Living Abroad: The Good, Bad, Ugly…and Hilarious!

Six months ago, my husband and I began our new lives in Ankara. It’s been a very intense and rewarding adventure.  Below are just some of the things we’ve experienced over the past 6 months.
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The excitement of moving to new country.

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Learning about a new culture (especially the cuisine!).

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Sharing our life in Ankara with family and friends (we’ve become quite the Turkish tour guides!).

Meeting some amazing people.


Traveling every month to new parts of Turkey including: Istanbul, Konya, Eskisehir, Safranbolu, Izmir, Sirince, Efes & Cappadocia.

More free time to pursue personal/professional interests.

Living with only one phone between the two of us.


Our jobs are pretty awesome too: students, colleagues and office!

Learning a new language.

Connecting with our students on a personal level.


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Spending more time together as a couple.

Not having a car.

Crossing off things on our bucket lists.

Taking advantage of professional development opportunities.

Going make-up free (except for the occasional pop of lip color).


Watching history in the making (like when Turks voted in the first ever presidential election).

Simplified living (we brought 1 suitcase each for 1 year of living).


Feeling gratitude for the little things in life…like (quality) coffee.

Having a balcony for the first time ever.


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Going through culture shock.

More free time to waste being lazy!

Having to walk everywhere when its 95°F/35°C out.

Adding three new items to our bucket list for every item crossed off (okay, this one isn’t so bad!).

Trying to grow our careers while working contract jobs (aka design-your-own-professional development-path).

Living with only one phone between the two of us.

Not finding (or paying 2x as much for) personal care items.

Not having all our US belongings that made our house a home (this was our home in Indiana).


Missing Chipotle…I mean reeeeeally missing it.

Living through a period of Twitter/YouTube censorship (it was rough!).

Having to watch football games at 4am (which you know we do…GO PACK GO!).

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Saying goodbye to loved ones at home knowing we won’t see them for a year or more.

Missing weddings, births and birthdays.

Knowing we’ll eventually have to say goodbye to the amazing people we’ve met: students, colleagues and friends.

Coping with the loss of my best friend (I wasn’t able to say goodbye/attend the funeral service because we were too far away).

Witnessing riots and political unrest as the people fight the government.

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Getting lock out of our 5th-floor apartment on our balcony and having to MacGyver our way back in using a pair of scissors (I wished we had video of this…but sadly, you’ll have to take my word for it that our great escape was creative with a hint of luck!).

Not understanding 98% of what’s going on around us (we’re great at charades now).

All in all, the good outweigh the bad and the ugly. Living a life abroad can be difficult at times, but for us it’s well worth all the ups and downs. This experience has allowed us to grow personally and professional, as well as grow closer as a husband and wife.

Here’s to the next year of Turkish living and hoping that 2015 will bring us even more adventures, and opportunities to learn and grow.

* * * * A N S W E R   B E L O W * * * *
What do you think are the good, bad, ugly and hilarious things about living abroad?


2 thoughts on “Living Abroad: The Good, Bad, Ugly…and Hilarious!

  1. This was a wonderful article pouneh! I hope u and ur husband have many more exciting journeys and adventures. You both are an inspiration! Your hardwork will never go waste! You are ideallly living the life I feel alot more of us must live. You are putting your thoughts to action and hitting the target. Which is a remarkably awesome thing!!!!! God bless


    1. Thanks, Feroze!

      I feel lucky that we have found the courage to follow a less traditional path in life. But make no mistake, we are no different than anyone else. We want to put our university degrees to good use, we have to pay off debt and we want to start a family soon. The difference between us and many others is that we believe we can do everything we want while being overseas. Many people don’t ever consider that option (or maybe they do and don’t think it’s right for them).

      Thanks again for your kind words. Hope you will find a way to live the kind of life you are dreaming about!

      – Pouneh


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