120 Thoughts I had while watching Ay Lav Yu

A reader recently brought the movie “Ay Lav Yu” to my attention and I cannot believe that I hadn’t seen this Oscar worthy movie before.  It is my everything!  I laughed.  I cried.  I related.  I had a lot of thoughts — 120 thoughts to be exact.

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So here’s what I want you to do.  Grab some ayçiçeği çekirdeği and some çay and sit down to experience this piece of cinematic masterpiece while reading my commentary.  It will be like we are in the room together.

I watched it in Turkish but I have found this link on YouTube with English subtitles so a few of my thoughts may not make absolute sense because of my rubbish Türkçe.

Ready …

Let’s go …

  1. Is there a place called Tinne? *Google’s Tinne*  Bilmiyorum.
  2. I’ve jumped ahead of the story.  The village doesn’t exist to the Powers That Be or to Google apparently.
  3. Okay.  It is east of Mardin (probably not the best place to be right now).
  4. Our first glimpse of Romeo.   Excellent moustache.  Thick and well combed.  It is Sermiyan Midyat.  Not loving him here but like a fine wine he has aged well.
  5. Even better we meet Büyük baba. I already anticipate that he will be the real star of this movie.
  6. Are there two mothers?
  7. Ibrahim will be their saviour.
  8. I’m getting real strong Lion King vibes.
  9. That realisation that you live in a shithole.
  10. Ibrahim is in love and she is from Colarado. Colarado?  Colarado?  Yes fecking Colarado!
  11. Büyük babalar are the same everywhere in Turkiye. The exact same!
  12. Steve Guttenberg.
  13. The theme song seems to be the whole story to music. This will save time.
  14. It’s a love triangle and she is devo.  I will call her Bunny boiler.
  15. Her father might be an asshole.
  16. AND there’s a spinster.
  17. I’m ignoring the sheep jokes.
  18. Everyone is ripping everyone else off. Burası Türkiye!
  19. Gossiping villagers. This is my life.
  20. What’s with the crazy kid with glasses?
  21. He just smacked himself in the face!
  22. And again!iloveyou-kid
  23. I’d throw a rock at him too Baba.
  24. The lovebirds met in Adana. At the otobus terminal.  I’ve been to that terminal.  No way anyone would fall in love there.
  25. Cue flashback music.
  26. The Bunny Boiler is his cousin!  Yikes!
  27. Ibrahim’s like “you tripping girl”.
  28. I’m getting very thug.
  29. Here she is.   Of course she is blonde.  All yabancı are blonde.
  30. Her Turkish is worse than mine.  I bet she’s a teacher at the Incirlik base.
  31. Ooh ha! $120US!
  32. Fight! Fight!  Fight!
  33. True love right there folks.
  34. Meanwhile Spinster is clearly desperate to bang the yabancı brother.
  35. Good luck with that visa (especially in today’s political climate).
  36. Bath scene. That’s hot.
  37. “Cesika” LMAO! I so relate.  They call me “Yane”.
  38. The musicians are back giving us an update just in case we stopped to make çay or something.
  39. Büyük baba puts on his good silver teeth for company.
  40. Has Steve Guttenberg done anything since 3 Men and a Baby?
  41. The mother is clearly a Stepford Wife.  Diet Coke  pfftt!
  42. Steve Guttenberg’s acting skills are totes unappreciated. He’s channelling Brando right there!
  43. The priest is Ibrahim’s father? They must have some crazy key parties in Tinne.
  44. Wait!   Oh I see.
  45. I’m pretty sure that The Turk wasn’t that excited when I first came to visit his family.
  46. Did they sacrifice that sheep?
  47. The halı isn’t big enough. Is anyone else laughing at that?
  48. Phew the sheep is still kicking.
  49. Actually no one in The Turk’s family was this excited when I arrived.
  50. Control yourself girlfriend.  The whole village is watching.
  51. Let’s all make you feel welcome by shooting guns in the air.
  52. Two things – the sheep is dead and the yabancı brother is a pussy.
  53. Feck Steve Guttenberg. Büyük baba is the real star of this film.
  54. “Türkçe konuşamıyorlar”.  Clearly.
  55. Where the hell are the lovebirds? Are they off having a quickie?
  56. Yes love is love but watching this is like passing a kidney stone.
  57. Ibrahim speaks even less English than The Turk did when I met him.
  58. He won’t kiss her! Such a gentleman.
  59. Wait he kissed her. She must be a yabancı slut.
  60. The Bunny boiler is scoping them out.
  61. Time for some çekirdeği.
  62. They’re all going to end up with haemorrhoids.iloveyou-steve
  63. Aviator sunglasses makes Büyük baba look cool as feck.
  64. Yes it’s funny, the futbol topu is irregular.
  65. What’s with this crazy kid with the glasses? What metaphor am I missing?
  66. Baba just told the kid to “Siktir git!”. Well done Baba.
  67. Now he called the kid the “child of a prostitute.” Did he?  Feck me!
  68. Ibrahim and Cesika have finally graced us with their presence.
  69. Oh man I’m laughing. The Turk is the same, never explaining the long diatribes and simplifying everything with “good” or “no problem”.
  70. Küçük piç! Steve Guttenberg said a funny.
  71. The sleeping arrangements! I’m dying!
  72. She’s converted.
  73. Steve Guttenberg is truly a master.  How has he been ignored by the Academy for so many years?
  74. Hold up. She knows enough Turkish to have this relationship but she doesn’t know about the Nazar?  Give me a break.
  75. BWAHAHA Cesika’s FACE!!!
  76. Bunny boiler is pissed.
  77. “I am a Muslim but my sin is not.” Someone should put that on a t-shirt.
  78. The yabancı brother is rocking some pale abs. If he sparkled he would be a vampire. danny-abs
  79. The kizlar are going deli for that white boy.
  80. We realise that the freaking futbol topu isn’t round. That joke has been done already.
  81. The bunny boiler just got a slap down! I knew he was an asshole.
  82. Is she dead?
  83. Now people are dancing. That seems harsh.
  84. Open buffet!
  85. They’ve been in the village for two days and this is the first time Steve Guttenberg has gone to the toilet? He must be totally backed up.
  86. Sit and shit! Sidenote: my family here had a sit down toilet installed for me when I first came to the village.  My MIL was so happy she cried!
  87. The bunny boiler has a bun in the oven!
  88. Chinese whispers … and that crazy kid is hitting himself again!
  89. Well that’s that then isn’t it?
  90. Oh bok! 9/11.
  91. They don’t have water and they steal their electricity but DNA testing is a viable solution.
  92. Büyük baba is channeling Einstein.
  93. Ibrahim is not the father. Tebrikler!
  94. This wedding is jinxed.
  95. An immaculate conception.  Seems legit.
  96. It took the US 10 years to track down Osama Bin Laden but Steve Guttenberg did it in 10 minutes.
  97. This is taking a very dark turn.
  98. Spinster is going all Terminator on everyone.
  99. This really is going to be a shotgun wedding.
  100. OMFG they just circumcised the yabancı brother! OMFG!!!
  101. American toilet’s for everyone!
  102. So very confused.
  103. Groundhog Day.
  104. Again nope.
  105. Can anyone tell me why the baby chicks are pink and yellow?
  106. I now realise that the musicians are timed so The Turk can go for a cigarette.
  107. Okay now I just feel bad for Baba. He doesn’t exist.
  108. I am upgrading Bunny boiler’s father to a moose knuckle. Trying to steal the village away from Baba.
  109. Are they waiting at the Devlet Ofisi for an answer? They could be there for two lifetimes.
  110. Moose knuckle got denied.
  111. Blah blah blah. Joke done already.
  112. Seriously it took me 3 years to get my kimlik but in Tinne they are handed out like candy!
  113. Wedding – Take 4.
  114. Steve Guttenberg is all up in the funk.
  115. I am totally shipping Yabancı brother and spinster.
  116. It was the musician! Vindication for Ibrahim!  Does anyone else think it should have been Saito.
  117. 10 years later …
  118. The cow has eaten the whole car.
  119. Ibrahim and Cesika standing on Pride Rock (The Turk called it Fraggle Rock).
  120. My Lion King analogy is not complete without a baby and Elton John.

Wait.  That’s it?  THAT’S IT??

But … but what about the yabancı brother and spinster???  There had better be an Ay Lav Yu 2 with the yabancı brother and spinster moving to Colarado.  They have five children.  Yabancı brother has chance meeting with ex-girlfriend and embark on a torrid affair.  Spinster goes all deli and kills him.  Meets a TV reality star (maybe a Kardashian) at her hearing.  Gets a boob job and moves to Hollywood where she becomes an actress and meets Steve Guttenberg.  Full circle.

What did you think of Ay Lav Yu (or of my outline for Ay Lav Yu 2)?

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If I Could Turn Back Time

The Powers That Be here in Turkiye took it upon themselves to ignore the way the rest of the world operate and have done away with turning back the clock announcing an end to daylight savings.  This means that we are forever on summer holidays which is nice I guess but for today, and perhaps for a few of us dopier peeps, it also means total chaos as we try and decipher what time it really is.

cher-gun

Right now in our house every single clock says its 6:16am … except that it is actually 7:16am.  The reason I know it is 7:16am is that my FIL has already started screaming for his breakfast and, despite the fact that every single clock in our house says its 6:16am and we all should be slumbering it is daylight outside (albeit a little overcast which will no doubt burn off into another stinking hot day).

For sure this bureaucratical bundle of bok will cause chaos over the next 24 hours (or 23 depending on which clock you are looking at).

Turkiye is now at Greenwich Mean Time plus 3 hours.  So for those of you in the UK you are now of course 3 hours behind, for those of you in Down Under you are 8 hours behind and for those of you in the US you are … fecked … and I’m not just talking about your presidential candidates.

And why did they do this you ask?  Officially it is to save on electricity (truely this is the official word).  Unofficially I wonder if this is a religious decision to bring Turkiye in line with Saudi Arabia and Mecca for prayer and Ramadan timing.

Just to prove that this is a real kerfuffle think of Cyprus.  Northern Cyprus is 1 hour ahead of Southern Cyprus.  What about Nicosia?  It’s a half / half city!  And what if you live in Northern Cyprus and work in Southern Cyprus.  Or go to school in Southern Cyprus?  Can anyone say cock-up???

Regardless whatever time you think it is check with someone who does not spend their life attached to a phone or a computer because I reckon they are the only folk who actually know what the feck is going on around here!

Update!  Daughter’s new Iphone 7 did NOT change time.  She has just dragged herself out of bed wondering what all the fuss is about.  “You people are all technologically stupid”!  Direct quote.

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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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The New Normal

Once again terrorism has raised its ugliness stealing more lives and ruining countless others with this most recent atrocity in Istanbul, Turkey.  My thoughts go out to the families of those who died and to those who were injured in yesterday’s attack.  I wish with all my heart that we didn’t live in such a tumultuous time but we do and we need to take control of how we react to what is going on around us.  Terrorism is rife throughout the world and frankly we need to accept that this is the new norm for all of us.  We all know that fear is a commodity and terrorists are more than prepared to manufacture fear with the help of today’s media. istanbul 3

Right now many of you who were thinking of visiting Turkey are asking the same question, “Is it safe to travel there?”  Yesterday the Turkish Government was quick to respond to the attack by declaring that the bomber was a member of Daesh (IS) and that Turkey will continue the battle against all terrorism until it no longer remains a threat to Turkey or to the world.  That’s great but does it make it any safer for tourists or for those of us living here?

I really love Istanbul.  It is, without doubt, one of the most unique cities in the world.  When Napolean said “if earth was a single state, then Istanbul would be its capital” he summed up how so many of us feel about her (yes to me Istanbul is a ‘her’).  She is a city with over 2500 years of history, culture and traditions.  She is jam packed with amazing landmarks, vibrant nightlife and something new around every corner.  She is truly sensational.  And she should not be passed over because when it comes down to it nowhere is truly safe anymore.

Paris.  Tunisia.  Egypt.  Lebanon.  Sydney.  Hell even San Bernadino in LA.  But it is our response to that fear that will determine our future.  Please don’t turn your back on these amazing places.  Do not let evil win.

Climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower and savour its magnificent view.  Visit the Pyramids of Gaza or Tunisia’s famous beaches and please – please – come and stand in awe at the grandeur before you in Sultanahmet Square, Istanbul.  Be amazed by the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace.  Indulge in the heavenly cuisine and be welcomed with open arms by some of the most kindest people you will ever have the pleasure to meet.

There has always been a strong police presence in Istanbul and no doubt security will be beefed up again in the aftermath of this most recent attack.  For those of you travelling to Turkey remember to be safe, be aware (see links below) and be smart but please do not let evil control your future.  Only you can do that.

Travel advice for Australian tourists

Travel advice for UK tourists

Travel advice for US tourists

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Waiting for the Tulips to Bloom

These days you will find me on my terrace soaking in the last rays of sunshine before the grey of Mersin’s winter takes over.  I will no doubt have a cup of çay (sorry guys it’s not particularly Türk – white with two sugar) and, depending on the time of day, perhaps a biscuit (or two) to tide me over until akşam yemeği (dinner).  Basking in the sunshine is also the perfect time for me to catch up on my reading.

Tulips

As a blogger I am always on the hunt for fellow bloggers and writers that live in Türkiye, telling their own anecdotes of life, love and the numerous catastrophes that befall them living in this crazy country.  One of my favourite’s is fellow Aussie, Lisa Morrow, with her blog insideoutinIstanbul.  Her blog is filled with tales and photographs of her life living in one of the most incredible cities on earth – İstanbul – so when I received a copy of her most recent book, Waiting for the Tulips to Bloom, I knew that I needed to find a comfy spot in the sun where I would no doubt be entrenched until I had finished the very last line.

Lisa’s descriptive style captures the sights, sounds and even the smells (remind me to never catch the no. 2 bus with her) of modern day İstanbul, giving me, the reader, not only a personal tour of her favourite haunts but drawing me in with little known stories of what is, without doubt, one of the most amazing cities in the world.  Her anecdotes of language barriers and Government bureaucracy or even her partner’s difficulties with something as simple as his name (Who?) was something that any expat living in İstanbul (or any other city for that matter) will recognise.

To quote the wonderful Molly Meldrum (I am now picturing anyone who is not Australian googling “Molly Meldrum” right now), “Do yourselves a favour”.  With the Christmas season fast approaching this will make an excellent stocking stuffer, in fact, I can think of one particular friend back in Sydney will be receiving it in the mail very soon.

Does anyone else have any recommendations for good Türk inspired reading?  With winter fast approaching it is time for me to hibernate until spring so any suggestions to help pass the time while in my self imposed exile will be greatly appreciated.

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Silifke Kalesi

Why does every archaeological site have a tale of woe overflowing with horrendous suffering and devious behaviour?  Yes, yes I realise that most archaeological sites have been there for eons and so, of course something resembling the Red Wedding would have happened at some point over the course of thousands of years, but after visiting Silifke (ancient name: Seleucia) I realise that this little town, apart from being as dull as dishwater today, seemed to have had more than its fair share of woe in its many years of existence.

Silifike 1

I had passed through the town many times over the years but have never been tempted to stay for more than a toilet break or a glass of cáy and so, after reading up on its gruesome history, it was decided that a trip to Silifke to explore would be a great day trip from Mersin with just the right amount of gore to keep Daughter (growing up in an age of The Walking Dead) interested.

The town’s main attraction is Silifke Kalesi (Silifke Castle), an imposing structure atop a hill allowing a 360 degree view of the surrounding valley.  The Kalesi dates back to Byzantine times and was used as a defence and garrison against the Arabs before it was passed through the hands of many including the Armenians, the Cypriotes and finally the Ottomans in the late 1400’s.  It has been attacked many times, destroyed and re-built but the walls and some of its towers remain today as an example of Byzantine architecture coupled with 13th century Armenian influences.

silifike 2

Historical tale of woe No 1:

In 1226, Philip of Antioch, was murdered while imprisoned at Sis Kalesi (near Adana). His distraught (and no doubt traumatized by the fact that she was married off at the tender age of 12) widow, Isabella I, Queen of Armenia, sought refuge in the Kalesi. The regent for the Armenian kingdom, Constantine of Barbaron, arranged for his own son, Hethum, to marry Isabella (poor underaged girl cannot even grieve in peace before being married off again) and demanded that Bertrand de Thessy, the castellan of Silifke Kalesi, return her at once. The Hospitallers, who would not suffer the humiliation of surrendering Isabella, nor dare to fight the assembled troops of Constantine, eased their conscience by selling him the Kalesi with Isabella in it.

It makes it kind of hard to want to aspire to be Queen.  I think I am quite happy to be a pleb, thank you very much.

Archeologically speaking the outer walls of the Kalesi are in really good shape but inside has been reduced to rubble.  Daughter enjoyed terrorizing me by climbing the walls and hanging over the edge taking ridiculously dangerous selfies and I admit that the view from the top, overlooking the town and valley, was gorgeous, but is it worth driving all the way to Silifke?  Meh.

Silifike 3

The town of Silifke itself also does not warrant spending any of your precious time.  The otels are mostly old and not particularly welcoming so no need to stay the night and there is not a lot of activities for the visitor after you have explored the Kalesi.  There is a small museum which is filled with sculptures, coins and other artefacts. There is also an ancient church by the name of Ayatekla just south of Silifke in the small village of Burunucu.

Historical tale of woe No. 2:

St. Thecla was the first women to convert to Christianity by St. Paul (who you may recall originated from the town of Tarsus, east of Mersin).  She took refuge in a cave before simply vanishing into thin air.  Poof!  Was she simply murdered or was she afforded a miracle and ascended straight to heaven’s door?  We shall never know.  A shrine was built to remember her on the site and then the basilica was added in the 5th century.    There are also several cisterns cut into the rock which suggests that there was probably a sizeable settlement in the past.

Ayatekla Church

There are many hiking trails outside of Silifke following the Göksu Nehri (Blue Water river) and many little picnic spots to while away the hours.  You can go white water rafting on the river in the mountains outside the town although I believe from my nephew it is more of a relaxing jaunt rather than a thrill seeking white knuckle ride.

Historical tale of woe No 3:

Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, the Saleph of the Armenian Kingdom, drowned while either trying to cross in the strong current or while taking a bath.  There are two stories going round, I kind of like the idea of him drowning while bathing.  It’s definitely more amusing to me at least.

silifke 4

Having now visited Silifke can I give you an honest opinion?  Yeah?  Don’t hate me Silifke lovers but honestly spend an hour, photograph the view and the walls and then hop back in your car.  Either continue on the D400 towards Taşuscu (where you can catch the ferry to Northern Cyprus) or further on to Antalya (becoming a lot easier now with the tunnels slowly being completed) or perhaps hop on the D715 up into the mountains to visit the waterfalls at Mut (they also have their very own fortress and even a monastery further up the road at Karaman).  Don’t get me wrong it is definitely an interesting day trip and for the history buff there will be more than enough to keep you engrossed but for the average Joe (or in this case Janey) it didn’t hold my interest for too long.  Perhaps I am a simpleton.

For those of you wanting your fill of castles and archeological sites but still within a day’s drive of Mersin you can visit the famous Maiden’s Castle Kiz Kalesi or Korykos Kalesi and, coupled with Elaiussa-Sebaste and Cennet ve Cehennem, you will definitely have a full couple of days exploring without the need to travel quitte so far outside of the city.

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Need to Know:

Silifke Kalesi is off the D400 three hours west of Mersin.  There are no buses to the site itself so you will need to either drive or walk.  If you intend on walking it is almost 86 metres above sea level so good hiking shoes are a must.

Entry is free.

There is a small café at the bottom entrance of the Kalesi although it was closed when we visited.

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Fantasy v Reality

Well it is that time of year again when I hear from those who have fallen head over heels, met their one true love and are looking at moving (or perhaps have already moved) to Türkiye to live the fantasy with their beloved.

Holiday romance

This is the epic love story isn’t it?  This is the love story that The Bard wrote about centuries before, a love more powerful than Napoleon and Josephine and a love that will last through eternity like Jack and Rose.  But just before you go packing your bags and dreaming of a new life in Türkiye with your true love let’s go over what you are getting yourself into – a little bit of a reality check shall we say.

For the sake of this post I am going to assume that you have met your true love in Marmaris or Fethiye or Bodrum (like me).  A holiday romance (like me).  And for the sake of this post I am going to assume that you are female (although no discrimination intended guys).  Finally for the sake of this post I am guessing that your man does not live permanently in Marmaris, Fethiye or Bodrum and instead comes from a small village some 18 hours away (or 12 hours or even 4 hours) where he will return to his family home for the winter months (again like me).

Right – let’s get started.

Can you imagine a life living in a quaint Turkish village?  Would you be happy living with your in-laws, his family, literally surrounded by hundreds of people and yet somehow being incredibly lonely?  Are you ready to immerse yourself entirely into a culture that is incredibly foreign and can be relentlessly unforgiving at times?

Take off the rose coloured glasses people.

Look again at that quaint village?  In daylight what it might really be is a bit of a dump.  If this place was back in your homeland you wouldn’t be caught dead living here.  Right?  Am I right?  I’m right.  Electricity comes and goes.  So does the water.  And speaking of water, is it safe to drink? Maybe.  And those people around you?  Are you merely a slave to wait on them or perhaps you are seen as nothing more than a yabancı and generally get ignored from morning to night.  I am not saying that they are going to treat you like that so don’t start losing your mind and writing me horrid messages, I am saying they might be.  It happens.  You, as the gelin, may be expected to do a lot of running around for the fam bam.  Be prepared for that possibility.

What about that lifestyle you were after?  Do you picture yourself spending your days on the farm, perhaps walking through the quaint village, arm and arm with your love, waving to your neighbours and having time to smell the roses?

That’s not roses you are smelling people – its horse shit, or cow shit, or goat shit, or … well you get the picture … and it is everywhere!

Are you designed to live on a farm or did you grow up in a wing at Buckingham Palace (or in my case Manly Beach).  Trust me when I say the sounds of chickens clucking and cock-a-doodle-dooing is like a jackhammer to my ears and I believe that meat should be purchased from a supermarket and not retrieved from your driveway after Baa Baa was slaughtered before your very eyes.

But you will make allowances after all you will be together with your love.  It will be wonderful.  A happy life.

*Cough, cough*

As long as you realise that he has been working away from home for over six months and, now that he has returned home, he will no doubt need to get another job to continue to support his family (and you) for the next six months until the summer season re-starts.  Work can be scarce for many here in Türkiye.  He will no doubt work extremely long hours leaving you at home with his family or maybe all by yourself.  Perhaps he will disappear for hours to the local cay ev for cards leaving you to stare at the four walls making you feel like your home is your prison cell.  Of course he will need to visit all of his extended family and you will be dragged from home to home like a show pony.  Are you ready for that?

Don’t get me wrong people, I love Türkiye but I arrived here in The Village with my eyes wide open.  I had travelled here every year for a decade before we made the decision to pack up our lives.  I knew what I was getting myself into and I still find it difficult.  Every single day.  Difficult.  If you think that this is going to be your very own Shirley Valentine or Eat, Pray, Love then do yourself a favour and unpack your bag right now, get on the telephone or on Skype or Whatsap and nut out some ground rules for you and your love.

He will need to support you 110%  I don’t mean financially, I mean emotionally.  You have moved here from your comfortable home, from a country that is your mother tongue and you have left your family and your friends behind.  He cannot get angry at you.  He must not get frustrated or ignore you.  You will have questions.  Hundreds of them.  I still do.

You will be lonely.  Thank God for Facebook (don’t diss me I mean it).  Find expats groups.  Find likeminded people.  I know this might be difficult in the small village (I’m the only one in our village) but look in the neighbouring towns.  Some from our expats group here in Mersin come from small villages in the mountains or even from neighbouring cities to spend the day with friends.  Offer to help at the local school.  Your English is a gift to the teachers here.

Really, really do your research.  Find out where you will be living and what it means to live in that area.  If it is a teeny, tiny village you need to throw yourself into that lifestyle wholeheartedly.  Find out what allowances you will need to make – culturally that is.  Will you be living in a conservative area?  Can you do that or do you want to wear your cut-off shorts and to hell with them all?!  Perhaps you will be living with his family.  You will have no privacy.  They will come and re-arrange your drawers or walk into your room unannounced at all hours.  Boundaries.  Draw that line in the sand and make sure he (and his family) abides by it.

Finally a little bit of advice for your partner from me –

This lady is your true love.  She has moved here to be with you.  Don’t make her regret that decision.  Do the right thing.  Treat her with the respect that she deserves.  Treat her like a fecking princess!  She IS a fecking princess!! Spend time with her.  Don’t disappear for hours on end leaving her to your family to entertain.  Help her settle in to her new environment.  Please don’t get agitated at her when she is unsure of herself or of what is going on around her.  Understand the difficulties that she is having with the language barrier or the culture.  Most importantly don’t be a complete douche or you will lose her forever!

Now breathe … and go pack those bags!

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BLOCKED!

Yep it seems that my humor definitely does not translate into Turkish because as of last night JaneyinMersin.com has been blocked in Turkey.  I am up there with Twitter, Blogloving and FunnyorDie.  Frankly I think this is the highest accolade I have ever received being blocked by a Government!

internet-protest

Hopefully in the coming days sense will prevail and the powers that be realise that I am but a stupid Aussie who runs off at the mouth on occasion.  They will see that I am merely an over opinionated, middle aged woman who could hardly be a threat to national security.  I mean really!

Look don’t get me wrong perhaps it is not the Government that has blocked me, perhaps it is merely a glitch in the system and I will come back online completely on my own and if that is the case then … oops sorry to the powers that be.

So for those of you “outside” I will continue to blog in my sporadic way but for those of you within Türkiye, well you can’t read this anyway so doesn’t really matter what I wanted to say does it?   LMAO!

Oh and just to really be difficult go ahead and share my blog to your friends so my voice gets carried just that little further today.

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Headlines and News Bulletins

They can make a strong impression on us as tourists but where is the line between scaremongering and truth?

I try to keep away from the political side of things with my little blog because I am really not knowledgeable enough on any subject to give anything but a nonsense reply however I have received so many emails from you guys asking for advice about travelling to Türkiye, and in particular, to Mersin.

Turkiye

While it is not for me to give you advice what I will say to those who are thinking of cancelling their holidays to Antalya or Bodrum is this – the distances between these areas and the Syrian border is massive – like the distance between London to Germany.  That’s a couple of countries and even a little water in distance isn’t it?  Over 1000 kilometres or 20+ hours of driving in Türkiye.    To those of you visiting Mersin and its surrounds we are still 150 kilometres from the border with Syria however most of the issues with terrorists are happening in the far east, some 500+ kilometres from here.  If you are, however, travelling to Eastern Türkiye I would suggest that you check with your country’s Consulate before making any travel plans but remember people a terrorist attack can happen anywhere at any time.  America, the UK, Tunisia, India and even Australia.  Nowhere is really safe anymore in the world.  I guess the question you ask yourself is this –  “are you going to let them control your decision, your lives?”  Noone can decide that but you.

What is going on exactly?

The past few days has seen Türkiye launch strikes on several different fronts and you need to note the distinction between the different strikes that have been made.

Firstly Türkiye has launched attacks against ISIS targets inside Syria in retaliation to a bombing last week in the city of Suruc which killed 32 people and also the shooting of security officers at the border.  Simultaneously they launched attacks against the PKK (which has been designated a terrorist organisation by Türkiye) in Iraq.  These attacks were in retaliation to the deaths of two Turkish polis officers on Wednesday.   The Government also feels that the PKK is exploiting ISIS efforts.

Where do we go from here?

Türkiye has agreed to allow the US access to their air bases to co-ordinate strikes inside Syria and Iraq and has requested talks with NATO over the security of the area.  Well I am sure this will open up a can of whoop ass on someone.

Over the past few days Türkiye has also arrested over 850 terror suspects.  This is great news although I have to wonder why, if these terror suspects were already known to Türkiye, why where they not arrested earlier?  Am I wrong?  Did these 850 terror suspects suddenly appear out of nowhere?  Hardly.

The current operations underway is obviously an effort to destabilize the country which is at this time without a proper parliament.  Will the efforts succeed or will it bite the instigator on the ass?  Time will tell.

*Sigh*

Ultimately as a tourist visiting Türkiye, your personal safety is your utmost concern.  Keep a close eye on news reports.  Register your travel plans with your Consulate and remember you are the only one that can make an informed decision as to whether or not you should travel.

Turkey map

Be safe guys.  Türkiye is a beautiful country and I am sure you will have a wonderful holiday when you visit.

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The Loco Lodos

It was a Lodos weekend in Istanbul, with the strong, dusty winds from Africa howling up the Bosphorus, sending waves crashing over the shore and forcing the locals indoors to save themselves almost certain doom.

istanbul winds 3

Like the better known Sirocco or Mistral winds when the Lodos hits with its 90+ kilometre gusts it causes chaos with flights and ferries cancelled as well as numerous car accidents and untold damage to homes and businesses.  Despite the Lodos coming to ruin our fun Daughter and I are hardened Aussies used to some tough weather and really a little breeze wasn’t going to stop us from heading to our first stop, Galata Tower, for the best view over Istanbul.

After climbing one of the seven hills of Istanbul (warn me next time) we then had the pleasure of climbing another two flights of stairs (after catching a lift the first 5 flights) before arriving at the conical cap of Galata Tower.  At the top is a café which was packed with tourists milling about waiting for someone to take the plunge and step out into the lodos.  Daughter didn’t hestitate and threw open the door letting the howling wind into the café and sending shrieks from the café workers to “kapıyı kapattı!” (shut the door!).

I can see why this building served as a watchtower as you really did have an amazing 360 degree view of Istanbul.  No one was going to take Constantinople with this bad boy watching over it (well not until the Ottomans finally did in 1453 anyway).

Daughter and I held onto the fence as we made our way around the tower.  It really was a crazy wind – a loco lodos if you will.  Soon we were followed by others braving the loco lodos all of us laughing and yelling into the wind, daring it if you will to push us around.

istanbul winds

After surviving our first stop it was clear that the lodos was not going to beat us and so, soldiering on we made our way down to the Bosphorus and jumped on what seemed to be the only ferry prepared to leave Kadıköy dock for a three hour cruise.  Well let me tell you Gilligan had it easy compared to what we went through over the next couple of hours.  The boat was really rocking and I now understand why all the sensible captains stayed safely on shore.

istanbul winds 2

The Turkish poet, Ümit Yaşar Oğuzcan, opens his poem “Istanbul Light” with the verses:

Istanbul, the wind

The wind, my love

Sometimes lodos blows from the seas

Oh so warm

Sometimes poyraz blows like a crazed razor

Let your hair down for the windows of Istanbul

You can’t be without love or the wind in this city.

Well I may have survived a Loco Lodos but I’m not sure if I want to meet the “crazed razor” of a Poyraz wind.  Until next time.

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