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Turkish tea for me
Mmmm, a glass of hot Turkish tea. Warms me down to my world wide webbed toes. Hey would ya look at that..there's a fly in my tea..wow! my lucky day.

Gwen's sincere apology

Dear friends,
I am really sorry I didn't finish the last newsletter yesterday, for I had to catch the company service bus at 18:15. And I couldn't save the newsletter on the web model with the Turkish computer, so I had no choice but publish it. I am sorry about this. As below, I will keep up the unfinished part, and start another new topic.

another mistake I made is the price of the tea. Usually, a small glass of tea is free after meal in the restaurant, costs 50,000 T.L. (1.25 NTD), and costs 400,000 T.L. (10 NTD) in a general tea shop. The tea cost us 1,400,000 T.L. (45 NTD) in the expensive tea shop we went in the afternoon. It's really expensive.

p.s. I still cannot upload my photos, because all of them are over 100K. What can I do?


the most important ceremony
Everyone got back to their seat when the music stopped. The couple stand in front of the stage. They both wore a long white scarf, and people started to line up give the couple the regards and gifts. The bride and groom kissed everyone's two cheeks by cheeks. Most of the gifts are golden bracelet, and the bride wore all of them on her arms. Some people gave cash (even EURO), and these cash was pined on their white scarf. There are also some special little golden decoration with little red ribbon bow, as a classicla wedding gift, I think.

After the gift giving ceremony, the couple went back to the preparation room took off the gift. And the "Na-Ka-Shi" band stuffed the time with traditional songs. There were cola and cookies served on the table, but not many people are interested.

Again, the bride and groom walked out of the room, and started another Turkish dance party. I start to learn how to shake my shoulders and butt. In Chinese dance, fingers , wrist and elbow movement are seen a lot, but it's common for them to shake their shoulders and butt following the strong rhythm in the Turkish dance.
It's interesting that naturally men and women seperated when they were dancing. The groom danced in the center of a circle of men, and sometimes they hug and kissed each other's cheek from men to men. it's not formal in any other culture for men to be so intimate, but you will get used to it here.

That's for all of the Turkish wedding. My friends were exhausted dancing with their high-heels. We left the wedding at 11p.m. and went into another outdoor tea shop again. They discussed about the wedding, but I don't understand them and just sat there.

From the wedding, I can realize how important dancing is for their culture and also no wine at all in the ceremony. Because wine is not allowed in the Muslim culture, though they drink a lot usually. And also, I think for my colleagues, it's a good social place for them to meet some men, because for them, they don't have any chance in the week days, backing from home and company without social life. That's why they paid so much attention on their makeup and dressing. But I am sorry that they were disappointed again.

Turish National Drink
Turkish Coffee must be one of the first thing you think of when it comes to Turkey. Unfortunately, it's not the most common drink in Turkey. Tea, as they say "Cay", very similar pronounciation with the "Cha" in Chinese, acts as the national drink here.

I learn this when I was served 5 big cups of tea a day in the company. All most every company has its own tea lady making and sevicing unlimited tea all day long. When there are guests, also tea is served.

In the commercial buildings without tea ladies, there are always tea service in the first floor, and tea boys serve glasses of tea when you order. On the shopping street, you will see lots of empty tea glass along the street, and tea boys are responsible for sending tea and taking the glass back. Usually teenager boy do this job, and if they break the glass on the way of sending, they have to suffer the loss. Tea service is the special vocation under this tea culture. In the family, always making tea. Breakfast, tea; after meal, tea; tea time, tea; nothing to do, of course tea.

The special shape for the small tea glass is like women's body, with curve on it and always transparent. There is also a transparent tea tray, tea spoon, and sugar as a set. The teapots making tea are special also. They use two tiers of teapots at the same time. The upper teapot (smaller) hold tea leaves and the other teapot hold only water.

First, they put tea leaves into the upper pot and pout cold water into it. It's very different from our way of making tea. And then, they boil the water inside the two tiers of pot altogether. You can decide how strong you want the tea by controlling the water (in the lower pot). Then, they put suger, stir it, and finish it with very high temperature. Every time when I wait for my tea cold down, the tea lady always cannot stand me, as she says, no one drinks cold tea. Also, in the tea shop, if the tea is not hot enough, they will ask for another glass.

Fantastic Turkish Coffee (Türk Kahvesi)
Indeed, Turkish people do fortune telling by finished turkish coffee cup.

The difference between the coffee we are familiar with and Turkish coffee is the way they grind the coffee bean. Turkish people grind the coffee bean so thin that they cannot use filter paper when they cook their coffee. After they boil their thin coffee powder with water and suger, they pour both the coffee mud and coffee inside the small cup. You have to wait for the mud to deposit and then drink it without adding cream.

If you want to be told about your fortune, then you have to finish the coffee by yourself (of course). Cover the cup with the coffee tray and turn it over. Make a wish while you circle the cup around your head. Then, put it back to the table, and wait for the coffee mud to deposit again on the tray.

Usually, when they want the outcome ready quicker, they put their ring on the top of the cup bottom to cool the cup. After around ten minutes, the fortune teller start to read the shape of the mud goes inside the cup and on the tray. She will tell you what she reads and answer if your wish is going to come ture, without asking you anything about your wish or your information. You don't have to ask her about a certain interested topic either, because she just reads the mud, and tells you everything. Amazing? Come to Turkey and give it a try.

Another different drink, Ayran
I don't describe too much about this drink, because none of trainees here in Turkey likes this drink. They stir yogurt, salt and cold water altogether to make Ayran. Also, you can buy already-made Ayran in the supermarket. They think it's yuck to eat yogurt sweet, when I tell them I love strawberry flavour yogurt, and of course I cannot find any fruit flavour yogurt here. And I think I am polite enough not to tell them that I think it's yuck to eat yogurt salty. Don't you think so?

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Tulin, the bride was dancing "turkishly" with our colleague Ruzi.
Time: July, 26th, 2003 Place: Eskisehir
Gwen's news updated

- 8 weeks left
- My laptop died, it served quite well for the last two years. I will bury it here. Now, my luggage is lighter for sure.
- I try to share this Turkish wedding with you. I hope my description is not too boring.
- joining "Blue Agean tour" this weekend (Aug 1st~3rd)

Eskisehir, the old city
As I told you last week, I was joining my ex-colleague, Tulin's wedding last weekend. The wedding was held in Eskisehir, her husband's parents' city. It's quite similar to our traditional wedding place decision. After wedding, the newly-wed will still live their lives in Bursa.

Eskisehir (old city, in Turkish), three hour ride far from Bursa, and exactly in the middle way to Ankara, is actually not old at all. Anadolu Universitesi (Anatolia University) brings the large student population, and gives the city more vitality. Cheaper daily commodities, more romentic cafe and outdoor tea shops prove again that Eskisehir is not an old city at all. But Quite boring, as the locals say.

Wedding preparation
I took the bus with 3 of my colleagues, who are all 27-year-old, single, (smoking) ladies. On the way, they were so exited like girls are going to parties, putting on nail polish, and chatting all the time. After we got to Eskisehir, Ozlem, the cousin of Sukret, joined us, and four ladies re-start their dress shopping for the wedding. They also bought a gold bracelet for the bride. On our way of shopping, they stayed in an very nice expensive tea shop (one for 1.8 million, usually one for 0.5 million) smoking.

Before heading for wedding, four ladies bought 3 tops and 1 pair of high-heels. I guess they were really excited about the coming wedding. We ate our dinner at Ozlem's home, and Ozlem's father drove us, 4 gorgeous ladies and 1 photographer (me) to the wedding.

serious delay
We got to the party place at 9 p.m., but not many people were there. I asked them when should the wedding start. The anwser is 7 p.m.!! Wow! worse than the Taiwanese wedding dinner.

Finally, the bride and groom showed up. The bride is still wearing her glasses, and you could see the iron frame under her white skirt. I bet she must didn't feel comfortable at all. They start the first dance under the classical love song of Celin Dion. And then, the participants joined the dance. My friends sat lonely on the seat. I tried to take photos, but there were appointed photographer and cameraman taking photos and video. They don't allow me to take!

After three songs, the music suddenly changed to the traditional Turkish music with the live band, let's say, "Na-Ka-Shi". The couple started to dance wildly another totally different kind of dance. I can see they feel more relaxed now. My colleagues joined the dancing. They danced in a circle, and this is the first time I start to dance with my shoulder and butt under my control.

The most important ceremony
Everyone got back to their seat when the music stopped. The couple stand in front of the stage. They both wore a long white scarf, and people started to line up give the couple the regards and gifts. The bride and groom kissed everyone's two cheeks by cheeks. Most of the gifts are golden bracelet, and the bride wore all of them on her arms. Some people gave cash (even EURO), and these cash was pined on their white scarf.

After the gift giving ceremony, the couple went back to the preparation room took off the gift.

I cannot finish....

左起:Ruzufet, Banu, Sucret的表妹,表妹的媽媽, 還有Sucret

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Turish newsflash, Temmuz 22

My dear newsletter subscriber,
This is Gwen from Bursa, Turkey. I have a good news, and a bad news for you.

The good news is that I took last week off (July 14th~20th) travelling to south east and central part of Turkey, which is totally different from north west part. There are full of historical treatures in Turkey. Lots of places appearing in the Bible and Byzzantine, Roman Empire are in Turkey. But they was stupidly ruined and ignored by these Islamic Turkish since the 7th century. The farthest city I went is Antakya. If we say that the 3% Turkey in Europe is the key to Europe, then Antakya is the gate toward the Arabian world. I brought back 278 photos of this beatiful country and going to share with you.

Though, the bad news is that my beloved 2-year-old Compaq Presario 800 is temporarily dead, and now lying in the reparing factory. I can only type in English with my company Turkish computer. My writing plan of introducing the life in Turkey and my travelling diary is suspended until my laptop comes back safely. If my laptop were announced the death sentence, I can only finish them after 10 weeks after I come back to Taiwan.

Meanwhile, I will start another series of newsletter, which I always want to do but lack of time, the English version newsletter. I will update my life to you, such as joining my first Turkish wedding this weekend or first circumcision ceremony in the summber. And also, I will complete the 7 issue in last 3 months. I won't translate them directly but rewrite them. Please feel free to ignore them if you don't like my poor English writing skills. But also please be generous to give me feedback by just press the reply button. I will really appreciate your kindness.

best regards from Bursa,


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(7/1) 明明昨天就完成了,但是發不出去,害我無法完成我的『生日紀念特刊』。不過,這一期已經拖了整整一個月了,也不差這一天就是了。


Bursa是土耳其第四大工業城,主要為汽車以及紡織工業,尤其以絲織品聞名,因為蠶寶寶很多。大部分trainee也在這兩個產業公司工作。我的公司主要生產家庭紡織品,例如桌巾,窗簾,浴簾,家具裝飾布料...等,主要市場為歐美高級紡織品市場。表面上是一個Akroteks-Ozcelikler公司集團,但是其實公司和公司之間沒有很大的分野,完全含括從頭到尾的生產加銷售過程,同一個老闆,同一個總經理。Ozcelikler工廠負責紡織,(twisting, warping, weaving),擁有六百多名女工以及兩百五十台新款的提花織布機;Toros工廠則負責最後一個流程,染整,完成以及品質控制(dyeing, finishing, & quality control);Akroteks公司負責進出口業務以及行銷,外銷國家包括英美,德法,希臘,科威特,澳洲,南非,摩洛哥,埃及,俄國,阿根廷,瑞典,澳洲,匈牙利...等;另外一家工廠Bjtona則是休閒服成衣工廠。公司集團擁有兩個品牌,perga curtains以及Adente table cloth。http://www.akroteks.com/ 大老闆另外在別的城市還擁有一間度假旅館,還有其他投資我不知道。

TN form上我上班的公司為Ozcelikler,而job description為『She/he will do market research and production planning. Especially she/he will research about Southern Asia's market details』。工作了十週,我才慢慢搞清楚,我應該算是在Akroteks公司工作,我的工作跟marketing research只算是扯得上一點關係,就是在網路上搜尋,並聯絡台灣,中國,香港的供應商,試圖購買更便宜的raw material。這讓我依稀記得周文賢老師用力踏著地板說『尋,比,議,標,選』,採購過程的五個步驟:尋價,比價,議價,開標,選擇。我做的大概就是這樣的事。我的辦公室跟foreign trade部門在一起,每天我在兩台電腦前面搜尋公司資料,寫信給他們要求樣品以及報價,將這些統整在一起直接交給總經理,接著就等著他的回應。

總經理Dr. Donmaz是英國曼徹斯特大學化工博士,身兼這四家公司的總經理,他的決策制訂的很慢,但是,我也不能拿著鞭子逼他怎樣。因此,收集到的雪尼爾線(Chenille yarn)、巴里紗(Voile fabric),或是窗簾的透明塑膠套(PVC pouches),到現在沒有得到任何具體回應,公司是要跟他們下訂單還是不要,我一點概念也沒有,現在,就坐著每天回信給數十家公司,消極回應跟他們解釋,我也沒有得到任何消息。至於job description上面有關production planning的工作呢?我也不知道到底是怎麼回事,可能是寫了好看吧。一度,我想積極的propose總經理我還可以作什麼樣的project,例如開發新客戶市場。但是,土耳其的紡織產品完全敵不過中國大陸物廉價美的紡織產品,土耳其的工資已經算是很低了,但是,中國大陸的勞力更低。久而久之,他們也放棄亞洲這塊市場,而主攻歐美市場了。像是日本90%的市場也是被中國大陸吃掉。所以,當我無聊這麼提議的時候,他們笑著說,『好啊,你就試試吧,雖然我不認為你可以作成功』。害我馬上洩氣。

Foreign trade辦公室的另外有三位單身小姐,每個人一天一包煙。Banu, Sukret是紡織工程textile engineer背景出身,但礙於英語能力,她們並沒有辦法以及時間慢慢跟我解釋所有她們的產業知識。另外Ruzufet則應該是學國貿的。由於,我的工作是由總經理直接指派,因此也與同事們沒有相關,她們搞不懂我在幹什麼,我也不知道他們在幹嘛。偶爾,我有問題問她們的時候,她們的回答通常是『不知道』,或是『總經理決定的』。並且,當她們處於忙碌狀態時,就不太想多花心思講英文,並且煙一根接著一根的吸。所以,在辦公室裡,我處在極度沈靜狀態。既聽不懂她們在吵什麼,掛誰的電話,也不太說話,偶爾走出辦公室,避一避辦公室的二手煙,呼吸室外的新鮮車輛廢氣。當我的工作妨礙到她們的時候,也可以從她們嘴裡發出不耐煩的匝匝聲,知道我最好停止列印,或是結束正在寫的email。我知道這不太好,但是,當大家已經對這個新來的trainee不新鮮不好奇的時候,日子就是這樣過的。經過跟其他trainee交換意見後,我們得到共同的結論:trainee在土耳其公司完全不被重視。另外:


我九點開始上班,六點下班,一週上班五天。我辦公室的其他小姐,則都是上班六天,每天輪值一個人留到晚上八點,她們雖無奈,卻也都接受這樣的安排。我每天期待的就是跟除了總經理、公司小開等這些會講英文的同事,雞同鴨講一番,例如,倒茶的小姐,以及司機,秘書。每天用破爛的土耳其文與她們問好,或是把新學的土耳其文跟他們對話,十分有趣。她們每個人都會捏我的臉頰,嘴巴唸唸叨叨著好可愛,好像我是小狗狗或是小baby一樣。喔,還有每天下午來辦公室喝茶聊天的Fedex 先生。我不知道台灣公司的情形。這邊,由於大量的寄收快遞sample,所以公司有自己的Fedex帳號,公司電腦也灌Fedex的管理系統。Fedex先生每天來兩趟,早上來送公司的包裹,下午,則來接公司要寄出去的包裹。他們就就像公司的一份子一樣,來了就自動找位子坐下來,跟大家問好,喝茶,幫我的同事打包,貼Fedex膠帶,騰對方地址,一邊聊天,一邊工作。偶爾他們鬥嘴,追打,就教我對對方說一些我不懂的話,一定是罵對方瘋子笨蛋之類的,我通常都會乖乖的說,然後學一堆罵人的話。

雖然網路不怎麼方便,我仍然算是這邊有網路可用的trainee。整個公司,只有外貿部門有網路,六台電腦share一條電話撥接,速度10.0Mbps,往往等了五分鐘,瀏覽器卻顯示找不到網頁,令人氣得快跳腳。對我來說,最重要的yahoo mail以及hotmail網頁,卻到每天連得上一次就偷笑的程度。但是,連MSN messenger卻出奇的順,讓我覺得身處不幸中的大幸。(除了前一陣子阿爾及利亞地震影響地中海沿岸網路線路的那個時候)。另一方面,公司為了我,買了一張小桌子給我,幫我接好網路線,令我感動萬分,因為跟其他連辦公桌都沒有的trainee比起來,我還算是幸福的。我還可以自由打電話回家報平安,或是fax回家。公司的同事也都很關心我,才會發生像上次戴口罩被逼著上醫院的故事。對我來說,唯一的問題,只有在這密閉的辦公室空間中,持續不斷的吸二手煙,以及薪水不定時發放。往往到了發薪水的前幾天,我已經捉襟見肘,還得跟公司借錢過活。讓我很火大的是,明明是公司發薪遲了二十天,讓我現金調度出了問題,卻讓我每個月像是寅吃卯量的無賴,得向公司低聲下氣的問何時發薪,可不可以先給我一點現金繳交房租。


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