Strike Two

With Christmas (or Wednesday) out of the way I can now start to look forward to the future.  2014 is only a couple of days and The Turk has promised me a blow out New Year’s Eve party to make up for my crappy Christmas.

I am up early this morning for two reasons today.  Daughter has two weeks holiday in January so I have decided to book a week in Istanbul as a surprise.  It will coincide with Australia Day and I am certain that we can find some Aussie celebrations to join in on while we are there (after all I watched the Grand Final on the big screen at a pub in Istanbul in 2010 – Dragons and Roosters if I am correct).  I am also on the hunt for fireworks.  I am told you can buy them here and Daughter wants them.  A lot of them.  I am not sure if she has the potential to be a pyromaniac and this is something I will need to keep an eye on in the future.  She is drawn to fire like a moth . . . like a moth to a flame.  Just call her Moth from now on.

So The Turk and I went into the City this morning to his brother’s office so I can use the internet to book flights and accommodation (as we have no printer).  We also were on the hunt for the elusive fireworks shop.  The Turk’s brother works in an area of Mersin called CarsiCarsi means market or bazaar and this area forms part of the Old City.  I usually try and give Carsi a wide berth as this area always leaves my nerves shattered and my head aching as it is loud, frantic and obnoxious.  It is not my favourite part of the city however if you go early enough (as we did this morning) you can weave your way from Point A to Point B pretty easily (assuming you do not slip on the cobblestone streets).

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It’s nice to go out with The Turk without Daughter or associated family members.  Kind of like a date.  A day time date.  We start the morning with corba for breakfast.  I stick to my favourite Ezogelin Corbasi (Red Lentil Soup) while The Turk had Iskembe Corbasi (Tripe soup).  While we were having our soup the chef who happens to be The Turk’s arkadaş (friend) came over and told me the history of my soup.

Ezogelin Corbasi originates from the village of Dokuzyol where a beautiful girl by the name of Ezo was born in the early 1900’s.  Her black hair and rosy cheeks made her very popular with the camel riders who stopped for water while en-route along the Barak Plains.  Unfortunately her first marriage failed and she left this man for another.  She moved to Syria and re-married.  Her mother-in-law disliked her (probably because she was not a virgin when she married her baby boy) and in an attempt to please her mother-in-law she created this delicious soup.  The soup is now served to new brides, right before their wedding, to sustain them for what lies ahead (wink, wink).  And what happened to poor Ezo you wonder?  Well she died of tuberculosis so it isn’t a great ending but still it is a delicious soup.

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After our corba (which incidentally cost a total of 8TL or about AU$4.00 and this included two soups, bread and salad) we started through Carsi in an attempt to find the elusive fireworks shop.  I toddled along behind The Turk trying to keep up with him as he weaves his way through the streets when he suddenly spun a 180 and took off in the other direction.  I was unsure what was going on so I kept walking ahead thinking I would meet him at the end of the street.  Looking up the street I saw a crowd.  A large crowd.  As I got closer I saw police.  A lot of police.  Shit!  Some husband The Turk is.  Does a runner and leaves me in the middle of a protest.  So what does any quasi-tourist do when confronted with a newsworthy item?  Take photos of course!  I tried to get into the thick of things (safely of course) however the protest escalated quite quickly and when the Polis stepped in (who were waiting around the corner for the shit to hit the fan) I felt the best thing to do would be to get the hell out of dodge!  I spot The Turk pushing through the crowd, grabbed his hand and he propelled me down the street to safety.

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What are they protesting about?  The Turk does his usual “bilmiyorum” (“I do not know”) which does not surprise me as he only watches the futbol or the horses.  I will not even begin to say I understand Turkish politics – hell I never understood Australian politics so trying to get to the bottom of what is going on in Turkey is ridiculous.  I can say, however, that a political shit storm brewed when two Turkish cabinet ministers resigned on 25 December 2013 for taking and facilitating bribes.  From here there have been other resignations of high powered associates (including a Police Chief in Istanbul) and now a major reshuffle of ministers.  Corruption. This, coupled with the Gezi Protests in May, seems to be enough to tip Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s out of office in the near future.  He has had a good run – 3 terms – and elections are expected in March.    I cannot see how anyone could recover from the accusations made against his party although at a speech made Friday afternoon he firmly pointed the finger at those accused and his deniability of the whole matter.  As you do.

Things are only going to get worse in Turkey, economically and politically, before they get better.

And no, I did not get the fireworks.  The Turk has promised he will go back into the city this evening and get them for me.  This is my Second Strike, having been late home last week and making The Turk “needlessly” worry about me.  He has now placed me on probation.  If I leave the house and get myself into trouble again who knows what he will do to me.

The opinion giving in this piece is my opinion only.  I am not a political commentator merely a spectator and layperson

Being Scrooged

Today is Wednesday.  To many of you it is Christmas Day but here it is just Wednesday.  Daughter has been negotiating with The Turk all week to have the day off school and last night, finally, The Turk gave in.  No school on Christmas Day (sorry I mean Wednesday).

I woke up this morning (Wednesday) feeling grumpy.  This was my first Christmas away from Australia, away from my ancestral roots but, of course, I have had many Wednesday’s away from Australia so if I keep thinking about it that way it’s not so bad.  I intended today to be a day of wallowing in my grief, to lie on the couch and watch Christmas movies (having downloaded a plethora of choices for wallowing from Home Alone and Love Actually to It’s a Wonderful Life (“Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings”) however when I got up this morning the sky was the most glorious pembe (pink) and that glorious colour made it virtually impossible for me to wallow when the universe has been so good to me.

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Sure maybe there is no Christmas ham but today is Wednesday so perhaps I can make lamachun.

There are no Christmas carols but today is Wednesday and the ezan (Call to Prayer) will still summon the Muslim faithful 6 times a day.  A hauntingly beautiful sound that has become my alarm clock, so to speak.  I need to be up at 5:42 to get Daughter ready for school.  The 1:12 ezan reminds me to prepare lunch and the 5:07 means I can open a bottle of wine (although mildly inappropriate).  The 8:21 ezan is my Hurley Dog’s reminder for a quick walk before bed (yes he hears it and runs to the door).  The 10:08 tells me to get ready for bed and if I am awake at 3:38 it is like a lullaby to my ears I when hear the chant.

I may not be able to swim down at Manly Beach after a family Christmas banquet or go for a dip in the neighbour’s pool after a delicious BBQ but today is Wednesday so Daughter and I will go and spend some time with her Grandmother before taking my Hurley Dog for a walk through the village (maybe stopping by the butcher for a nice juicy Wednesday bone).  Today is a ‘balmy’ 17 degrees and although there has been a fresh fall of snow on the mountains behind us it is still rather pleasant for the middle of winter.

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So perhaps some might say I am being Scrooged by not having a Christmas celebration but do I miss the traffic on Christmas morning?  No.  Do I miss the potential for family drama?  Not at all.  Do I miss the commercialism of Christmas?  Bah humbug I say!  So what am I missing out on?  I’ve got The Turk and I’ve got Daughter.  I’ve got my Hurley Dog and my Kedi Cat and a bucket load of Turkish family.  Is not every day Christmas Day?

And yes as you can see Daughter did get to open a couple of little presents – even if my Hurley Dog tried to open them himself.

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So to my family and friends around the world have a wonderful day (Wednesday) and a Merry Christmas.  Enjoy the ham.

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The Little Things

Since moving to Turkey and more particularly moving to Karaduvar I (along with Daughter) am learning to appreciate the simple way of life and to, perhaps, disparage what we had and how we lived in Australia.  I have learnt to not complain about things that are not perfect and instead focus on the good things that we do have (unless you refer to those neighbours in which case – watch out!).

Living in Australia Daughter was always on the lookout for something new.  Shopping was a weekly event and clothes, computer games or gadgets were expected.  I was exactly the same.  Like mother, like daughter.  I used to sneak my purchases into the house so The Turk would not have a conniption, funny thing though – he would always find it no matter how well I hid things.  Bags hidden under the bed – he would find it.  Bags hidden in the garage – he would find them.  Hell he was like one of those dogs at the airport sniffing out contraband!  I could never hide anything from him and despite his terrible ability to read English he could read the credit card statement!

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Here in Karaduvar it is a little different.  Firstly we do not have two disposable incomes.  We must live on a budget and admittedly we are not doing a very good job of that.  We now need to be a little more stringent with our spending habits and that . . . well that definitely takes some getting used to!

The other reason Karaduvar is different is that our friends and neighbours do not have disposable incomes.  They work extremely hard and long hours to put food on their table and to ensure that their family and those around them are warm and happy.  I watch women arrive at the bache (farm) across the street before the sun has risen and they will work all day for approximately 30TL (AUD$15.00).   These women then return to their own homes and cook dinner for their family and, after the family have had their fill they will clean their homes until they shine.  If their neighbour needs anything they will give them theirs no questions asked even if this means they will go without. There is no jealousy, there is just caring and friendship.  Is this not what life should be about?

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I have begun to realise that I do not need all the material things that seemed necessary at home.  I look out my window where Daughter is playing with her cousins on the street with Hurley running after them.  I recall how her entire class came to check on her recently when she had a day off from school.  This would have never happened back in Sydney.

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I think our little family will be happier here with a simpler lifestyle.  Look at me – I am growing!    Who would have thunk it!

Everybody Needs Good Neighbours – Part Deux

So to familiarise yourself with my continuing drama with the neighbour have a look at Part One here for a bit of the background.  Incidentally Part One got me my biggest number of “stat hits” so here’s hoping that Part Deux breaks a new record.

When I look back on my previous homes I realise just how lucky I have been with my neighbours.  As a child we had great neighbours on both sides (although the English couple on our left used to swim in their pool quite naked so I was never allowed to have my curtains open).  At North Sydney I had a lovely old duck who always stuck her nose into everybody’s business but that was alright as she Mrs Mangel’d the crap out of the body corporate and the block always looked great.  When I moved to the ‘burbs I possibly had the nicest neighbour you could hope for and I miss her chats over the fence very much.

Now we are in Karaduvar and as you have already read the cracks showed pretty early with one of my neighbours.

When we built this property we built with the local belediye (Council) approval.  Now admittedly we built right up to the boundary of the property however I will point out again with the belediye and, I would assume, my brother in law’s knowledge and approval being the owner of the adjoining land. Last week I woke to find preparatory building work taking place on the land next door.  I looked out my window to see that they were building right up to the boundary as well.  Again I acknowledge that with the appropriate approvals they can do whatever they like but it was at this point that I also realised that they are building where my windows are so basically when they finish their first floor my window will look out to a brick wall.  What type of holy fucking hell is that bullshit? 

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I know that there is always a drama with a large family and I understand that there is jealousy, gossip and misunderstanding by others as to who has what and who does this and that but gee whiz you have large block of land build your shit somewhere else.  Does the belediye know about their intention to build a wall where my window is?  Apparently so.  In my previous life back in Australia I worked in a law firm specialising in development approvals and Council disputes.  Would my boss have a field day with this shit?  Yes indeed but of course we are not in Australia – the land of milk and normalcy.  Looking back I should have realised something was afoot as they did not finish painting on the western side of our house.  Did The Turk know?  He did but chose to not say anything as he knew it would upset me.  Really?  So instead I find out when the concreter arrives and starts pouring?  Yes that is a much better idea.  Also if you knew they were going to build right up to our boundary as well why did you not reconfigure our house during construction so there were no windows on the western wall?  Dumb arse! 

At the moment there is literally steam pouring out of my ears as I watch the concreters work below my window.  I have a few choice words that I want to say but frankly I just cannot be bothered.  These people have become so unimportant to me that bricking up the window will probably make my life better as I will not need to look out at them.  They can continue to alienate themselves from my family and from their own – it is their loss more than ours.

I am going to make a cup of tea and enjoy my window right now as it seems I will only have it for a few more weeks before I can pleasantly look towards a brick wall.  How lovely.

Feeling Inspiration

We lost the internet for a couple of days – 4 days to be precise.  It amazes me how much time I waste sitting on my laptop aimlessly clicking on pages.  It numbs the mind.  It stops you for achieving what you intended to do so for the past few days I have actually achieved quite a lot.

I have been in a bit of a bubble since I have arrived here – it has been more than three months.  Did you know that?  Yep we have been here on the other side of the world on the crazy train for over three months now.  Things are different.  It is not the same.  New home.  New language.  New food.  New faces.  New life. 

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Daughter has started a new school, The Turk is finding it difficult to settle and I am the paste that holds this family together.  But yes three months of living in this rural village in Turkey.

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I have not made friends.  I have family – yes.  I have social interaction.  There is my sister in law Songul who is possibly the sweetest person you could ever meet.  I have laughed with her on a good day and have cried with her on a bad one.  I have a mother in law that is kind and generous – not everyone is as lucky as I am.  There is my brother in law Umit who has helped me wade through the bureaucracy that is the Turkish Government and helped me obtain my Yabancilara Mahsus Ikamet Tezkeresi (Residence Permit for Foreigners).  There are people in the village that always say hello or Merhaba and ask me in for cay but friends?  Well not really.  So last week I reached out to a couple of ladies who live in Mersin and are in a similar situation as I am. 

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A plan was hatched.  A date of set and a destination was decided upon.  Saturday morning came and I left the house quite early, firstly to ensure that I arrived at the destination (Starbucks) on time but also so I could do a little sneaky Christmas shopping on the side.  I never drink coffee, never have, but Starbucks is known the world over so where better a place to meet people – and meet people I did.  It was with pleasure and a lot of joy that I met Alannah and Melis.  Alannah is from Northern Ireland and works as an English teacher and Melis is a beautiful German lady (of Turkish decent) who is married to a local fellow.  We fell into conversation easy – there was no lull which I think showed the genuine friendship that was being formed.  Time flew quickly and then it was late afternoon – I could not miss my dolmuş (shared taxi) home. 

After being revitalised by these ladies (how I have missed having a chat) I rushed off to catch my first dolmuş.  One of the things I love about Turkey is the dolmuş.  Dolmuş means “apparently stuffed” and most of the time they are.  You climb aboard and hang on for the ride.  In Mersin the dolmuş all have a set route and as long as you are on the route you can wave them down as they pass.  No walking to the closest bus stop for us here just put out your hand and they will come.  The driving is usually excellent, well as long as you do not mind that your driver is smoking, or talking on his mobile, yelling at a customer, counting out change, swerving recklessly though traffic, dodging people on the road or generally disobeying every traffic road rule known to man.  A marvellous way to get around. 

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As I arrived in Atas it was quite clear that I was going to have to walk home as this small industrial area (where I connect to a dolmuş to Karaduvar) was quiet.  All the businesses were closed and there was not a soul to be seen after all it was cold, very foggy and in the dark Atas is a little bit intimidating.  I had started trudging down the dark street, slightly nervous, when I realised that I was being followed.  Crap!  Danger!  I walk a little faster (difficult in the boots I was wearing).  The footsteps behind me kept pace.  Buggar.  I glanced over my shoulder but it was too dark and too foggy to make out a figure.  Where is the bloody dolmuş when you need one?  Now I could hear breathing, wait, no.  It is panting.  I stop and spin around to find a large dog sliding to a halt behind me.  The big black dog looked at me quizzically, “Woof.  Why did you stop?  I was enjoying our walk.  Are we not going to your house where you will feed me?” he seemed to ask.  As I am more scared of the kopeks (dogs) than the people I was thankful that a dolmuş came along and I jumped on arriving home only slightly later than anticipated . . . however . . . The Turk had been waiting and was worried (everyone now goes “Awwwww”).  Yes he had stopped a few dolmuş.  He had let his family know I was missing, possibly dead and had his cousins searching the streets for me.  I jumped off the dolmuş oblivious to his concern and saw him standing, waiting for me. 

“Where have you been?”

“With friends.”  I like to be a bit vague, make him worry a bit (not realising that he had sent out the cavalry looking for me).

“It’s late.”

“No probs.  I’m here.”  Realising there was something afoot I asked, “You ok?”

“No,” he yelled, “I’ve been waiting for you.  I was worried.”

Again – awwwwww.

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Anyway back to the lack of internet.  Yes I had no internet for four days and it sucked.  I had no internet.  No electricity on Saturday night or all day Sunday and no telephone until Monday.  I have decided that I could disappear of the face of the earth and no one would know – well not until people realised I had not blogged for a while anyway.

But having no internet meant I did get other things done.  I made soup – oh my most exciting news (how sad do I sound – this should NOT be my most exciting news).  I found butternut pumpkin and made a delicious pumpkin and ginger corba (soup).  The Turk’s family have never had pumpkin soup before so I was inundated with people trialling my concoction.  I think it was good.  Daughter says it was good (although a little peppery).  The Turk’s family made lots of noises and said lots of things.  I am not really sure what they said but I am going with the fact that they thought it was delicious.  Wonderful.  Best corba ever!  Cok guzel!

My other news is that as many of my personal friends know I do love to write.  I have started and discarded many novels over the years.  With no internet, Daughter at school and The Turk going off with his brother to deliver maydanoz (parsley) to the restaurants I was taking my Hurley Dog for a walk and was inspired.  Not JK Rowling, become a billionaire inspired but inspired enough to open the laptop and type.

This is a good thing. 

This is what I want to do.

It has begun.

For the Love of Cats

My first visit to Turkey not only introduced me to The Turk but it also introduced me to the stray cats (and stray animals in general) in Turkey.  From the grizzly old tom cat waiting for the fishing boats to return or the protective mothers with tiny babies taking their first steps in Turkey there were always cats sleeping, sunning and meowing their way into my heart. 

Daughter has inherited her love of cats from me and so when she found an abandoned kitten during a visit to Karaduvar a couple of years ago she immediately adopted said kitten and took it upon herself to nurse it back to health.  The kitten, christened Nanu, was fed and loved by Daughter and by the time we returned to Australia Nanu was strong enough to survive although Daughter did leave strict instructions with her grandmother to continue to feed and care for the cat.

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Nanu still lives outside my mother in law’s house and now has babies of her own.  In fact she is part of the kamikaze soldiers who are trying to take my Hurley Dog out and, in fact, seems to be the main protagonist in the attacks on him.

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When we first arrived here in September I noticed a little grey kitten living in the garden across the road.  After enquiries I was told that this little one was from a litter of five however she is the only survivor as its mother died a couple of weeks back by unknown cause.  I do not recall the mother cat but I do recall the cat carcass that was ripped apart by the stray dogs and left near our house. 

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Daughter now has a new mission which is, of course, to save “Grey Cat” and before school each morning she rushes downstairs to put warm milk in a bowl near our door.  I have also caught her a few times slip food into her pocket and disappear after dinner – no doubt to feed Grey Cat or Nanu or one of the other kamikaze cats running around – but, of course, I would have done the same thing at her age so I simply smile to myself thankful that Daughter is such a caring soul.  Grey Cat is a nice looking little thing but after having chased it out of the house once already today I will have to instruct Daughter to make it a bed under the balcony where it will be protected by the elements but will not come into my home and agitate Kedi (and Hurley Dog for that matter).

And if you are wondering how Kedi feels about these interlopers I think he is quite content to spends his day watching the cats from the window or balcony and, despite me leaving the door open a few times, he will not venture outside anytime soon.  I am certain that he is confident in his reign of Lord and Master of this house and it only is with his approval that his scraps are given to those plebs outside.

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Turkish proverb

“If you have killed a cat, you need to build a mosque to be forgiven by God.”

 

How Many Turks does it take to change a light bulb?

Last weekend was The Turk’s birthday.  I am not allowed to say just how old he is however Daughter has been known to him a moruk (geezer) so you make a guess.  I looked around the Wonderful World Wide Web for a few historical snippets relating to his birthdate of 7 December to reference in his birthday card but no one really famous – well no one I knew anyway – was born (or died) on 7 December.  7 December has the ominous distinction of being the day that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour – 7 December 1941 – but this was to be a celebratory day and I do not want to bring down his groove.

There was no chance of a lie in for The Turk on his birthday as the electricity had blown (yet again).  I reset the system again and attempted to put on the heater but it blew almost immediately.  At 7 on Saturday morning it was 4 degrees and with no air con or heater . . . well let me just say it was cold.  So I woke The Turk up to complain and for him to let Hurley out (after all it was way too cold for me and I crawled straight back into bed).  He was very proactive about it though and by 8 am he had left the house to have a shave and to go and track down the electrician who installed our wiring.  I went to buy the bread and when I had returned The Turk had arrived back home freshly shaved and with a boy in tow.

“This is the electrician?” Thank goodness he didn’t speak English although I would think the disbelief in my tone would be clear after all the child standing before me could be no more than 18 years of age (I concede he may be an adult but no way he is an electrician).  The “cocuk (child) electrician” had a long conversation with The Turk and explained that the issue is not with the electrical it is with the air conditioning unit.  Can I holler balderdash?

So most of the morning was spent listening firstly to the cocuk electrician explain why there was nothing wrong with the wiring, and the air con people came and told us that it was the electrical system.  Now I may not Benjamin Franklin but it does not take a fool to tell you there is a problem if you are shorting out 10 times a day!  The cocuk electrician left unsatisfied however promised that his elder brother (who I was guessing is the actual electrician) would return in the afternoon.  The Turk’s birthday was definitely turning into a disaster so before any other calamity presented itself Daughter and I grabbed him and took him into Mersin for a celebratory lunch at Cigeri Apo.

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To truly experience a typical Turkish restaurant in Mersin you cannot get any better than Cigeri Apo.  It specialises in meats cooked over the coals and the menu, although very simple, is delicious.  I was pretty unsure about the choices (The Turk mentioned lung at one stage) so I kept it pretty basic with an order of beef kebap and he ordered unknown meat on the skewer.  Within minutes 5 different salads were delivered to our table along with a glass of Ayran for each of us.  Ayran is a Turkish drink of yogurt, salt and water blended into a thick shake.  Although refreshing on a hot day Ayran tastes pretty good any time of year.

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After a wonderful lunch we wandered down to Ataturk Park and hopped on a harbour cruise that was about to leave.  In hindsight this was probably a mistake as it was freezing on the harbour but it was reasonably short and we were rugged up sufficiently well.  Although the cruise did not leave the harbour it gave us views of the dull city skyline, Luna Park and the Free Trade Zone.

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Returning home the cocuk electrician’s brother arrived and he checked the circuits.  Watching the actual electrician with The Turk I started to wonder whether they would ever get to the bottom of the electrical faults.  Hmmmm.  The Turk said to me later on Saturday evening that watching me trying to control my agitation with the electrician was the best birthday present he could have received (well that and Fenerbache winning their futbol match on Saturday night).

All in all a good day for The Turk.

Village Video

I found this video today on youtube while cruising the web.  Only a couple of minutes long and gives you an idea of the Village which, of course, is our new home.  The teacher at the end of the film is Daughter’s beautiful Turkish teacher Ipek.

And yes my neighbours do still make the bread like that and yes we still buy our domates from the vendor selling his wares from his horse and cart.

Let me know your thoughts.

 

 

Having a Benjamin Button Moment

“It’s a funny thing about comin’ home. Looks the same, smells the same, feels the same. You’ll realize what’s changed is you.”

Benjamin Button aka Brad Pitt aka My Second Husband

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Sidenote – I know I am referring to movies a lot at the moment.  Not sure why, have not even had time to watch television.  Bear with me.

The Turk seems to be having a Benjamin Button moment right now.  He has banged on about returning to Karaduvar pretty much since arriving in Sydney 11 years ago but I think being home and knowing that this IS now his home is a hurdle that he is having difficulty traversing.

In the past he has visited.  His family have welcomed him with open arms.  His friends have slapped him on the back and drank cay with him at the local tea house or taken him to the new club in the city and there are tears and hugs at the airport before he leaves them (yet again) to return to his life in Australia.  There was always the knowledge that he would return again in the future.

As happy as he is to be back with his family and friends he now has opportunity to take off the rose coloured glasses and really look at where he now calls home and he has been very opinionated about its misgivings.  He can complain about the blackouts that seem to happen daily.  Thank you Benjamin Franklin.  He has complained about the water not being hot enough or the water pressure not being strong enough.  But today was my favourite.  He has had a hankering for Peking Duck.  Yep that’s right.  Peking Duck.

Now I do not want to sound like an unsupportive wife (really?) but come on sunshine – get over it!  He was born in this village (probably next door), he grew up here, went to school, made friends, loved and lost and, well, then he left, didn’t he?  He was conscripted into the army and after his service he went to Bodrum where he played around until he met me.  Holy shit!  He had no idea what he was getting himself into!  Other than fleeting visits he has not lived in this village since he was 18!  I know I am using a lot of exclamation points but this is an exclamation point kind of epiphany!!

Now I cannot help him with the Peking Duck (ewww) but I have an electrician coming today about our constant blackouts.  We have had an electric hot water service connected (how people live on solar hot water in winter is beyond me). The telephone is now operational (finally).  We’ve had satellite TV installed (because the 2000 Turkish channels that we had were apparently not the right ones).  The balcony is still under renovation (but will be finished shortly) and . . . well I am sure there are other problems that will come up but we can tackle each problem when it presents itself.

What an wonderful, sympathetic, kind, generous and hot wife I am (just go with me on this) and apparently when I sing I sound like Madonna.  I know my Second Husband aka Brad Pitt would show his appreciation.

Big Girls Do Cry

Daughter and I have had a fight.  I can hear her now in her bedroom belting out Simple Minds “Don’t you forget about me” and I just want to go in there and throw her ipod out the window.  At 11 I find her headstrong and on occasion completely out of line.  I wonder what on earth she is going to be like at 15 – which was how old I was when I first saw the movie that made this song famous – The Breakfast Club.  A movie about teenage rebellion and clichés.  It had it all.  How about the freeze frame last scene with Judd Nelson raising his fist to the sky?  “Fuck you!” Oh yeah I loved that movie!

I remember wanting desperately to be just like Molly Ringwald, pretty and popular flirting with the jocks but all the while longing after Bender (Judd Nelson).  Many would say I was probably more like Allison (Ally Sheedy) but deep down I really longed to be Molly’s character Claire. 

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An old friend put some high school photos up on Facebook a little while back which gave me a good laugh but honestly I would not repeat my school years if I could at all escape them.  Lonely in a crowd – that is how I saw myself. 

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When deciding to move to Turkey one of the factors taken into consideration was to remove Daughter from the “First World Dramas” that children seem to go through these days.  Social media, bad behaviour, general bullying – going to school is like navigating through a mine field.  It is not just a school either.  Children are pressured to be the best, the smartest, the fastest, the most beautiful and if they are not the smartest or the fastest or the most beautiful they, of course, take that failure to heart.  Can anyone say Helicopter Parents?  Children do not have time to actualize and understand a social situation before another situation (good or bad) presents itself.  The pressures that children find themselves under must be huge and we learnt the hard way with Daughter.  Two years ago I found a small gap in Daughter’s hair.  It was the size of a 20 cent piece.  Within days so much of her hair had fallen out that we had to consult specialists.  Daughter had been diagnosed with Alopecia Areata no doubt brought on by stresses in her daily life.  Two years on her hair has grown back although her curls have disappeared and her hair is now dead straight.

We recently watched an episode on 60 Minutes Australia which highlighted a young girl who committed suicide due to social pressure and bullying.  Daughter was a little distressed after watching the story and confided in me that since being in Turkey she has not been bullied nor felt the need to be the bully and “it’s been a bit of a relief to be honest Mummy”.  I forget just how much pressure Daughter has been under since moving here.  She had no Turkish to speak of and has had to adjust to not just a new language but also to a new schooling system. She has had to forge new friendships and continue her education all the while speaking this crazy ass language. 

A wonderful friend gave me some advice before we left which was that if Daughter found one good friend at that school she would be set.  And thankfully she has found not just one friend but many. 

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I realise that I should give my kid a break.  Maybe I will make her a hot chocolate (after all its bloody cold enough) and we can muddle through her homework together (I hate the homework) before her Turkish teacher arrives for her afternoon lesson.