“My mother moved from a small village on the countryside in Turkey straight to Belgium. When she asked her mother how Belgium looks like, her mother said there would be a lot of lighter skinned people with blonde hair. When they arrived in Istanbul to take the plane, my mum saw women with dyed blond hair everywhere and asked: are we in Belgium already?
I was born here. For me, coming from a small town in Belgium, moving to Brussels was a temporary decision that turned into a permanent and, I must say, great one. I feel that people in Brussels are more welcoming, tolerant and friendly.
Initially, she did not identify as a migrant, because, in theory, she never made an active choice to move: “others see me as a migrant, so I started to look at myself in a similar way”.
I personally consider Belgium as my home because I have a house, a job and my family here. But to be completely honest neither Belgium nor Turkey is really home for me. I feel that in Belgium people consider me to be a ‘foreigner’ and in Turkey they tend to see me as a tourist.
I am quite a coffee addict, so I really miss the Turkish coffee, the food, the nature but most of all the hospitality and the feeling that you are always welcome.
I believe that we can learn so much just by going conversing with one another. I witness the values of those exchanges almost every day in my classrooms. The pupils learn from me, from each other and likewise, I learn from them.
I am mostly interested in the traditions and customs of the new places that I visit. I recently went to Zimbabwe to volunteer and there, for example, I just loved listening to the stories from local people. By listening, I realized that the way they raise their children is incredibly similar to the way I was raised as well... Who would have thought?”