Have a dose of what life is really like living here – from my single-handed destruction of the Turkish language, random arguments with random relatives about everything from apples to vaginas to learning the secrets to making the perfect içli köfte! Highs or lows this is my observations from the melting pot of crazy that is my life in Mersin.
Well this sounds like a pleasant post, doesn’t it?
Truth be told it’s not as drastic as one might think but the end of my marriage is something that sent me into a total spiral and taught me that I’m a stronger bitch than I ever gave myself credit for.
The whole COVID bok (shit for all those non-Turkish swearers) hasn’t helped. The last twelve months have been painful for all of us. No one’s life has escaped this blasted pandemic unscathed. COVID-19 has altered everyone’s aspirations and forced people (like me) to re-evaluate their life.
And while I have no intention of going into the dirty deets of precisely why I’ve walked away from The Turk I will say this… there were more than two people in this marriage (channeling my inner Princess Diana)… but in this case there were a whole bunch and they were all HIS family!
It was fascinating to watch the change of attitude in most of The Turk’s family when they saw that the bank (aka me) was shutting up shop forever. I went from being a somewhat respected member of the family to being the outcast that people bitched and backstabbed about (one might say they always bitched and backstabbed me but now it was to my face which, truth be told, was extremely unpleasant). Honestly? I haven’t spoken to any other them other than my beloved sister-in-law, Songül, in months.
So I have walked away from The Turk and the Turkish village life. I’m now living in the city and enjoying the new lifestyle (and excellent internet). I’ve taken control of my finances. I’ve transferred the ownership of what is mine and while I may be more broke than I’ve ever been, I’m in a much happier place.
And for those who are wondering no I don’t hate the Turk. He has always put his family first… and second… AND FECKING THIRD for that matter. I guess he’s just too naïve and too trusting for his own good. We still see each other regularly as we share custody of the car and My Hurley Dog, in fact I’m waiting for him right now so we can have breakfast together. No hate, just distance.
I can’t promise I will be more present on this blog with me now working but I will pop on every now and then to let you guys know what’s up in my life or to tell you a story or two.
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More than a few weeks back My Hurley Dog (who as you can see by his mug shot below, is the epitome of a gentleman’s gentleman) and I were in the garden with my various in-laws making bread when who should appear over the back fence but my nemesis, asshole rooster. For those of you not familiar with my nemesis he is currently a rather handsome black rooster but over the years he has been many shades of asshole and I’m pleased to say that each and every one of those noisy bastards were delicious (and don’t come at me again Karen all BBQ (mangalar) were done with the full knowledge and approval of Crazy Eyes, the owner of said asshole roosters).
One of my favourite things about My Hurley Dog is his willingness to protect his humans, and so, with a flick of my wrist, he took off across the garden after my nemesis who apparently had grown a set since our last alteration and decided to Cobra Kai his ass. Needless to say my precious poodle did NOT expect a fight, and came to a dust-screeching halt when the asshole rooster turned his beady dinosaur eyes on him. At that point, the supposed adult, me, intervened and chased my nemesis back to his side of the fence where he sat and screamed rooster profanities at both My Hurley Dog and me for a good 15 minutes.
Now I may not know many things, but one thing I know for sure is that that asshole rooster took a hit out on My Hurley Dog that day as he has had numerous attempts on his life since then.
The first attempted assassination happened a couple of days later when we passed a flock of sheep while we were on a walk through the village. Anything larger than a fat poodle is generally given a wide berth, and sheep definitely fall into that category. We crossed to the other side of the paddock, but it was too late. They spotted us and decided that My Hurley Dog was either (a) one of their own due to his similar styling; or (b) an infiltrator that needed to be taken out. Suddenly we were surrounded. My Hurley Dog bravely stepped up to his sworn duty and protected me, barking louder than a horny howler monkey until he finally gained the shepherd’s attention who meandered over to round the little bastards up.
Were they merely being curious or were they acting on the order of a crazy asshole rooster, I guess we will never know… but then this happened.
We changed our early morning walking route to avoid that particular paddock and instead decided to loop the block. When we stay closer to home, our numerous kediler usually join us. This means it’s me, My Hurley Dog, the dog next door and one, two or three cats. I’m pretty sure the entire village calls me the Pied Piper of Stupid behind my back (or to my face because let’s be honest my Turkish is crap-tastic at best).
There we were enjoying our early morning constitutional when a mama crow swooped down low on us, no doubt warning us to keep away from her nest. The cats were enjoying that game and stayed behind while My Hurley Dog and I continued along. A few minutes later plop… a huge poop landed on My Hurley Dog’s back and then plop… another one, this time on his head. The crow pooped on him with assassin-like precision. He was most unhappy, not because of the pooping but because he knew what would happen next. A bath!
Not long after these first two suspicious incidents, My Hurley Dog joined me on a trip to the ancient city of Uzuncaburç. A few hours from here it’s an archeological site containing the remnants of the ancient town of Diokaisareia, and I wanted to take some photos of him amongst the ruins. They would be Insta-fabulous!
Anyway, the day started off well, despite the oppressive heat, and we travelled up into the mountains. We stopped for strawberries (a steal at 20TL) before exploring an aqueduct at Olba. Finally arriving at Uzuncaburç, we wandered around the theatre where My Hurley Dog sniffed to his heart’s delight before making our way down to the Temple of Zeus.
And that’s when it happened.
We were set upon by a gang of Turks! Well, more correctly we were attacked by turkeys, wild turkeys. Angry, ginormous, ugly as shit, wild turkeys with their bumpy red heads and that hideous fleshy flap of skin. Bleugh! And don’t get me started on their thoroughly unfriendly behaviour (although if I was as ugly as them, I’d probably need an attitude adjustment as well).
Anyway, these nasty, evil, would-be assassins, appeared out of nowhere and chased My Hurley Dog (and me because yikes!) clear back to the car park. We darted left, they darted right and with a wiggle of their waddle they had both of us pinned against the car. There was a lot of yelling by me, My Hurley Dog, and the hapless employee who worked at the ruins as he tried to separate these disgusting, delicious, creatures from my poodle and I. Needless to say my Hurley Dog was in no condition to further explore Uzuncaburç so another trip in the future will be on the cards (for me because I’m certain my dog is not interested in visiting again).
Fast forward to yesterday: my Hurley Dog and I were in the garden with my various in-laws making bread when who should appear over the back fence but my nemesis, asshole rooster. My Hurley Dog and asshole rooster eyed each other off. No doubt threats were made by both parties via growls and clucks, but an unwritten agreement appears to have been reached. Asshole rooster returned to his side of the fence where he could be heard muttering profanities as he rounded up his women. At the same time, My Hurley Dog came and sat beside me, practically in my lap, where he was given a piping hot piece of fresh bread as a reward for being such a good boy.
Heads up readers. This will be a post about going potty, not crazy, but the other potty, you know, in the bathroom… anyway, you have been warned.
When the world went crazy for toilet paper during COVID-19, most of us in Turkey were pretty chill about the need to stock up because we have a taharet musluğu on our toilet. Taharet is Arabic for cleanliness and musluk means tap, so I’m sure you work out what it does.
I admit that I don’t often use the taharet musluğu because, well, I prefer tissue, however, on occasion it can get a little iffy “back there” and I need to give my bot-bot an extra squirt for good measure.
I recently had the need to use the taharet musluğu thanks to a particularly spicy Adana Kebab that was made by my BIL (who doesn’t really like me and possibly made it a little spicier than usual). I can handle it (and the aftermath), but still, I turned on the taharet musluğu to, well, I don’t need to explain what happens next… plus it’s pretty dang hot here right now, so my bottom was enjoying the refreshing spray. But then something happened, something completely unexpected – boiling hot water suddenly shot up my bum hole. I screamed in pain, it was like someone had poured a kettle on me. I jumped up and watched the steam rising from the water, not from my poopy mind you, the water! Yep, boiling water was shooting out of my taharet musluğu! I could have been maimed! My bot-bot could have sustained third-degree burns! Shit just got real… really, real!
Now I haven’t had much luck with my water recently. You might recall this post about our hot water system exploding late last year, since then we’ve had numerous “village” plumbers visit on multiple occasions to try and fix the numerous problems to no avail. Of course, it’s to no avail because these salaklar aren’t actually trained plumbers!
We finally arranged for a plumber from the city, a REAL, honest to God, plumber! I felt like I’d won the lottery. Anyway, the plumber fixed the problem, but he also pointed out that our pipes were wrongly connected. He said that our hot is cold and our cold is hot. I’d never noticed that and it really didn’t affect me … until now!
So if you see me wandering around the village this week and I’m walking a little *cough, cough* delicately, well, now you know why!
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There I was, waiting to pass through immigration at Istanbul New Airport. I watch, at a socially-acceptable distance, of course, as the person in front of me has his passport stamped and I step up to the counter, smiling widely as I hand over my passport and kimlik.
“Where are you going?”
Ah, yes, Australia with its 352 covid-19 cases. Australia who, along with its forward-thinking neighbor to the east, New Zealand, seem to have its shit together, despite their half-assed lockdown (Australia, not New Zealand because Jacinta Ahern is a Goddess who locked that country down faster than you could say ‘feesh and cheeps’!).
“Is it essential travel?”
Long pause while he stares at his computer doing secret stuff.
“What will you be doing in Sydney?”
What will I be doing in Sydney?
“First stop? I am buying clothes. T-shirts without awful prints. Blouses without ugly flowers or wildly inappropriate slogans. Bras with underwires! UNDERWIRES!!! Undies that aren’t white cotton or completely trampy (for there is no in between). Once I have filled my empty suitcase with clothes I will hit the supermarket and I will stockup on essentials like Dairy Milk chocolate and Tim Tams.
I will then eat my weight in bacon, ham and salami while washing it down with a good Australian wine (which means I’ll single-handedly be keeping the Australian wine industry afloat).”
Sensing I’m losing the agent I continue. “VEGEMITE!”
“Vegemite is a prohibited item.”
“NO IT’S NOT!!! YOU’RE NOT TAKING MY VEGEMITE AWAY FROM ME!”
I try to make a run for it but don’t get far and am tackled by two guards carrying semi-automatic weapons. They drag me away kicking and screaming while taunting me with a very Seinfeldian, “NO VEGEMITE FOR YOU!”
I wake in a pool of sweat and realizing that I am NOT actually travelling anywhere anytime soon, burst into very real tears and go make myself a cup of çay … with milk (because I’m a rebel).
All bok aside though it’s Daughter’s 18th birthday and we’re supposed to be in Sydney now celebrating with family and friends. Instead we are here in our little home on the outskirts of Mersin and wondering when the second wave will hit (and don’t kid yourself people… it WILL hit!).
Turkey had it all under control. I was incredibly impressed with how the Government handled itself when the first case was reported on 10 March 2020. And then it hit the fan. Intermittent lockdowns were put in place which still enabled much of the economy to splutter along somewhat but slowed the numbers considerably. School was cancelled for the remainder of the school year and, after a rather rocky start, online classes began. Under 19’s and over 65’s were not allowed to leave their homes but here in the Village that didn’t mean an awful lot. With no school, kids were running around like headless chooks and don’t think you can tell any of the over 65’s here what to do. Hell to the no! They’ll give you a tongue lashing that will send you scurrying under the covers (not me though because most of the time they yell in Arabic and I have enough trouble understanding them in Turkish). Edit: Before the keyboard warriors come at me AGAIN… Mersin has a large population of Arabic decent… no they are not migrants or refugees and just because “your wide circle of friends and their grandparents” can’t speak Arabic it doesn’t mean a good god-damn to me or to anyone else frankly. The Turk’s family do speak Arabic. Why? Because they can. Why do I speak Italian? Because I can. Why do you speak whatever language you speak? Because you can… so shut your pie-hole, Karen?
All right, all right, I will admit that many people did do the right thing but if you were ever out wandering around the Village at 5AM (which I often was with My Hurley Dog and a mask… me not the dog) it was like Times Square on NYE out there. Sticking it to the man! Our neighbour’s even had an elaborate birthday party for their one-year-old twins. Half the village was there, for feck’s sake. There was music and dancing and a jolly good time was had by all. I thankfully wasn’t invited and wouldn’t have gone because, you know, there’s a pretty dangerous virus out there, but that’s another very dramatic story for another time — and trust me it’ll be totally worth it.
Us yabancılar (aka Daughter and I) have been taking this shit seriously though. Daughter hasn’t been allowed out AT ALL! I am, of course, the worst mother in the whole, wide world but I’m good with that if it means she’s safe. All her friends have been out. All her friends have been doing exactly what they always do, ignore the rules and do whatever the feck they want, because they’re all spoilt, self-indulgent, brats (because that’s what they are, Karen). Daughter and I have gone weeks at a time without leaving the house relying on The Turk to do our shopping or to ensure we weren’t dead and being eaten by our numerous kediler. For those concerned we did have enough toilet paper, in fact we still have enough toilet paper. Phew!
But then the restrictions were lifted and the new cases have doubled in a week. Here in Mersin there have been clusters which is rather worrying as Mersin had relatively low numbers.
Masks are mandatory in shops and you need to get your temperature checked before entering many places now. There is hand sanitizer or kolonya available for everyone and God help you if you cough. Allergy season has taken on a whole new meaning for The Turk and Daughter, that’s for sure.
Today Turkey stands at a total of just under 180,000 cases with 22,000 currently active and nearly 5,000 deaths. And just to reiterate, mostly because too many people here don’t seem to grasp the severity of covid-19, in the past week new cases have doubled in Turkey. DOUBLED! Clearly something’s not working.
Wear a mask, wash your hands and stay safe my fram.
And one final little tidbit, Karen, Vegemite is NOT “black salt spread”. Wars have broken out over less!! (FYI this is also humor not a declaration of war).
Final edit: Yes I had a Karen come at me. It was fun. I enjoyed it immensely.
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We’ve had no electric for the last ten out of fourteen days. It’s practically medieval times here in the Village so with no electric and in an effort to save myself from going bat-shit crazy out of boredom, I’ve slapped on my şalvar, wrapped my hair (to hide the grey no less) and reverted to my less than enthusiastic Turkish Housewife mode.
First job tackled was the salca.
All of you already know that one of my highlights since I moved to Mersin is to make the salca. It reminds me of my wonderful mother-in-law and how she welcomed this somewhat reluctant yabancıgelin into the family and started me on my Turkish life. She taught me that sometimes the old ways are better and if you’re expecting several consecutive days (try several consecutive months) of 38ºC (100ºF) Mediterranean sunshine, then your salca will be much more successful if sun-dried rather than making it in the oven/cooktop.
This year’s salca experience could have ended up being a disaster, but thanks to my sister-in-law, who is nothing if not enterprising, her quick thinking saved the day (and the salca).
My salca story started just fine. I had a shopping list:
250 kilograms kırmızı biber (red capsicum)
100 kg domates (tomatoes)
100 kg acı biber (hot chilli)
That might seem like a lot of capsicum but it never really is.
Excited, I hit the pazar and negotiated in my best Turklish to get a reasonable price, and when that didn’t work The Turk stepped in and got me the best price.
I got cracking-a-lacking on the domates and had them chopped up and blitzed early on Saturday morning so by the time my SIL got home that afternoon I had already carried buckets of mulched domates up to the roof and had poured them into my rather dodgy (but does the job) plastic sheeting/slab. SIL did bring reinforcements for the kırmızı biber (her mother and sister), and thank goodness because without them we could have been there all night. The 100kg of acı biber are a little dicier (no pun intended). We split them into two – 50kg cleaned for salca and 50kg cleaned and cut for drying.
By 8:00 PM everything was sliced, diced, blitzed and shattered (and that was just us).
And then, and to quote the great Annie Lennox, here comes the rain again.
First rain of the season. Yah! NOT!!!
3:00 AM and SIL banged on my door sending My Hurley Dog and me into hysterics. Once I realised we weren’t under attack, I followed her up to the rooftop. There we were in our pyjamas (or in my case my undies and a singlet because it’s still stinking hot here in Mersin) running around in the bucketing rain, trying to save our kırmızı biber from washing away. We MacGyver’ed the shit out of my sun-lounger and some plastic to fashion a make-shift tent and even though the roof resembled a crime scene with the overflow of sauce mixed with rainwater on Sunday morning, our salca and sliced acı biber were saved and able to be returned to their rightful place in the sunshine.
It might have taken a little longer this year to dry out (thanks to said bucketing) but we now have enough tomato paste and capsicum paste to feed an army, or at least feed the family through until next September. I might sound like a typical Türk but I could never go back to store-brought salca now. I mean just look at that kırmızı bibersalca (capsicum paste) beautiful dark red colour. Trust me when I say it tastes amazing!
And because I never want to find myself with a pickling emergency I also perfected my pickling this past week. After a few trips to the supermarket and buying out every single bottle of üzüm sirkesi (grape vinegar) they had in stock I pickled the hell out of any vegetable that was lying around including salatakık (cucumber), soğan (onion), havuç (carrot), lahana (cabbage) and yet another 5kg of acı biber. I’m pretty sure we’re sorted for hot chillies to keep us warm on cold winter nights.
And just because I’m Aussie I got a fabulous recipe from a local chef who makes the most amazing pickled beetroot so I was back to the Mezitli pazar last weekend to pick up pancar and yet more vinegar for testing out his recipe. Finally I can get some decent beetroot for my burgers.
Thankfully the electric is now back (and hopefully will stay again for at least a few days).
Finger’s crossed because seriously if I lose my electric again today, I can’t be held responsible for my actions. Seriously! Watch this space!
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It’s been a while since I have mentioned my nemesis. Just to remind you my nemesis has reincarnated a few times over the years but has always taken the form of a rather large and loud cock-a-fecking-doodle-doing rooster.
There was the large red cock that terrorised My Hurley Dog so much that he refused to go into the yard for a good month. That red cock ended up as a fricassee. Then there was the big black cock (what am I writing?) who made it his personal mission to ensure I never slept more than two hours a night. Now I don’t know what happened to him but when he disappeared there was nothing left of him but some feathers and a beak. I’m guessing an alien abduction was the most likely cause of his demise. Then there was a cute little brown cock. He was a sweet-looking little guy but despite his tiny stature, he had a hell of a set of pipes on him! I swear you could hear him in the city. My BIL mangaled his ass and I must say he was delicious.
The owner of all of these reincarnated nemeses in their various forms, previously referred to as Crazy Eyes, had been rather quiet of late. I hadn’t seen her, or her mother or those five unruly boys (no doubt the reason for her crazy eyes), but last weekend she reappeared in a big way and worse still she brought with her yet another big black cock. She has gotten much smarter though. She knew we entered under the cover of darkness and Seal team 6’d her roosters so she has re-housed her new black cock and his six bitches onto the roof of her house. The fecking roof! Now, this new black-feathered evil dinosaur is even closer to my window.
My nemesis started this morning at 3:36AM. Precisely. He hopped to the end of his coop (read that as Crazy Eye’s roof), stared into my opened window and screamed at the top of his lungs “HEY, JANEY? ARE YOU AWAKE? JANEY? HUH? JANEY? WAKE UP! WAKE THE FECK UP!”. I swear to you this is no lie.
As he is now mere feet from my window I
immediately woke, moaned, cried a little, hugged My Hurley Dog and, when this
ugly ass cock-a-doodle-dummy kept this shit up for a straight forty-five
minutes I gave up on sleep and went and watched the news.
So I now have a mission (if I choose to accept it) and that mission is to find myself a big-ass rifle and, if I haven’t accidentally shot off my own head in the interim, I am going to sniper the shit out of that bastard cock-a-doodle-don’t!
has visited Turkey has no doubt indulged in an authentic Turkish kahvaltı (breakfast). Tables of food
filled with kőy (village) grown or locally
sourced products lovingly prepared by your Turkish host.
Here in Mersin, there are many, MANY places to get a Turkish breakfast but, like most things, the challenge is finding the best spot to indulge. One such spot I got to experience recently is Giritli Cemilenin Yeri Kahvalti. This lokanta is in Melemez, a village not too far from my home, and is unlike anything I had ever visited before in Mersin because Melemez is, in fact, a Greek village.
Settled in the late 1800s by Muslim Cretans, they brought with them their Greek colours, Greek lifestyle and even, bless them, their Greek wine-making skills.
Following the distinctive Greek signage into the small village the lokanta succeeded in whisking me away to my distant memories of Crete with its eclectic style but, as usual, I thought only with my stomach and what excited me the most was our breakfast table literally groaning under the weight of all our breakfast choices.
Along with a variety
of cheeses, crisp cucumbers and baskets of freshly baked bread there was green
and black olives, village eggs cooked to perfection, sun-ripened tomatoes,
home-made fig and apricot preserves, pekmez
(grape molasses), creamy yogurt and more borek
(cheese pastries) that you could possibly consume. We were welcomed like family
and the owner even suggested we finish off our breakfast with a sampling of his
home-made wine (a breakfast tradition that this token Aussie could totally get
Weekends get busy in Melemez with visitors coming from all around to enjoy the unique village and their weekend market, where the locals sell their products including şarap (wine), zeytin yağlı (olive oil), salca (tomato paste) yumurtular (eggs) and turşusu (pickled vegetables), is usually teeming with people. The roads can also be busy, but this is probably due to the four feet kind of traffic rather than a four-wheel kind.
A Turkish breakfast is meant to be savoured and time will slip away from you but before you leave Melemez behind take the opportunity to wander around this picturesque village. Being with two photographers (who are prepared to get down and dirty when they need to) we got to meet quite a few of the locals who were glad to show us their homes, their gardens and even their ovens (as you do).
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Expats are few and far between in Mersin, and over the years I have met some very *ahem* exciting characters. Some I see once and then block them from my mind and social media in the hope of never passing paths again, and others are my closest friends and allies here in this crazy city hahaha.
The thing with having such a small group is that when you do meet that character that you just don’t gel with it can be nearly impossible to escape from them. You see them at the same events, hanging out at the same restaurants and you bump into them at your local pazar/beautician/dentist – but of course you introduced them to said pazar/beautician/dentist! You dumb ass!!
This happened to me recently, and I found the whole experience quite exhausting. I was my usual friendly persona, welcoming said expat with open arms and introducing said expat to other members of the group and beforementioned pazar/beautician/dentist; however, I realised pretty early on that I had nothing in common with said expat. I found said expat’s behaviour towards others in the group appalling and said expats behaviour to the locals ludicrous at times. Oh, and I also realised pretty early on that said expat was batshit crazy!
Said expat found themselves in a bit of a jam as well while here in Mersin and when the situation imploded (which of course it did) it was all hands on deck. However, despite other members of the group giving sound advice and being a listening board said expat decided to do the absolute opposite to the advice that was given and found themselves in an even more precarious position. I don’t know everything, in fact, I don’t know a lot, but I do know that when a situation is shitty, it’s time to leave. It’s not the time to include as many people as possible in your personal drama.
I think the thing that frustrated me the most about said expat was the fact that she felt she was so entitled to her opinion and expectations and also expected all of us to drop everything to deal her every problem. Oh, and said expat never said thank you. Not even once. Rudeness!
Said expat has gone now thankfully. I hope said expat never comes back to Mersin or if she does come back then hopefully she doesn’t contact me again – of course she probably won’t because I have already blocked her on my social media and she was banished from the expat group due to her nastiness.
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Hello, it’s me, Janey … in Mersin (in case you forgot). I know I’ve said this in the past but my life has definitely been really busy over these few months. Some days are out of my control and by the time that I get home I’m usually exhausted. It takes all my effort to pour that first glass of wine. The second and third glasses do come a lot easier.
In all honesty, I haven’t felt particularly motivated to write. Mersin has its moments but they are nothing new. I’ve written about them before. Roosters crowing? Wrote it. The Turk fighting? Done it. Random family members doing random crazy shit? All over it! I have done a little more travelling, went to a wedding or nine and maybe I will post a few blogs in the coming weeks but unless aliens land here in the village there won’t be an awful lot to write.
Daughter and I were away for two months, spending quality time in Australia and a naughty side trip to Bali. It was definitely good to get back to Australia and spend time with our Aussie family and friends. I even had the opportunity to catch up with some school friends which was fabulous. I will miss my 30 year high school reunion later this year (although do I really want to catch up with most of them? Nope. I had my core group and I loved them. The rest can go and jump in the lake). And it was definitely great to eat bacon. Man, I love me some bacon. Yes, I know you know that but I just needed to reiterate it one final time – I love bacon.
Even though I was away I had some pretty remarkable hits on the page mind you. It looks like Mersin is slowly being considered a tourist destination in its own right (I know I’m as shocked as you are). The Turk suggested to me that perhaps I was being stalked but I’m not sure why anyone would want to stalk me, because as fascinating as I believe I am my life here in the Village is truly dull and exceedingly uninteresting. And before you laugh it has happened before people turning up on our doorstep having tracked me down. No! I swear it’s true! But that’s okay, as long as they’re not Ted Bundy or that Manson fellow … or maybe IS.
Summer is definitely here and Mersin is feeling like Satan’s asshole right now. Coming from a very pleasant Sydney winter (with its average temperatures of 22-24) I’m a little jealous of my friends up in the mountains with their mountain breezes although the two times I have been up to visit since my return it’s been 30 degrees both days. Not so cool (although it was probably mid-40’s back in the village).
Socially here in Mersin, many of the expats and locals disappear for summer. Like me, the expats go and visit their homeland and the locals get the hell out of Dodge because it’s just so freaking steamy as feck. A few of the expats have moved on to new cities and countries but when one goes another usually arrives although sometimes this can be more drama than it’s worth.
Oh, and I’ve finished the first draft of my novel (which takes up an extraordinary amount of time). It’s currently being read by a few trusted friends and I got some pretty realistic feedback so on their recommendation I’ve sent it off for an edit. We’ll see where this goes. And it’s only the first draft so I expect there will be another 100 drafts before I am finally satisfied with it. Give me the strength!
So, keep an eye out for some new material in the coming weeks. I will be in touch and remember to message me on my FB page (here) if you want or need to make contact.
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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.
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.
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