Public Service Announcement

Daughter and I ran off to Londra last week to eat bacon and to shop (and more importantly to get a stamp in my passport to keep my NSW driver’s licence current).  I ate the bacon as Daughter recently decided that she is a vegetarian and apparently all things pork fall under that category.  I tried to explain to her that bacon is exempt from that whole “meat” deal because it is serious manna from heaven but then I realised that with her not eating bacon there is just so much more for me.

While I ate bacon and Daughter impressed me (and our bank manager) with her ability to spend more money in a day than than the national debt of a small African country The Turk stayed behind to hold down the fort and to look after My Hurley Dog.

Returning home I found my home spick and span (and apparently sans leaks), My Hurley Dog freshly coiffed and smelling like a daisy field but The Turk was looking decidedly worse for wear.  What could possibly have happened to have caused him to look like he had just been spat out by a raptor? One only had to take a look at his sad puppy dog eyes and his droopy expression to realise that the next few days were going to be a trial for all of us (even with separate residences).  The Turk’s symptoms were clear.  I put on my doktor cap and immediately diagnosed him with the dreaded Turkish Man Flu or TMF.

Oh no!

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Up front let me just say that TMF is a more severe form of the generic and more common Man Flu.  Why is it more severe?  Well because the man is Turkish of course (and don’t start bombarding me with nasty comments I will merely delete them).

To help you identify this dreadful disease and to help with the recovery of your patient (and your sanity) I have compiled this list of helpful hints:

Symptoms may include sullen (or more sullen than normal) behaviour followed by the self-diagnosis that he is obviously dying.  An almost paranoia-like fear of mockery, inability to recognise sarcasm and his staunch belief that everyone is out to get him, the Illuminati does in fact control the world and aliens walk amongst us (FYI this is an example of the sarcasm that he will fail to recognise).  You will need to contend with his inability to ‘soldier on’ (hell the remote on his lap is too far away) and his constant need of reassurance from you of his current chances for survival (Slim mate!  Slim!).  Of course the most common symptom of TMF is his absolute certainty that nobody has ever suffered like this.  Ever.

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Ladies be aware that any lack of compassion on your part will put your patient’s life in danger.  You need to be Florence Nightingale.  For brownie points get out your sexy nurse uniform that you wore for Halloween all those years ago.  Really.  It will alleviate symptoms within minutes.  Fact.

Oh and don’t you go running off to the doktor for the infamous ‘serum’ or 15 different types of antibiotics.  This will not help you one little bit. This will only ensure the extension of TMF.  What will alleviate symptoms is keeping your suffering patient’s çay glass full and ensure that Kemal Sunal is on the television.  Turkish doctors have discovered that the dulcet *cough, cough* voice of Kemal Sunal has remarkable healing powers.  I swear!

Other remedies include *paça veya iskembe çorba (never gonna happen) or maybe that secret herbal çay that only his mother can prepare.  Import his mother.  Does’t matter where she is, doesn’t matter if you have to fly her in … do it!  If unable to supply said mother get any teyze that is available to prepare some unknown and most likely disgusting broth (in her house ‘cause the smell of that soup cooking will make you gag for days!).

Incidentally The Turk did survive the dreaded TMF … but only just.  I think a caring wife can give their man 48 hours of sympathy and if they are not back to their normal self then you throw him to the goats!

* paça veya iskembe çorba  Paça çorba is better known as Sheep Head soup while Iskembe çorba is tripe.  I would rather chew off my own leg than eat either soup but it is the only thing that will sooth The Turk when he is suffering from TMF.  I get Songul to make it and yes I can still smell it from two floors away!

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#First World Problems

Daughter and I have been in Sydney for the past 6 weeks as well as a sneaky side trip to Bali with a few of my girlfriends so I have been MIA in case you hadn’t noticed (what do you mean you didn’t notice???).

While Down Under I got to spend desperately needed time with many, but not all, of my most beloved peeps (and purchased some desperately needed bras – my boobs are back in the Northern Hemisphere again) and Daughter also got to have a few catch ups, again stalked members of 5SOS and even went to see The 1975 in concert.  Sydney was definitely a win/win sitch for both of us (although Calum from 5SOS is still playing hard to get).

Bali 1Now we are back in my Türkiye and back in the Village I find that things haven’t changed.  At all.

Of course I am aware that Türkiye was on the news while I was away.  As an early riser I had the news on and was watching the ‘incident’ as it happened.  (I will call it an incident however I won’t make any further reference to it due to the current political climate here).

“Holy Shit!” said I.

“Don’t go back!” said most, if not all, of my acquaintances back in Sydney.

Coming back home I admit was a little nervous but now that I am here and have been out and about I can say that in the Village and in the city of Mersin nothing has changed.  The sun is still shining, people are going about their business and life goes on oh and The Turk actually didn’t know that the ‘incident’ had taken place.  Slept through the whole thing.  And before you Negative Nelly’s start banging on at me yes I know that Mersin is not Istanbul and that there are continued protests there as well as other cities including Ankara but, just in case you didn’t realise, this is a blog about living in Mersin.

Anyway after staring at the television for hours I realised that something that was so huge in Türkiye and that held such huge ramifications for this country as well as the rest of the world it was merely a ripple in the pond in Australia (and possibly other countries) and was only getting about 7 minutes of airtime with the Australian media.   I should just stress at this point that the home that I was staying at only had free to air television – in fact I didn’t even get to see the finale to Game of Thrones until I got home!  #FirstWorldProblems

Everybody-Loses-Their-Mind-GoTAustralia had a general election during my time Down Under and so I did my civic duty and cast my vote.  I actually received a fine for not voting in the last election although on checking with the Consulate here in Türkiye I found out there was in fact nowhere to cast your vote unless you did it by post.  Have you ever tried to send mail from Türkiye?  Has it ever arrived or did it take 6 months?  I betcha that if I had done the postal vote in the last election my solitary postal vote would have been crucial in stopping that tosser Abbott getting elected!  And did you know that this is like the 50th freaking election since 2010 – not really – but it sure seems like it.  I mean Australia change leaders like others change their undies!  #FirstWorldProblems

I took Daughter to the hairdresser in Sydney.  Now, back in Mersin a trip to the hairdresser including a wash and blow dry will set you back 9TL or AU$5 (the price has gone up in our absence).  In Sydney a wash and blow dry at a suburban hairdresser set us back AU$60 or approximately 120TL!!!  #FirstWorldProblems

I made potato kofte for dinner for a friend and after a quick trip to the local supermarket I realised that Türkiye beats Australia hands down on the cost and the quality of the fresh produce available.  Of course here in Türkiye fruit and vegetables are seasonal but after I paid AU$3 or 6TL for one (rather crummy) bunch of maydanoz (parsley) I realised just how great I really have it here.  I couldn’t even get my hands on any nane (mint) either!  I mean WTF??  It’s mint for feck sake.  Here it’s growing on every freaking street corner.  I think back to when we lived in Sydney and we always had mint on hand.  Of course The Turk would grow his own.  Duh! #FirstWorldProblems

Although Australia did win hand over fist time and time again.  Electricity is abundant as is fresh drinking water.  I had only been home in Mersin a few days when the electricity was cut and the water disappeared from our pipes.  It took 2 days for the water to come back but the electricity did crank up again pretty quickly (and a good thing too with the current temperatures here in Mersin hitting mid-40’s (that’s Celsius to you freaking Americans) on a regular basis.  Sidenote – Daughter just stuck her head out the door and asked me “When’s it winter?”  LMAO! #SydneyoverMersin

The traffic back in Sydney is as always a dream to navigate although peak hour did my head in on more than one occasion.  I love that the speed limit isn’t just a suggestion and I seriously don’t think I heard a car horn during our whole time there!  #SydneyoverMersin

Of course the biggest drawcard and the one thing that I can’t replicate in Mersin is bacon.  Sydney has bacon.  A lot of bacon.  And I ate it all!  #SydneyoverFECKINGMersin

bacon 1So now that I’m back I will probably be back to whinging about all and sundry and hating this and that again but right now I will just say that I’m glad to be home.

Oh and yes I was playing with hashtags.  They are stupid and I hate them.  I vow this day to never use them again!

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A White Flag

Well yesterday was certainly eventful wasn’t it?  My scrap with The Onion was the talk of the town.  After our initial blow up she continued to yell and complain to anyone who would listen to her and I continued to flush my toilet so that water came down the pipe and onto her precious granite below, even splashing her workers a few times.

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But as you can no doubt guess from my GIF – I won.  I won this particular battle.  Thanks to The Turk.  Always The Turk.

While The Onion continued to carry on outside and I continued to flush my toilet inside The Turk did what The Turk always does and stepped in behind the scenes.  After a discreet chat with Prince’s William and Harry (The Onion’s boys) a hush fell over the battleground, shovels were downed and all was quiet.  It was an eerie quiet too.  An uneasy quiet before the battle resumes.  So I flushed … again.

Yes thanks to The Turk a white flag appears to have been raised by The Onion (albeit by William and Harry) when their plumber arrived on the scene and immediately got started on re-routing our pipes (at no cost to us).  So how did The Turk manage to fix this family debacle?  Was the threat of a horse head in someone’s bed necessary?  No, not really.  The Turk merely pointed out that Vito and Harry (who sell maydanoz and nane to restaurants throughout the city) needs water from MY water pump to keep their produce fresh.  The Turk suggested that should our pipes not be returned to their former glory or an appropriate facsimile sorted before dark then MY pump would no longer be available to them.  Within twenty minutes the plumber arrived and within two hours I was able to poop and flush.

I won!

I told The Turk that I wanted an apology from The Onion.  He said I was dreaming but I’m holding out.  There is officially a grudge and officially I get now why my MIL and both of my SIL hate The Onion with a passion.  Last night was spent on my SIL’s terrace drinking vino and listening to them both bitch about the bitch meanwhile Mrs Vito closed all her curtains and slammed her front door a good few times.  We giggled.  I am no longer Switzerland, well maybe I am still Switzerland but this is a darker, edgier Switzerland.  This is the Switzerland of The Onion’s nightmares!  Beware of Switzerland baby.

You have been warned!

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Bad Neighbours

My SIL, who is forever known by me as The Onion, is a bit of a bitch.  The Turk hates her.  My mother in law hated her and Justin Bieber said it best when he said “my mother doesn’t like you and she likes everyone”.  Never has a truer statement been made.

mymindUp until today I have been relatively laid back when it comes to The Onion.  I have spent the last 3 years (hell that’s not true it’s been the last 15 years) as Switzerland.  Switzerland never took sides.  Switzerland kept a smile on her dial and was always nice and friendly.  Always with a ‘Merhaba’ or a ‘G’day’.  But no more.  It is done.

Those of you who are long time readers will recall that Vito built a house that is literally attached to our house.  Right on the boundary.  But that’s okay because family is family right?  Well it seems that it was us who originally built right on the boundary but when we built there didn’t seem to be any major problem but, of course, when The Onion built her new house she was pissed about the boundary issue.  Of course, that’s okay because family is family.  But today family ceased to exist and The Onion crossed the line with me.

We have a drainage pipe that runs down the side of our house and into a drainage pit on her land.  There is no easement but, like I have said – over and over – family is family.  No problem.  Well today there is a problem and I lost my shit.

The Onion is putting down some granite in what will be the parking area of her new home (and shop) and she instructed her builder to remove our pipe.  Didn’t ask mind you, just did it.  I went very nicely to her door and asked her (in my limited rubbish Turkish) why she instructed her builder to do it and she said that it was her land.  OMFG it’s been there now for 4 years!  4 fecking years!  She knew it was there.  Everyone knew it was there but she has had it removed.  I asked her “Are we family?”  She replied, “Yes.”  I said “well then it shouldn’t be any problem, it’s a small pipe.”  She then turned to the builder and told him to pour the concrete.  In front of me!  OMFG!!!!!

I did what any good Turkish Housewife would do and rang The Turk who immediately jumped in the car and arrived for the battle.  She told him that we had no right to build on her land (it was in fact the family’s land) and that we are definitely in the wrong.  Before I knew what was happening The Turk was wielding the piece of pipe like a club and was ready to thump her with it.  In the meantime she continued to call him names and that was it.  Usually I don’t need to involve myself in The Turk’s battles.  Usually I sit back to enjoy the show but today I had had enough.  I informed her (again in my usual crappy Turkish) that we were no longer family.  She then called me a name that I will not repeat which starts with an “O” and ends with a “U” but for those of you who do not speak Turkish you would call that person a “lady of the night”.

beyonce-wagging-her-finger-no

Oh no she didn’t! Oh yes she did!  YES SHE DID!!!  I flew at her.  Literally.  Jumped the small concrete fence between our two properties and wound my arm back ready to punch her in the face when The Turk grabbed me and held on tight.  Didn’t stop me though.  I become incredibly strong when I am angry.  I could flip a frigging car if I had to.  Anyway I’m still ready for a smack down so Vito had to grab my other arm and together they hauled me away kicking and screaming.

The neighbours were watching, in fact they had never seen me lose my shit so a few of them came down to watch. Brought popcorn.  And folding chairs.

I then grabbed my garbage bin and threw it on her.  Told her to wear it with pride.  Like the princess that she is.  And I walked away.

Mike drop.  BOOM!

This post is in response to daily prompt: Neighbours

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My Father In Law

My FIL told me recently that I am not a very good daughter.  I agreed with him wholeheartedly, I mean sheesh my father could have told him that year’s ago and I’m pretty sure my mum used to tell me the same thing every single day.

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Why am I not a very good daughter (this time) you wonder?  Well I totally get it.  I am a bloody disgrace.  I had the audacity to go down to the bakery and buy him some piping hot pide.  I mean this bread is straight out of the oven and it is so soft that it will melt in your mouth and put centimetres onto your ass.  Anyway he didn’t want pide.  Why did I buy him pide?  What a bloody awful DIL I am indeed.

I also do not feed him enough although when I do feed him he declares to all and sundry that my food is not good.  I also do not make Turkish quality cay and I do not bathe him.  I’m just going to make a very public statement here – I will never, ever bathe him!  Never ever!  I bathe myself.  That is it.  I did pull his pants up the other day when he was shuffling down the street and they fell down around his knees – but that is where I draw the line.

My FIL is a stubborn old man.  He is nice enough but only as long as he gets what he wants.  God forbid if shit doesn’t go his way then everyone suffers.  I suspect that The Turk will morph into him when he gets older which worries me a lot.  I don’t want to have to bathe The Turk either.

My FIL likes to sit on the street and yell at people as they go past, in fact in my recent post about Google maps there is a photo of him no doubt yelling at the Google car.  He likes to sit at my front door and yell at me when I go past.  He can often be seen sidling up to a neighbour and complaining about this and that.  “I need a haircut”.  “Nobody feeds me”.   “My family hates me”.  These are a few of his most favoured rants but there are many others that he throws around at all of us and no one is safe from his rages either.

Dede on the street Google maps

He doesn’t, however, yell at people who steal The Turk’s Batman undies off the line.  Something a little off kilter there I think.

Why does a lot of his ranting fall on me you wonder?  Well I am the only one at home.  Everyone else works.  Which shits him too.  Why do the women have to work?  Don’t get me started on that!  Last weekend I went to a picnic in Limonlu and God forbid I did not get home until after 7.30pm.  My FIL informed The Turk that he cannot control me.  The Turk’s reply?  “I wouldn’t even try!”

When I think of my own excellent father I could never imagine him raising his voice or calling me (or The Turk) names but then I guess that this is the way that my FIL has always lived his life.  If one is never told that the behaviour is unwarranted or unacceptable in today’s society then one will never change their ways I guess.

I could take it personally.  I could raise my voice or blow my stack at The Turk but I wonder if I would be wasting my energy.  I have realised that I honestly don’t really care what he thinks of me.  I cannot change him but as long as I am true to myself then all is well.  I continue to be respectful.  I was taught that as a child – respect your elders.  I ignore his blabbing and his sulking.  I ignore the fact that my food sucks balls and my cay is weak and tasteless.  Between you and me I totally understand now why my MIL was constantly screaming at him.  I used to think it was cute.  I used to think that she was a feisty old lady and when he would laugh at her it was like how I imagine a couple married for 50+ years would act.  Now I realise that she actually wanted to kill him.  All the time.

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*Deep breaths*

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Wise Words

Sometimes The Turk surprises me and the other morning was one of those days where his genius, usually well hidden, comes shining through.

We have been building an apartment upstairs, which may or may not have approval – and let’s just leave it at that shall we?

light fitting

I have a very clear idea of how I want the apartment to look.  My style is simple, lots of crème and coffee colours complimented with lots of wood.  Simple, modern fixtures and fittings.  Nothing ostentatious.  Dare I say it?  Nothing too Turkish.  On the other hand my builder’s style is literally the opposite of mine.  His idea of style and class is to vomit as many colours as possible into a palate and compliment them with swirls and geometric shapes into every type of putrid combination possible.  He has said to me on more than one occasion that my style is old fashioned and I need to follow his esteemed advice.

Needless to say the builder and I have come to loggerheads more times than I would like to admit to.  The Turk has given up now.  When the doorbell goes he disappears into the bathroom and won’t come out until he is sure that either I have left or the builder has left … taking me with him.

Last week I went into Adana for the day where I enjoyed a few bevvies with friends and came home to pass out on the couch.  A very successful day.  The next morning I went upstairs to check on progress of the apartment and I nearly vomited (and not from the hangover).  The builder, obviously beside himself with glee with the knowledge that Janey was not only out of the Village but out of the damn city, and went ahead to install the ugliest the light fittings I had ever seen.

I said to The Turk, “have you seen what they have done upstairs?” and he, realising that a fight was imminent, denied any knowledge of it.

The next morning he sat me down in front of a can of opened tuna and this happened:

The Turk:  Let me tell you something.  You don’t eat fish right?

Me:            Right.

The Turk: It will kill you right?

Me:            Right.

The Turk: But you should eat fish.  It’s good for you.

Me:            But I’m allergic.

The Turk: No.  Fish is good for you.  You cannot be allergic to fish.

Me:            But I am.

The Turk: You do not know what you are talking about.  You are wrong.  Fish is very healthy.  Good for your heart.  You will eat the fish now.

Me:            I don’t want any fecking fish you fecker!

The Turk: And that is the story of the light fittings!

Me:            Oh an analogy.  Very nice (wait two beats) Get rid of the fecking light fittings for feck’s sake!  And the ceiling rose.  I’m going to vomit all over it!

The Turk: OK darling.

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Birthday

The most important event that took place in Turkey this past weekend was Daughter’s birthday party.  Her birthday is not actually until next week but as we will be in Sydney it was imperative that we threw her “the party of the season” before we left.

Alright I can do this, after all I have thrown 11 other birthdays for her so one in the Village can’t be that different.  I did, however, give myself a sneaky lesson in Turkish birthday etiquette while recently attending her cousins 10th birthday.  It is clear that birthdays are not huge events here even though Daughter considers it should be “the party of the season”.  Here in the village a birthday is celebrated with family, a cake and maybe a few balloons.  Easy.

Sunday morning I was up early cleaning the house.  Daughter had had a sleepover the night before and they attempted an all-nighter so she was as grumpy as a toothless troll in the morning.  I threw her in the shower to wake her up and sent the girls downstairs for breakfast (there were kids everywhere on Sunday morning so I took advantage of my sister in law who had arrived from Adana the day before to feed the masses).

The Turk and I left to get the cake and a few last minute items and when we returned less than 15 minutes before the party was due to begin we arrived to find Daughter had turned our living room into a balloon pool.  She had blown up every single balloon in my “Mega-bag” of balloons that I recently purchased at Metro for the bargain basement  price of 10TL.  That means close to 200 balloons were blown up.  It was crazy.  There was also music blasting, the Wii was set up and the piñata that I had put away (as I considered that it fell under the heading of “ostentatious”) was now hanging in the garden downstairs.

Cousins arrived.  Friends arrived.  More friends arrived.  Chaos ensued.  Music blasted (I think I heard Adriana Grande’s hit “Problem” about 20 times).  Cake was eaten.  Pinata was destroyed.  Balloons were popped (and one eaten by My Hurley Dog).

Here are a few snaps from the party.  If you are wondering the significance of the “A” it is a reference to Daughter’s favourite television show, “Pretty Little Liars”.  Only 3 days until the Season premiere people – I know this as Daughter has been counting it down for weeks now.  Will we find out who “A” is?  Only time will tell.

birthday collage

Was this considered the “party of the season”?  Yes, yes it was.  I have also fallen into the category of “Coolest Mum Ever” with Daughter’s friends which sits well with me because it is true!

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Introducing The Turk

He is part adult, part baby.  He is emotional, overly emotional, passionately emotional.  He can be selfish.  He is stubborn.  He smokes.  He drinks too much.  He is a terrible driver.  He is argumentative.  He is dedicated to his family – too much so.  His crazy antics are the reason why the grey hairs on my now blonde head appear more often than they ought.  Only him.

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On a good day he is an acceptable human being.  He likes to clean.  He likes to cook.  He likes me.  On a good day.

On a bad day it is clear that I have upset the Gods and they have sent this demon monster to me as punishment for my wrongdoing.  My mother in law had a ‘whacking stick’ that she used on the stray cats if they made their way a little too close to the front door of her house.  I had also seen her use her ‘whacking stick’ on both The Turk and his brothers more than one.  I have decided I need a ‘whacking stick’.  I will keep it next to the front door where I keep the slippers for visitors.  If The Turk gets a little out of control I can grab my ‘whacking stick’ and wield it around like a big ass shiny sword.

In case you are wondering my Dad actually did like The Turk.  Not at first.  Not when you get his only daughter “knocked up” but he came around eventually.  He didn’t love him but he liked him all the same.  He said we were “well matched” and “both as ridiculous as each other”.  There you have it.

Daughter has another ear infection.  Her own fault.  She runs around in mid riff tops and cut off shorts most of the time and she will not take the medicine prescribed by the Doctor.  Last night she was very, very sick.  Ear aches.  Stomach aches.  You name it, she was suffering from it.  The Turk aka the most childish, spoilt, overly emotional pain in my ass that every existed spent the night sitting next to Daughter’s bed.  If the blankets were pushed off he put them back on.  Is it too hot?  He adjusted the air con (incidentally it is too bloody hot).  When she woke uneasily after a disjointed dream he shushed her back to sleep.  He offered to sing to her at one point but I heard her shout “NO”, we only need one rock star in the family after all.

I still need a whacking stick but perhaps I will not need to use one today.  Not today.

Moving to Mersin?

I get an incredible amount of emails from people thinking of moving to Mersin or Icel.  Apart from shaking my head in bewilderment at the idea (just joking.  I love it here … sometimes) living in Mersin or even living in Turkey offers you a good quality of life in a cultural hybrid of East and West.  It has its history, dramatic geography and frankly in Mersin it has pretty good weather virtually all year round.

mersin

I usually write lengthy replies about the do’s and do not’s that I have experienced firsthand living in Mersin.  I think I’ve got my reply down to a fine art, with some slight modification as the need arises.  So what are my “do’s and do nots” for moving to Mersin?

DO think about your decision.

Why are you coming to Mersin?  Is it for adventure?  Is it for love?  Is it for money?  Moving to the other side of the world or even the other side of the State is a huge decision.  So many factors.  Short term or forever?  Rent/sell your home.  Give up your lease.  Pack your whole life into boxes.  Storage or cargo?  Pets?  Bring them or adopt them out?  (I obviously brought my two fur-babies with me and frankly could not of even imagined this move without them).  Kids?  Bring them or adopt them out?  I am just joking.  Seriously I am.  Remember though there are no hurdles too high.

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DO your research.

What area do you want to live?  Mezitli?  Pozcu?  Carsi?  Mersin is a large city and Icel is even larger (which includes Erdemli, Silifki, Anamur through to Tarsus).  There is a lot of choice.  Kiralama daire (renting an apartment) in the city of Mersin is quite cheap compared to many cities throughout Türkiye.  Do inspect before you sign anything as the quality may not be as high as you would be used to and check what outgoings are included.  Also remember that it is normal for you to purchase your own appliances (yes including your stove) and even light fittings.

What school okul do you want your children to go to?  There are some great özel okul (private schools) in Icel but they are hugely expensive so factor that cost in and mostly they will teach in Türk.  Originally we chose to put Daughter in a village school to give her an opportunity to learn the language by immersing herself in it.  The teachers at the village school were incredibly helpful.  I could not fault them at all and the children were incredibly generous and welcoming.  Daughter even had a nemesis which is, in her opinion, the ultimate show of acceptance.  After two years of learning Türk we moved her to an özel okul which gave us an entirely new set of challenges to overcome.

Where will you be working?  Are you allowed to work?  This is, of course, visa dependent.  Do not attempt to work without a visa.  It will bite you in the ass.  There is a desperate need for English speaking teachers in Mersin along with German and French.  English teachers seem to earn a good living so it can be quite lucrative if you have the right credentials.

DO get the right visa.

You will no doubt be scratching your head with the paperwork, fees, requirements and general stroke inducing migraines that a brought on while traversing the myriad of obtaining the correct visa.  There are different types of visas, short term (tourism), student visa and employment visa.  An employment visa will only be issued if you have a signed job contract and a work permit issued by Çalışma ve Sosyal Güvenlik Bakanlığı (Ministry of Labour and Social Security).  This application must be done in your country of residence.

You will also need a residence permit which must be applied for within 30 days of arrival.  This is issued from the Emniyet Müdürlüğü Yabancılar Şubesi Foreigner’s Division/Alien’s Branch of the Local Police Department and as I mentioned in a previous post entering this place is like entering Mordor.

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There is a lot of supporting documentation required as well so be prepared.  For example – proof of your financial situation, copies of rental agreements or ownership of your own property and (in my case) proof of marriage.  Do yourselves a favour and photocopy all your documents at least 10 times, more if you can.  Also ensure that all documents are translated into Turkish.  Do not believe the person on the street (or on this blog or that blog), you need everything translated into Turkish.  Birth Certificate – translate it.  Marriage Certificate – translate it.  If your child is to go to school you need a document from the school confirming enrolment stamped by the Turkish Consulate in your home country and then translated into Turkish.  Incidentally it was cheaper for us to translate here in Mersin at a Noter rather than back in Sydney.  Finally passport photos.  You have some?  Get more!

DO make friends – with both expats and locals.

I know, I know I do not always take my own advice but I did talk to an amazing amount of people before I moved here on various expat sites.  These guys are already living in Mersin or in Turkey and they will prepare you for the bumps in the road (there will be bumps, sinkholes and even a few bottomless pits before you begin to feel at home here).  Living here is a great experience but it’s not always easy being an immigrant.

DO learn the language.

I wish I had.  I blame The Turk.  Of course now I find myself without the benefit of language.  Paying a bill.  Difficult!  Shopping?  Difficult!  Doctor?  Dentist?  Government office?  Difficult!  Difficult! Difficult!!!  Do a course.  Try Babbel.  Do something so you are not drowning in the deep end.  Mersin is not particularly expat friendly so any attempt to speak the native language will put you in good stead with your landlord or employer or even that bored Government employee.

DO it.  Just do it!

As for the Do not’s I only have one –

DO NOT live with regret.

Oh wait one other piece of advice that will change your life – bring mosquito repellent!  It does not matter how much you have or what brand you have, bring more!  The mosquito’s here are the most desperate bloody suckers you will ever come across.  They may not sparkle in sunlight but they are lethal from dusk to dawn!

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Spring Action

I’ve been incredibly busy the last few days, starting with giving the house a good scrub from top to toe.  It is always so dusty here in the Village, primarily caused by the surrounding farmland but couple this with the building work next door and we are constantly covered in a thin (or thick) layer of dust.  The Turk pulled the refrigerator out and behind it was a family of dust bunnies.  They were quite happy living behind the refrigerator but sadly they had to go as they were multiplying rapidly.  I am pretty sure I never ever cleaned behind my refrigerator in North Sydney but that was more likely because I am incredibly lazy and just assumed my cleaner (or perhaps The Turk) did it for me.  I cannot believe how much dust, fluff and general grubbery builds up here.  I am forever mopping the floor and forever exfoliating the grub from my skin. The house is looking schmick at the moment though, all shiny and dust free (for today anyway).

School finishes here in 3 weeks and Daughter and I am leaving for Sydney the next morning.  I love a countdown but this one is particularly exciting for me as I am going home to see my friends and family.  I am also incredibly excited about eating food.  Australian food.  Pub lunches.  Indian banquets.  Italian.  Thai.  Mexican.  Oh.  My.  God.  You name it, Imma gonna eat it!  Don’t get me wrong I love Turkish food too but here it is just food.  Every day.  God give me some pepper sauce.  I am drooling in anticipation of a good curry.  And then there is bacon.  I miss bacon.  I know, I know we’ve been over this already but I do.  I really, really do miss bacon.  A lot.

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I’ve also been helping The Turk in the garden.  Our spring garden is blooming.  Again no pesticides, we are being as organic as we can be.  Unfortunately we had a late rain last week and we lost some of our vegetables but our green beans are coming in nicely as are our summer lettuce and our corn.  The first strawberries have appeared and our tomatoes are flowering.  The Turk has had to ‘sex them up’ which for those of you who don’t know The Turk or I this is my explanation for him out in the garden violating the flowers with his finger to release their pollen.  He is adamant that this will ensure the flower will become a tomato.  Yes he has been doing this for years with both his tomatoes and his chilli plants.  He swears that it works every single time.  It does.

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Turkey has been in the press this past week.  The devastating loss of life in Soma and the subsequent protests and riots by the public is awful to witness.  The sadness I feel for the loss of life is overwhelmed by my anger eyeballing the behaviour of the politicians and their reactions.  I am sure that wherever it is that you are currently in the world whether it is Turkey or elsewhere you would no doubt have seen the footage of Yusef Yerkel kicking a grieving member of public last week in Soma.  Did you hear that he is now on sick leave as he injured his leg?  That poor man.  Injured while on the job.  Oh how I feel for him.  How lucky that he gets to sit at home and recuperate.  OMFG!  I am sorry but he should have been arrested for assault and fired immediately.  Did you also know that only a week before the Soma accident the political party CHP requested that the mine be investigated for work-related injuries and its safety record but the current ruling party AKP vetoed the request?  Yikes!  My heart goes out to the families of those who lost someone at Soma and my sincerest hope is that their deaths bring about reform within the Turkish mining industry which has an extremely poor record.

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I know I hopped onto my soap box again.  I know I promised I wouldn’t do it but sometimes its a little difficult for me to shut my mouth when an injustice is done.

Enough from me for now.  The Turk has just brought us freshly cooked corn straight from our garden.  A little butter, a little salt and pepper and this snack is fit for a queen – and her princess.

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