Work at ANZAC Cove

For many of us Aussies a pilgrimage to Gelibolu (Gallipoli) is a must do in our lifetime.  The area is steeped in history, an ancient history, a pained history and a history of heroism by the boys and men who left home yearning for adventure, ready to fight for their King and country only to lose their lives and lay buried far from home.

Anzac 3

We visit the memorials at Çanakkale Şehitleri Anıtı (Çanakkale Martyrs Memorial), the Nek or Kanlisirt Anıtı (known to us as ANZAC Cove), and these memorials are a reminder that war is full of unsung heroes and, whether they were part of the Allied forces or a Turkish soldier, we remember the sacrifices that they made so we could live today in freedom.  This bond between the Johnnies and the Mehmets was well expressed by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, President of Turkiye, who in 1934 made this uplifting and consoling comment to an official, Australian, New Zealand and British party visiting ANZAC Cove:

Those heroes that shed their blood, and lost their lives …
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore, rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side,
Here in this country of ours.
You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries …
Wipe away your tears.
Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace.
After having lost their lives on this land, they have
Become our sons as well.

Those words make hearts swell around the world in pride and are now an integral part of the Gallipoli story.   I remember standing at the memorial at Kanlisirt Anıtı  and I openly wept as I read those immortal words.

Tonight this news item passed my desk –

gelibolu-yarimadasindaki-kitabeler-onariliyor-89763

I felt sick to my stomach.

There were more photos but these appear to have been deleted.

Before we all jump the gun and turn into keyboard warriors (and believe me I was screaming blue murder and ready to call Karl Stefanovic who would fly over and single-handedly sort it out with The Powers That Be) the report attached to this photo states that the Canakkale Savaslari Tarihi group are undertaking maintenance and repair to the memorial due to natural erosion to the inscriptions and repair work and this work is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.  Although I understand that the work may have needed to have been undertaken this memorial is held in extremely high regard by Australians and New Zealanders.  I think that perhaps some discretion should have been taken by the officials undertaking this work to minimise the shock to visitors who have come to pay their respects.

I hope that the work is completed quickly and this site which is so important to all of us is returned to its former glory – for all our sakes.

(If anyone has any further information regarding this work please send me a link).

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#First World Problems

Daughter and I have been in Sydney for the past 6 weeks as well as a sneaky side trip to Bali with a few of my girlfriends so I have been MIA in case you hadn’t noticed (what do you mean you didn’t notice???).

While Down Under I got to spend desperately needed time with many, but not all, of my most beloved peeps (and purchased some desperately needed bras – my boobs are back in the Northern Hemisphere again) and Daughter also got to have a few catch ups, again stalked members of 5SOS and even went to see The 1975 in concert.  Sydney was definitely a win/win sitch for both of us (although Calum from 5SOS is still playing hard to get).

Bali 1Now we are back in my Türkiye and back in the Village I find that things haven’t changed.  At all.

Of course I am aware that Türkiye was on the news while I was away.  As an early riser I had the news on and was watching the ‘incident’ as it happened.  (I will call it an incident however I won’t make any further reference to it due to the current political climate here).

“Holy Shit!” said I.

“Don’t go back!” said most, if not all, of my acquaintances back in Sydney.

Coming back home I admit was a little nervous but now that I am here and have been out and about I can say that in the Village and in the city of Mersin nothing has changed.  The sun is still shining, people are going about their business and life goes on oh and The Turk actually didn’t know that the ‘incident’ had taken place.  Slept through the whole thing.  And before you Negative Nelly’s start banging on at me yes I know that Mersin is not Istanbul and that there are continued protests there as well as other cities including Ankara but, just in case you didn’t realise, this is a blog about living in Mersin.

Anyway after staring at the television for hours I realised that something that was so huge in Türkiye and that held such huge ramifications for this country as well as the rest of the world it was merely a ripple in the pond in Australia (and possibly other countries) and was only getting about 7 minutes of airtime with the Australian media.   I should just stress at this point that the home that I was staying at only had free to air television – in fact I didn’t even get to see the finale to Game of Thrones until I got home!  #FirstWorldProblems

Everybody-Loses-Their-Mind-GoTAustralia had a general election during my time Down Under and so I did my civic duty and cast my vote.  I actually received a fine for not voting in the last election although on checking with the Consulate here in Türkiye I found out there was in fact nowhere to cast your vote unless you did it by post.  Have you ever tried to send mail from Türkiye?  Has it ever arrived or did it take 6 months?  I betcha that if I had done the postal vote in the last election my solitary postal vote would have been crucial in stopping that tosser Abbott getting elected!  And did you know that this is like the 50th freaking election since 2010 – not really – but it sure seems like it.  I mean Australia change leaders like others change their undies!  #FirstWorldProblems

I took Daughter to the hairdresser in Sydney.  Now, back in Mersin a trip to the hairdresser including a wash and blow dry will set you back 9TL or AU$5 (the price has gone up in our absence).  In Sydney a wash and blow dry at a suburban hairdresser set us back AU$60 or approximately 120TL!!!  #FirstWorldProblems

I made potato kofte for dinner for a friend and after a quick trip to the local supermarket I realised that Türkiye beats Australia hands down on the cost and the quality of the fresh produce available.  Of course here in Türkiye fruit and vegetables are seasonal but after I paid AU$3 or 6TL for one (rather crummy) bunch of maydanoz (parsley) I realised just how great I really have it here.  I couldn’t even get my hands on any nane (mint) either!  I mean WTF??  It’s mint for feck sake.  Here it’s growing on every freaking street corner.  I think back to when we lived in Sydney and we always had mint on hand.  Of course The Turk would grow his own.  Duh! #FirstWorldProblems

Although Australia did win hand over fist time and time again.  Electricity is abundant as is fresh drinking water.  I had only been home in Mersin a few days when the electricity was cut and the water disappeared from our pipes.  It took 2 days for the water to come back but the electricity did crank up again pretty quickly (and a good thing too with the current temperatures here in Mersin hitting mid-40’s (that’s Celsius to you freaking Americans) on a regular basis.  Sidenote – Daughter just stuck her head out the door and asked me “When’s it winter?”  LMAO! #SydneyoverMersin

The traffic back in Sydney is as always a dream to navigate although peak hour did my head in on more than one occasion.  I love that the speed limit isn’t just a suggestion and I seriously don’t think I heard a car horn during our whole time there!  #SydneyoverMersin

Of course the biggest drawcard and the one thing that I can’t replicate in Mersin is bacon.  Sydney has bacon.  A lot of bacon.  And I ate it all!  #SydneyoverFECKINGMersin

bacon 1So now that I’m back I will probably be back to whinging about all and sundry and hating this and that again but right now I will just say that I’m glad to be home.

Oh and yes I was playing with hashtags.  They are stupid and I hate them.  I vow this day to never use them again!

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Ho Ho Ho!

It’s just after midnight here in Mersin which means today is Christmas Eve.  Santa has already given me my Christmas present as on Wednesday I was given the all clear from the doctor and could get out of the house and frantically finish (read that as ‘start’) my Christmas shopping.

Thanks to social media I know that back home in Oz friends are indulging in some early celebrations with photos at packed beaches, parties on Sydney Harbour, leisurely lunches and generally having a merry old time.  They are frantically hitting the shops to buy their prawns and oysters, as well as mangoes and avocados all in readiness for their Christmas celebration whether it will be at the beach or by the pool or even a barbie in the backyard.  Ah Sydney – I can dream can’t I?

Christmas in Sydney

Here in Mersin, Christmas has been a pretty low key affair; in fact the last few years have been positively depressing.  On our actual first Christmas Day here I made a huge fuss and arranged a full Christmas lunch for the family with presents for everyone.  Unfortunately none of them came because, well, it was just Wednesday to them (plus most of them work and were unable to take a day off).  Having learned my lesson last year The Turk took Daughter and I out for lunch which was nice but not really special or Christmassy at all.

This year, however, I am excited at the prospect of Christmas Day as I have been invited to a friend’s house for lunch.  I am told, however, that calling tomorrow ‘Christmas lunch’ is not giving justice to the day or the meal for that matter.  This is no mere Christmas lunch; this will be a Christmas extravaganza.  There will be pork, and bacon (Eeekkk!).  There will be turkey (yes haha turkey in Turkey – hilarious).  There will be prawns.  There will be gravy and oodles of vegetables, and sugary biscuits and lots of Gluehwein.  There will be something called an Eton Mess and finally there will also be ox tongue (I’m not really sure what to say about that but it’s apparently a tradition).  This will not be a mere lunch either.  This is an all day, into the night and with the possibility of continuing into Boxing Day spectacular.  I am thinking of wearing my tracksuit pants as they are stretchy enough to sustain themselves throughout what will no doubt be a wonderful day full of great friends, lots of laughter and waaayyy too much food.

ChristmasDinner

To all of you who follow my ridiculous antics here in Mersin I say thank you and may all your Christmas wishes come true.

See you in 2016!  2016???  Crikey!

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My Kedi Cat and My Hurley Dog

Two years ago today my SIL and I travelled to Istanbul to collect two of my most precious family members – My Hurley Dog and My Kedi Cat.  They had just flown 29 hours from Sydney to Istanbul via Malaysia.  Like all long haul travellers they were tired and grumpy and the last thing they wanted to do is spend the next 11 hours sitting in customs in Istanbul while we fought to get them released.

This is their story.

Kedi 3

I have mentioned before that both of my pets were rescue animals and I had no intention of leaving my fur-babies behind when we moved to Türkiye (well I had half a mind to leave My Kedi Cat behind but that’s because he hates me).  I spent many hours dealing with both Australian customs and Turkish customs ensuring I had covered every base before I finally arranged for them to be flown over. I wanted them to have an easy flight and a simple transfer into my custody at Istanbul Customs.  I was certain I had crossed every “T” and dotted every single “I” but when arriving at customs in Istanbul it was, as expected, a fecking nightmare!

My SIL and I arrived in Istanbul from Adana at 6.30am and I had arranged a return flight for 5pm.  I assumed that this would be more than enough time to collect my two fur-babies, do all the custom rigmarole and have heaps of time to get our flight home with my fur-babies in tow.

Nope!

Every single thing that could have gone wrong did go wrong.  It began with the Veterinarian not arriving to sign my babies off.  Why didn’t he arrive you wonder?  It was raining.  Poor love.  After a lot of yelling by my SIL (God bless my SIL) he was finally roused into work but did not arrive until after 3pm so basically we sat in customs for nearly 9 hours.  We weren’t allowed to leave, even a toilet break was frowned on.  We had to sit there in case the Vet arrived so we could point out our pets.  They were the only two fecking animals in customs so obviously they were fecking mine!!!!!  I spent a lot of that time in tears.  I could hear My Hurley Dog howling through the customs door but I wasn’t allowed to see him.

After being examined the Vet then questioned whether My Kedi Cat had rabies as he was vicious.  In fact the Customs officers back in Sydney had put a sticker on the cage – “Handle with Caution.  Dangerous Animal”.  After I explained that My Kedi Cat was always vicious – frankly the cat is a bit of a shit – and finally they were signed off.  But that wasn’t the end of it. There was still more paperwork and more money handed over (grease the wheels guys) before finally my two fur-babies were released into my custody.

I know a lot of expats bring their pets with them and I wonder whether flying into the more regional airports would be an easier option.  I expect that if I had taken a direct flight from the UK and arriving into, say Bodrum, then the customs guys would be quite used to nervous yabanci and would deal with them swiftly.  Perhaps but then really Istanbul is one of the biggest airports in the world.  They really should have their shit together!  It’s a domestic cat and a fecking poodle for Christ’s sake!  I know I should be thankful that my babies arrived safely because many do not.  While arranging for my babies to travel I read of many cases where domestic animals pass away en-route due to the stress and being mistreated by airport staff.  The thing is that flying is stressful for us humans I can only imagine what my fur-babies throught was going on.  Being put in cages and stuffed into a very noisy, very cold cargo hold before finally being delivered into my very relieved arms.

After collection we made our way to Domestic to catch our flight to Adana which, of course, we missed thanks to the lazy Vet.  The following flight was already booked with animals and they too would not let us on.  Finally a flight was made available at 11.30 that night that would allow My Hurley Dog in cargo and I would carry My Kedi Cat on my lap in the cabin.

Got home at 3am the following day.  My Hurley Dog was ecstatic and showed his excitement freely.  My Kedi Cat bit me and hid under the bed.  I chose to sleep on the couch for the next few days – just in case the cat tried to kill me in my sleep!

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Two years on and My Hurley Dog and My Kedi Cat have settled into life in a Turkish village.  My Hurley Dog has not made many friends with the village dogs as they are all a lot larger than him.  They are farm dogs and not prepared to deal with My Hurley Dog’s precious, precious ways but he does have lots of people to hang around with.  He gets fed at every door (although not usually allowed in every door) and more often than not gets a pat on the head from visitors.  On the other hand My Kedi Cat who, back in Sydney, was a very high maintenance cat seems to fit right now.  He disappears each evening with Evil, My Stairwell Cat, and returns the next morning covered in dirt, mud, thistles, whatever.  He drags himself onto the bed and sleeps until evening.  In fact the other night I was taking My Hurley Dog for a walk and I found him in a dumpster.  So yeah – he is now a Turkish Cat.  It’s called assimulation people!

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Mum’s Doing a Lamb Roast

We recently got Digiturk and I have been watching the Home and Entertainment channel, sometimes in Turkish and sometimes in English.  It was a rare occurence to watch any of these shows back in Australia and now I find myself with an addiction that cannot be quenched and sadly that addiction is – cooking shows.  I know.  I need to find a support group.  Like most addictions I cannot get enough of it and worse still it has resulted in me attempting to replicate whatever I have seen on the screen.  Desperate attempts at ridiculously difficult cakes, fancy pasta dishes and over the top dinners generally results in a messy kitchen, inedible food and a very grumpy Turk.

food collage

Yep all I have really achieved by subjecting myself to this new addiction is the realisation that I really am a crap cook and really, really miss good western cooking.  Here in Mersin it is hard to have this desire for western fare fulfilled.  Don’t get me wrong there are a few good western style restaurants in the city but their dishes are not quite to the standard that you would get in your home town.  For me it is a roast dinner.

Side note – Aussie readers.  Who remembers this commercial of Naomi Watts (before she was famous) “Mum’s doing a Lamb Roast”.

To follow in Naomi’s footsteps and in light of my drooling desire for a good roast last night we feasted on a leg of lamb with all the trimmings.  We had potatoes and oodles of roasted garlic.  I made a mint sauce (which kind of sucked) and finished it off with peas and carrots.  Finally gravy.  Yes I had some gravy sauce squirrelled away for such an occasion.  I heard the moans in the audience – no I cannot make my own gravy although I have tried on many, many occasions (my mother would be so disappointed in me).  Yes I used the juices, I added the flour and the Vegemite (probably an Australian thing) but my gravy always tastes horrible and lumpy and doesn’t thicken so gravy mix I will continue to use until I become Nigella Lawson.

Speaking of Nigella and again as a cooking show virgin I don’t really know how these things go but honestly this chick is sexing up everything that crosses her plate.  The episode I watched yesterday had her sprouting these beauties “This meat is so soft in my mouth”.  The Turk turned to me in surprise and said, “I bet her husband prefers when the meat is hard”.  Not sure who is more inappropriate Nigella or The Turk!

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Gallipoli 2015

On 25 April 2015 Australians and New Zealanders around the world mark the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC landings on Gelibolu peninsula.  For Daughter and I it will have a very special meaning – my Grandfather and her Great Grandfather fought at Gelibolu as part of the 7th Light Horse Regiment, 1st Division (although the terrain at Gelibolu was deemed unsuitable for mounted troops after the initial loss of lives his regiment was sent into battle as reinforcements in May 1915).  More so Daughter’s Great, Great Grandfather on her father’s side fought and died at Gallipoli when the first wave of troops landed at ANZAC Cove.

7th Light Horse Regiment, 1st Reinforcement

I did not get the opportunity to meet my Grandfather Leslie Vivian Morgan.  He passed away long before I arrived on the scene.  I do not have any photographs of him and I do not have anything personal to hold but I do have my mother’s memories in my heart.  Memories of a man who fought bravely at Gallipoli for his country.  She spoke of his bravery and his sacrifice and gave thanks to him and to his “brothers in arms” so that we could grow up in a country of peace and prosperity.

Now 100 years on I thought it would be a fitting memorial to my Grandfather and, of course, to my mother to attend at the commemoration on ANZAC Day.  Sadly in January I found out that I was 18 months too late to apply for tickets.  It also seemed that as we do not live in Australia we are ineligible to apply anyway.  “But hold on!  I live in Turkiye!  And my Grandfather fought at Gallipoli!  Surely that has some merit?”  Hayir!

As much as I could kick myself for not investigating how to obtain tickets earlier I am also so proud of how many Australians want to be there to recognise the service and the sacrifice made by so many men all those years ago.

Poppies-Original-Landing-Point-Gallipoli

As I do each year on 25 April I will be up at dawn.  There is no dawn service here in Mersin so I will walk down to the beach, close my moist eyes and, in my mind, I will hear that lone trumpeter play The Last Post.  I will think of my Grandfather and all those boys, those men, both the Mehmets and the Johnnies, who lost their lives fighting for you and me.

Lest We Forget.

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The Turk in Oz

I think being a yabanci, an expat or an immigrant (call it what you will) is extremely bloody hard.  I am not going to whinge and carry on today but rather tell the tale of when The Turk first arrived in Australia all those years ago.  Let me turn the table on my usual yabanci whinge-fest and tell you all about how The Turk coped when he was the yabanci arriving on foreign soil, a stranger in a hostile land, so to speak.

Life in Australia was good for me in 2002.  Daughter was a damn good baby.  I had a job that I loved and I lived in an apartment that was all mine.  I was content and having The Turk arrive should have made my life pretty much perfect.  Shouldn’t it?

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Post 9/11 the Australian visa process was daunting but with perseverance and his sponsorship being guaranteed by an amazingly supportive friend, The Turk arrived in Sydney one sunny morning in December 2002.  Not wasting a moment The Turk hit the ground running and by the first week of January 2003 he had procured gainful employment as a storeman and packer.  He was good at his job because he wanted this job.  He didn’t love the work but he wanted this life in this strange new world to be a success.

My friends and family were welcoming and The Turk soon turned my friends into his friends although, as hard as he tried, he just wasn’t fitting in.  I knew it and he knew it.  No one spoke Turkish and Turkish people were as scarce as hen’s teeth where we lived (read that as non-existent).  No one understood what he was going through or where he was from and perhaps I was not as helpful as I could have been.  During those early years Australia was not an easy place for a Muslim and The Turk was racially discriminated against by strangers and even the police on more than one occasion.

The Turk began to drink and gamble.  I knew he liked a drink – still does – but the gambling was a problem as we did not have that much money to start with.  Was I as supportive as I could have been or help him deal with his obvious addictions?  No.  I turned on him and badmouthed him to whoever would listen.  The bright new world was slowly becoming jaded and life was becoming more difficult.

By 2006 The Turk had had enough.  This new home had beaten him and, while Turkey may not have all the bells and whistles that Australia has, he gave me an ultimatum.  Return to Turkey with him and forge a new life there.  I refused to leave and finally he packed his bags and returned to Turkey without us.

After six months in his homeland The Turk returned a new man.  Still gave me a migraine daily but at least he had fresh vigour about his life and what he hoped to achieve in Australia.  He got not just one new job but two, landscaping by day and a sous chef by night.  He was happy.  He was working his ass off, providing for his family and could hold his head up high.

He still had not made any friends however and we really had no family other than my father who had remarried.  The Turk brooded a lot and we fought a lot, until finally, after one particularly explosive argument, he broke down and told me the truth.  The real truth.

He had never really adjusted to his life in Sydney.  To Australia.  As much as he loves Australia and he loves his family and friends living in such a foreign environment was just too damn difficult.  He had no support.  He had no one who understood how he felt and Australia had slowly broken him.  Into tiny, little pieces.

Obviously we got past that dark time in our life and we stayed together.  Sure he drives me crazy but he is my Turk and I do love him.  Sometimes.

The point to my reminiscing is this – moving to a new country has so many hurdles to overcome.  There is a drama at every turn.  Renting an apartment, finding a job, obtaining your visa.  Bloody hell it is hard work.  Doesn’t matter who you are or where you are from this is a fact.

When I first arrived here in Mersin it was difficult and there were a lot of tears.  Two years later it is still difficult (and there are still tears).  So what do I do?  Do I give up?  Run home?

I can now honestly say I understand why The Turk left back in 2006.  I really do.  Mersin is no Sydney and life for me back in Australia would be so much easier.  I would have my friends.  I would return to my fantastic job working with people I adore.  Life would be grand.  So why don’t I run home?  Why is it that I am coping in this chaotic country while The Turk collapsed in the reasonable sanity that is Australia?  Simply put I have met a great group of people who I can truly call friends.  They understand just how crappy a crappy day can be here in Mersin and will laugh right along with me (or pull me back from the abyss if necessary).  This was what The Turk was missing in Australia.

To anyone who is taking the plunge in a foreign land or to those of you who have their partner moving to yours know this one thing.  Find a support system that works for you and surround yourself with people who will lift you up when needs be.  Of course social media makes finding these like-minded people that much easier (man how I wish there was FB back in 2001).  I can thank social media (and this blog) for finding my support network – they are my rock.  Yes!  You guys truly rock!

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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Education Turkey style

The Turkish education system is screwing with me.  Literally!

The village school just decided in all its wisdom to amalgamate the morning and afternoon classes.  This means that all of Year 6 has been allocated an afternoon session which means my entire life has been uprooted.

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The past twelve months have been early morning starts.  I am used to the early morning starts and after 3 months of holidays I had to re-adjust to these early morning starts again.  Up at 6.00, breakfast, dressed and Daughter out the door in time for school to start at 6.50 in the morning.  I will just say that again yes 6.50 ante meridiem.  For me an early morning start meant washing done early, house tidied early, out to do the shopping or run errands – I even had time to blog – while Daughter was at school and, be home by 1 pm when she walks through the door.  I was totally motivated to get things done.  It also gave Daughter lots of time to hang out with friends after school, get her homework done and spent 2 hours a day with her tutor.

Now our carefully made routine has been thrown thoughtlessly out the window by an unthinking school board. I understand why this situation has come about.  In Turkey the Ataturk Reforms put in place that primary school education must be available for all in Turkey and that it is compulsory between the ages of 5-16.  Compulsory it may well be however if there are not enough schools these ridiculous plans are put into effect and, like Daughter, children found themselves either up at 5.45 or (as is the case now) does not get home until after 7 at night when it is pitch black outside thanks to the lack of street lights.

The village school is adequate.  I cannot say much more than that.  We opted to put Daughter in the village school to give her the opportunity to learn the language without the pressure that an özel okul (private school) puts on kids and to make friends with other children in the village.  The teachers worked very closely with Daughter to help her transition into a new learning environment and I cannot fault the assistance that the teachers have given us.  She is currently taught Turkish, maths, science, social studies and foreign language (English) although she spends half of the English lesson teaching English to the teacher!  She also does religious studies (definitely a bone of contention with her and a situation that brought us up to the school more than once).  Oh and did you know that Turkish primary students are not taught about any other country until high school?  I imagine that this is to teach them about national pride (Turkish are very proud countrymen) but to watch Daughter draw a map of the world as home work recently and she had to label “Türkiye” – Turkey, “Avrupa – Europe”, “Aysa” – Asia and “Amerika” – America.  Frankly the lack of detail made me feel a little ill.  I questioned where Australia was but apparently Avustralya didn’t even make it into the equation!   Umm Hello??  I made Daughter go back and draw Australia in and put a big ass arrow on it!  *sigh*

It is clear to me that once The Turk returns from his “holiday” (read that as luckily visiting Australia when he had his heart attack) we will be visiting the private schools to decide which school is best for Daughter and, as a bonus, the private schools have normal school hours albeit longer school hours although I haven’t made that public knowledge just yet.  Yes private school education is definitely on the cards now and, perhaps with the normal school hours (and longer hours) I can take back control of my now out of control life.

Right now the only good thing to come out of this ridiculous change in our routine is Daughter getting a decent breakfast and lunch prior to going to school.  It also means I don’t have to yell at her to get her ready for school.  Today she turned to me at 10 and said, “Well I guess I better start getting ready.”  Um – OK!

Angina

Yesterday I was sitting at home watching Deniz Yildisi, a Turkish soap opera which is seriously the craziest soapy I have ever seen.  Melodramatic chaos.  Seriously this show (like most Turkish soapies) has it all.  Cheating spouses.  Murder.  Bedlam.  Chaos.  It doesn’t have a psychotic doll that has come to life (ie Timmy from Passions – anybody remember that show?) but, honestly, Deniz Yildisi is some sensational, not to be missed, viewing!

kemal fish

Anyway the telephone rings.  It is The Turk – “Darling.  I am in hospital.”

Huh???

It seems that The Turk who is currently Down Under has had a little, tiny heart incident.  He thinks it might have been a heart attack.  Feck!  Now I know that I joke about The Turk and half the time I want to literally kill him but I don’t really want to see him dead.  Not at all (well maybe a little bit).  I begin to sweat.  What do I do?

I hung up on The Turk and then rang the hospital and finally was put through to his doctor who was extremely helpful.  She told me that he had had chest pains.  Now The Turk being The Turk usually ignores any type of ailment from tooth aches (ignored until it becomes an abscess which has to be dealt with on Christmas Day!) to back aches (I can still work with a slipped disc can’t I?) and no doubt he ignored the chest pain as well.  I am thankful that his friend had the sense to get him to the hospital as I am quite certain that The Turk would have ignored the pain if he was here in Mersin.  He probably would have shrugged it off and lit a cigarette instead.  The doctor then tells me that after a plethora of tests they diagnosed a chronic stable angina and will insert a stent in his heart as he has a blockage.  Ah.  My.  God!

Poor little thing.  Meek as a kitten, wanting to come home.  So the stent is being inserted today (apparently a very simple procedure) and he will have to wait 4 weeks to see the cardiologist but then he can get his ass back to Mersin.

I think I can safely say that once back in the fold of his family The Turk will never leave home again!