help those fresh-off-the-boat to chart a safe course through the nuances of the indigenous vernacular here in the UK.

As the disclaimer says, Mind The Gap! represents the views and experiences of the author and whoever else she can earbash at the time. All idioms, ideas and idiosyncracies have been pinched without prejudice…and without apology.

In the spirit of community, sharing our experiences to enrich others and supporting our expat brothers-and-sisters-in-arms (aka blah blah blah), if you’re prepared to be earbashed and pinched without prejudice, let me know if you’ve got any personal pearlers to add.

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You never know. This could mark the beginning of a quiet revolution…

Turkish Delight…

Not a week has passed in this magnificent new year and already Gidday from the UK is bringing you delight from around the globe – Turkish Delight that is.

Jack Scott is a fellow expat – an Englishman in Turkey (Bodrum in fact) – and he’s written a book. His blog, Perking the Pansies is his catalogue of daily thoughts on the world of two gay men in foreign land – in turns thought-provoking and funny, always witty and honest. 

And now there’s the book…

This is not just a collection of blog posts. Rather Jack weaves the tale of the dichotomous life of an expat with poignancy and humour. The wondering where you belong, what ‘life’ to build and how to bridge the gap between life BE (Before Expat) and the unfamiliar ‘now’ remains as relevant to me now as eight years ago when I arrived in the UK and I look forward to finding out what happens next for Jack and Liam.

So without further ado, I am proud to present Gidday’s first guest for 2012, Jack Scott.

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Gidday from Turkey

Here on Gidday from the UK you’ll read about an Aussie girl’s life in Blighty and beyond, her thirst for reading and her need to scratch those itchy travelling feet. Her writing is eloquent, varied, fun and informative. I’ve always got along with Antipodeans. We share similar cultural roots and laugh at the same things, but our cousins Down Under aren’t afflicted with the same level of debilitating cynicism that stalks many Brits these days. I find this refreshing. To my eternal shame, I’ve never been to Oz. My partner, Liam, has. He loved it and wanted to stay. Forever. He even considered re-training as a hairdresser to gain enough points to emigrate (crimpers were in short supply at the time, apparently). From civil servant to coiffeur would have made a dramatic career change. He thought better of it when he realised it was a gay cliché too far. That was before he met me, of course.

When Gidday writes about London, it’s like a magical trip down memory lane for me. I enjoy our current lives as a wanton Lotus Eaters here in Turkey, but London Town is my home town and it’s where my heart is. I love Turkey but I’m in love with London. This ‘here and there’ tension is one of the recurring themes of my new book, Perking the Pansies, Jack and Liam move to Turkey. Were we insane to sell up, chuck in the jobs and move lock, stock and barrel to a Muslim country? Well, we’re still here but it’s been a rocky road. When I was recently asked to sum up our time in Turkey, I struggled to paraphrase the complexity of our experiences and emotions: ‘misery and joy, bigotry and enlightenment, betrayal and loyalty, friendship, love, earthquakes, birth, adoption and a senseless murder.’ Life in the Smoke was never this eventful. You couldn’t make it up.


Thank you so much to Gidday for featuring Perking the Pansies on the Book Nook list. I’m in elevated company. If you like what you see, the book is available on paperback and Kindle at Amazon.co.ukand Amazon.com.
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ps…If you want to see what I thought, pop over to The Book Nook and check out No. 57. Alternatively, if you are looking for a veritable pantheon of praise, I and many others have spread the word on Amazon so you can click here for that.