The Thing About The Turk

The Turk and I have an extremely volatile relationship.  We are hot and cold.  Yes and no.  Up and down (no it’s not a Katy Perry song).  For those of you who know The Turk personally already know that he is an extremely difficult man to live with.  He is completely OCD.  Everything must be spotless.  Everything has its place.  I live with a more relaxed view of things.  Shit happens so clean it up whenever.  He also has a lot of vices.  Things that he cannot seem to control and, despite me giving him ultimatum after ultimatum he will not, or cannot, change his ways.

kemal collage

We have been living together for 15 years now (married for 14).  It has not been easy.  And it’s not that I don’t love him, because I do (well most of the time anyway).  We are just two extremely different people who are, for whatever reason, like oil and water to each other.

I’ve received a few messages from you guys wanting a clarification.  I have dropped hints on a few occasions (my terrace / his terrace) and the truth of the matter is this – The Turk and I no longer live together.  Daughter and I have our own apartment upstairs and he continues to live downstairs and so far this new arrangement is working out just fine.

We are not getting a divorce, we just happen to live separately.  I did ask him if he wanted a divorce and, of course, he said no, “I will never divorce you. Seni çok seviyorum tatlım.”  Ugh!  I mean its 2017, Brad Pitt is finally free of that skinny brunette … and he’s on my List so if the stars would just align then we could finally be together!  As it should be!

The Turk and I still spend time together, one might even say too much time together, and we still make decisions as a couple but our evenings are spent separately (unless we are at a family event of course).  We breakfast together every day.  The Turk still makes us his world famous pizza on a Sunday night and I still make him chicken cacciatore or his favourite meal, Tepsi Kebab.  We still sit each evening on his terrace and have a glass of wine together (clearly I am an Enabler) and talk about our day and go over our plans for the next day.

There is no more fighting (well less fighting) and little things, like The Turks constant need to tidy teenage Daughter’s bedroom, are a non-issue.  And anyone with a teenager will tell you – do not go into their bedroom.  You will regret it.  Or maybe get sucked into a vortex of dirty clothes and rubbish.

Speaking of tidying up my relaxed view on cleaning still sends The Turk crazy and he has been sneaking up to ours to clean when we are out.  I left the camera on the other day and got to enjoy a comedic film of The Turk moving a bowl on the dining table three times before being entirely satisfied with its final resting place.  In the past watching him fuss would have sent me over the edge but now?  Now I merely smile.

I’ve got to say this though … our relationship has never been better.  Everything about this is better.  He is happier.  I am happier.  Daughter is very happy.  The sex is better.  The tension is gone.  The stress is non-existent.  Had I had known that this was the way to have a perfect marriage I would have gotten on board years ago and don’t worry I am sure that every other post will be about me whining about The Turk driving me crazy still … ’cause I’m sure that will never change.

 

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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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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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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.

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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.

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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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Lacey’s and Goat Stew

A dingo ate my baby.  A good story (well not for the baby).  Or how about my dog ate my homework.  A classic tale.

But this story is better.

This is the story of a goat.  A goat that ate my undies!

baby goatKurban Bayram officially gets underway tomorrow and there are a lot of goats and sheep in the village unwillingly ready to be sacrificed.   The herder will parade the animals through the village on their way to the kurban kesme yerleri (authorised sacrifice abbatoir) although here in the village it is not unusual for people to purchase an animal as the herder goes by for sacrifice in their garden or a nearby park.

Usually the herder will not go down our street.  Between My Hurley Dog and the Rottweiler next door the crazed barking sends the already nervous animals a little deli and they tend to run amok but today the herder had such a large contingent of animals that he was trying to control that a small number did wander into our street and start chewing on the weeds and grass outside my home.  Unbeknownst to me I might add.  I was still in bed.  Having sweet dreams.  Maybe about The Hot Groom … or Brad Pitt.  Or both.  Oh my!

Now to the story about my undies.

I did a load of washing last night.  I am a good Turkish Housewife (alright that’s not entirely true).  I put the washing on the line and then sat down to watch an episode of Stranger Things (love that show).  I then went to bed to have my aforementioned sweet dreams.  Of course I woke to the sound of My Hurley Dog barking like a maniac on the terrace so I went out to corral him back inside.  I hung over the railing to have a squiz at what he was barking at.  It could have been Grey Cat.  My Hurley Dog hates Grey Cat.  Grey Cat keeps sniffing around my two remaining stray bitch cats trying to have his way with them.  It wasn’t Grey Cat.  There was, however, a bunch of goats wandering around in our little garden but that wasn’t what caught my attention.  No.  What caught my attention was one particular goat.  It was a ridiculously cute brown goat (seriously how can they kill these darlings) and it was bouncing around below me chewing on something.  It seemed quite happy unbeknownst of his forthcoming fate.  Wait a minute.  What’s that he’s eating?  I looked behind me at my clothes line.  FML!  The line was definitely heavier last night!  What’s missing?  A t-shirt.  Yes, and what else – Oh bugger!  My lacy black undies.  The expensive ones.  The ones I had just brought back from Sydney.  The ones that are used for, ahem, special occasions.

I ran down stairs to collect the pieces that had fallen off the line and to try and retrieve my special occasion undies (although I can’t imagine them possibly being salvageable).  There was a tustle.  The little brown goat won and wandered off to meet his maker happily chewing on the remnants of my undies.  His last meal before he becomes Goat Stew.

In the meantime The Turk had woken up and was sitting on the terrace below mine having a çay.  And a cigarette.  And a laugh.

I turned and gave him the finger, “If I don’t get these undies back you’re never getting laid again!”

I don’t think he really cares.

So yeah Kurban Bayraminiz kutlu olsen!

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The Hot Groom

Last night I went to a wedding.  I hate a wedding on a weeknight.  I wasn’t prepared, in fact I knew nothing about it thanks to The Turk’s inability to tell me shit.  I had been in Adana all day (went to check out the incredibly disappointing H&M that had just opened) so when I arrived home to the news that I was expected to attend a wedding I was mildly (read that as totally) pissed off.

The wedding itself was as expected.  You know the usual Turkish, completely over the top wedding.  The music was way too loud and the women were ridiculously overdressed while, on the other hand, the men turn up looking like gigolo wannabe’s in jeans and open shirts.  Of course there was no food or booze but they did supply us with juice boxes (true story).  And sadly as I didn’t have any warning of said wedding I didn’t have time to buy some booze.  FML!  A booze free Turkish wedding on a freaking Wednesday night.  Could my life get any worse?

And then I saw The Groom.  No that’s not explaining what I saw properly – let me try that again:

And then, standing at the top of the stairs was a man, but not just a man, it was a man with god-like qualities.  His strong nose complemented his prominent cheekbones and his hair, so thick that I felt the need to run my fingers through it, finished just below the collar of his perfect black suit jacket.  He was tall but not too tall and he filled out that perfect black suit jacket perfectly.  My new crush scanned the room with purpose and I swear to God his eyes connected with each and every one of us.  I swooned.  I did.  I was Olivia De Havilland and I was swooning at the hottie at the top of the stairs – until it clicked in my pea size mind.  The hottie at the top of the stairs just so happened to be The Groom.  Sorry – The Hot Groom.  Bummer.

Of course I am well aware that I can’t try it on with The Hot Groom at his own wedding and yes I am obviously also aware that I am, in fact, a fat, middle aged woman who is very much married to The Turk who was, at that moment, sitting right beside me as I swooned and tittered over The Hot Groom at the top of the stairs but I just need to say – yes please!

burak

The Hot Groom had it all.  He was a dead set ringer for Burak Ozcivit and seeing as Burak Ozcivit was actually born in Mersin I have decided that The Hot Groom must be related in some way to Burak Ozcivit.  For those of you who don’t know of Burak he has graced my blog before when I discussed the do’s and don’ts of the great Turkish moustache and now, standing before me, was a perfect facsimile of that perfect man.  Yes indeed my new favourite relative aka The Hot Groom was rocking it with his thick black locks and a decent amount of facial hair that gave me the shivers (but thankfully no moustache).  OMFG!

The Turk looked from the Hot Groom to me and back again before rolling his eyes.  The following conversation then took place:

The Turk:  I see what’s happening here.

Me:             I don’t know what you are talking about.

The Turk:  Darling there are two reasons that your new love isn’t going to work.

Me:             Oh?

The Turk:  One, he’s half your age.

Me:             I could be a cougar.

The Turk:  (shook his head while looking at me in pity and a little bit of contempt) And two … check out your competition.

Me:             Who?

The Turk:  The Bride.

Damn it but he was right.  The Hot Groom was marrying an even Hotter Bride.

Of course.

Edit:  Despite the desperate requests of my readers to obtain a photo of the Hot Groom I must let you know that my one compromise on writing about his family is that I do not post any photos.  I’m sorry.  I have promised.  I know I hate me too.  Yes he was hot.

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