Everyone looks for the exotic


I have been fortunate to meet some really great Turkish people here, and on more than one occasion when they told me they wanted to take me to a really great restaurant they loved, I was a little crestfallen upon arrival to see that the menus were very similar to what I would find in any midrange American restaurant. To my new friends, these places must seem somewhat exotic and a welcome break from the regional foods they are so familiar with. To me, it is a step up from visiting McDonalds. While the quality of the food in these places is pretty good, and the company always great, I am always hoping while here to try things that I can’t get back in my homeland. It would be as if they came to visit me in New York and I took them to whatever Turkish restaurant I thought was really good.

What is really fascinating to me about this is how similar it shows us all to be at a certain level. Especially the people I have been meeting, who are reaching out to people like me from other cultures. They, and I, want to bridge this divide. We want to know about other cultures, and we are charmed by the difference and newness. We all look for the exotic, not only because we are novelty-seeking, but because we want to connect with our common humanity.