A New Beginning

I promised I would be back in the New Year fresh and with lots more drama about surviving life in my Türk köyü (Turkish village).  I was kind of hoping to start 2017 on a happy note with stories about Christmas parties and New Year’s celebrations and jolly old St. Nick coming to visit us here in Mersin but that had been hijacked by the terrorist attack in Istanbul in the early hours of the morning on 1 January 2017 so I decided to write nothing.

reina

It is clear that I can no longer live in a cocoon ignoring what is happening in my adopted homeland.  It is a hot topic of discussion between the many expats that live here and it seems that there is an exodus happening right now with even lifers packing up and leaving for greener pastures.  I am a lifer.  But I say that with reservations.  I’ve got to.  Again I won’t give an opinion because it is so deeply seeded and there are so many differing views that I will no doubt offend nobody, somebody or everybody *waves again to the Powers That Be*.  I do want to say to my friends and family that I hear your concern and I understand that you are worried but for us, right now and with decisions being made as a family, Türkiye is our love and we cannot abandon her just yet.

So let’s move onto more jovial topics.

I am currently writing this post tonight to the soothing (and rather loud) hum of our very own generator.  Notwithstanding my numerous threats to divorce The Turk if he did not buy me a generator and The Turk’s numerous rebuttals that threatening divorce is more likely to discourage said purchase, he finally opened his wallet, blew away the cobwebs, and made our apartment that bright, beaming light calling out to others in the darkness.  Of course now when the electricity goes our home becomes the place to be with neighbours flocking for warmth, numerous glasses of çay and a place to watch the fecking futbol (which seems to be on all the fecking time!).  So for those of you currently sitting in the darkness with your very own generator envy remember it can be a double edged sword.

flood

I’ve mentioned before that January is Mersin’s wet month.  It rains in January.  A lot.  Actually a lot doesn’t really describe how much rain has fallen here over the past few days.  In fact it was 153kg worth of rain.  Now I’ve got to be honest with you I am not quite sure how they worked out that scientific measurement but that’s the official word.  Yep.  It rained.  Then it flooded.  Then Noah started collecting two of each creature.  And then it became abundantly clear that my new apartment (with aforementioned generator humming away happily) isn’t exactly waterproofed.  Sorry I’ll rephrase that – it became abundantly fecking clear that my new apartment isn’t fecking waterproofed at ALL!  Now that the rain has all but gone (fingers crossed) we have had the builder back who, of course, flat out denied that the water streaming down my wall was due to his shoddy work.  Nooo!  I have now named him The Moose Knuckle and I think it suits him (sidenote: I learned this marvellous expression the other day from a friend and have decided to incorporate it into my daily life).  The Turk has forbidden me from calling him a Moose Knuckle to his face which isnt really a problem because I doubt I could translate it into Türk anyway.  Pfftt!

snow-3

Meanwhile where there’s rain there’s snow and we had a Home Alone situation in the mountains behind us over the Christmas period.  One of our friends had entrusted her kedi to be cared for by us expats while she and her husband returned home for the holidays however due to a massive dumping of the white stuff all roads leading to her home were closed to traffic.  Despite desperate attempts to locate anyone who was holed up in the village plus numerous rescue attempts by expats to retrieve the cold, hungry and no doubt pretty peeved kedi all proved unsuccessful.  Kedi was Home Alone.  Kedi was McCauley Culkin protecting his home from Joe Pesci and the other guy.  But don’t fret readers McCauley was finally set free by two expats who, wearing enough equipment to climb Mt Everest, rescued and transported him to luxurious digs where he immediately took possession of the bed forcing rescuer’s husband to the couch.  As it should be.

duman

Oh and finally I want to thank Expatfocus.com for including Janeyinmersin in their Turkey recommended blog list.  Yah!!!

Enough for now.  I have a glass of red and a humming generator.  Life doesn’t get much better than this.

Iyi akşamlar sevgilerim.

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2016

Will 2016 go down as one of the worst years in history? Is it the year that ‘jumped the shark’?  Is it our annus horribilis? A glance at the news might make you think so.

2016-suckedLast night the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, was assassinated here in Ankara.  In Berlin, Germany, a truck ploughed through visitors to a Christmas market killing at least 12 and injuring many more.  There was also an attack on a mosque in Zurich, Switzerland.   Meanwhile the carnage continues in Syria with bus conveys sent by humanitarian organisations being attacked while waiting to evacuate families from the war zone in eastern Aleppo.  Oh and the Electoral College just confirmed one of the most unpopular President-elects in US history.  This is just one day.  One shitty day in the year that was 2016.

Here in Turkey 2016 was the year that its citizens endured a failed coup that left more than 300 people dead and over 2000 injured.  Three weeks before that suicide bombers attacked Istanbul Ataturk Airport killing 41 and injuring more than 230 people.  This is just one of over 30 terrorist attacks in Turkey in 2016 (not including rocket attacks being launched from Syria across the border by ISIL militants).

Around the world terrorism raises its ugly head time and time again with attacks in France, Belgium, the United States of America, Germany, Afghanistan, Iraq, Thailand and Indonesia just to name a few.  Thousands of people have lost their lives with scores more injured all for a cause that was not designed for hate.

2016 was also the year that that the US was supposed to get its first woman President but instead they got a right royal goose.  The UK decided to do a Brexit and exit and NATO is imploding before us.

We saw countries close their borders to refugees all around the world.  The US wants to build a wall.  Europe is showing everyone the door and Australia is treating asylum seekers like prisoners locking them on tiny islands and forgetting about them.

But the Syrian war, now entering its sixth year, is the war that only gets worse.  To date it  has claimed nearly half a million lives and left millions of others devastated.  Men, women and children are trying to escape but have nowhere to go (due to the aforementioned border closures).  There is the stench of death all around.  Needless suffering.  Hospitals are being targeted with barrel bombs and children are being used as human shields.  Right now in eastern Aleppo whole families are being rounded up and executed and all of us have been moved to tears at the sight of children being pulled from the rubble or more recently being operated on in Syrian hospitals without anaesthetic.  Syria is under siege and there is no end in sight with foreign powers – including the US, Russia, Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia – with their own agendas all wanting a piece of the pie.

And we lost Snape.

snape

So after this annus horribilis, jumping the shark year of bok what do I want for 2017?  Peace.  Just peace.

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Time Out

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

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

I do have a plan though.

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

Until then … Şerefe!

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What’s Up Doc?

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

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

matty-2

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

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

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

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

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

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

walking-frame

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

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

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

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

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Expat.com

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

janey-2

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

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

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Sleepless In Mersin

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

insomnia

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

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

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

cat-sleeping

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

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

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

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

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

Gunaydin. 

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But Did You Die?

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

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

driving-in-turkey-distorted

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Burası Türkiye!

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Next Stop Masterchef

Since returning from Oz I have found that whatever Turkish that I did have seems to have all but disappeared, even my “Ben kırmızı bir kadeh sarap alabilir miyim” seems to be coming out wrong (haters don’t hate.  That is self taught Turkish right there folks).  In an attempt to throw myself back into the deep end of the Turkish language I have been watching nothing but Turkish television in the hope that by engrossing myself in the shows will help me pick up some words or retrieve the words that I have lost.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  It seems I’m never going to get a glass of red wine again am I?

broken wine glass 2

For the past week I have been watching the Olympics on TRT Sport.  I’ve seen the Aussies being annihilated in the swimming pool.  I’ve seen the Aussies crash and burn on the field.  Basically I’ve seen them feck up all over Rio.  Sorry?  You’re wondering how many Olympic medals I’ve won?  Fecking none OK!  I am a couch potato but I am couch potato in Turkish.

Anyway I’ve also watched the diving and the gymnastics and right now am engrossed in track.  Honestly that Usain Bolt is a fast feck isn’t he?  How’s this photo of him smiling at the camera as he ‘bolts’ to the finish line (see what I did there?).  And what about that poor Japanese pole vaulter whose Olympic dream was crushed by his peen.  Poor buggar. Never before has a member of the male species wished for a smaller manhood. Until now.  Turkey has won two silver so far in wrestling and weightlifting, and today Turkey’s women’s basketball are playing against Spain in the quarterfinals.

Usain bolt

But I haven’t really learned any Turkish so I turned it over to a Turkish cooking show.

Who doesn’t love the Turkish cooking shows?  They cook.  They chat.  They yell.  Dance.  Sing.  Masterchef is as boring as feck compared to a Turkish cooking show.  Today I made patetesli sigara börek and even though I already knew how to make them this time I made them in Turkish following a Turkish recipe!   Yah me!

potato pieI mean just look at these bad boys.  What did you say???  I can’t hear you over the deafening sound of my own awesomeness!

So if you need me I will again be in the kitchen attempting a Croquembouche.  I mean it’s obvious that I am an undiscovered culinary genius.  Seriously if I can chef it up in Turkish then nothing is impossible!

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Dear Türkiye

I am not standing by your side today for I am far, far away but I know that you are suffering and I weep for you.

image1I know you must feel manipulated and bullied by those who want you for their own personal gain. Those that feel that they can control you and own you. I see you being scrutinized and gossiped about by your so-called friends and neighbours who twist their own hateful words to the world until you feel that there is no hope left. And I know there are those that wish you nothing but harm with wave after wave of attacks against your countrymen by an enemy wielding instruments of death. You have been overwhelmed by the hatred when you yourself have been so generous and opened your heart and your arms to welcome so many less fortunate. It must be hard to hold your head up high with so many wishing you harm.

Fighting for your life can be painful and God knows you have suffered. We are all witness to your pain. I know that you have tried to be strong. I see your brave attempt to take control of your future but you just weren’t strong enough today. Don’t give up Türkiye. Don’t let the hate and the negativity win.

A great man once said, “Peace at home, peace in the world”. You and I know that great man as your father Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. He once made you strong. He once made you proud. And if you just remember Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in time of pain you will become a strong and proud nation once again.

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You Can’t Choose Family

On occasion I write about something other than Turkiye and today is one of those times.  In many ways my blog is a journal allowing me to clear my head and cleanse my soul (if you believe in all that loopy stuff).  Writing down the words that I am feeling takes away some of the pain and hardship that surrounds the events and, well, I just feel better for it.

Family collageMany of you will recall that I am adopted.  I am not emotionally scarred from being adopted nor have I ever wished my life to be anything other than what I have been gifted.  I love my adopted family.  I may not always love their decisions or their choices but I will stand by my family because that is what they are – my family.

My Dad was the master of all things good and my mum, who may not have always been the best mother, was the best that she could be.  I also have my brother who, I will admit, has not always been my best friend or my biggest supporter nor I his but we have forged a relationship that (I think) is strong and everlasting.  I have lost both my Dad and my Mum now but I still have my brother who has a wonderful and extended family that I am blessed to call my own.

While I do not want to go into the details of this post (for fear of no doubt long retribution and probable legal action by the party involved) I will say that today I am closing the book on one part of my life.  This part of my life was ugly and full of anger, jealousy and hatred.  This person was a devious creation and she and her awful family have caused nothing but angst and sadness for me and my brother but today, finally, I can say hele şükür! (Good riddance!).  I hope to never cross their path again in this lifetime.

Now I plan to move forward and build an even stronger relationship with my remaining family because we are strong and we don’t take no shit from nobody!

#yeahIwentthere

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