Public Service Announcement

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

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

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

Oh no!

turkishmanflu

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

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

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

man-flu-2

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

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

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

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

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

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Stop! I’m already dead

I am trying to be more present with the blog but, as real life shit gets in the way, my blogging life suffers.

kardashianFor example I had a post for today.  It was a pretty okay post about the usual Kardashian style family debacle that fills my life.  I mean you can’t make this shit up!

It was a story that had it all.  Wit.  Drama.  Sex.  But I deleted it.  Accidently.  And I can’t replicate it because my head isn’t working right now.  Some people might say that my head never really works properly but as I am possibly dying of the plague, or that shit that is running rampant in New Orleans in that new show, Containment.  Have you watched that shit?  Graphic.  Anyway I digress.

So instead of me giving you a story of the most recent drama between two of my four SIL’s (it was epically great and I will write it again when my brain has re-booted) I will have a little whinge-fest instead about health.

I am ill.  Hasta.

Perhaps I won’t die from this particular illness but the headaches are crippling and my only salvation is to lie on the couch and binge watch Game of Thrones in readiness for Monday.  MONDAYYYYYY!!!  If I do happen to die before Monday and I never see what happened to Jon Snow then … well … I guess I may as well be dead.

So I am ill and when one is ill in the Village everybody puts their doctor hats on and comes to your aid.  Regardless of the fact that they do not have any medical background what they do have though is a diagnosis, a treatment plan and a fecking opinion.

Let’s start with my SIL Songul.  She has diagnosed the grip and of course I am ill because I have slept with the window open.  It is clear that letting fresh air in has caused this debilitating disease.

Treatment plan:  Corba.  Lots of corbaIskende or paca if I can stomach it (no I cannot stomach it) but if not a hearty Eze Gelin.

Verdict:  Tasty.

The Turk of course has his own opinion.  I am, of course, ill because we don’t have enough sex.

His treatment plan:  Sex.  Of course.

Verdict:  Didn’t help.  Ugh!

shocked face 1

The fat teyze that lives opposite us:  Now she is, like, 100 or something so she’s had a pretty good innings.  I think she might be the closest of all of them to an actual doctor (although I suspect she has never set foot in a school).  Her diagnosis of my illness is the same every time I’m under the weather – My Hurley Dog and My Kedi Cat are disease ravaged vermin and should be thrown out with the garbage.

Her treatment plan: Garlic and regular usage of limon kolon (which, of course, no germ can survive).

Verdict:  Piss off!  It’s not my fecking animals.

shocked cat

Another SIL (the loud one) has suggested that I am not dressing appropriately for the weather.  Yesterday was a very pleasant 29 degrees.  No I did not have a jacket on and therefore yes I am going to die.

Her treatment plan:  A jacket (of course) and a strange çay that she concocted herself after wandering around the village to collect ingredients from various gardens.

Verdict:  Tasted like dirt

Aunty Muriel: I love me some Auntie Muriel.  She popped in last night upon hearing that I am close to death’s door.  Her diagnosis was simple. “Sıcak!”  “Soğuk!”  “Sıcak!”  “Soğuk!”  Now she repeated this a few times so I am assuming that she was saying that the weather is to blame for my current debilitating situation.

Her treatment plan:  I believe if anyone can fix what ails me it’s Aunty Muriel.  She made me some Icel köfte and she brought me a little blanket to tuck me in on the couch.  The blanket smells a little funky but that’s okay because it was given to me with love (and The Turk is going to wash it for me today).

Verdict: Still knocking on heaven’s door but damn I felt better with a little motherly love.

If anyone needs me I am on the couch.  With my Icel köfte and my corba and my funky little blanket although right now the school across the street are practicing for their end of year concert.  I have heard Gangnam Style 6 times already today … so far.

psy

Maybe I’m already dead.

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Gotta Cut Footloose

I was wheeled into the ER where, in a scene reminiscent to Gone With The Wind, two nurses held me down while the doctor cut open my foot with a scalpel.

footloose

That is a very dramatic opening to this post isn’t it?  And it’s all true!

Let’s go back a few days shall we?

I had been a busy bee this past week.  Making sarma.  Family commitments.  Christmas shopping.  Lunch with the girls.  Busy.  Busy.  Busy.  I noticed I had a bit of a niggle in my foot but, thanks to Google, I quickly self-diagnosed as Athletes Foot and asked The Turk (aka My Ex-Husband) to get me some spray next time he went into the city.  Of course he forgot each and every time thus why he will forevermore be known as My Ex-Husband.

Thursday morning I thought I should perhaps take myself down to the local clinic in the village to have a squiz at my foot.  The happy little doctor there (whom My Ex-Husband calls ‘the amateur’) told me it was mantar which confused me greatly as this means mushroom in Türk but, as I now understand, also means fungus.  This is beginning to get a little gross isn’t it?  Anyway, he gave me a spray and sent me on my way.

I really wasn’t feeling too special by Friday.  Dropped Daughter at school.  Took My Hurley Dog for a walk and then came home and collapsed.  My foot was aching and had swollen to the size of a cantaloupe but I soldiered on with the spray and a few Panadol.  By 8pm it was clear that I was dying and was immediately bundled off to hospital.  The doctor diagnosed an abscess and immediately removed an excess of liquid (I refuse to use the word ‘pus’) and sent me home after a shot of the unknown mystical ‘serum’ into my ass and a bundle of pills to keep me happy.

By Saturday my foot was the size of a watermelon and a constant flow of pus (yes I am calling it pus now) was oozing from my now open (due to stitches popping) wound.  I also had a wonderful new symptom of a rash all over my body and a red streak running up my leg!  Feck!

Arriving back at the hospital The Turk (yes redeemed himself and is back to being The Turk rather than My Ex-Husband) went nuts getting immediate attention by staff and I was wheeled straight into the ER where a doctor with a fecking big scalpel set to work on my foot.

While I was being operated on a very nosy teyze (teyze means aunt but it is also used when you speak to any other older person even if you do not know them which was the case here) was nearby in the ER and she came over to examine my foot (as you do).  Like all teyze she was extremely vocal and helpful by letting me know that my foot was gangrene and that it would need to be amputated.  She knew this, of course, because her husband had just had his foot cut off and was in the bed down the row!  As I lay on my bed while the doctor continued to cut into my foot (without any anaesthetic mind you) I thanked teyze for her helpful advice and I updated my FB status thusly –

Screenshot

I obviously should have explained that this status update was made in jest because within minutes my phone blew up with messages and calls from friends both here and back in Oz worried that I really was going to lose my foot!   The doctor diligently working on me even stopped his very important work and watched me curiously as my mobile kept beeping and ringing with anxious queries from friends before shaking his head, calling me something under his breath (which included the word yabancı mind you) – and took my phone off me!!!

Now it is Sunday morning and my foot has receded back to a small cantaloupe.  The red streak seems to be disappearing however the rash is still covering my entire body.  On the bright side nosy teyze was completely wrong with her medical diagnosis – and I still have two feet!

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*Knock, knock* Hello?

You might not have noticed but I haven’t posted for a while.  Why have I been so neglectful?  Why, oh why, have I left you, my dear followers and friends, hanging for the next episode of action packed drama that is living in Mersin?  Well to be honest I haven’t been particularly happy recently.

The Turk and I have been fighting – a lot – and not just a little scrap here and there, no, we have been having a few smack down whoopings that a stoned Hulk Hogan atop a wrecking ball could be proud of.

hulk hogan

Yes.  Seriously.  This is the current synopsis of our relationship.  I am not sure if I am Hulk Hogan or perhaps the wrecking ball and I never thought I would see the day that I had to quote Miley Cyrus but over the past weeks and months all The Turk has really achieved is to “wreck me”.

I am not really sure where it all began but since The Turk returned from Australia (after his heart attack) he has had difficulty settling back into the village way of life.  He has found fault in everything and everyone (including me) and has made me feel that our relationship is irretrievably broken.  To add insult to injury, and despite the fact that the first heart attack should have scared him straight, he has not changed his diet or his habits and in early June was admitted into hospital to have a triple by-pass.  Officially he now resembles Frankenstein’s Monster.

Adding to these current woes and health issues is me being diagnosed with “abnormal cervical cells” which has required treatment.  My doctor speaks pretty good English, although when he laughs he sounds a little like a hyena on crack, but I am relatively confident with the treatment that I have had and I go back next week for another check.  Fingers crossed that the treatment destroyed all the cells and nice, happy, non-cancerous cells have grown in their place.

There have been a few moments over these months that I have sat on the couch in tears and a few moments where I have wanted to pack my bags and flee back to Australia but I cannot because Daughter is so happy here (although I need to update you guys on her most recent boy drama when I get a chance).  Being that I am officially (yes it is officially) the Best Mum In The World I also took her to Londra in June for her birthday to a “5SOS” concert.  For those of you who have no clue what a “5SOS” is you should Google them because apparently Daughter is going to marry either the Lead Singer (who I suspect could be a world class tool) or the Bass Player (who reminds me of a dopey puppy).  The concert itself wasn’t too shabby, they reminded me of a very young INXS, although a little more polished than the INXS that played at Manly Vale Hotel back in the 1980’s.  I also got some shopping done in Londra so it was a pretty successful trip for both of us.

5sos

We also chuffed off to Rome for a week which was lovely (although the restoration work on the Trevi Fountain is STILL NOT finished!  How fecking long does it take?) and finally for a break in Istanbul.

As you can see there should be quite a bit to blog about but my sadness and health concerns have unfortunately overtaken my mental functions and writing proved very difficult over the past weeks.  I will be back to writing a little more often and hopefully I will return to a more comedic writing style which is how I would normally feel.  I am also going to re-jiggy the blog a little bit as I have had a lot of requests for more touristic information on Mersin (as there is limited information out there) and its surrounds so if I go off-line in the near future don’t distress it is merely my ridiculous attempts of navigating the web page tools (which will no doubt prove to be a little difficult for my pea-sized intellect).

And in case you are wondering yes The Turk is still smoking!

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40 days

Yesterday marked 40 days since the death of my mother in law.  Another tough couple of days with tears flowing freely for Refika.  She was truly a remarkable woman and loved by so many people.

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Having never attended a Turkish funeral I really had no idea what was going to happen and due to the speed in which a funeral happens here (same day) I did not even have time to gather my thoughts or ask what to expect.

Refika had been feeling under the weather for some time.  She had had heart surgery 2 years earlier however the surgery was not a success and she had never really recovered.  She was still her welcoming and wonderful self to us when we arrived although it was obvious that she was not doing as well as she could have been.  Her death, however, was a complete shock.  I certainly did not anticipate it and when The Turk received a call from the hospital at 5 am requesting that the family attend I knew, as did he, that it was not going to be good news.

By 7 am two trucks arrived with chairs, apparently this funeral was going to be attended by hundreds of aile (family) and also her many friends that she had made over the years.  I am not exaggerating when I say there was over 400 chairs delivered and set up on the street.  A portable morgue, of sorts, was then delivered and set up in the driveway.  I was told that this was where Refika would be washed by a hodja (female washer) and prepared for her journey to paradise.

At this point I started to freak out a little as people were arriving in their droves and clearly I had no idea what was going on or what was expected of me.  Those who know me know that I am not really one to show emotion but the crying, nay wailing, that had already begun was the most awful thing I think I had ever heard in my life.  Of course I had been to funerals before.  My beloved parents, extended family members and also to support my friends in their time of grief.  I have not, however, been to anything like this.

When Refika was brought home absolute bedlam broke out.  There was a lot of screaming and wailing, a lot of tears.  The grief was almost too much for me to bear and I tried to keep out of everyone’s way but before I knew it Daughter and I were brought into the portable morgue to say goodbye.  Daughter was distraught – although I let her come to my father’s funeral two years ago that was a western funeral and quite sedate in comparison – in my mind I kept wishing she had gone to school that morning as her cousins had done to protect her from the emotion and grief.

After Refika had been washed and prepared for burial the imam (leader of Islamic community) arrived and gave a prayer.  The men then took her body and placed it in a casket where it was then settled onto the back of a truck and taken to the mezarlik (cemetery) for burial.  Interestingly women are not invited to attend at the burial.  They will attend the next morning to pay their respect.

There was a constant stream of family members attending over the next seven days.  From early morning through late in the evening there was visitors coming to pay their respects.  The mourning areas were separated – one for the men and one for the ladies.  This annoyed me as the men got to sit in the sunshine while us ladies were segregated to the rear of the property in the shade (and you wonder why people kept getting sick).  Cay was constantly being served and meals were delivered by neighbours for next seven days which is the first part of the mourning period.  By this stage I began to hide as between the tears and the stress of attending on a daily basis was beginning to take its toll on me.

On the seventh day the iman re-attended at our home and gave another prayer for Refika.  This was also the day that a sheep was sacrificed and meals were prepared for all of our neighbours and fellow mourners.  This now marked the end of the official seven days of mourning.

The next date of commemoration will be the 52nd day although again I am unsure exactly what this will entail.

I am glad that we were in Turkey before Refika passed away.  I am glad that Daughter spent at least some time every day with her.  I am glad that The Turk was able to be with her in the end and I am glad that I had met and loved this wonderful women.  She will be missed by me and missed by anyone who ever met her.

Başiniz sağ olsun (Let health be on your head)