Time Out

Aside from my friends and family perhaps no one has really noticed but I have taken a break from blogging.  My posts have slowed down somewhat over the past few months.  The shine of blogging.  The stories of living in the village and of living in this wonderful part of the world has dulled.  I just don’t have anything new to say right now.

collage1

When I started this blog I had no idea of what it was going to become.  I had no direction so I pretty much just wrote about my day.  Sometimes it was interesting and occasionally inspiring but usually it was just plain ridiculous.

I do have a plan though.

I will be back in 2017, fresh and with some new material.  No doubt The Turk and I will have fought 6,457 times between now and then and I expect I’ve probably had that many arguments with Vito’s wife in that time as well.

Until then … Şerefe!

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If I Could Turn Back Time

The Powers That Be here in Turkiye took it upon themselves to ignore the way the rest of the world operate and have done away with turning back the clock announcing an end to daylight savings.  This means that we are forever on summer holidays which is nice I guess but for today, and perhaps for a few of us dopier peeps, it also means total chaos as we try and decipher what time it really is.

cher-gun

Right now in our house every single clock says its 6:16am … except that it is actually 7:16am.  The reason I know it is 7:16am is that my FIL has already started screaming for his breakfast and, despite the fact that every single clock in our house says its 6:16am and we all should be slumbering it is daylight outside (albeit a little overcast which will no doubt burn off into another stinking hot day).

For sure this bureaucratical bundle of bok will cause chaos over the next 24 hours (or 23 depending on which clock you are looking at).

Turkiye is now at Greenwich Mean Time plus 3 hours.  So for those of you in the UK you are now of course 3 hours behind, for those of you in Down Under you are 8 hours behind and for those of you in the US you are … fecked … and I’m not just talking about your presidential candidates.

And why did they do this you ask?  Officially it is to save on electricity (truely this is the official word).  Unofficially I wonder if this is a religious decision to bring Turkiye in line with Saudi Arabia and Mecca for prayer and Ramadan timing.

Just to prove that this is a real kerfuffle think of Cyprus.  Northern Cyprus is 1 hour ahead of Southern Cyprus.  What about Nicosia?  It’s a half / half city!  And what if you live in Northern Cyprus and work in Southern Cyprus.  Or go to school in Southern Cyprus?  Can anyone say cock-up???

Regardless whatever time you think it is check with someone who does not spend their life attached to a phone or a computer because I reckon they are the only folk who actually know what the feck is going on around here!

Update!  Daughter’s new Iphone 7 did NOT change time.  She has just dragged herself out of bed wondering what all the fuss is about.  “You people are all technologically stupid”!  Direct quote.

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What’s Up Doc?

Up front I am going to put it out there – I am a prenses (princess) and I will yell it from the rooftops.  I do not like pain.  I do not like it at all.

I blew out my left knee when I was 13 playing netball.  I remember going to the hospital and having my knee wrapped from the thigh to the ankle.  The doctor told my mother that I had to walk on it and use it or it would never heal.  Of course I didn’t listen to him or my mother and I spent the next week dragging myself around on the ground rather than putting any pressure on it.

matty-2

Fast forward to 4 weeks ago when Daughter brought home a stray dog.  She named him Matty.  He was a lovely dog (I say was because I haven’t seen him for a few days).  A Golden Retriever who had obviously been abandoned as he knew the doggy basics “otur, dur, yapma!”  Anyway Matty loved it when I came down each morning to take My Hurley Dog for a walk and would anxiously be waiting for me.  One morning he was so excited he jumped up onto my chest to say “Gunaydin” and sent me flying to the ground.  Of course I smashed my never fully recovered knee to smithereens.  But being the stubborn sod that I am I would rather chew off my leg than go to a doctor so persevered through the pain until it was clear that it was well and truly stuffed.  The Turk blew a gasket and after much tears (on my part) and a little yelling (on his part) I finally had arthroscopic knee surgery to repair the partial tear in my meniscus and remove old cartilage.  Which sucked.  Big time!

Up until now I have had it pretty good with my health.  I’ve been incredibly lucky.  Other than giving birth to Daughter and my supposed gangrene of my foot last year I haven’t had any major issues that required a stay in hospital or surgery so I was shit scared to say the least.

The surgery was fine I guess.  I was awake having been administered an epidural so the doctor chatted on throughout the surgery on different subjects including but not limited to his divorce, his 15 year old (single) son available to meet my beautiful daughter at any time, his new girlfriend and anything else that entered his brain.  Meanwhile I found myself singing the last song that I had heard over and over which was, thanks to Daughter trying to cheer me up, Jet Black Heart by 5SOS.

Post-surgery they had me up and attempting to walk unaided within an hour of the epidural wearing off which, when you weigh as much as I do really isn’t an ideal situation.  I was able to walk as far as my door with a majority of my weight on The Turk and my SIL so the hospital released me.  I then had to climb up 2 flights of stairs to get home.  Seriously thought I was going to pass out from the pain.

Now up front I have never had this type of surgery before but can I just tell you that on Friday when I went for my first “control” the doctor stuck a fecking great fecking needle into my fecking knee to fecking remove fluid.  I guess you are wondering whether I got any pain relief before he did that?  Yeah?  Nope.  Fecking nope!  Is this normal?  I fecking don’t know but it is something that could be used as a form of torture.  Mind blowing!

(Edit:  I have now been told by 3 separate readers that the needle in the knee is done all over the world, its just not something people talk about so think of this as a public service – they’ll fecking stick a fecking needle into your fecking knee!!!  You have been warned!).

walking-frame

It’s now Monday and although I am still using the walker (forgive my dirty feet) I’m feeling somewhat better.  I wasn’t referred to physio therapy, the doctor merely suggested I bend my knee (excellent advice) so I am using You Tube videos to give me some clues to regain strength in my leg.  Not ideal but meh!

Am I disappointed with the quality of care?  Yeah!  I’m pretty sure you don’t stick a fecking needle in someone knee without pain relief!

Am I wishing I got a few referrals before I went under the knife?  Yep, yep and yep but I guess in the long run and assuming that the operation was a success I shouldn’t really complain but right now I am just feeling sore and sorry for myself.  Boo fecking hoo!

So if you need me for the next few weeks I shall be holed up here in my home watching old movies and eating my weight in chocolate.

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Expat.com

I recently did an interview with Expat.com about our life living as an expat here in Mersin.  Of course the interview gives my *cough cough* unique spin on life here.  I am certain that the interviewer thought I was quite mad.   You can have a read of the interview here.

janey-2

For those of you who don’t know about Expat.com, they are an exchange network dedicated to providing free information and advice to those expats living or wishing to live overseas.  With forums, handy hints and interviews with other expats it’s a great way of finding someone in your neck of the woods.

Anyway I would love to hear your feedback on the interview.  At least let me know if I sound batshit crazy.  The Turk has been discussing buying me a straightjacket.  I have explained that they probably won’t be able to get one in my size.  Winning!

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Sleepless In Mersin

Insomnia does have its perks, for me at least.  I have been powering through my first novel and am now up to Chapter 22.  It’s a romance with just a little bit of sex (not porno sex just the idea of it).  My friend in Oz who has been my advisor on all things book related has asked me for more sex but The Turk has said that it makes him look dirty by association.  Yeah.  Whatever.

insomnia

Insomnia has also allowed me to make sarma at 3.30 in the morning and, as an added bonus, I saved the salça that been doing its stuff on the roof from the sudden downpour last night (yes it rained but it will, no doubt, return to its usual hellfire today).  So the glass really is half full and all that I guess.

I’m assuming that the insomnia which has gripped me is part of the whole peri-menopausal sitch that I am experiencing now which means I am already a little highly strung, suffering from Sahara Desert-like hot flashes and agitated to the point of taking all of you out but now I’m fecking exhausted on top of everything else.  FML!  Seriously FMFL!

It’s nearly 5am now and I’m staring at My Kedi Cat sleeping on the desk beside me with a mixture of hatred and curiosity.  My Kedi Cat doesn’t experience insomnia.  My Kedi Cat has the skill of falling asleep standing up.  As can The Turk.  And Daughter for that matter.  I hate them all.

cat-sleeping

I start cruising the web typing in the most outlandish things I can think of.  It seems my chance of surviving a zombie apocalypse is on 13%.  Well that sucks.  But I have a stellar knowledge in all things Grey’s Anatomy which will be useful … never.

Daughter has suggested I count sheep but as we killed one yesterday for Bayram my sheep appear in a much more sinister form and scare me senseless.  I’m never going to sleep again.

The Turk has sensibly distanced himself while I externally combust and is merely appearing intermittently with chocolate, wine or some other distraction for my bollocking brain until this bout of insomnia passes.  Like most things he thinks the best cure for insomnia is sex.  The look on my face said it all and he hightailed it out of here.  I haven’t seen him since.  No really.

I step out onto the terrace and wish that I smoked again.  A cigarette would be great about now and if I smoked I would be assisting in my own demise.  I can sleep when I’m dead and all that.  I hear the Muezzin begin the ezan (call to prayer).  At least I’m not the only one up now.  Around the village I can see a few lights flick on as people begin their morning routine.

The sun is beginning to rise in the east and the terrace takes on a pink tone.  I sit on my new (unscarred) terrace furniture watching the sunrise and sip my çay.  It’s light enough now to take My Hurley Dog for his morning walk.  I guess that’s a good enough reason to get my ass going and start the day.

Gunaydin. 

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Lacey’s and Goat Stew

A dingo ate my baby.  A good story (well not for the baby).  Or how about my dog ate my homework.  A classic tale.

But this story is better.

This is the story of a goat.  A goat that ate my undies!

baby goatKurban Bayram officially gets underway tomorrow and there are a lot of goats and sheep in the village unwillingly ready to be sacrificed.   The herder will parade the animals through the village on their way to the kurban kesme yerleri (authorised sacrifice abbatoir) although here in the village it is not unusual for people to purchase an animal as the herder goes by for sacrifice in their garden or a nearby park.

Usually the herder will not go down our street.  Between My Hurley Dog and the Rottweiler next door the crazed barking sends the already nervous animals a little deli and they tend to run amok but today the herder had such a large contingent of animals that he was trying to control that a small number did wander into our street and start chewing on the weeds and grass outside my home.  Unbeknownst to me I might add.  I was still in bed.  Having sweet dreams.  Maybe about The Hot Groom … or Brad Pitt.  Or both.  Oh my!

Now to the story about my undies.

I did a load of washing last night.  I am a good Turkish Housewife (alright that’s not entirely true).  I put the washing on the line and then sat down to watch an episode of Stranger Things (love that show).  I then went to bed to have my aforementioned sweet dreams.  Of course I woke to the sound of My Hurley Dog barking like a maniac on the terrace so I went out to corral him back inside.  I hung over the railing to have a squiz at what he was barking at.  It could have been Grey Cat.  My Hurley Dog hates Grey Cat.  Grey Cat keeps sniffing around my two remaining stray bitch cats trying to have his way with them.  It wasn’t Grey Cat.  There was, however, a bunch of goats wandering around in our little garden but that wasn’t what caught my attention.  No.  What caught my attention was one particular goat.  It was a ridiculously cute brown goat (seriously how can they kill these darlings) and it was bouncing around below me chewing on something.  It seemed quite happy unbeknownst of his forthcoming fate.  Wait a minute.  What’s that he’s eating?  I looked behind me at my clothes line.  FML!  The line was definitely heavier last night!  What’s missing?  A t-shirt.  Yes, and what else – Oh bugger!  My lacy black undies.  The expensive ones.  The ones I had just brought back from Sydney.  The ones that are used for, ahem, special occasions.

I ran down stairs to collect the pieces that had fallen off the line and to try and retrieve my special occasion undies (although I can’t imagine them possibly being salvageable).  There was a tustle.  The little brown goat won and wandered off to meet his maker happily chewing on the remnants of my undies.  His last meal before he becomes Goat Stew.

In the meantime The Turk had woken up and was sitting on the terrace below mine having a çay.  And a cigarette.  And a laugh.

I turned and gave him the finger, “If I don’t get these undies back you’re never getting laid again!”

I don’t think he really cares.

So yeah Kurban Bayraminiz kutlu olsen!

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The Hot Groom

Last night I went to a wedding.  I hate a wedding on a weeknight.  I wasn’t prepared, in fact I knew nothing about it thanks to The Turk’s inability to tell me shit.  I had been in Adana all day (went to check out the incredibly disappointing H&M that had just opened) so when I arrived home to the news that I was expected to attend a wedding I was mildly (read that as totally) pissed off.

The wedding itself was as expected.  You know the usual Turkish, completely over the top wedding.  The music was way too loud and the women were ridiculously overdressed while, on the other hand, the men turn up looking like gigolo wannabe’s in jeans and open shirts.  Of course there was no food or booze but they did supply us with juice boxes (true story).  And sadly as I didn’t have any warning of said wedding I didn’t have time to buy some booze.  FML!  A booze free Turkish wedding on a freaking Wednesday night.  Could my life get any worse?

And then I saw The Groom.  No that’s not explaining what I saw properly – let me try that again:

And then, standing at the top of the stairs was a man, but not just a man, it was a man with god-like qualities.  His strong nose complemented his prominent cheekbones and his hair, so thick that I felt the need to run my fingers through it, finished just below the collar of his perfect black suit jacket.  He was tall but not too tall and he filled out that perfect black suit jacket perfectly.  My new crush scanned the room with purpose and I swear to God his eyes connected with each and every one of us.  I swooned.  I did.  I was Olivia De Havilland and I was swooning at the hottie at the top of the stairs – until it clicked in my pea size mind.  The hottie at the top of the stairs just so happened to be The Groom.  Sorry – The Hot Groom.  Bummer.

Of course I am well aware that I can’t try it on with The Hot Groom at his own wedding and yes I am obviously also aware that I am, in fact, a fat, middle aged woman who is very much married to The Turk who was, at that moment, sitting right beside me as I swooned and tittered over The Hot Groom at the top of the stairs but I just need to say – yes please!

burak

The Hot Groom had it all.  He was a dead set ringer for Burak Ozcivit and seeing as Burak Ozcivit was actually born in Mersin I have decided that The Hot Groom must be related in some way to Burak Ozcivit.  For those of you who don’t know of Burak he has graced my blog before when I discussed the do’s and don’ts of the great Turkish moustache and now, standing before me, was a perfect facsimile of that perfect man.  Yes indeed my new favourite relative aka The Hot Groom was rocking it with his thick black locks and a decent amount of facial hair that gave me the shivers (but thankfully no moustache).  OMFG!

The Turk looked from the Hot Groom to me and back again before rolling his eyes.  The following conversation then took place:

The Turk:  I see what’s happening here.

Me:             I don’t know what you are talking about.

The Turk:  Darling there are two reasons that your new love isn’t going to work.

Me:             Oh?

The Turk:  One, he’s half your age.

Me:             I could be a cougar.

The Turk:  (shook his head while looking at me in pity and a little bit of contempt) And two … check out your competition.

Me:             Who?

The Turk:  The Bride.

Damn it but he was right.  The Hot Groom was marrying an even Hotter Bride.

Of course.

Edit:  Despite the desperate requests of my readers to obtain a photo of the Hot Groom I must let you know that my one compromise on writing about his family is that I do not post any photos.  I’m sorry.  I have promised.  I know I hate me too.  Yes he was hot.

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Waiting For Rain (and hot flashes)

Despite the fact that I only returned from Down Under a month ago the never ending heat in the Village is sending me a little deli.  I mean yesterday is the perfect example.  There was talk of rain.  In fact no one spoke of anything else.  Adana had rain.  The Yayla had rain.  I believe even Mezitli had rain but here in the Village?  Nada.  Nothing.  Hiçbir şey değil!

And before any of you point out to me that it is Turkiye and of course it will be hot in summer I say this to you …. I am peri-menopausal and am pretty fecking agitated right now so before you start on me …. you have been warned!  I mean its fecking hot so why not add a hot flash to the hot.  Why fecking not???

sweating

I have decided to make a list about how many ways Mother Nature is screwing with us or screwing with me personally.  I do think it is personal.  Bitch must be peri-menopausal as well.

Anyway many of these are meme’s running around on the internet but, honestly, tell me I’m wrong folks:

  • Power blackouts. That shit will kill you because your air conditioning won’t work, your fan won’t work, nothing will fecking work but on the bright side if you have your air con blasting all night you will no doubt die of the grip (or so says your favourite teyze) so yeah power blackouts = death!
  • Hot shower? Or hot shower?  Hot water comes out of both faucets now.  The effort to towel dry just makes you sweat more and another hot shower is needed AND you have to dress in front of the fan or air conditioning so you stay dry!
  • Your thongs melt on the bitumen (no not “that” kind of thong).
  • The bitumen melts as well.
  • The temperature drops below 33 degrees. Woah!  Grab a jacket!  Wait!  Don’t grab a jacket!  You’re not Turkish silly!
  • Storm on the horizon? YES!    It’s now a Swedish sauna outside.  Steam non-optional!
  • You are prepared to drive great distances because the air conditioning works in your car.
  • You drive your car with your fingers.
  • You are afraid of your seatbelt.
  • The best parking spot is one with shade and yes you are prepared to go and move your car as the sun revolves around the earth.

steering wheel

On the bright side with no rain – probably ever again – it means that today’s chore of making the salca (I’ve got 100kg of biber waiting for me downstairs) will mean it can be done in one day.  Sure I might finish at midnight and sure I will no doubt be covered in bites and stained a bright red but in 2-4 weeks I will have my homemade salca ready for consumption.

The things we do!

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But Did You Die?

Daughter has gone back to school this week.  She is in Year 8 and, as she will have her TEOG this year (the TEOG exam which will decide which high school they can attend), there are extra lessons to help them prepare.  She is, of course, spitting a rather large dummy in every direction because it’s a daily onslaught of 4 lessons of science and 4 lessons of math.  Her two worst subjects (except for din (religion) but we have had her removed from that class).

So with Daughter back at school it means I am doing the daily drop off and pick up again and I’ve got to tell you these fecking Turkish driver’s are doing my fecking head in.  I have decided that Turkish driver’s are so full of their own self-importance that they believe they are the only fecking drivers on the road.  Get out of their fecking way.  They are like a fecking bulldozer and they are coming through!  Of course they know how to drive and I know shit!  You know shit too but don’t take it personally.

driving-in-turkey-distorted

Look, my friend — there are two kinds of drivers in Turkey.  First there’s the stupid ones — and then there’s the crazy ones

I am over driving defensively.  I am over giving way, using my indicators, stopping at red lights and keeping to the speed limit.  I have my kimlik damn it!!  I’m Turkish I say and so I will start to drive like a lunatic … so I will fit right in with the rest of them!

And like probably 90% of the driver’s on a Turkish road I don’t actually have a Turkish driver’s licence.  I have my Australian driver’s licence but from 1 January 2016 an Australian must obtain a Turkish driver’s licence as Australia is one of the few countries that have not signed the international treaty (we are governed by our States).  If you’re an Aussie and have not got a Turkish driver’s licence your only option (right now) is to leave the country every six months to get a new stamp in your passport.  I’m all over that idea and, despite the fact that I only just got back from Down Under, I’m already online checking out my options for a weekend in Europe in January.  I’m thinking snow covered mountains, cozy fires, mulled wine, Brad Pitt. Oh right.  Okay.

Did you know that in Australia you need 100 hours of practice driving and lessons.  Getting your driver’s licence in Australia takes years.  FECKING YEARS!  Here I dunno but what I do know that if a Turkish driver sees a red light it inspires insanity in them.  It’s a red flag and bull situation and no one ever really wins that do they?

And while I’m on my high horse – feck my life – the fecking pedestrians!!  I swear they step out right in front of you, obviously with big old blinders on their eyes and waddle through six lanes of traffic without a fecking care in the world while you slam on your brakes, smelling the burning rubber of your tyres as you slide sideways, your airbag exploding in your face and you nearly having a freaking heart attack while they throw you the evil eye for honking at them!  And no teşekkür ederim or sağol.  No fecking way!  Just the evil side-eye.

And seeing as I have already climbed into that big saddle one more thing!  There is a small home decoration shop at the end of our street and there is a woman that ‘works’ there.  I use the term loosely because, let’s be honest, despite the fact that everybody in the village may need a home decorator there are few in the village who could actually afford one.  Anyway Little Miss Home Decorator has a lot of freaking attitude.  She spends her day sitting on a chair on the small terrace chatting with all the neighbours (including Vito’s wife whom I still haven’t spoken to since this incident back in May) but if the sun gets a little too intense she has taken to putting her chair on the road under the shade of the building and so, when I (or anyone else for that matter) turn right onto our street there she is sitting in the middle of the road enjoying her çay without a fecking care in the world while you slide sideways on the gravel to miss her sorry ass.  Get out of the way biatch!  And God forbid if you ask her to move she stares at you with that blank death stare that all these crazies around here have although no doubt she gives me that look because Vito’s wife would have told her all about ‘the incident’ and what a bloody awful yabancı I am and do you know what?  I’m really okay about that.  I really am.

Meanwhile The Turk thinks that if you survive driving on a Turkish road any day then it is a good day.  If you survived any near miss while dodging pedestrians, bike riders, cars, trucks, horses, dogs, cats, goats, chickens or anything else then buy yourself a lottery ticket ‘cause you are having a fecking great day!

 

Burası Türkiye!

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The Yayla

It’s still mighty hot here in Mersin with most days cracking on in the high 30’s (that’s 100℉ for you crazy hold-outs in the good old USA).  I’m not going to whine about the heat today (I know it’s surprising even me) but instead I’ll tell you about what to do when it is hot in Mersin – do what the locals do and get the hell outta Dodge.

yenikoy 7

Yes sir when the heat gets too much for a Mersin-ite they pack their bags and migrate to the Yayla and so, in an effort to be as Turkish as possible and, with the flimsy excuse of a party, a few of us expats decided to reconvene in the little village of Yeniköy for the weekend to enjoy the cooler mountain breeze and a bevvy or three.

Yeniköy is approximately 20 km’s (about 12 miles for you backwater-type countries that still use the archaic Imperial system of weights and measures – sorry I’m pointing my finger again at you Americans) from the city.  Leaving the city on the Mersin Gozne Yolu I usually turn off at the Anadolu Ajansı Hatıra Ormanı (National Forest) and take the Mersin Arslankoy Yolu up into the mountains passing Aladağ along the way (pull over and fill your bottle with pure mountain water at the fountains as you pass by).  The first time I travelled up into the mountains was a little hairy with my little car unable to take the gradient on the unsealed village roads but with the current road upgrades the drive is more pleasant than terrifying for this little Aussie bird and the views as you pass through the tiny villages and mountain ranges is spectacular.

Arslankoy 2

One of the small lokantlar worth a visit is Yeniköy Restoran Palanin Yeri which is on your right as you go through the village.  Here they do the usual mangal, tavuk ve et dishes and it’s not bad bang for your buck (or your lira).  The beer is cold, the staff try their very best and with a mix of their English and my Turklish you usually get what you ordered but the real draw for me is that after spending time in the hell that is Mersin in August a visit to this pleasant garden restaurant and it’s cool breeze (usually 10°C difference) makes the drive so very worthwhile.

Palanin

Leaving Yeniköy there are a smattering of waterfalls to visit, the most famous being Santuras (St Iris) at Çağlarca or you might like to taking in some of the hiking trails nearby.  As the trails are used by the local herders you will probably pass a goat or two on your hike as well as, although I have never seen one, the occasional wild pig.

water fall

Another 30 minutes past Çağlarca is the village of Arslanköy which is pretty much as far as you can go without a 4WD.  At 1,475 m (4,839 ft) above sea level the summer sun is quite strong up here so remember to slip, slop, slap (Aussie reference sorry to the rest of you) and the village itself doesn’t really have a lot to offer but just past the village is a lovely lake which is a very pleasant spot for a picnic (make sure you stock up before you leave as there are only a few small shops in the village for supplies).

arslankoy lake

A weekend pass to the Yalya is just the thing to remind me just why I love living here in Mersin.

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