Short of money

She earns 500 liras per month, working six days a week, eight to twelve hours a day. Her rent is 300 liras, bills around 40 liras, transport to and from work about 75 liras. It’s obvious: she is seriously short of money. Now, I remember times when I too was seriously short of money. But that was as a student, spending money on the wrong things and at a time of life when I didn’t mind eating pancakes for a few days and cadging cigarettes from other people. Half a year after finishing my studies, I found my first job, earned a decent salary and could support myself. I was financially independent at 23. With G. – as with many Turks in the twenty-something or thirty-something age group – it’s different: she finished university six years ago, she speaks almost perfect English, and she is 31 years old. She is so sick of not being able to support herself. But finding a better-paid job is not easy. So for now, all she can do is knock on her parents’ door. They give her some extra money. That makes life easier, but also more difficult. Because G. needs their money, she has to put up with their pressure too. Pressure to come ‘home’ again and leave Istanbul. Pressure to find a good husband and become a mother. Pressure to get a haircut, buy some nicer clothes, visit the family more often. I can imagine why she’s almost desperate to find a better job. Desperate to make her favourite daydream come true: to finally tell her parents to stop interfering and let her live her own life.

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