-Where were you born?
South Africa, but I grew up in New Zealand.
-In which country and city are you living now?
-Are you living alone or with your family?
I am living with friends.
-How long have you been living in Turkey?
-What is your age?
-When did you come up with the idea of living in Turkey?
I was travelling through Turkey and stopped in Istanbul. I fell for the city instantly and decided to stay.
-Was it hard to get a visa or a work permit?
Residence permits are relatively easy to get, just expensive and a bit of bureaucracy to deal with.
-Was it difficult for you to get medical insurance before you went there or when you first arrived?
-How do you make your living in Turkey? Do you have any type of income generated?
I am working as a writer and editor for online Istanbul travel guide, http://www.myistanbulinfo.com, though before that I was teaching English and doing some freelance work editing. It is relatively easy to find a job here if you are a native English speaker; there are plenty of jobs going all the time; English language schools are always posting job offers on websites like Craigs List.
-Do you speak the local language and do you think it's important to speak the local language?
I speak conversational Turkish... I have no problem getting by in everyday situations, though it is more difficult to have an intellectual conversation! Although most Turks speak English, I think it is important to learn some Turkish out of respect for the local culture. It also helps you understand Turkish culture better.
-Do you miss home and family sometimes? Describe your favorite recreational activities there or those that are available.
Of course! But overall I am very happy in Istanbul. There is plenty to do in this mega-city; I love to take time to explore places I haven't been, or to revisit some of the most spectacular historical sites. Trying all the delicious Turkish food (especially the street food) is a major part of life in Istanbul- it's just too good! Istanbul is also a major cultural hub, with concerts, art galleries, museums and other artistic endeavours constantly on the go.
-Do you have other plans for the future?
Not for now.
-What about housing, have you bought, or are you renting a home? How much do you pay for it?
I am renting a room in a shared house. Rooms in my area, which is popular with both locals and expats, range from about 200 Euro - 400 Euro/month including bills. A 2 bedroom apartment averages about 500 Euro/month in my area.
-What is the cost of living in Turkey?
Higher than I anticipated. It really depends on where you live, and what you eat. It is possible to live cheaply here, but it takes a bit of research.
-What do you think about the locals?
Turks are, on the whole, amazing people; very friendly and hospitable, especially towards foreigners. They will often go out of their way for you.
-What are the positive and negative aspects of living in Turkey?
Positives: The food, people, landscape, way of life.
Negatives: It can be chaotic and hectic at times, especially in Istanbul. The crazy drivers and uneven pavements also get to me!
-Do you have any tips for our readers about living in Turkey?
Make the effort to really get to know the backstreets and little visited areas of Turkey; you'll find some true hidden gems.
-Do you have any favorite Web sites or blogs about Turkey?
I am the editor of online Istanbul guide, http://www.myistanbulinfo.com, which is a fantastic source of information designed for expats, travellers and locals in Istanbul.
Craig's List (http://istanbul.tr.craigslist.com.tr) is also a popular site for finding accommodation, jobs and for trading.