Daughter’s Big Bang Theory

As my regular followers will no doubt recall Daughter has come to blows with the Din Öğretmeni (Religion Teacher) more than once regarding her religious beliefs so this following tale should not surprise many of you.

Yesterday in Din Daughter’s Öğretmen explained to the students that they should not put up “Noel” trees as it allows students to be influenced by consumerism brought into favour by western influences.  During the months of December and January students should concentrate on their scriptures and on learning about Allah.  One of Daughter’s friends piped up and said that Daughter had a Noel tree and Daughter said, “No I have a Christmas tree”.

The conversation went down a little like this:

Öğretmen:          Are you Catholic?

Daughter:            No.

Öğretmen:          Is your father?

Daughter:            No.  He is Muslim.

Öğretmen:          Is your mother?

Daughter:            (plainly being a pain in the ass) No.  She is a practicing Buddhist.

Well at that point the Öğretmen went bright red and Daughter was certain that she was going to have a conniption.  All around Daughter friends were giggling and Daughter was, of course, enjoying the limelight immensely.

Öğretmen:          Well what religion are you?

Daughter:            I don’t believe in one God.

Öğretmen:          (clearly bothered by this statement) What?

Daughter:            I do believe in a higher entity.  I do believe in good versus evil.  I don’t believe that there is one right or wrong God or one right or wrong religion.

Öğretmen:          But who made you?

Daughter:            My Mum and Dad.

At this stage the class were laughing hysterically and the Öğretmen realises that they have moved from a Religious class to a Sex Ed class.

Öğretmen:          But who made the birds and the flowers and the trees?

Daughter:            It all started with the Big Bang – BANG!

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The Turk has been called up to the school this morning.  He is wishing he stayed in Australia right now.  I am glad I am not going as I find the whole thing hilarious!

BANG!

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The Return of the Turk

I had many, MANY comments and remarks regarding this recent post about The Turk.  Most of the comments were very positive but there were a few that, well frankly, scared me out of my socks.  Internet trolling at its very best.

Now I want to start by saying that I don’t make this shit up!  It is just too ridiculous to even contemplate so, after a short drumroll – rat tat tat tat – I give you a new story.

The Turk left Sydney at 6 am on Tuesday morning – so about 9 pm Monday night Turkish time.  He was upgraded – lucky buggar – and spent the first 13 hours of his journey sequestered in business class and enjoying all the luxuries associated with such a class.  After a 4 hour stopover in Dubai he continued his flight onto Istanbul arriving shortly after 5 pm last night.  Yes Australia is a long way from Turkey – and he’s not even home yet.

He gave me a quick call from Istanbul saying he was feeling a bit poorly.  He had a headache and had had a bleeding nose on the second part of his journey.  Well me being me I immediately started to have a freak out but he told me he was fine and was waiting on his connecting flight which was to have him arrive in Adana at 10 pm.

His brother Akan went to Adana to meet him while I stayed home and made lamachun and salads for his arrival.  11 pm came and went.  Midnight came and went. 1 am, 2 am – they both came and went.  His brother’s mobile was turned off.  The Turk’s mobile was not yet connected so that was not working.  Where the feck was he?

Had he had a heart attack and was in hastanesi?  Had the plane gone down?  Had they had an accident driving home through the torrential rainfall that we had over the past 24 hours?  Holy crap!  He hasn’t signed my kimlik documents!  Yes I am sorry to say that that went through my head.

By 3 am I was completely having a meltdown.  We had not had any electricity for most of the day (and all of the evening) so I couldn’t even check on the internet if there was any news that I could integrate into my over active imagination (nightmares of flights over Ukraine come to mind here).

3.35 am and Akan’s truck pulls into the driveway.  Where the feck have you been?

Oh we went for corba!

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God give me the strength.

Anyway this morning he hands me a Duty Free bag.  Exciting.  Presents.  I know what you’re thinking.  Jewellery maybe or some French perfume?  Nope.  Three bottles of good Aussie plonk.

I know I might complain about The Turk a lot of the time, alright all of the time, but … he really gets me.

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10 Things I Hate About The Turk

Those of you who follow my blog will know that The Turk has been in Australia for a little over 3 months now.  His original plan of holidays and fun times down in Oz turned into a medical emergency and him being stuck in Australia until the Cardiologist gave him the all clear which, fortunately or unfortunately depending how you look at things, he got last Monday.  This means … yikes … he’s coming back in a few days!

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I have enjoyed my single life immensely over the past few months.  I have enjoyed not sharing my bed (and the earth trembling snoring).  I have enjoyed ignoring the housework (as a good Turkish housewife should).  I have enjoyed my nights out without him and I have enjoyed my nights in without him.

I now realise that I will not only have to return to a life shared with him I also get to experience his crazy ass, typically Turkish, male antics again and so, in celebration of The Turk’s forthcoming return, I give you  – 10 things I hate about The Turk:

  • His Big Fat Turkish Ego! I think this one covers everything else on the list but his ego is the largest thing about him *nudge, nudge*.  He knows everything.  He can do anything.  He spends more time in front of the mirror than I ever have and he is the total male package.  I am sooo lucky.  He tells me so every, single day!
  • His Turkish Compass. Being Turkish and a male (or maybe just male) he will never get lost.  It is unheard of.  Impossible!  Rubbish!  And yet despite this unique ability that is akin to a superpower he can never find his kimlik.  Or his mobile.  Or his bloody wallet.  He is like a Tyrannosaurus Rex – can’t see the shit right in front of him!
  • His love of stomach turning Turkish food. Ick!  Eep!  Yikes!  With The Turk returning he will bring with him the insane need to cook sheep’s head or brain or liver or kidney or tripe.  I just vomited into my mouth.
  • His ability to act like a four year old boy. Like all Turkish men when it comes to a confrontation with their wife, The Turk will run away with his tail between his legs. He will disappear for hours on end and turn his telephone off.  All this achieves is that I want to inflict permanent damage on his measly ass!  I blame his mother.
  • His coping mechanism. Due to his recent illness I will probably let this one go but it is still worth a mention.  When The Turk comes down with man-flu his ability to operate heavy machinery or even the television remote becomes non-existent.  The world, quite rightfully, comes to an end.  Full body aching or even a simple sniffle means that he has been struck down with nothing short of Ebola.  During this period of marriage I can usually be found yelling, “Just die already” but I guess I shouldn’t do that one anymore.  I am going to need a new catch phrase.
  • His penis. The Turk loves his ding-a-ling and re-arranges said ding-a-ling at least 500 times an hour. Just leave it alone for Christ’s sake. You don’t see me touching my boobs every few seconds.
  • His penis – take two! The Turk always has sex on his mind.  All the time.  He is so freakishly obsessed with it. Will he never get bored of being horny? And why is everything related to sex?!?!  When he rang to tell me he could fly his actual words were, “The doctor said I can have sex again … oh and I can fly home as well”.  *Sigh*
  • His ability to lie. To my face.  He does it all the time.  “Darling you sing like Madonna”.  “Darling no that does not make you look enormous” or what about the “I’ll be home in 5 minutes”.  The last one is the worst.  A Turkish 5 minutes could be 5 hours, hell it could be 5 days!  Shit just ain’t true!
  • His ability to help … others. It does not matter what needs to be done The Turk is there for you.  Your neighbour’s cousin’s, aunt is moving home?  Of course The Turk will singlehandedly carry her ugly Turkish furniture down 4 flights of stairs!  A problem with your toilet?  Bob the Builder ain’t got nothing on The Turk.  A nuclear reactor in meltdown?  The Turk is all over it but God forbid if I need a light bulb changed in the stairwell!  He is AWOL.  It’s never going to happen.
  • Not only he is always right – did I mention at any stage that he is a genius – his family is also always right. His brother is always right (did you see how I highlighted that?  Can you feel the tension?).  His sister is always right.  Everyone is always right except for me.  Even if I had made the suggestion two minutes earlier it is not right unless it has been said by a family member.  Aarrghhhh!?!?

Bonus reason:

  • The inevitable reverse culture shock that will hit The Turk as soon as he sets down his suitcase. I lived through it last year, hell I blogged through it last year! He will be grumpy.  He will no doubt sulk.  He will yell it to the world, “Coming back here was a huge mistake and we should move back to Oz as soon as possible”.  This line of behaviour will carry on for a few weeks until, like a puppy, he settles into his new home albeit with a few pee puddles along the way.

He does have his good points too you know.  I don’t know what they are right now but I am sure they will come clear once he has returned home – and tidied the house.

On reflection I realise that my “10 things” would not be limited to my Turk or to Turkish men in general but wow(!) I feel like a huge weight has just been lifted off my shoulder!  Now it’s your turn.  Spill the beans people, it’s cathartic.  What annoys you about your lesser half?

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Gender equality in Türkiye

Oh dear.  It seems that the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has gone and put his foot in it again while attending at the Women and Justice Summit in Istanbul on Monday.  While addressing this conference he reminded us all that you cannot put men and women on an equal footing as women are not equal.  “It is against nature,” he said.  “They were created differently.  Their nature is different.  Their constitution is different.”  He went on to talk about how you cannot compare a breastfeeding woman to a man as well as attacking feminism and feminists claiming that they “reject the concept of motherhood.”  Jeeze!

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As a woman I can be outraged at the polarising statement made by the Turkish President and when I start to look at women’s rights in Türkiye I realise that Erdoğan’s statement really is only the tip of the iceberg of inequality here. At the conference Erdoğan went on to state that only a small percentage of women actually had legal employment in Türkiye however there was a very large uncounted percentage of women who worked on the land while the men “played cards”.  People (including his daughter Sumeyye) cheered Erdogan at this point.  “Yes it is true!  The women DO do all the work!”  Erdogan nodded smiling at his constituents no doubt believing that he is all goodness and generosity with his words and time.

Sure it is true but let me tell you what else is true for women here in Türkiye.  It is estimated that 40% of women have suffered from domestic violence in Türkiye.  I suspect that this estimate is actually a lot higher but reporting is frowned upon.  It is merely a case of boys being boys.

How about the number of women murdered by family members here in Turkey?  In 2009 the number was 3 women a day (I do not have the 2014 figure).

How about we discuss the number of underage weddings that take place here in Türkiye each year?  Should I mention that Erdoğan’s Presidential predecessor Abdullah Gul married his wife when she was merely 15 years old?

Finally should I remind you that Erdoğan has attempted to outlaw abortion, the morning after pill and limit caesarean sections and at that same speech given in Istanbul on 24 November reminded women that they should have three or more children for the sake of the economy.  Hello?  What about the health, safety and the sanity of the woman giving birth to these children?  And how about the continual welfare of the children who grow up in rural Türkiye when their family cannot support the children that they already have.

I read a statement issued by CHP Women’s Branch on 25 November that sums up the current policies that contribute to violence and behaviour of women in Turkiye.  “As long as women are not free, as long as they are not adequately represented in the decision making mechanism, this society will not move forward”.  Nice one.

Have a read of this piece posted on my Facebook page by fellow blogger Kerry from Earth Laughs in Flowers.  The piece written by Aslihan Agaglu reminds us that women in Türkiye have long had strong women to look up to.  Türkiye was at the forefront of women’s rights under the strong leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.  Turkish women have long had the right to vote and, rightly so, the right to voice their opinion.  Someone simply needs to remind Erdoğan of these rights as I think he has forgotten.

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Satan called. He wants his weather back!

It is seriously 10,000 degrees here in Mersin at the moment.  I am trapped in hell, sitting in my underwear right in front of my air conditioner which is about to pack it in under the pressure.  It is trying to give me what I want.  I need it.  I want it.  I feel like it is nearly there then – nothing.  It packs it in.  Someone came too soon and it wasn’t me!

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Loyal followers of this blog (and personal friends) will know that I pretty much spend all my winter months whinging about the damn cold.  I complained like a whingy feck.  “I can’t wait until summer,” I cried.  “I’m going to swim.  I’m going to swim at the beach every damn day”.  Well no I’m fecking not swimming in that cesspool that is the Village beach and no I am not taking 3 buses to get to the first clean beach outside of Mersin.  Feck my life!

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I definitely did not sign up for this kind of heat.  This day in and day out never ending hell that is the Village in the middle of summer.  You can’t go outside.  The sun will turn you into ash.  Armageddon heat.  Fire ants on crack heat.  I am thinking of spraying “Norsca” in my stairwell turning it into a Swedish sauna because that’s what it fecking feels like when I walk out my front door!  Don’t get me wrong.  I do make an effort to get out of the house.  All the time but then I step out into the Swedish sauna that is my stairwell, my brain starts to swell, my shoes start to melt and when I come to I find myself lying on the couch watching an episode of Ellen – the same episode of Ellen.  Very Groundhog Day.  Am I going to be forced to relive this hellfire summer until I do it right, Groundhog style?  I bloody hope not.

Incidentally there are a few shows here in English with Turkish subtitles but can someone tell me why I seem to watch the same show of Ellen every couple of weeks.  It’s got those two extremely obnoxious little English girls “Fatty and Rosie”.  I don’t know their names – wait I lie.  The little blonde girl is named Rosie.  She is the cute one that lip syncs or mimes.  She is the one that won’t need therapy while the other one who I have called Fatty sings, or tries to sing.  When she is older and realises how her parents have exploited her – she will definitely be spending her earnings in therapy.  How is this entertainment?  My mind tends to block it all out but they are on the show with Vince Vaughan who is probably trying to contact his agent to scream, “Why the feck am I on with these two fecking brats?  How low have I fallen down the ladder of Hollywood power?”  He is also probably wondering why he has never won an Oscar.

Back to my story.  Yes the heat.  Its fecked!

Too hot to sleep at night so I find that I have become a night crawler.  I leave the house around 10 pm with My Hurley Dog (aka The Terminator) and we troll the streets, waving to people we know and hoping to not draw attention to myself to those that we do not (after all the heat does bring the crazy out in most people).  It’s too hot for My Hurley Dog to walk throughout the day anyway.  He would rather hold his poop in until November than go outside and poop with the hot sun beating down on him.  I mean it, literally plug his butt than walk outside in this white scalding heat.  He was not designed to live in this relentless, torturous, horrid heat.  He has had yet another terrible haircut which he is totally embarrassed about.  To top it off he was attacked yesterday by two – yes two – mamma cats who ganged up on him when he went over to congratulate them on the birth of their babies.  Those bitches!  The Turk was so angry that he threw a bucket of water on the mamma cats but missed and mostly the water landed on My Hurley Dog.  I don’t think he minded though because it’s too feking hot!

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Speaking of The Turk, he has taken to sleeping on the tiled terrace in his underwear.  Daughter went out there a couple of nights ago to find him stark naked.  She came running in shielding her eyes and squealing, “What has been seen, cannot be unseen!”  Once I convinced her to not gouge out her eyes she returned to her bedroom to sleep.  A new house rule is that the Turk will always wear his underwear now.

The only one of us to doesn’t seem to give a shit about the heat is My Kedi Cat.  He no longer lives with us.  He lives in the front garden or by the front door with Evil, only coming in to eat.  He refuses to eat cat food and so I find myself cutting up pieces of steak or chicken to satisfy this bitch cat that I dragged all the way from Australia who hates my guts!  My Kedi Cat spends his days being primped by Evil (his only love) and attacking other cats who venture too close to our front door.  I sometimes see him when I am on my late night walk a couple of blocks away wandering around looking for something to kill.  He ignores me though.  Hate that cat!

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So that is today’s rant.  I am supposed to go downstairs and help make bread with the ladies.  I don’t want to unless I can go down there in my underwear but The Turk vetoed that idea.  Well if I cannot go down there in my underwear then I want to stay right where I am in front of my poor, groaning air conditioner until either it or I give up for good!

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Meet the Cats of Istanbul + VoCATulary

Turkish Delight Bazaar

I’ve just found the best guides to lead us through Istanbul: Turkish cats♥


And in case you want to adopt one, you may need the following voCATulary:

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I am a Selfish Bitch (apparently)

The heading speaks for itself people.  I am a Selfish Bitch.  Apparently.  The Turk informed me of such this morning so it must be true.  See this is where he and I differ in opinion because I always thought that I was pretty awesome.  I have been known to high-5 myself on occasion for my awesomeness.  I help others.  I give to causes.  I am totally generous.  Selfish bitch?  Nope.  Doesn’t really sound like me.

He didn’t really mean it, The Turk.  He was just a little exasperated with me this morning that’s all.  Let me explain.

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On Tuesday morning I woke at the crack of dawn suffering from the succubus that is jetlag.  It usually takes me days to get over it so there I was feeling like crap and desperately needing a cup of tea to jolt my body awake.  Having successfully made my tea (remember Turkish tea is a drama in itself) I made my way outside onto our terrace intending to watch the sun rise over the village when it happened. 

I looked around and . . . what?  Where the fek is my feking terribly expensive outdoor furniture?  It had disappeared.  Were we robbed?  Doubtful.  Was it there last night?  Dunno.  Like an idiot I looked left and right.  Nope.  I stuck my head back through the door into the living room.  Not there.  I started back inside when my eyes were drawn to Vito’s home next door.  Immediate brain fart!  There’s my feking terribly expensive feking furniture!  What the holy hell?

Living here in Turkey I have learnt that it is not unusual to do a solid and lend something to a neighbour or a relative or even the man that lives on the other side of the village and it will definitely be returned with thanks (well mostly anyway).  I get it and I am totally on board with this arrangement but when I went downstairs to examine my terribly expensive outdoor furniture it was looking more than a little worse for wear with oil splatters on the table, stains on my cushions and even a cigarette burn or two.  Fek! 

I did not lose my temper.  I did not have a fit.  I merely asked The Turk for my terribly expensive outdoor furniture to be returned to its rightful place however it had not appeared before I went to bed on Tuesday evening.  The Turk guaranteed that it would be returned on Wednesday morning as soon as Vito returned home from work.  Wednesday came and went and again despite my request for the return of my terribly expensive outdoor furniture my terrace was still looking bare and sad.  What made it worse was that Vito had some friends over Wednesday (last) night and I watched them stealth-like through my window fuming and spitting fire while they lounged all over my terribly expensive outdoor furniture like they were the feking Queen of England, smoking their cigarettes and no doubt dropping more crap all over it! I was losing my shit people!

This morning I again asked for my terribly expensive outdoor furniture to be returned and that is when The Turk cracked it.  After calling me a selfish bitch he suggested that if I wanted my terribly expensive outdoor furniture back then I should go and ask for it myself!  The thing is that after being married to The Turk for over 12 years I know too well that when he starts throwing around insults it means that he is attempting to deflect an issue that he does not want to deal with.  Ah ha!  He did not want to ask his brother for the return of the terribly expensive outdoor furniture.  He was embarrassed.  We’ll fek it!  I’ll feking ask him! 

And ask him I did.  Vito might have ummed and aahhed after I knocked on his door this morning but when I returned from the market I found The Turk on the terrace relaxing comfortably on my terribly expensive, albeit now slightly marked, outdoor furniture.  “Darling, would you like a cup of tea?” he says. 

So there you have it.  I might be a selfish bitch although I really don’t see it that way.  It’s one thing to borrow a book, or a frypan but another thing all together to borrow furniture with little or no intention of returning it.  The Turk is happy though.  My terribly expensive outdoor furniture has been returned and he is not the bad guy.  I am.  I am a selfish bitch but whatever.  I am still awesome though.

Two Years Ago

Two years ago today I sat in a doctor’s office with my father, his wife and my brother.  I sat there listening to a doctor tell my father that he had no time left, that the cancer was winning and to make arrangements for palliative care.

I had no idea.  I had no idea that he was sick.  I knew he had had surgery in January but he and his wife still travelled overseas in February.  They were even making plans to go away in July.  He was not sick.  He was fine. 

I had been in Mersin in April when I received an email from my brother telling me to come home, telling me that our Dad was ill.  No one told me.  Dad didn’t tell me.  His wife didn’t tell me.  I then got an email from my boss telling me to come home.  I was scared.  I tried to telephone my Dad and my brother but I could not get onto any of them as there had been a big storm in Mersin and it had knocked out all telephone and internet.  I finally got onto my Dad and he said he was fine.  His voice was cheerful, he was telling jokes.  My Dad always told jokes, legendary jokes.  He said that my brother was being overly concerned. 

It took days but I finally got onto my brother who told me to come home – now.

My next problem was getting a flight.  This is not always easy.  We had flights arranged for the next week.  I tried to change it.  It was difficult.

I finally got home.  I spoke to my brother.  I still remember it.  I arrived home at 11 pm and I rang my brother first thing the next morning.

“Jane, there is nothing they can do.”  I was at the shopping centre buying milk and bread for breakfast.  I collapsed on the floor and wept.  People walked around me, embarrassed by my outburst.  I did not care.

Two years ago today I sat in a doctor’s office with my dad, his wife and my brother.  Two years ago today I was told that my first love, my dad, was being taken from me forever.  Little did I know that it would be a mere 3 weeks before he left me.

Two years ago.

Why Are You Here?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looking Beyond the Wall

I have been looking at oversized wall art or posters to install in our window when the building work is completed next door.  Here is a shot of my current view – thank you very much Vito.

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And another shot with My Kedi Cat having a pow-wow with Evil from my window.

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Originally I was just going to paint the wall, keep the blinds down and try and ignore the fact that my window that originally had a pleasant village view is now a butt ugly blight but Daughter came up with the bright idea of installing a painting there.  That seemed a little excessive (cost wise) however as an alternative we found some amazing wallpaper that looks like a photograph.  I found this photograph wallpaper of Kalkan Harbour.

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Can you imagine this installed in the window?  I think it will rock.  The Turk wants a garden setting (of course) and Daughter wants Calum Hood (sigh) but right now I think Kalkan Harbour will be perfect and honestly a happy wife means a happy life.

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