After The Fall

It wasn’t really a fall, it was more of a complete transformation of a mild mannered *cough, cough* Aussie chick into a fully functioning, homicidal maniac but I must say I felt better getting it off my chest and I want to give all you guys a shout out as well.  So many of you wrote to me and told me your horror stories living here in Türkiye (and elsewhere) making mine seem perhaps a tad absurd but also giving me the strength to face a new day.

depression 1

I haven’t always been honest about how I was feeling mostly because I didn’t want to sound like I was complaining.  For many of us there is a romanticism to living in Türkiye.  I get that.  So many people say how lucky we are and how they would love to do it too.  Sure, we are very lucky – we chose this life but it isn’t always easy.

When I self-analyse my meltdown (thank you Google) I think it mostly stems from a depression that snuck up on me, so quietly that I didn’t even realise it until it swallowed me whole.  I had an inkling back in January that there was something askew while I was having a long weekend in London.  I caught up with my bestie who lives there and spent much of the day in tears.

Up front I don’t consider myself someone who gets depressed easily.  I am pretty chill and I think most people who know me would agree however since my knee operation and its very, VERY slow recovery I found myself becoming increasing depressed which has been magnified by the fact that I am living in a country that doesn’t really take its mental health all that seriously (as it fecking should)!

Putting aside Türkiye’nin domestic and regional tensions an expat here is also contending with bureaucratic bungles, visa issues, cultural differences, language barriers – ugh the list goes on – but all of this has the potential to send even the sanest among us kicking and screaming to the looney bin.  The simplest of tasks become untenable and, as an expat, it’s hard to make people understand that you feel lost and need help.

For me personally I find that, despite being surrounded by family ALL THE TIME, I still feel isolated and unsupported and very much alone.  I would lock myself in my bedroom and cry and cry.  I really started to resent the family, not just The Turk and Daughter, but the extended re-mix of family that lives within spitting distance.  I missed my privacy.  I can’t walk around naked (I would never walk around naked but now I don’t even have that option).  Cooking a meal requires every pot and pan in the house and for feck’s sake why do they all have to YELL????  ALL THE TIME???  It rattles me.  A family dinner is exhausting and takes me days to recover.  A bayram is my personal hell with family coming in from other cities to add to the chaos.  I’m getting the sweats just thinking about it.

The Turk isn’t really as supportive or sympathetic as he should be.  I think growing up in the Village he has seen it all and his mindset is to ignore the problem and it will go away.  Daughter is a hormonal teenager off doing her own thing and I often go days getting little more than a grunt from her as she passes me in the hallway.  So it’s just me.  Alone.  And being alone can be scary.

But what I DO know about me is this I am, in fact, one badass bitch!  I am fecking sensational!  I am Sensational Janey (such moniker given to me by an equally sensational Turk) and I am part of a group of Sensational Bad-Ass Bitches who navigate life here in Mersin.

Now I’m taking it one day at a time.  I find something positive and I run with it.  I went to the pazar in Menderes this week (it is seriously the best pazar in Mersin).  I spent much more than I had anticipated (tomatoes were surprisingly expensive with 4kg setting me back 18TL) followed by a delicious yogurt tantuni with one of the Bad-Ass Bitches that live here.  I am really pushing myself to walk again to build strength back in my legs and to improve my health generally and finally, I am back to writing, which I have always found to be very cathartic.

Oh and I have wine.  A LOT of wine!

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The Day That Türkiye Broke Me

I always refer to Türkiye as a woman.  Türkiye is strong.  She can be a little temperamental at times and has even been known to chuck a wobbly every now and then but usually things return to normal.  I mean it’s normal for relationships to have their ups and downs and yes I am aware that in psychology circles I would be called an Enabler.  Oh and upfront this is not a political post.  I will not make any comments in relation to that ridiculous Referendum and its outcome.  Oops.  Sorry.

Back to my story.

Yes Türkiye can be a little tempermental but usually I forgive and forget – but not this time.  What started as a day became a week and seriously seems to be moving into a month and everything here in the Village, in Mersin and even in Türkiye, is pissing me the hell off.  I held out as long as I could but enough is enough and finally, she broke me.  Türkiye broke me.

FireAnd even as I write this I know I am being a pouting princess and I know how lucky I am living in this beautiful country, but honestly shit should get easier, you know!

Alright let’s rewind and I will vent and then maybe, just maybe, I can move on from her most recent transgression.

It all started last Wednesday.  It was a normal Wednesday.  The Turk and I had kahvaltı on the terrace while below us Dede was screaming at the passerby (yes this is normal for us).  I mentioned to The Turk that we had no internet and no telephone – again.  “Sorun değil aşkım” was his reply and he rang TTnet to arrange for a service.  I pointed out that I think we needed an electrician but, of course, The Turk knew better (and God forbid he is never wrong).  At this point I just want to say that I am also dealing with a temperamental 14 year old who literally HATES THE WORLD so when she realised on Wednesday morning that there was no internet – again – seriously folks don’t worry about North Korea dropping a fecking nuclear bomb on anyone worry about Daughter blowing a fecking gasket!!!

By Friday the internet was still not fixed AND to add to my current woes we also had no electricity.  I thought this would be a good time for me to get out of the Village and do the grocery shopping.  I hit Migros and I brought up big!  Came to the register to pay, handed over my credit card and – declined!  WTF???  Of course I didn’t have the cash to pay for my groceries so I had to leave them at the shop and return home empty handed.  And that was it.  It was that simple.  I broke.

By the time I got home I was in tears.  I threw myself on the couch and cried for a good few hours before finally putting myself to bed.  At 4pm.  It was suggested to me that I needed chocolate and red wine – stat – but as my credit card was declined I didn’t even have these simple medicinal necessities to tide me over and so I lay in bed crying my eyes out and wishing I was back in Sydney where this shit just wouldn’t happen.

Sure I know these are all First World Problems, and yes, I know I am being a bit of a şımarık, but seriously no electricity, no internet, no telephone and now no cash!  What the feck did I ever do to you Türkiye?  Have I ever done anything but love you?  Support you?  Talk you up to my friends?  Yeah that’s right!  And you turn on me!  Well I’m pissed off and I won’t stand for it anymore!  In fact I’m breaking up with you!

friends breakup photovisiAnyhow, TTnet finally arrived on Saturday morning and confirmed that we did, in fact, need an electrician so The Turk called a guy who knew a guy who promised to be at ours by 2pm.  At 6.17pm four teenage boys arrived at our house.  They were the electricians!  Ugh!  One of the boys refused to come into the house because of My Hurley Dog so screamed instructions through the door (Çek!  Çek!) to the other three as they re-wired our telephone and internet.  By 10pm they had finished.  We had internet.  We had telephone.  Yah!!!  By 11.15pm? Gone!  Again!

It comes and goes now.  That’s okay.  I guess.  And we only lost the electricity once yesterday (although it was for 6 hours).

What I find so incomprehensible is that everyone seems to accept substandard workmanship and bad behaviour.  They have all these social niceties but when it comes to service they just accept that the work will be dodgy or the quality of their goods and services will be less than stellar.  It is the norm here in Türkiye but it shouldn’t be.  People should expect excellent service if they are paying for it.  The Turk just shrugs as says “Bu Türkiye!”  Nope more like Bu-llshit!!

And speaking of bullshit let me just tell you one more little story before I get dragged off to the looney bin.

After my second meltdown on Sunday to my BIL (as my television had no signal and our intermittent internet was gone – fecking again) a television service was arranged.  The dude arrived yesterday on time (a first) and proceeded to reconfigure our satellite dish for a better service.  I only really watch one or two shows on television, I don’t really care if there is service or not because I watch television via the internet (if we have internet that is) BUT there is one English news channel – TRT World – and even though it is a completely bias channel run by the Government (please don’t shut me down “Powers That Be”) it was, at least, in English.  Until our little friend serviced my dish that is, now we have lost the channel.  FML!

Anyway before he left he asked to use the bathroom.  He disappeared behind the door for a good thirty minutes.  What on earth did he do in there?  Well I certainly found out within moments of him leaving when an entity crossed my path.  A shit entity.  A smell so foul that it was as though he had smeared shit from one end of the guest bathroom to the other!  I literally had to open all the windows and sit on the terrace for an hour before the house had been cleared of the putrid smell!  I still haven’t gone in there either.  I’m a little scared of what I might find that he left behind for me.  I’ll send The Turk in to take the bullet.

Sorry for lumbering all this on you all.  I don’t know when I’ll be back.  But I will.  Eventually.

Ugh!

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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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No Winter Blues

When we lived in Oz we always arranged our holiday to Mersin during September.  It was still deliciously warm but there was that cool breeze that soothed the rocking hell-fire that usually descends on the province during August (which has been known to send even me a little deli).  Winters, on the other hand, were a non-starter, no way I was skipping my summer in Sydney for the grey backdrop that would no doubt be Mersin during December or January.

Now that I live here I realise that that was my loss because while Mersin in the heat of summer no doubt rocks, it’s also got some pretty cool moves in the dead of winter as well.

Mersin snow

Falling temperatures sprinkle new magic on the small villages in the mountains and the medieval kalesi (castles) along the Mersin coastline and although I have not done much in the way of exploring thanks to my bung knee this winter I can say that over the years the chill brings a moody new perspective to the province.

snow in mersin 2

Daughter and I did zip up into the mountains a few times this winter and while the city of Mersin or our little village may be grey the Toros Mountains were gloriously sunshiny.  We took My Hurley Dog for a doggy snow day as Daughter had recently seen a video with dogs having a sensational time frolicking in white stuff but, of course, our asshole dog hated every moment of it.  He did, however, manage to find the carcass of some poor animal in the snow and try to drag it back to the car – I swear that dog disgusts me sometimes.

hurley-snow-3

With a smattering of snow the traditional Turkish villages are so enticing that a trek through the lower hills of the mountain range is something not to be missed.  Oh and for those of you who actually want to attach those silly wooden planks to your feet Kayseri is only 3 hours away with 8 lifts and no doubt more than enough apres-ski nightlife to suit everyone.

The coastline takes on a new role as well.  The beaches are still pristine but now they are empty.  Surprisingly the water isn’t icy either.  I mean I wouldn’t swim to Cyprus or anything but a paddle is pleasant enough.

kizkalesi-winter-4

One of the bonuses during winter is it is much easier to visit the ruins (without self-combusting in the heat).  I have been known to lose myself for hours while exploring the many castles that dot the coastline and winter allows me to continue my exploration without breaking a sweat.

Winter also has salep, which is a mix of hot mastic milk, sugar, and flour made from orchid tubers, served with cinnamon.  Sold from street carts in the old part of the city you can enjoy your salep alongside a paper bag stuffed with kestane kebap (freshly roasted chestnuts), also purchased from street carts.

Today The Turk and I are off to Sarniç, a village 15 minutes outside of the city.  I’ve visited there so many times that he is beginning to question whether I’m having an affair with a local goat herder so today we will go together for lunch to celebrate our wedding anniversary (see we still adore each other – sometimes).  There is a fantastic lokanta on the main road that serves traditional Turkish food (the sucuk hummus is to die for) while you warm your weary bones by a roaring fire.  Yet another great reason to visit Mersin in winter I think.

sarnic-2

I mean if you really need another reason that is …

Disclaimer: my expat friend who lives up in the Yayla would not agree with anything said in this post.  She has had enough of the snow.  She (and her recently Home Alone kedi) wishes that the snow would feck off!

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Public Service Announcement

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

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

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

Oh no!

turkishmanflu

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

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

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

man-flu-2

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

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

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

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

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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 The Onion 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.

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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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