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!

State of Alarm

Upfront – this is my personal opinion.  We all have them.

No doubt many of you are already aware that on Thursday the Australian Federal Police thwarted a terrorist plan by ISIS (now Islamic State) members to kidnap a random member of the public, drape them in the Islamic flag and behead him/her on camera.  Holy shit!  This is not Australia!  I cannot believe that this is even a possibility in Australia.

Since Thursday my social media (and for that matter Australian mainstream media) has exploded in anti-Muslim sentiment.  I feel I have to ask “what is happening to Australia as a nation”?

I always believed that Australia is the most tolerant country with the most tolerant citizens on earth.  Sure like all families we argue but then we have a beer and all is forgiven. Today I wonder if I am mistaken of our tolerance (Cronulla Australia Day riots aside).

Please remember not all Muslims are extremists!

Do we judge a religion by the actions of those who use and twist it’s meaning to support their extreme actions? If so where do we stop?

Shall we take the view that all Christians are evil given the findings of a Royal Commission into institutionalised child abuse? Or the deceit by Australian’s own Christian Prime Minister as common to all?

I agree wholeheartedly that people living in a country that is not their own (me included) should abide by the laws of that country and should conduct themselves in a manner that is acceptable to their adopted homeland. If you do not abide by the laws of your adopted homeland then your visa or your citizenship should be revoked and you removed from that country immediately.  Simple.

Islamic State is a growing concern to all around the world. In Turkey there is a very real concern that IS has infiltrated the country with 20+ car bombs and suicide bombers.  A very real concern by IS to attack, maim and murder Turkish Muslims. [Today’s Zaman]

Australia is a nation where we are all immigrants (other than our indigenous Aboriginals).  40 years ago it was the Wops, 20 years ago it was the Asians and today it is Muslim people who suffer from intolerance by a small minority of people.  According to the 2011 census, 476,291 people, or 2.2% of the total Australian population, were Muslims.  On Thursday 14 men were detained, not 476,291.

Where there is fear there is radical behaviour, by all of us.

To my No. 1 Fan

I think I am a pretty funny (and totally amazing) person.  I like to think that the whinging that I do on my little blog is taken with a grain of salt.  I like to think that you, my loyal readers, are mature enough to discern between my take on living in this crazy little world and understand humor for what it is.  Well maybe not!

no 1 fan

Last night I received this email and when you read it try reading it with the voice of Yoda in your head (my request will make sense in a moment) –

“Janeyinmersin,

I think you are the bitch. if you are unhappy so living in Turkey why do you not just leave.  I am sure that it don’t want you here.  Go back to home in England.  England deserve you.  You are the bitch. Divorce you I am.”

To this person who provided an email address that bounced back (let’s call him “Yoda”), to Yoda I reply –

Dear Yoda,

I have never denied being a bitch (although I wonder are you trying to say “You are the bomb”?  If you are trying to say “you are the bomb” then thank you and big kisses to you).  I appreciate your sentiment but just in case you are in fact calling me a bitch I will say that you are in fact 100% correct.  I am a bitch and I have been called a bitch many times over the years.  I do appreciate your ability to immediately recognise a bitch.  Kudos.

I also appreciate that you obviously spent the time to use Google Translate to write your kind comment to me.  I should use Google Translate to reply to you as well however then my readers won’t get to enjoy my sarcasm and wit which is so obviously lost on you.

It is truly endearing to find a reader who has spent as much time as you obviously have Yoda reading my blog as you obviously know many intimate details about my life.  Firstly I must tell you obviously I use the word “obviously” way too much.  Obviously!  Secondly, I must say that I do love England and I bet England would love me too.  It has so much to offer.  Harry Potter, William and Kate live there, even the Beatles originated from there! But one thing that did not originate from England was, in fact, me! I am not English.  Perhaps we can play a game of Guess my Nationality?

Should I make it a visual game?  Alrighty then.  Below are 3 pictures.  See if you can guess where I am from?photovisi-download

Did you guess it Yoda?  I bet you did because you are obviously smarter than the average Jedi Knight.  I mean look at Luke Skywalker.  He was a bit dumb, he didn’t even realise that Leia was his sister!  Ewwww.  But just in case you did fail your Jedi Knight training the answer is – “I come from the land Down Under, where women glow and men plunder” also known as “Stralya”.

Finally (and just in case this message was from The Turk) – no you cannot divorce me.  You love me WAY too much!

Again thank you for reading my little blog.  Click like below if you enjoyed this reply or even like me on Facebook so you get all my updates.

Yours sincerely

Janey … still in Mersin

 

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The Inquisition

I currently have a two tier problem here in Mersin.  My second problem stems from my first problem not being finalised.

Welcome

When The Turk arrived in Mersin late last year we immediately lodged documentation pertaining to my citizenship application.  There was a lot of trips to various Government offices,  more perilous than trekking across the Sahara Desert or more difficult than reaching the summit of Everest.  There was a lot of paperwork including – current passport (easy), medical certificate (bir şey olmaz – no problem), 4 passport photos (heads up peeps you should always have at least a dozen passport photos on hand – you will go through them like tissues), completed application (done), marriage certificate (translated into Turkish of course), confirmation of residency (hello I am here thus I am a resident) and the doozy – Certificate of ability to speak Turkish (WHAT????).  That last one I thought we had gotten away with as The Turk and I had been called in for an interview at the Emniyet a couple of weeks after lodgment of the documents.  The interviewer asked a few very simple questions and I answered with a yes or no (evet / yok).  I was then fingerprinted, they did a police check (they never did find out about that international jewel heist I was involved with – shush) and they arrived unannounced at our home to ensure that The Turk and I were in a real relationship.  They found me sitting out the front on the road in my pajamas waiting for My Hurley Dog to do a poop.  You don’t get any more real than that folks!

Fast forward to last week and I began hassling The Turk that we should chase up my citizenship before he disappears to Sydney next month.  Good idea!  We arrived at the Emniyet to find that nothing had been done to move my application forward since last December!  WTF???  Which brings me to my next problem – the expiration of my residency visa but I am jumping ahead of myself here.  Bir dakika (one minute).

This morning The Turk got a call from the Polis requiring my immediate attendance at their office in Yumuktepe.  Incidentally I had been to the suburb of Yumuktepe before as there is a ruin mound there and as a lover of history I wanted to get a gander at it.  This mound reveals a Neolithic settlement which continued up to the Middle Ages.  Like the Gözlükule Tumulus in Tarsus this one is located in a park and there really is nota lot to see however it has 23 levels of occupation dating from 6300BC which, for the geek in me, is really interesting!  I know I have gotten off topic but as a history buff this is really interesting stuff!

Anyway The Turk and I jumped and after I directed the taksi driver as he had no clue where to go we made it to the meeting out of breath and sweating.  I assumed that this was the final formality to approve my citizenship.  I did not know what it would be but I bet it was going to be simple.  Nope.  It was THE INTERVIEW.

I think this post should actually be re-named The Interview From Hell because that is what it was.  I was seated in a room underneath the Polis station where I could clearly see straight into the cells.  As I waited for the interviewer to arrive I curiously scoped out the two people in the cells opposite.  There was the buxom blonde with waaayyy too much makeup directly opposite me as well as another man to her left who was babbling loudly in a language that was not Turkish but I could not tell you what language it was or even if it was a language.  The woman, we found out, was Russian and had overstayed her visa.  Gulp!

The Turk was asked to wait outside and the interviewer proceeded to ask me a butt load of questions – in Turkish – and then write copious amounts of notes when I could not answer the question correctly.  Tears!  I was welling up and had never wanted The Turk beside me more than I did at that moment.

For those of you who are going to go through this in the coming months the questions were pretty much the following:

Where do you live?  I don’t know the address but I know how to get there.  I know which dolmus.  I can explain it to a taksi driver but right now, with you staring at me like I should be in a cell next to the Russian I cannot answer you and certainly I cannot answer you in Turkish.

Where do you like to go in Mersin (insert your own city or town here)?  Ummm?  Ne???

How is your mother and father? ölü.

Do you have any brothers or sisters?  If so how many?  Do you like your brother or sister?  Jeeze how would I explain the crazy that is my family?  Is adoption even a word in Turkish?  Regardless I cannot answer with the Russian smiling a gummy smile at me through bright pink lips.  Pass.

Does your husband (or wife) have any brothers or sisters?  If so, how many?  Yes but I truly had no idea what you were saying.  Pass.

How is his mother and father?  Pass.  His father doesn’t like my cooking.  In English.

Do you like living in Mersin?  Evet.

How old are you?  44 (using my hands).

How long have you been married?  On iki yil (that one I had).

Do you have any children?  Evet.  Bir.  (I am acing this part of the interview).

How many bedrooms in your house?  Huh?  Oh yes I know this one – üç.

What is your address in (enter your place of birth or last known residence)?  I wrote this as he shook his head in mirth at my attempted answer.

Each of these questions were mixed up so he would ask me a question about my family and then asked how many bedrooms we had in our house.  My brain was still trying to translate the last answer when the next question was being shot at me.  It was horrendeous.  It was the Inquisition.  In fact that should be the name of this post The Inquisition!

I failed.  Miserably.

The interviewer was basically laughing.  The Russian visa over-stayer with too much makeup was watching me from her cell and she was laughing.  She said something in Turkish (much better than me of course) and the interviewer shushed her.  The other man in the cell opposite was giggling but I feel this was more in reply to the dust bunny in the corner of his cell.

This was a disaster.

The Interviewer called The Turk into the room and said that I would have another interview with the Vali (Governor) in 4 weeks.  Hold on!  The Turk is leaving for Australia in 3 weeks!  Can we have it before he leaves?  No.

Feck My Life!

In the interim my residency visa has now expired and I have a mere 15 days before I have to either renew or leave the country.  This was the second part of my problem.

The residency requirements have changed in the past year.  Most people (including myself) was well aware of the changes but to be honest I did not think I would still be waiting for my citizenship 10 months down the track so did not look into the visa issue.  Now it was pressing and I am swiftly running out of time.  Needed for my residency application was the following – translated copy of passport (jeeze really?), valid health insurance for the length of my residency (1 year approximately 1000TL), five passport photos (told you to keep them handy), proof of address (more difficult than you would think as I do not have any correspondence that gives my address and the Nufus will not include me in their documents until I have a kimlik which of course I cannot get until I get citizenship – the epitome of a vicious circle), copy of your tapu or your residential agreement, bank statement ensuring that you have enough funds to cover your stay and your tax number.  Easy right?  Ummm . . .

I did not even have a Turkish bank account!  So after spending the next 3 days running around and not having a breakdown after the Spanish Inquisition took place today I hope to be applying for a further 12 month residency visa tomorrow.

If they give me any grief there is a small possibility that I will go postal.  Keep an eye out on your local news channel.  If they start talking about an Australian going crazy in Mersin, well, that will be me!

The Return

Daughter and I have finally settled back in from our holiday in Australia.  Visiting Australia.  I was a visitor, a tourist if you must, visiting the place of my birth and what I have learnt from this visit?  I learnt that Sydney and Australia is a fecking beaut place to live.

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Mother nature did us a major and the weather was sensational.  It didn’t rain.  It didn’t even think about raining.  Beautiful, albeit cold, winter days.  Every day.  Fresh air.  Lush gardens.  Grass.  GRASS!  We are the only people in the Village with grass in our garden.  Grass is, of course, seen as a luxury item as everyone else utilises every inch of their land.  Deli yabanciler (crazy foreigners).

It was nice to not be on the cusp of a war zone too staying in beachside Collaroy.  Yes I gloss over Syria and its issues but Mersin is approximately 150k from the Syrian border.  We are safe obviously or I would not even think about living here but there is always an underlying threat, the knowledge I guess, that we are not too far from an area of such unrest.  Plus there is the whole Israel-Palestinian issue, the Middle East is a powder keg ready to blow and even Ukraine to the north is a mess.  Bloody hell!

Friends and family of course.  Obviously Australia wins on this front as well.  I am blessed to have some of the best friends in the world.  Friends that are always there with open arms.  What I wouldn’t do for one more boozy lunch or one more hug from my girls.  Of course this is difficult for Daughter as she has her family, her cousins that she adores, in the Village.  She has many friends in the Village but for me Sydney and Australia will win every single time.

friends

Speaking of boozy lunches I don’t think you can beat an Aussie Red.  Australian wines really are some of the best in the world.  I would go so far as saying that Turkish wine is swill at best and really, really expensive!

Medical care wins in Australia over Turkey as well (well duh!).  Australia has Government facilitated Medicare and even though you pay through the tooth for many things (including the dentist) visiting the doctor here is a much easier process (mainly because everyone speaks English).  So I am now drugged up for the next 12 months (my medicine cabinet is overflowing) and I have been poked and prodded and given a clean bill of health.

Shopping was a bonus too for me in Sydney.  My Rubenesque physique is now adorned in new clothes.  Oodles of new clothes.  I no longer need to wear the same jeans every single day.  My credit card did take a beating and we did have to send home 10 kilos by post but at least I now have an outfit for any occasion which is a good thing as we have at least 4 weddings to go to over the coming weeks.  Daughter’s opinion differs on this front as well as the styles in Turkey are a lot more varied and on trend.  For Daughter clothing in Turkiye is also a LOT cheaper as well.

Bacon.  Ding!  Ding!  Ding!  Winner!!!  Lots of exclamation points here.  Yes.  Bacon.  That is all.

bacon

Sydney did have a few downsides too.  It was so damn expensive.  Food was expensive.  Clothing was expensive.  Petrol was expensive (actually petrol is expensive in Turkey too).  I guess I have had it too cushy here in Turkey with 50 kuruş for 1 kilo of tomatoes (about AU$0.25) while they were AU$4.50 in Sydney (TL9).  Plus the fresh food is not particularly fresh.  Ick!

Peak hour traffic did my head in too.  What a bloody mess.  We had a few early morning starts and fighting my way from the Northern Beaches to the City was diabolical to say the least.  It was nice to be behind the wheel again although my first few attempts at parking were a little less than successful.  Daughter likened my parking skills to a Turkish person so I really have acclimated haven’t I?

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I think I can sum Sydney up as “Real Life”.  My friends are all working.  My family are all busy (some might say too busy to find the time to see me or even call).  The cost of living is high and the stress levels are even higher.  I know that if I too were living in Sydney I would be working.  My stress levels would be off the chart (visiting my old place of work proved that beyond the shadow of a doubt) and Daughter, The Turk and I would be miserable.  Real life sux!

The Village also has another bonus (well along with The Turk).  It has My Hurley Dog.  I love My Hurley Dog.  I missed My Hurley Dog and he missed me!

Hurley

 

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Tale of Two Cities

It seems that I am an expat caught between my two loves, Sydney and Mersin.  I have always felt distinctly at home in Mersin but returning to Sydney, my homeland, has brought back dwindling thoughts, self doubt and mixed feelings.

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I definitely loved my time in Sydney and Daughter and I hit the ground running.  We found ourselves with a frantic social life during our visit and it became increasingly difficult to fit in all my friends when I had to share my precious, precious time with Daughter and all of her social activities.  I swear since stepping off the plane her damn mobile did not stopped beeping, buzzing or ringing with her friends constantly arranging visits, movies, lunches, sleepovers and any other activity that you can think of. The squeals and “Oh. My. God’s” that I have had to endure has been soul numbing.  I guess I don’t really notice the squeals and “Oh. My. God’s” when they are in Turkish.

Fitting everything in required precision timing.  Morning, lunch and evening slots were allocated.  Daughter likened this “holiday” to a business trip with us running from one meeting to another.  I have missed out on catching up with a few friends that I really wanted to see and I quickly realised that 3 weeks in Sydney is just is not enough time.  Friends that live on the other side of Sydney or friends that live just up the coast missed out and I feel incredibly sad.  I am thinking of two of my friends in particular right now but honestly we just ran out of time. Plus I got sick.  I am still sick.  Damn flu. Damn sickness.  Damn it!

Sydney 2

Have I had my bacon?  Yep.  Practically every day.  I think I have put on 4 kilos.  It feels like 8 kilos.  We did have a bacon situation that practically caused an international incident at a restaurant in The Rocks that caused Daughter to update her Facebook status thusly:

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

We have also done a few touristy things which is nice.  It reminds me just how wonderful Sydney is.  It reminds me just how much I miss this beautiful city.

Sydney

It has been a frantic few weeks.  It has been a wonderful few weeks.  Early breakfasts, brunches and lunches, dinners and sleepovers.  I could go on.  It has been impossibly fun.  I need to go home to Mersin for a holiday from our holiday.

Now our time in Sydney has just about come to an end.  I am becoming increasingly forlorn and not just because I cannot fit everything into our suitcases.  I just want one more lunch, one more drink, one more chorus.   I am an expat torn between two loves.

 

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The Beaches

I grew up on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia.  Swimming in the ocean and lying on the sand is imprinted on me so living in a country with coastlines along the Aegean and Mediterranean seas should make me spoilt for choice however in the Village we do not often make our way down to the beach despite the fact that we live no more than 10 minutes walk away.  Why?  Sadly the Village Beach is no Blue Lagoon at Oludeniz and, to be honest, I feel a little uncomfortable swimming down at the Village Beach.  I would much rather hop on a dolmus and travel the 2 hours it would take to get to Kizkalesi or Susanoglu where lying on a sunbed in your bikini is not cause for mirth and gossip.

Right now Daughter and I are staying with friends at Collaroy Beach and I am loving being on the Northern Beaches again.  This morning I wiggled my toes in the sand at Long Reef Beach as Daughter ran along the beach with my friend’s dog which I have named “Nugget”.  The dog really is a big nugget.  It might be the middle of winter but here in Sydney it is warm, the sun is shining and Sydney has put on her best dress for our visit.

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Since arriving we have made a point of visiting as many of Sydney’s beautiful beaches as possible.  Starting at Palm Beach and ending at Manly Beach the Northern Beaches of Sydney is definitely God’s Country.

Palm Beach

Do you watch Home and Away?  I still remember the first episode when we met Pippa and Tom Fletcher along with all those kids who lived in picturesque Summer Bay.  Daughter pointed out a few of the more obvious Summer Bay locations before we decided to enjoy the sunshine and hike up to Barrenjoey Lighthouse. It is an easy walk from the car park to the lighthouse and offers a great view from Sydney’s most northern point.

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Whale Beach

I didn’t often go to Whale Beach as it was difficult to get to by public transport when I was young.  When we walked across the sand of this small, protected beach there was not another soul to be found.  The beach was all ours.  If it wasn’t so damn windy it would have been a rather pleasant stop.

Alyssa

Dee Why Beach

Always my beach.  As a kid I did swimming lessons (badly) at the pool, as a teenager I hung out with my friends down at Dee Why Headland, climbing over the rocks to find somewhere where we could sneak cigarettes (or a kiss) without being caught.

DY beach

Manly Beach

Famous.  Gorgeous.  Once my home.  One thing you have to admire about the locals at Manly is that even in the middle of winter, even when it is a mere 20 degrees, they are still out there swimming, surfing and generally enjoying the beauty that is Manly.

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North Head

Spending time on the Northern Beaches of Sydney is not complete without a trip to North Head.  Whether you are visiting from the darkest depths of hell or a Manly local the view is spectacular.  Summer or winter this spot is the epitome of Sydney.  To anyone visiting this beautiful country you need to get up to North Head pronto.  Start your visit on a high note!

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Living in Turkey is amazing.  We are so lucky but waking up each morning and looking over Collaroy Beach is pretty damn good too.

Remembering Dad

I was not going to do this today.  I was going to keep today just for me.  Hold it in.  Put it in my box where all my feelings live.  But he would not want me to that.  He would have told me a (rather blue) joke.  He would have told me to get over myself; to pull my head in.  But I woke up this morning and I knew straight away.  I knew the date.  I thought about ignoring it but then my sister in law posted something on her FB page.  I miss him too.

I am not going to cry tears of sadness today.  Today will be a beautiful day.  Today will be a day of happiness and good memories not traces of sadness from years before.  There will be no talk of grief or of death.  No talk of cancer or pain.  Just happiness.

Today I will dream.  Today I will wish.  Wish for just one more day with my Dad.  One more smile.  One more joke.  One more chance to say I miss you.  What would we do?  Anything.  Nothing.  We could sit on his old patio overlooking the creek and laugh about something ridiculous.  Or we could have a steak at the pub … and laugh about something ridiculous.  As long as we are laughing then everything will be fine.  And we would be laughing because my Dad was fecking hilarious!

Let me introduce you to my Dad – with a happy story.  Maybe two happy stories.  Maybe more.

He was a great guy.  He was a smart ass.  He used to make me laugh.  He still makes me laugh.  When I told him I was pregnant his reply was, “Well that’s what happens when you have sex.”  When he walked me down the aisle on my wedding day he whispered, “Good job staying a virgin.”  I laughed out loud at that one as Daughter was carried down the aisle two minutes earlier.

He was not my biological Dad but blood does not make you a father.  Love makes you a father and he was the best one that a girl could ever hope for.  Sure he would get angry too, really angry.  He would yell.  He would punish my brother and I.  He had a belt and it didn’t just hold up his pants, it kept us kids in line too.  Once he threw the cheese knife at me – boy I would bring that incident up whenever I could.  “You tried to kill me,” I would cry.  “Next time I will try harder!”  Excellent smart ass reply.

In 2003 Daughter and I spent a week with Dad in Rome.  We visited all the usual tourist spots, did museums, galleries, went to Capri for a few days.  We ate delicious food and built wonderful memories together – father, daughter and granddaughter.  This is one of my favourite photos of Dad.  We had sat down for an early dinner as my flight back to Turkey was later that night and he ordered a beer.  When this pool sized beer arrived he laughed.  “A challenge!” he said.

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He blitzed that challenge.

Today will be a beautiful day.  A day of happiness.

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Spring Action

I’ve been incredibly busy the last few days, starting with giving the house a good scrub from top to toe.  It is always so dusty here in the Village, primarily caused by the surrounding farmland but couple this with the building work next door and we are constantly covered in a thin (or thick) layer of dust.  The Turk pulled the refrigerator out and behind it was a family of dust bunnies.  They were quite happy living behind the refrigerator but sadly they had to go as they were multiplying rapidly.  I am pretty sure I never ever cleaned behind my refrigerator in North Sydney but that was more likely because I am incredibly lazy and just assumed my cleaner (or perhaps The Turk) did it for me.  I cannot believe how much dust, fluff and general grubbery builds up here.  I am forever mopping the floor and forever exfoliating the grub from my skin. The house is looking schmick at the moment though, all shiny and dust free (for today anyway).

School finishes here in 3 weeks and Daughter and I am leaving for Sydney the next morning.  I love a countdown but this one is particularly exciting for me as I am going home to see my friends and family.  I am also incredibly excited about eating food.  Australian food.  Pub lunches.  Indian banquets.  Italian.  Thai.  Mexican.  Oh.  My.  God.  You name it, Imma gonna eat it!  Don’t get me wrong I love Turkish food too but here it is just food.  Every day.  God give me some pepper sauce.  I am drooling in anticipation of a good curry.  And then there is bacon.  I miss bacon.  I know, I know we’ve been over this already but I do.  I really, really do miss bacon.  A lot.

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I’ve also been helping The Turk in the garden.  Our spring garden is blooming.  Again no pesticides, we are being as organic as we can be.  Unfortunately we had a late rain last week and we lost some of our vegetables but our green beans are coming in nicely as are our summer lettuce and our corn.  The first strawberries have appeared and our tomatoes are flowering.  The Turk has had to ‘sex them up’ which for those of you who don’t know The Turk or I this is my explanation for him out in the garden violating the flowers with his finger to release their pollen.  He is adamant that this will ensure the flower will become a tomato.  Yes he has been doing this for years with both his tomatoes and his chilli plants.  He swears that it works every single time.  It does.

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Turkey has been in the press this past week.  The devastating loss of life in Soma and the subsequent protests and riots by the public is awful to witness.  The sadness I feel for the loss of life is overwhelmed by my anger eyeballing the behaviour of the politicians and their reactions.  I am sure that wherever it is that you are currently in the world whether it is Turkey or elsewhere you would no doubt have seen the footage of Yusef Yerkel kicking a grieving member of public last week in Soma.  Did you hear that he is now on sick leave as he injured his leg?  That poor man.  Injured while on the job.  Oh how I feel for him.  How lucky that he gets to sit at home and recuperate.  OMFG!  I am sorry but he should have been arrested for assault and fired immediately.  Did you also know that only a week before the Soma accident the political party CHP requested that the mine be investigated for work-related injuries and its safety record but the current ruling party AKP vetoed the request?  Yikes!  My heart goes out to the families of those who lost someone at Soma and my sincerest hope is that their deaths bring about reform within the Turkish mining industry which has an extremely poor record.

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I know I hopped onto my soap box again.  I know I promised I wouldn’t do it but sometimes its a little difficult for me to shut my mouth when an injustice is done.

Enough from me for now.  The Turk has just brought us freshly cooked corn straight from our garden.  A little butter, a little salt and pepper and this snack is fit for a queen – and her princess.

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Two Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two years ago.