The Puker

Daughter’s first overseas flight was when she was 10 weeks old.  We flew from Sydney to Bodrum so she could meet The Turk.  Daughter slept for the entire flight.  I, on the other hand, was a nervous wreck.  Thankfully there was a lot of assistance from other passengers to get me from Point A to Point B otherwise I would still be wandering around Bangkok International Airport right now in tears (it’s a big airport).

On a whole, however, Daughter is one of those kids who always puked or always had a problem on a flight.  I know right?  I was generally mortified by her behaviour.  I know she couldn’t help it and I understand that, I really do, but it was just so damn embarrassing.  You name it, it has happened to us.  Lost luggage?  Check.  Missing connection flight?  Check.  Crying for 5 straight hours.  Check (and I am sorry).  Stomach aches, ear aches, head aches?  Check, check, check.

I’ve been on flights where they have separated me from my then 5 year old daughter and I even had one instance where Daughter’s name was called over the speaker.  Upon speaking with the attendant they were offering to upgrade her to Business Class!  Hello???

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The most infamous flight, the flight that I am sure the other poor souls who were unfortunate enough to be on that flight still comment on, went a little something like this:

  1. Half way through flight.  No problems.  Daughter feeling good.  Daughter feeling happy.  Me feeling relieved.
  2. Seat belt sign comes on.  Captain makes an announcement.  Turbulence.
  3. Daughter has finger up nose (she does enjoy a snack).
  4. Plane jars a little, finger is pushed into the roof of nose (possibly reached brain matter) and yep, you guessed it, a river of blood, a tidal wave of red terror gushed over us both.
  5. Daughter has a complete meltdown, starts choking.

Outcome?  Projectile blood pukage (is “pukage” a word) all over herself, me and . . the Canadian couple in the seats in front of us.  Dear God!

After vomiting for a straight 20 minutes Singapore Airlines refused to let us on our connecting flight (as we looked like extras from a Freddie Kruger movie) and so we spent the next 2 days at Changi International Airport waiting for another flight.  We missed the Anzac Day service at Gelibolu (that’s Gallipoli for you Aussies) and I said at that moment those words that I have said many, many times before, “I am never flying with her again”.

Yes, I have flown with her and yes, she has vomited since that flight.  Many times.

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Who Runs The World?

I received a number of emails yesterday about how “political” my views were regarding the proposed internet ban in Turkey.  While I feel my last post was not political and more my feelings vented I will endeavour to keep this blog a little more lighthearted although before I return to my normal, more humorous take on Turkey I just want to say congratulations to all the women who stood up for their God given rights in Istanbul last night.

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What began as a peaceful demonstration campaigning for equality and women’s rights in Turkey quickly escalated into a scuffle with riot police.  *sigh*

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was a strong advocate for women’s rights in Turkey.  He once said:

To the women: Win for us the battle of education and you will do yet more for your country than we have been able to do. It is to you that I appeal.
To the men: If henceforward the women do not share in the social life of the nation, we shall never attain to our full development. We shall remain irremediably backward, incapable of treating on equal terms with the civilizations of the West

I will leave it at that.

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Don’t you dare Mr Erdogan

In February the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan put to vote (and was subsequently passed) a law that would enable the Turkish Telecommunications Directorate to block websites if they are determined to violate privacy. 

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He goes on to say:

“We are determined on this subject. We will not leave this nation at the mercy of YouTube and Facebook. We will take the necessary steps in the strongest way. . . . These people or organizations encourage every kind of immorality and espionage for their own ends. And there are no boundaries. Such concept of freedom is unacceptable.”

These social networks have become the place to go to for those who oppose the current Government.  Comprising information about Erdogan are easily distributed via the internet and email in our 21st century life and it all came to a head with the recent release of telephone conversations between Erdogan and various political allies including his son.  But who is really at fault here?  Telephone tapping is not unusual or new.  The US Government was recently caught phone tapping the German Chancellor.  The information is already out there and in fact he basically admitted (in a very obtuse way) that it was in fact his voice on the telephone.  Corruption is part of daily life here in Turkey and I expect that had Erdogan admitted to it quickly this latest scandal would have disappeared instead he steadfastly denied any involvement in the scandal and pointed the finger at others.

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The Turkish Government previously banned youtube and WordPress back in 2008 and despite the ban the website was among the top 10 most accessed sites in Turkey.  Savvy internet users skirting around the regulations.  I recall my old place of work banned Facebook for a while but that didn’t stop the younger employees setting up proxy links.  Kids can pretty much do anything these days.

Erdogan needs to understand that his time as Prime Minister is limited and that the younger generation of Turkey are realising that social media (Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, etc) are learning to have a voice and to stand up for what they believe is right.  Looking back at Gezi should have been a warning sign for Erdogan to listen to the younger generation – he may just learn something.

If Janeyinmersin goes silent you will know why.  I imagine I will have to start sending smoke signals to you all if that happens.

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Vito Corleone

A couple of weeks back The Turk and I had to make a trip to the okul (school) to have a chat with a bully on Daughter’s behalf.  He pulls her hair and pushes her around a little.  Generally if someone pushes her she will push straight back – no issue – but since she was diagnosed with alopecia areata the hair pulling freaks her out.  She is terrified that with one yank a large chunk of hair will fall out and then “I will have no option but to kill him” is muttered in a manner that, frankly, frightens me a little.

So before Daughter is charged with pre-meditated murder The Turk and I popped down to the school to have a chat with the young man in question.  As the bell rang Daughter’s classmates came out of the classroom and, if I gauged correctly, we were expected because they all surrounded us and pushed the boy into the centre of the circle.  He stood with his head down looking terrified while being surrounded by Daughter’s classmates all whispering to each other.  The Turk spoke to him quietly, assurances were given and the boy retreated down the stairs at breakneck speed.

Bittimi?  Finished?

Nope.

It seems that all we did was escalate the problem which came to a head yesterday with the boy in question smacking Daughter in the face.  So another trip to the okul this morning was deemed necessary.

The Turk and I went in ready for battle.  The headmaster was extremely helpful, took us to the classroom and called the boy in question out where he was berated, slapped across the back of the head with a ruler (!) and sent on his way.

Bittimi?  Finished?

Nope.

The Turk and I left the school feeling pretty comfortable that any issues can be put aside from that moment.  As we stepped out of the school gate The Turk’s brother appeared.  You may recall that this particular brother in law was the one who did not invite us (or my mother in law) to his son’s going away party and has had little to do with us since we arrived however now that The Turk is here he is as nice as cream puffs so I am going to refrain from bitching about him too much.  He is also the brother in law who is building a home attached to ours causing one of our windows to be bricked up but again I am going to refrain from bitching about him too much.  And just for a little bit more background information so you can truly judge his character he is the brother in law that runs a coffee shop / gambling house in the village.  Is it legal?  Bilmiyorum.  I just don’t know.  Basically he is a bit of a gangster in my eyes.

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Brother in law has heard about Daughter’s woes and decided that he should go and talk to the school as well just in case we were not forceful enough with our language.  I kid you not when I say he stepped out of the vehicle with his jacket over his shoulders, cigarette in hand, black hair slicked back.  He was a 1920’s gangster.  He was The Godfather.  I literally started laughing at this point as I realised he intended to go to the class room and push this poor kid around a bit (apparently you can do that kind of thing here).  Daughter was going to be mortified (or she was going to enjoy it a little too much).

The Turk and I stood outside the school waiting for either the polis to arrive and arrest him or us or Daughter or the poor boy.  Brother in law re-appeared at the school gates and said, “I have taken care of your problem”.  Yes he did say that!  He’s The Godfather!

When we arrived home I went about preparing Daughter’s lunch when brother in law telephoned and requested The Turk come to the coffee shop immediately.  It seems that brother in law contacted this poor boy’s father and the father was waiting in the back room to sit down with The Turk and his brother.  The Turk is down there now.  The last thing I said to him was, “Don’t rough him up too much”.

Oh shit!  I hope he knows I was joking.

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Oh God is she talking about the weather again???

I had no plan to blog this morning but it is pouring outside and there is no way I am putting on my gumboots and venturing into the storm so forgive me as this post has been put together in haste.  In fact feel free to pass it over completely as all I am going to do is talk about the weather.  Quick rundown.  Rain, rain, weather, flood, weather.  There.  Thanks for stopping by.

Seriously though I know I have been banging on about the weather a lot – I am going to say it again – A LOT – but I deem it necessary.  I am amazed at how little it actually did rain here, I mean considering it was winter and all.  Arriving fresh from a Sydney winter (yes it has now been 6 months and I will get to that post another time) I had nightmares of having to live through another 3 months of cold and rain.

So I did what any google-loving person would do and searched “annual rainfall” in Mersin (why have I never done this before).  It seems that I have been incredibly lucky these past few months.  It should have rained in fact it should have been a “Noah’s Ark 2.0, grab your scuba gear and pray to whatever God it is that you pray to” kind of rain so I am grateful that my first northern hemisphere winter was not the blow-fest it could have been.

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But now it is spring – yahoo – and it is raining, in fact, Mersin has had a bit of a pounding the last few days.  Daughter came home from school yesterday with the news that the water in the playground came up to her knee (today she wore gumboots to school).  I saw a couple of photos on social media sites too where Mersin’s inadequate drainage is blatantly obvious.  The photo below is from The Forum which is my usual Sunday Funday haunt.  The Forum is actually the largest shopping centre along the Mediterranean coast and one would think that when it was being built the engineers would have taken inclement weather into consideration.  Perhaps not.

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Council elections are currently underway and I expect that drainage will become an issue of contention with members of the public in fact last night the local member came to the Village for a meet and greet and was inundated with supporters.  Here are a few photos from last night.  Crazy eh?  Could you imagine that many people turning up to support your local member?

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Carl Fredricksen

I don’t know the names of many people in the village.  I give them names, names that I can remember.  Today I want to introduce you to Carl Fredricksen.  You know, the guy from Up.

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Up was one of my favourite animated movies.  Generally I am not a fan of animation.  I am probably going to be vilified here by saying I did not like The Lion King.  No I did not.  But I enjoyed Up.  I cried in Up.  This movie is a good example of western society and our treatment of the elderly.  Too many of our elderly are discarded and forgotten in our rush to continue with our own selfish lives.  I find that in Turkey, society as a whole look after their elderly as is their tradition and custom. The majority of elderly live with their family, their children or their grandchildren.  They are looked after with love as it is the family’s duty to do so however even in Turkey some elderly fall through the cracks merely because they do not have any family.

Like Carl Fredricksen my “Carl” is a lonely old man.  I have met him many times, he used to be a regular visitor at my mother in law’s home.  She told me that he had few friends and no family so she always made him feel welcome in her home.  He cannot speak.  He has no tongue.  I do not know if it was removed for a medical reason or if it was removed for other reason.  He was a toy maker by trade.  He used to make toys for the village children and his house is, apparently, filled with the toys intended for his own children however this was not meant to be as he never married.  How sad is that?

He spends his days walking through the village and I would often see him while I am on my walks with My Hurley Dog.  He would stop and pat My Hurley Dog and give me a smile and a grunt when he sees me.

Daughter always makes a point of running up to him and calling him Dede (Grandfather).  Those of you who know us personally are aware of Daughter’s abilities and one of them is her ability to be empathetic.  She has always been able to channel other people’s feelings, whether it be tears of sadness or excitement and joy.  Since moving here I have witnessed her many times see Carl from our window and run downstairs to give him a hug.  She took this photo of Carl a few weeks back and he was so very excited to see himself on the screen.  We realised that he did not have a photo of himself so Daughter is waiting until she sees him next to take another photo of him, have it printed and present it to him in a photo frame.

We only have one life, one chance.  What we do with it is up to us isn’t it?

 

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Love Rat

The Turk could have been a love rat, in fact, I am sure there are people that read this blog that knew The Turk before me who are nodding their heads in agreement and coming up with examples to put in my comments.  I was merely in the right place at the right time.  I have no doubt at all that he was a “playa” pre-Janey although now he is better known as a marouk (old geezer).  He likes to think he could still pull them in if he got the chance.

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Over the past few days there has been a lot of talk about Turkish Love Rats (TLR) and Love Rats in general on the social media sites that I am connected with.  I am not going to get into a debate about what is or is not a love rat.  I am merely going to tell you a story.

*names have been changed to protect my beautiful friend

Amanda met this TLR while studying at college in her home town.  They had a wonderful romance that ended when he returned to Turkey.  Over the years they lost contact, she moved on, got married, had a beautiful little girl and subsequently divorced.  She would often think about that boy that she knew all those years ago and wonder what might have been had circumstances been different.  Thanks to Facebook they re-connected and their love affair was re-kindled.  She visited him once or twice in Mersin and they fell deeply in love.  Aahh romance is wonderful.  Seni cok seviyorum.

Promises are made.  Dates are set.  She packs up her life, kisses her family goodbye, leaves her job and her friends and she and her daughter move to this wonderful country for this wonderful man.  Her daughter is happy.  She loves it here.  She is happy.  She is in love.  He, however, the TLR, has decided that he does not want to be a father to her daughter, she is in fact not the girl for him and began to see another, one a little more suitable (read that as Turkish).  His friends knew and they did not tell her but instead continued to court her as his fiancé.  His family knew but they kept it a secret and still helped her pick out a wedding dress and a venue.  This woman was duped in the worst way possible.

As I write this I wonder what his family and friends actually think of him.  Right now.  Do they think a little less of him?  Do they wonder if he is really the man that they thought, whether he may one day betray them as he did to his fiancé?  Does his mother feel embarrassed by her son’s behaviour, after all as a parent she is his teacher?  Finally, what of the other woman?  Did she know?  Did she care?  What type of person must she be?

Love rats come in all shapes and sizes.  This one did not steal money from her – although she gave up a lucrative career and packed up her life to move to Turkey – this one did something that I consider a lot worse.  He broke her.  Not just her heart – her.  A strong independent woman was kicked to the kerb for having a strong, independent mind.  She had the audacity to question his opinions or decisions and he shot her down before turning and saying, “I do not want you.  I do not want your daughter.”  He left their apartment and did not return until she had packed up her things and left.  Not left the city.  No he did not return until she left the country!

I have said to my friend on many occasions he is not worth it.  They are not worth it.  You learn and you move on.  She is happy now with a wonderful job.  Her daughter took some time to re-adjust but is also happy thriving back with her extended family.  And as for the TLR – here’s hoping someone treats him with the same disrespect that he treated my friend!

Sadly I have some other examples and perhaps in the future (and with those friend’s blessings) I will tell their stories too.  With time comes healing.