Rebel Mosquito

I have a routine before I go to bed at night.  I have my shower and brush my teeth and then I cover myself in a perfume that I like to call “Eau de D’eet”, nearly poisoning myself in an attempt to keep a certain gentleman from attacking me in my sleep (and I don’t mean The Turk).  Actually I would not call him a gentleman, I call him a cad!  I call him a Rebel!  I call him “No helmet, leather jacket, motorcycle riding Rebel Mosquito”.  Yes that is his name.  He is real and he is mean.

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This cad has begun assaulting me at night.  He attacks at midnight and I am instantly awake from his high pitched buzz.  He ready for a three course meal made from my tasty O-negative blood.  I wave my arms around frantically trying to swat him away but as he is a “no helmet, leather jacket, motorcycle riding Rebel Mosquito” he obviously likes a bit of danger in his life.

I woke this morning to see that this cad, this “no helmet, leather jacket, motorcycle riding Rebel Mosquito”, had a very enjoyable Vegas-style all you can eat buffet meal at my expense and I have spent the last half an hour covering myself in a cream sold to me by the ezcane – Fenistil.  It works.  It stops the itch.  My medicine cabinet has a lot of Fenistil in it.

You know when I first arrived in Mersin last September I was assaulted by another Rebel Mosquito, perhaps a relative of my current cad.  I had so many welts on my body caused by this Rebel Mosquito that my sister in law took pity on me and we toddled down to the local hospital.  The doctor there prescribed a “serum” as I was “allergic” to mosquitos, such serum was to be injected into my ass every day for the next 5 days.  Now I don’t want to put down the Turkish medical system but firstly, is this even a thing?  Can you be allergic to mosquitos?  How is it that I survived living in Australia – Australia the mosquito capital of the world, the Land where every insect is trying to kill you – for all those years and not one doctor tells me that I am allergic to mosquitos?  Yeah.  Nope.  Secondly, there is no way you are going to inject me with some dodgy serum – the serum is going to “cure” me from my “so-called allergy”?  Pffttt!  I don’t think so!

Why do the doctors here prescribe serums for everything?  Daughter had an ear infection last month.  She was prescribed 2 needles a day for 5 days.  Are you serious?  Feck off!  There was no way on earth she was going to have these needles.  She ran from the doctor’s office and we found her at the park across the street half an hour later!  Ear infections require antibiotics (incidentally they also prescribed antibiotics) not “serum”.  Mosquito bites require a bit of cream not a feking needle in my ass for 5 days!

Tonight I am going to set an ambush for my “no helmet, leather jacket, motorcycle riding Rebel Mosquito”.  I will lie in bed clutching a can of insect spray and when he makes a move on me I am going to hit him with Detan.  I am going to condemn this cad to the torments of a fiery hell for all eternity.  I am coming for you “no helmet, leather jacket, motorcycle riding Rebel Mosquito”.  Yes I am.

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Take-away

Do you remember getting take-away when you were a kid.  I do.  We would go to the fish and chip shop up at Narraweena.  We would get fish and chips (duh), hamburgers and potato scallops.  It was always amazing.  Because it was take-away.  Food is always better when you don’t have to cook it.  Then home delivery became an option and my culinary world exploded.  Chinese food!  Wow.  I really am a kid from the 1970’s aren’t I?

Here in Mersin take-away and home delivery is certainly an option.  They have Dominos that delivers as well as Hungry Jacks (which is a disgusting thought).  Many of the little restaurants here in the Village also home deliver and on occasion The Turk has had people knock on the door at odd hours delivering huge bags of food but I have not felt the need to partake – until now.

A couple of nights back The Turk decided it was too hot to cook (it is definitely warming up here in Mersin – I expect I will be complaining about the heat to you sometime soon) so he made a couple of calls and arrange for home delivery.  I was excited.  What would it be?  Obviously Turkish food, no option there but Turkish food could mean practically anything.

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Two hours (!) later and Daughter and I were getting a little edgy.  The Turk is well aware that if I do not eat at my allotted hour I become quite the bitch, well add Daughter into the mix and we were both chomping at the bit for dinner.  Finally a young boy arrived carrying an abundance of food that could have fed a whole army.  He firstly handed over two bags which contained Kiymali pide, Peynir pide, salads, freshly baked bread, rice and Ayran.  Then he disappeared back down the stairs returning with the largest clay plate of Kağit Kebabi I have ever seen.  This huge plate with a circumference of 60 cm was filled with lamb, mushrooms, eggplant and handfuls of spice.  Holy moly this was a feast.  Total cost 25TL (about AU$13).

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Was it worth the 2 hour wait?  Oh.  My.  God.  Yes.  This was a taste sensory overload.  Possibly the best thing I have ever put in my mouth (don’t be dirty).

The Village

I have now been living in the Village for 10 months and have decided that it is not really a köyü (village) it is more of a şehir (town), in fact that way that it has been growing you could even say it is a suburb of Mersin proper, an outer suburb but a suburb nevertheless.

When I first started coming to the Village 13 years ago it really was a köyü.  There was more farmland than houses, more farm animals than people but in the following years the urban sprawl that is Mersin has spread and, like a disease, taking over the quaint köyü and turning it into part of a spreading metropolis.

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Although we are still surrounded by farms the view of the sea has disappeared behind apartment blocks 5 stories high.  There are still farm animals but they are a rarity now (except for my damn nemesis that lives behind us) and what was once grazing land just west of us is now streets full of little houses (and some not so little) being built at a speed that astounds me.

It is lovely and warm now (in fact I would go so far to say it is hot) which means I spend more time going on walks or riding my bike around in the köyü (or şehir).  I did not realise just how big the Village is.  To ride my bike around the whole köyü would take me a good hour or two and walking would probably take me a full day (taking into consideration stopping for chats).

I often ride my bike from Atasyolu to the north right around to the deserted beach east of the Village.  The Turk and I sit at this beach and dream (well he dreams and I lie on the sand and enjoy the sunshine).  He wants to win the lotto and buy the land here, turning it into a resort (so, you know, adding to the urban sprawl).  The beach really is exquisite, so clean and the sand is like soft, white snow.  This beach could give some of those resorts on the west coast a run for its money.  Again anyone who does eventually get their hands on this land (assuming we don’t win the lotto) would definitely be onto a winner particularly if the Council start to realise just what a beautiful spot it is and utilised the potential instead of squandering it by allowing industrial filth to be built there.

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Honestly just look at this beach!  It could be Fraser Island – in fact here is a photo of The Turk on Fraser Island a couple of years back.  Amazing!  This beach east of the Village is pristine beach.  Unpolluted.  Unsullied.  A dream come true.  The Turk and I can sit on this beach for hours and not see a soul.

Not Turkey I repeat not Turkey!

Not Turkey I repeat not Turkey!

 

Frankly it is a little sad that the modern world has caught up with my quaint köyü and tainted it (slightly) for me.  But such is life is it not?  If you don’t keep up you will only be left behind.

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Why Are You Here?

Daughter has fallen victim to the dreaded Grip.  It sounds quite ominous doesn’t it?  It sounds as though we need to send out a bat signal or Spider Man needs to come to her rescue but in fact the Grip is better known as simply the flu.  Yes Daughter has the flu and a little ear infection so I took her to the village doctor for a check-up and perhaps some antibiotics if deemed necessary.

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The rest of this story is not about Daughter.  She has had a day off school and is on the mend.  The rest of this story is a bit of a tantrum by me so if you are not in the mood for my drama then close the page because here we go:

Imagine a doctor’s office or a government office or a bank or a post office or, well imagine bloody well near anywhere in Mersin.  Imagine me.  Imagine The Turk.  Imagine an obnoxious Turkish doctor, government official, office worker or man on the street.  And.  Action!

“Yes we moved here from Sydney, Australia.”                                                                “Sydney, Australia?  Why would you come here?  There is nothing here.”              “We came here to give Daughter a family and for her to learn Turkish.”            “You have made a mistake.  You should go back to where you are from.”

This is the conversation that The Turk and I have had about 100 times since arriving in Mersin.  The confusion and hysteria that we imbibe from the everyday man when we say that we live here makes me want to throw something at them.  I find that it is usually the professional Turk that cannot understand our decision to move here the ones who think that they are smarter than we are.  The Doctor or Government official.  I always roll my eyes and turn away while The Turk goes into the usual speech about family, lifestyle, culture, language, blah, blah, blah.

Frankly it is none of your effing business why we have moved to Mersin, just stamp the document or give me the prescription and we will be on our way.  Yes we have moved to a small village.  Yes it is extraordinary and yes you can think it is crazy but you need to try and look at it from our side.

We lived in Sydney and believe me I love Sydney.  Best city in the best country in the world but Mersin and more specifically the Village has one things that Sydney does not.  Aile (family).  A huge family that has been so very welcoming to me and to Daughter.  Kuzlener (cousins) that want to play with her.  Kuzlener that love her (and some that do not).  Teyzer and yenge (aunts) that give her hugs when she is sad and yell at her when she is naughty.  Amcalar (uncles) that slip her 5 lira or take her to the market for icecream and a Anne and Baba who are at home when she finishes school and can spend quality time with her rather than coming home exhausted and stressed from a day’s work.

I know that not everybody can have this opportunity, it is unique to us, but when Daughter was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata I realised that something had to change.  I realised that our lifestyle, running from pillar to post, was damaging her psychologically and if ever an opportunity for a seachange came up I would jump at the chance.  Yes we could have moved to Queensland or even to a small town in rural New South Wales but all that would have achieved is that we would have alienated ourselves even more.  Moving away from friends, no I do not think this would have been the solution.

Moving to Turkey has taken a big chunk of our savings and frankly has put us under a financial strain (The Turk and I are terrible with a budget) but Daughter is blossoming from a stressed little girl who had lost most of her hair into a wonderful young lady who is doing remarkably well at school even though it is in a second language and has made some great friends along the way.

This is the right decision for our family – for now.

What on earth has Stanley been up to now?

He has been at it again our Stanley.  This bloody cat appears to have used up another of his dokuz lives.  I found him, yet again, hidden away meowing at the top of his lungs, this time in our bodrum (basement).  What the bloody hell is wrong with him this time?  After a quick examination I could see he has broken little cat wrist.  This has got to be the clumsiest cat in the Village!

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I know how he did it too.  You may recall my brother in law Vito is building apartments that abut our home and all the Village Kediler have been climbing on the construction to gain access to our balcony.  They come sneaking into our house at all hours sending My Hurley Dog into a frenzied state leaving him dazed and confused (particularly if it is one of the cats he intensely dislikes).  I suspect Stanley was navigating across the construction work and without a tail to balance he has toppled over the side.

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Back to the vet for him today.  The Turk is going to be pissed – again.

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The Little Things

Since moving to Turkey and more particularly moving to The Village I (along with Daughter) am learning to appreciate the simple way of life and to, perhaps, disparage what we had and how we lived in Australia.  I have learnt to not complain about things that are not perfect and instead focus on the good things that we do have (unless you refer to those neighbours in which case – watch out!).

Living in Australia Daughter was always on the lookout for something new.  Shopping was a weekly event and clothes, computer games or gadgets were expected.  I was exactly the same.  Like mother, like daughter.  I used to sneak my purchases into the house so The Turk would not have a conniption, funny thing though – he would always find it no matter how well I hid things.  Bags hidden under the bed – he would find it.  Bags hidden in the garage – he would find them.  Hell he was like one of those dogs at the airport sniffing out contraband!  I could never hide anything from him and despite his terrible ability to read English he could read the credit card statement!

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Here in Karaduvar it is a little different.  Firstly we do not have two disposable incomes.  We must live on a budget and admittedly we are not doing a very good job of that.  We now need to be a little more stringent with our spending habits and that . . . well that definitely takes some getting used to!

The other reason Karaduvar is different is that our friends and neighbours do not have disposable incomes.  They work extremely hard and long hours to put food on their table and to ensure that their family and those around them are warm and happy.  I watch women arrive at the bache (farm) across the street before the sun has risen and they will work all day for approximately 30TL (AUD$15.00).   These women then return to their own homes and cook dinner for their family and, after the family have had their fill they will clean their homes until they shine.  If their neighbour needs anything they will give them theirs no questions asked even if this means they will go without. There is no jealousy, there is just caring and friendship.  Is this not what life should be about?

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I have begun to realise that I do not need all the material things that seemed necessary at home.  I look out my window where Daughter is playing with her cousins on the street with Hurley running after them.  I recall how her entire class came to check on her recently when she had a day off from school.  This would have never happened back in Sydney.

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I think our little family will be happier here with a simpler lifestyle.  Look at me – I am growing!    Who would have thunk it!