I met a straight off the plane, never taken out of the package, New Expat recently. So new that she had that new car smell. Her excitement was palpable but, unlike a case of the measles, it was not contagious and I found myself talking down the same things that I talked up when I first settled here in Mersin.
New Expat spoke of her love for her husband’s close knit family. I found myself rolling my eyes and suggesting she should find an apartment as far away as she could get from her new extended family unless she wants them on her doorstep all day, every day.
As New Expat made cay (successfully I might add) she spoke of the more relaxed Turkish way of life. I laughed and suggested she take a trip to the Emniyet and then let me know how she feels.
For lunch New Expat put out an impressive Turkish spread. She explained that she had taken Turkish cooking lessons back in the UK so she could impress the in-laws. I suggested that she might like to join a few of us for lunch at Marina in the coming weeks where we all go for our European food fix. Her reply? “I could eat that back at home. I am here to eat Turkish food.” Inwardly I groaned. Every day. Every day. Every day. Here Turkish food is just food. Every day.
By the time I left New Expat’s shiny new home I felt like a Dementor sucking all the New Expat happiness out of her. Will I ever see New Expat again? Doubtful as she is probably still trying to erase my unintentional but still horrid behaviour from her memory.
Yes I have lost that glow of a new expat and what were at first little irritations are now an open sore that needs treatment – STAT!
And it is not just me that feels that stench of a jaded old expat (do we have a stench?). One of the first people I met here when I arrived in Mersin was a school teacher from Northern Ireland who was working at one of the private schools here. Her excitement about living in this city synced with mine and we threw ourselves into our new lives, a little scared, quite naïve but ready for a little madness. Well that school teacher is counting down the days until the end of term. She has had enough and is leaving Mersin to return home to Northern Ireland, happy to close the door on her time here. Crazy Mersin has broken her. Will she come back to Turkiye? Yes. Will she come back to Mersin. Doubtful.
Yet other expats are long termers, going on 15 plus years. Right now, today, I cannot fathom the idea of being here for another 15 years. Please God not that long but as The Turk put it – where would you go? Back to Australia the land of my peeps? Yes, please, but of course I can no longer afford to live in Sydney and I certainly don’t want to return to 50 hour weeks so I would probably have to move elsewhere. But where? And I would be starting again. House. Job. Friends. I would be an expat in my own country.
So my question to you today is how do you keep that new car freshness living in a city that has more problems than solutions, where your opinion matters little other than perhaps an amusing anecdote to the locals? Do you have any advice for this miserable expat? Let me know ‘cause I really need some wise words.
Loving this blog? Please help me build my audience and share with like minded people who, like you, sometimes feel like a bit of a Dementor and love Turkey. You can also subscribe or like me on Facebook for all updates.