Inspiration often comes from the unlikeliest sources. Carpetblog recently came across the NYT India Ink blog's new "Agony Auntie" feature, designed to help expats in India avoid embarrassment. We thought "How useful! We know lots of people who could benefit from something like that. Someone should do it for Turkey."
So, we reached out to The Unaccompanied Lady. Because there are few expat issues on which Carpetblogger and Unaccompanied Lady do not have informed opinions and because we agree on nearly everything, this will be a joint venture. We plan to distinguish ourselves from India Ink's feature by making it clear from the outset that helping expats -- especially people we know -- avoid embarrassment is low on our list of objectives. Also, it won't be lame.
In the unlikely event we can't answer a question, or make up a sufficient response, we will outsource questions to our stable of experts with specialized knowledge of things, such as Borko or Red State Sibling, or other secret, surprise guests whom we have yet to identify (but we have ideas! If you'd like to be considered, send a detailed CV and salary requirements).
Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about this new feature:
What qualifies Carpetblogger for this role? It was our idea, stolen from elsewhere. Therefore, we're best qualified.
What topics will you address? A better question is what topics will we NOT address. The Carpetblog/Unaccompanied Lady areas of expertise include -- but are not limited to -- coping with bureaucracy, birth, breastfeeding and child rearing, primates, music, intercultural understanding, cooking, bribing, sex, dating and relationships, cattle, fashion, current affairs, fine dining, developing cultural sensitivity, ethics, importing pork and liquor, languages and Crapistan.
What topics will you not address? Boring topics. If you want travel advice for Turkey, there's this great new service called google. Try it today!
Will question-askers remain anonymous? Only if the benefit of revealing your identity outweighs your desire to not be humiliated.
Do questions have to be from/about Turkey or from Expats? Of course not! We welcome questions from around the world from all types of people.
How can we submit questions? The world of social media is vast. You can send an SMS, use the contact Carpetblog email link on the blog (but sometimes we forget to check that one), talk to us in the ladies' room at a bar, use Facebook, @Carpetblogger1 or @Unaccompanylady on Twitter, leave it in the comments or use telepathy. It's up to you.
So beat the rush! Send your questions in today. We'll be choosing among the best ones this week!