WIND BLOWING FROM NORTH AFRICA; MY PATH REACHED FIRST TO ISTANBUL THEN TO ANKARA. I LOVED ITS CULTURE, PEOPLE AND GEOGRAPHY; I FELT LIKE I BELONGED HERE. THESE LOVE TIES BACK TO ME AS A GREAT HAPPINESS.
Hello, My Name is Dorra. I am an African of Arab descent, or rather a Tunisian woman. I was born and raised in Sousse, a touristic town on the coast of Tunisia and lived in this charming Mediterranean city until I was 24 years old. I think that if you use clichés like “cute” or “warm” to describe a city, I think it should be used when talking about Sousse, where I was born and raised.
Indeed, the city is like a precious gem shining under the hot sun of North Africa. Its wide sandy beaches, historical and cultural mosaic make Sousse a unique and unhurried city for thousands of tourists who came here from all over the world. Who says bad things about the country they were born and raised in, though? The place is very special, not only because it is my hometown, but because I will carry the traces Sousse left in me throughout my life. I had the experience of embarking a different life adventure by leaving Sousse and moving across the Mediterranean in 2010 and moved to Turkey. My husband was a Turk, and I opened a brand new page with my life novel with him. We lived in Istanbul for a few months. This wonderful city has truly captivated a Mediterranean like me. Their historical and architectural structure, as they say, has taken my mind away, hypnotized me as such. I was very impressed. I remember that I walked for hours mesmerized by the sounds and surrogates in the crowds of the city in the neighborhoods where many different cultures intersect, following the footsteps of a historical documentary. Then we moved to Ankara to be close to our family and now we are living the ninth year of our residency here.
I Found The Happıness Formula Of The Turkısh Socıety
In the capital of Turkey, in the land I rediscover myself, I found the happiness formula of Turkish society: So I have discovered close friends, relatives kinship, colleagues, friendly, hospitable relationships. How I said at first, happiness has a strong connection to trust. The fact that people are always in touch with each other emotionally here all the time obviously gives them incredible power.
I learned that living in Ankara, a city of bureaucracy, has many advantages, although it cannot be compared with Istanbul in many respects. Ankara promises many career opportunities to suit your training and formation, life stability and calmness. The best part is that you get used to the city very easily. During these nine years of living in Turkey, I the opportunity to visit as many regions and cities as I could. I admired the beauty of the Black Sea region with its rivers and breathtaking plateaus surrounded by colorful flowers. I felt for the warm-blooded, docile and calming atmosphere of Aegean region. I was fascinated by the warmth and authenticity of the cities in the East and Southeast, such as, Urfa and Mardin. As a country where I have acquired new roots, where I have learned values such as patriotism, compassion and diligence, Turkey has attached me to itself through tight ties. I also absorbed that the first condition of happiness is to be in the moment and be with your loved ones and to turn this into a way of life. My current happiness is to have the values that I will inherit to my Tunisian Turkish daughter Lina. I see most lyrical and romantic writings end up with an aphorism. I guess I’m envious, so for form’s sake: Happiness is a gift, and the secret is looking for it, not waiting for it.
Happiness Can Be Related With Food
After North Africa, where traditional Berber dishes, Italian pizza and pasta, refined French food and pastries form the eating and drinking culture, I literally came across a unique gastronomy world that is quite unique in Turkey. I met a whole new culinary culture, from main dishes to snacks, starting from soups with Oriental and ancient flavours inspired by the Ottoman Empire to a variety of gusto, changing across the seven regions and four climates.
By: Dorra Briki / Photo: Wei Pan
*This article was published in the September-October issue of Marmara Life.