Why Are You Here?

Daughter has fallen victim to the dreaded Grip.  It sounds quite ominous doesn’t it?  It sounds as though we need to send out a bat signal or Spider Man needs to come to her rescue but in fact the Grip is better known as simply the flu.  Yes Daughter has the flu and a little ear infection so I took her to the village doctor for a check-up and perhaps some antibiotics if deemed necessary.


The rest of this story is not about Daughter.  She has had a day off school and is on the mend.  The rest of this story is a bit of a tantrum by me so if you are not in the mood for my drama then close the page because here we go:

Imagine a doctor’s office or a government office or a bank or a post office or, well imagine bloody well near anywhere in Mersin.  Imagine me.  Imagine The Turk.  Imagine an obnoxious Turkish doctor, government official, office worker or man on the street.  And.  Action!

“Yes we moved here from Sydney, Australia.”                                                                “Sydney, Australia?  Why would you come here?  There is nothing here.”              “We came here to give Daughter a family and for her to learn Turkish.”            “You have made a mistake.  You should go back to where you are from.”

This is the conversation that The Turk and I have had about 100 times since arriving in Mersin.  The confusion and hysteria that we imbibe from the everyday man when we say that we live here makes me want to throw something at them.  I find that it is usually the professional Turk that cannot understand our decision to move here the ones who think that they are smarter than we are.  The Doctor or Government official.  I always roll my eyes and turn away while The Turk goes into the usual speech about family, lifestyle, culture, language, blah, blah, blah.

Frankly it is none of your effing business why we have moved to Mersin, just stamp the document or give me the prescription and we will be on our way.  Yes we have moved to a small village.  Yes it is extraordinary and yes you can think it is crazy but you need to try and look at it from our side.

We lived in Sydney and believe me I love Sydney.  Best city in the best country in the world but Mersin and more specifically the Village has one things that Sydney does not.  Aile (family).  A huge family that has been so very welcoming to me and to Daughter.  Kuzlener (cousins) that want to play with her.  Kuzlener that love her (and some that do not).  Teyzer and yenge (aunts) that give her hugs when she is sad and yell at her when she is naughty.  Amcalar (uncles) that slip her 5 lira or take her to the market for icecream and a Anne and Baba who are at home when she finishes school and can spend quality time with her rather than coming home exhausted and stressed from a day’s work.

I know that not everybody can have this opportunity, it is unique to us, but when Daughter was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata I realised that something had to change.  I realised that our lifestyle, running from pillar to post, was damaging her psychologically and if ever an opportunity for a seachange came up I would jump at the chance.  Yes we could have moved to Queensland or even to a small town in rural New South Wales but all that would have achieved is that we would have alienated ourselves even more.  Moving away from friends, no I do not think this would have been the solution.

Moving to Turkey has taken a big chunk of our savings and frankly has put us under a financial strain (The Turk and I are terrible with a budget) but Daughter is blossoming from a stressed little girl who had lost most of her hair into a wonderful young lady who is doing remarkably well at school even though it is in a second language and has made some great friends along the way.

This is the right decision for our family – for now.

23 thoughts on “Why Are You Here?

  1. Stuff ’em 🙂
    You’ve done right – just look at that girl’s happy smile.

    I emigrated here years ago simply to start a family. The problems here are different to that in ‘The West’ (corruption, health, bureaucracy, income levels, taxation, blah, blah, blah), but I still consider that the benefits far outweigh these. My kid is also a happy soul. He doesn’t know what soda-pop is, he prefers fruit off our own trees to sweets, gets kissed in shops without fear, plays hard, and works hard 🙂


  2. Sod the officials. Most have no idea about real or family life (especially our UK politicians these days). If you don’t conform to their tick list, they don’t want to know.
    Your daughter is a credit to you from what I’ve seen and read through your blog.
    The children of Today are our Future. Those that are pampered, have never known hardship and are used to getting everything without any effort wouldn’t know the right end of a lemon, let alone get in it.


  3. Sounds oh so familiar!! When we first got here we would politely answer, but now after 3 years hubby will normally tell them to mind their effing business! At the end of the day we don’t have to justify our decisions to anyone so get over it! My children are genuinely happy and that makes a happy mummy!


  4. Those people deserve your pity instead of your anger. they are so envious of your ability to go to a rich country and make a lot of money. They are not thinking of family just of money and freedom. they are trapped in their own little world so its impossible for them to conceive of a life with such freedom of travel, ability to become rich through hard work. They want to be you so they want to make decisions on your behalf. Dont give them any more of your energy, Instead feel pity for them and get back to your beautiful family life


  5. I am sure you feel much better now that you have got that lot off your chest!
    It’s good to talk…. better out than in so to speak. plus the added bonus of INSTANT support from those friends who follow your Blogs. Which are always good to read, sometimes funny, sometimes hilarious, sometimes sad and always very informative, with wisps of your original sense of humour, and wit,and very entertaining.

    I remember when my daughter and i were visiting friends and family in a very small village in Central Anatolia, the locals would look at us as if to say “Why are You Here”, We were the very first English people to visit their village and when we dared to venture out alone to the one and only Internet Cafe, ( well their version of it) to make contact with home as they had not heard from us for over a week. Word reached back to the family we were staying with and suddenly 4 male members of the family, brothers, cousin, uncle, appeared in the internet cafe and frog-marched us back home. Apparently women are NOT allowed out on there own unaccompanied!

    Although i must mention that everyone we met in the village was very hospitable, kind and generous. Everyone would welcome us to the village even complete strangers. When we were collecting water from a nearby fountain the man that lived next to it came out to give us fruit from his trees, another time a lady walked past us while we were sitting on the verandah outside the house, she had just baked some fresh bread and gave some to us. A neighbour opposite would bake us cake and give us homemade cherry jam and dried fruit. Locals crochet items for us to bring home, another gave us flowers for our hair, and the table. Definately would not get this where i live now.
    Given the choice i would go back in a nano second.

    Hope your daughter recovers soon. Love your blogs, sometimes lifts me up on a down-day.
    Kind regards to you all.


  6. Jane… another bonus from reading your blog is that i have come across “amforte66” , I just clicked on her blog after reading yours above, and have now added her for future updates. She has written some amazing stuff, love the recent one about advice for her daughters. I think i am getting a tad addicted to reading blogs. there are some truly amazing ones.
    I came across yours from your comment on another blog. I may even start one myself.
    Regards Jan


    • Yes I completely understand. When I started blogging I gave myself a half hour a day to read other blogs now I find myself putting aside my morning with a cup of cay to immerse myself in everyone’s work.


  7. I hope she feels better soon. I love it when other people know better than you :). I always get told how ‘lucky’ I am, however, we have given up a lot, lived mistily on the smell of an oily rag…how many other people will give up the comforts to be truly happy? I take my hat off to you and your family x


  8. I find that people always look at your life’s decisions from where they are at on their journey in life.! Which could be light years behind yours! When I lived in Mexico, there were several people there who would question why I would leave the United States to live in Mexico.??? Ummmm….b/c its sunny, people are generally happier, and more relaxed. Your decision is the right decision for you and your family.

    Interestingly enough in Mexico, the flu is called gripa.!! and sounds just as scary 🙂


  9. Looks as though “mind your business” will be near the top of my list of phrases to learn the Turkish for when I move to Mersin this summer. Kudos to you and your family, Jane, for daring to make a change for the better. And thanks for sharing your journey on your blog; I’ve been enjoying it tremendously.


      • In Erdemli/Limonlu. Oh, yes, I’m gearing up for the journey. While I’ve visited a few times, visits are far different than living there. Plus, I have the added bonus of not being able to blend in with the crowd, so it should be interesting to say the least.


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