Squatty Potty Disaster

A public toilet in Türkiye can be one of the most feral places on earth. I guess I could say that about any public toilet around the world but as I live in Türkiye and this is a story about Türkiye then I’m going to say Türkiye.  Anyway, you would think that in the thousands of years that public toilets have existed, someone would have thought to modernise the ancient art of sıçmak (shitting) amongst strangers. What makes it all the more worse is if you really luck out and find yourself desperate to use the facilities, you follow your helpful host down a funky smelling corridor, praying that you are not about to be sold into slavery, and into a damp, dark room (why is there never any electric?) only to find … a squat toilet in the corner.   FML!

sunflowers 1

Long term readers are already aware that over the years I have had a bit of a love/hate relationship with the squat toilet and, despite a few near misses, I actually consider myself as a pretty knowledgable squatter.  I can usually be called on to give helpful advice to any virgin squatter setting them on the righteous path of dryness and some fabulous thigh muscles.  I mean in all these years I’ve never had spillage or splash back.  I totally have the angle sorted.  Yes, of course I bring my own paper and I always have 1TL in my pocket to pay at the door.  I can dodge a puddle and unknown entities do not phase me.  I have even mastered the skill of blocking out that smell – you know the smell –  but since my knee reconstruction it has become abundantly clear that all my past successes adds up to exactly squat (no pun intended).

While visiting Kozan recently to photograph the sunflowers (thus the photo above) I found myself needing to visit the little girls room and I was relatively happy to find a clean-ish public toilet.  Yes it was a squat toilet which could’ve potentially caused heart palipations for any lesser yabancı but for me I was happy to see it was a 6.5 on the squatty potty scale of cleanliness.  I went in for I am the Squatting Master.  I have the skills of an Olympic gymnast and the little matter of a still troublesome knee reconstruction wasn’t going to stop me from my goal.  What was going to stop my from my goal was my skin tight jeans on a fecking hot day!  Do any of you remember that episode of Friends with Ross and the leather pants?  That was me.  I was Ross and I was fecked!

ross1I don’t think I actually have to go any further.  You all know what happened next.  *Sigh*  Yes, I had a squatty potty disaster – and it wasnt a little splash back situation, no ma’am, this was a fully fledged guidance system failure thanks to my sweaty skin tight jeans that I could only drag half way down my legs and fecked up knee bent into an unholy angle leaving me in a position that I couldn’t recover from.   And as soon as I realised what had happening it was too late and I literally peed all over myself!  To add insult to injury and to drag others into my mess a friend came running to my aid only to bend over and rip her own pants!  So there we were, two yabancılar in a little town a couple of hours from home, me covered in pee and my friend showing off her blue Primark knickers (I’m not sure if they actually were blue Primark knickers).  I am sure the locals had a good old laugh after we left.  The words salak yabancılar come to my mind and I’m sure it came to many of theirs as well!

What to do?  What to do?

I guess I should say I was lucky it was so fecking hot so I dried out pretty quickly and a few squirts of deodorant returned me to my pre-pee fresh scent but after this little disaster I have made an executive decision.  There shall be no more pee stories from this little yabancı. I am now on the hunt for one of those P-EZ pee-cups stat.  In future I shall stand tall and pee freely!

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Waiting For Rain (and hot flashes)

Despite the fact that I only returned from Down Under a month ago the never ending heat in the Village is sending me a little deli.  I mean yesterday is the perfect example.  There was talk of rain.  In fact no one spoke of anything else.  Adana had rain.  The Yayla had rain.  I believe even Mezitli had rain but here in the Village?  Nada.  Nothing.  Hiçbir şey değil!

And before any of you point out to me that it is Turkiye and of course it will be hot in summer I say this to you …. I am peri-menopausal and am pretty fecking agitated right now so before you start on me …. you have been warned!  I mean its fecking hot so why not add a hot flash to the hot.  Why fecking not???

sweating

I have decided to make a list about how many ways Mother Nature is screwing with us or screwing with me personally.  I do think it is personal.  Bitch must be peri-menopausal as well.

Anyway many of these are meme’s running around on the internet but, honestly, tell me I’m wrong folks:

  • Power blackouts. That shit will kill you because your air conditioning won’t work, your fan won’t work, nothing will fecking work but on the bright side if you have your air con blasting all night you will no doubt die of the grip (or so says your favourite teyze) so yeah power blackouts = death!
  • Hot shower? Or hot shower?  Hot water comes out of both faucets now.  The effort to towel dry just makes you sweat more and another hot shower is needed AND you have to dress in front of the fan or air conditioning so you stay dry!
  • Your thongs melt on the bitumen (no not “that” kind of thong).
  • The bitumen melts as well.
  • The temperature drops below 33 degrees. Woah!  Grab a jacket!  Wait!  Don’t grab a jacket!  You’re not Turkish silly!
  • Storm on the horizon? YES!    It’s now a Swedish sauna outside.  Steam non-optional!
  • You are prepared to drive great distances because the air conditioning works in your car.
  • You drive your car with your fingers.
  • You are afraid of your seatbelt.
  • The best parking spot is one with shade and yes you are prepared to go and move your car as the sun revolves around the earth.

steering wheel

On the bright side with no rain – probably ever again – it means that today’s chore of making the salca (I’ve got 100kg of biber waiting for me downstairs) will mean it can be done in one day.  Sure I might finish at midnight and sure I will no doubt be covered in bites and stained a bright red but in 2-4 weeks I will have my homemade salca ready for consumption.

The things we do!

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Dear Türkiye

I am not standing by your side today for I am far, far away but I know that you are suffering and I weep for you.

image1I know you must feel manipulated and bullied by those who want you for their own personal gain. Those that feel that they can control you and own you. I see you being scrutinized and gossiped about by your so-called friends and neighbours who twist their own hateful words to the world until you feel that there is no hope left. And I know there are those that wish you nothing but harm with wave after wave of attacks against your countrymen by an enemy wielding instruments of death. You have been overwhelmed by the hatred when you yourself have been so generous and opened your heart and your arms to welcome so many less fortunate. It must be hard to hold your head up high with so many wishing you harm.

Fighting for your life can be painful and God knows you have suffered. We are all witness to your pain. I know that you have tried to be strong. I see your brave attempt to take control of your future but you just weren’t strong enough today. Don’t give up Türkiye. Don’t let the hate and the negativity win.

A great man once said, “Peace at home, peace in the world”. You and I know that great man as your father Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. He once made you strong. He once made you proud. And if you just remember Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in time of pain you will become a strong and proud nation once again.

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Playing Catch Up

I just typed “May is finally here” into my Google search engine and it suggested to me to finish that sentence with “and dogs are finally celebrating”.  I have to wonder why dogs are celebrating.  Do they have a full social calendar in May?  Is there some doggy get together I know nothing about where they are free to pee on trees, sniff each other’s butts and drink too much doggy vino from toilet bowls?  Bilmiyorum.

As expected this post has started waayyyy off track so in order to bring it back to Mersin and Türkiye I will start again.

white rainbow

May is finally here in Mersin and the weather has begun to resemble an ‘80’s mix tape.  Those of you who are old enough *cough, cough* to remember the mix tape will no doubt have fond memories of hours sitting by their radio/cassette player waiting patiently for their favourite songs to come on.  For me it was Rick Astley, Toni Basil and, of course, Wham!  *hangs head in shame* so a Janey mix tape would give you a pretty crazy mix of music and that is what the weather is like right now (which was the analogy I was attempting at the outset of this post).  Oh and for you younger generation who are scratching their head at my ridiculous analogy think of an ’80’s mix tape as the equivalent of your iPod on shuffle.  Up to speed?  Okay!

It is deliciously warm though.  Not hot enough to say we’ve finally hit summer but definitely hot enough to hit the beach, well if you are yabancı anyway.  And hitting the beach is great right now because they are practically empty except for that one random Türk who you can never seem to get rid of.  He will infiltrate your group, drink your beer and play with your children before stripping off to his not so tightey whiteys and practically flash his soggy old Johnson in your face.

swimmer

But, like an ‘80’s mix tape or a shuffling iPod (yes like a dealer I am still pushing that old analogy), you just don’t know what’s coming up next and, in the blink of an eye, your sunshiny beach days are gone and you find yourself running for cover and hoping that a freaking house doesn’t fall on you and some smarmly little brunette runs off with your ruby slippers!

In the meantime our fruit trees have started to bear fruit and we have nectarine, apricots and peach (please don’t call it piç) in abundance as well as buckets full of mulberries.  The mulberry tree actually belongs to our elderly neighbours (no not Crazy Eyes) who are not so steady on their feet so The Turk and I happily fill bucket after bucket of mulberries for them before wandering around the village offering the berries to anyone who is willing to take them off our hands.  I’m telling you this mulberry tree is a reincarnation of The Magic Pudding and gives a never ending supply!  The Turk and BIL carried 5 buckets of mulberries to the school yesterday and gave them to the kids there.  When I went to the school last night with My Hurley Dog for his evening constitutional there were squashed mulberries everywhere (and I bet many of the kiddies went home with stained mulberry shirts as well).  I suspect The Turk won’t be as welcome with the buckets of fruit next time.

fruit

Speaking of Crazy Eyes my nemesis has been neutralized.  In an operation that was more dangerous than “Neptune Spear” my nemesis was captured and was giving a full Viking funeral aka he became mangal.  Crazy Eyes didn’t really care either.  I think she was probably happy to have a decent night’s sleep too and if I can be honest her eyes seem less crazy today.  No, no, don’t thank me Crazy Eyes.  I’m happy to be of help.

Speaking of mangal The Turk took Vito’s Rottweiler for a walk the other day and they came across a goat herder tending his flock.  The Rottweiler went into launch mode and, well, let’s just say that money had to change hands to sweep this particular incident under the table and leave it at that … oh and we had mangal then as well!

I know I have been particularly slack with updating you on my weekly dramas.  I guess I have become immune to the chaos here now.  I don’t bat an eyelid at my foghorn SIL screaming from her window at someone – anyone – below and I just laugh when I witness what will no doubt become WWIII between The Turk and his brother or The Turk and the neighbours or the neighbours and some random or, well just about anyone and anything.

Until next time …

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I am Ankara

On Sunday night a car bomb exploded in Turkey’s capital city of Ankara, killing 32 people and injuring more than 100.

Ankara 1

In February a car bomb exploded in Turkey’s capital city of Ankara, killing 28 and injuring more than 61.

Sound familiar?  Let’s keep going.

January 2016 – Istanbul 12 killed and 14 injured.

October 2015 – again in Ankara 102 killed and over 500 injured.

July 2015 – Suruç with 22 killed and 104 injured.

Enough yet?  Are you surprised by the numbers?

Maybe we should put a few faces to those that have lost their lives.

On the right is Deniz.  Deniz lost his life in the bombing in Ankara last October.  On the left is Ozancan who lost his life in the bombing on Sunday night.  Did they deserve to die at the hands of terrorists?

Ankara bombing

This is Elif.  She was 19 years old and going to University.  Why must her family suffer for the belief of another?

Ankara bombing 2

This is Mehmet Emre.  He was 16 when he died on Sunday night.  Why must his family shed tears for their son who was merely waiting for a bus?

Ankara bombing 3

Sunday night’s attack was on a busy street, at a metro hub filled with people young and old enjoying the springtime evening weather.

I will not point fingers or give opinions on what is right and what is wrong with the world.  I will say merely this – no political, cultural, or religious belief is worth the lives of these kids.  Kids with dreams.  Lives with real meaning to those around them.  Families shattered.  Devastation.

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Ho Ho Ho!

It’s just after midnight here in Mersin which means today is Christmas Eve.  Santa has already given me my Christmas present as on Wednesday I was given the all clear from the doctor and could get out of the house and frantically finish (read that as ‘start’) my Christmas shopping.

Thanks to social media I know that back home in Oz friends are indulging in some early celebrations with photos at packed beaches, parties on Sydney Harbour, leisurely lunches and generally having a merry old time.  They are frantically hitting the shops to buy their prawns and oysters, as well as mangoes and avocados all in readiness for their Christmas celebration whether it will be at the beach or by the pool or even a barbie in the backyard.  Ah Sydney – I can dream can’t I?

Christmas in Sydney

Here in Mersin, Christmas has been a pretty low key affair; in fact the last few years have been positively depressing.  On our actual first Christmas Day here I made a huge fuss and arranged a full Christmas lunch for the family with presents for everyone.  Unfortunately none of them came because, well, it was just Wednesday to them (plus most of them work and were unable to take a day off).  Having learned my lesson last year The Turk took Daughter and I out for lunch which was nice but not really special or Christmassy at all.

This year, however, I am excited at the prospect of Christmas Day as I have been invited to a friend’s house for lunch.  I am told, however, that calling tomorrow ‘Christmas lunch’ is not giving justice to the day or the meal for that matter.  This is no mere Christmas lunch; this will be a Christmas extravaganza.  There will be pork, and bacon (Eeekkk!).  There will be turkey (yes haha turkey in Turkey – hilarious).  There will be prawns.  There will be gravy and oodles of vegetables, and sugary biscuits and lots of Gluehwein.  There will be something called an Eton Mess and finally there will also be ox tongue (I’m not really sure what to say about that but it’s apparently a tradition).  This will not be a mere lunch either.  This is an all day, into the night and with the possibility of continuing into Boxing Day spectacular.  I am thinking of wearing my tracksuit pants as they are stretchy enough to sustain themselves throughout what will no doubt be a wonderful day full of great friends, lots of laughter and waaayyy too much food.

ChristmasDinner

To all of you who follow my ridiculous antics here in Mersin I say thank you and may all your Christmas wishes come true.

See you in 2016!  2016???  Crikey!

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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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The One Where Everyone Finds Out

I had been sitting on this post for a few weeks now.  I had to ensure that there was no potential to offend the family with this one.  After all I seem to offend everyone at every opportunity *waves hello to the Powers That Be*.

I hope you find it as amusing as I did … at the time.  Now it’s just old news.

aria shhh

So anyway … The family had been keeping a secret.  Oh I knew all about the secret but because it was a secret I kept it a secret.  I mean I still told my yabancı friends here in Mersin all about the secret and we giggled about the potential fallout but I kept it from you guys didn’t I?  I did not make it public because it was, after all, a secret.

But the secret is now public and it was monumental!  Families ripped apart.  Friendships destroyed.  Worlds colliding!  Not really, but whatever.

You’re chomping at the bit now aren’t you?  Tell us Janey!  What is the secret?

Well … you might recall this post I wrote about a year ago now about young love in the Village.  A bit of a Romeo and Juliet type sitch.  True love, blah blah blah denied to them by their heartless parents.  After a lot of tears and a lot of threats Romeo and Juliet finally got their parent’s blessing and they ran off and had their nikah.

For the uninitiated a nikah is a ceremony between the bride and groom and is performed before a state appointed bureaucrat or sometimes a religious leader.  It is a very simple ceremony.  No more than 10 minutes in total and then you are legally married.

Anyway the nikah took place and everyone was happy, everyone was in love.  Romeo returned to his family home and the Juliet to hers as is the custom here in the Village.  The wedding party (reception) would take place a few weeks later and at that time the newlyweds will live as husband and wife.

A few days after the nikah Juliet arrived to prepare their home.  They built right next door to us – and when I say right next door I mean RIGHT NEXT DOOR.  Their building is flat against our building – see my thoughts on this particular crapfest here.  God only knows what approvals (if any) were gotten for this building but it does again beg the question why were we fined for building a second storey when they (and fecking everyone else around us) have obviously built without approval.  OK I am getting a little off track here.

The newlyweds borrowed our car (yes we are officially known as a hire car/taksi service for half of the fecking Village) so they could go and purchase cleaning supplies.  When they returned a mere FIVE hours later (!!!) she was screaming.  She was crying.  She was calling him every name under the sun.  Senden nefret ediyorum!  I hate you.  I hate your mother. I hate your father.  I hate the world.  The wedding is off!

Hold on a minute.  The wedding has already happened hasn’t it?  Ugh why is everything so confusing in Türkiye?

She disappeared into the sunset and has yet to return BUT the family kept it a secret.  In fact they still handed out wedding invitations in the hope that she would come to her senses.   Romeo arrived on her doorstep and begged her to go through with the wedding.  Nope.  Vito arrived on her doorstep and begged her to go through with the wedding.  No way Jose!  Juliet was standing her ground and, to be honest, I was impressed that she held out when many others would have caved.  She cannot marry him.  She does not love him and, frankly, she hates Vito’s wife with the passion of a thousand fiery suns (at this point she got some brownie points from The Turk because he hates her too).

A few days later Juliet updated her Facebook status to single.  This shit is serious.  Social media serious!

But the family still continued with the farce of the wedding proceeding.  They went and paid for the wedding salon and for the DJ.  All was well.  The secret was still a secret.  There was a LOT of whispering in the village of course – gossip is pure gold to these people – but still the family forged ahead with the secret until the very end because that’s what families do.

Until the incident.  Yes there was an incident and it will probably not surprise you that The Turk is smack in the middle of it all.

For those of you who live in Türkiye you all would have been to the party where the furniture is delivered to the newlywed’s home.  It’s probably got an official name to the party but I dunno what it is.  It usually takes place a few days before the wedding and gives everyone a chance to bring presents and help them set up.  This is a huge deal in the Village and the neighbours all began to question when this was going to take place, after all the wedding party was on the weekend.  At this point I said to The Turk that they may as well come clean and get on with it.  The wedding is obviously not going to take place.  Hayir!  There is still a chance of reconciliation.  I rolled my eyes.  Ain’t gonna happen!

Three nights before the wedding date Juliet’s father and other various family members arrived outside with a large truck full of furniture that Vito had purchased for the newlyweds and unceremoniously deposited said furniture onto the driveway!  Well didn’t the shit hit the fan at this point!  All of the men in our family ran outside ready to fight (including The Turk who had had a few drinks and was feeling a little feisty).  About now Sensible Janey says,  “Go and stop this before someone gets hurt” but Fun Janey says “Relax.  Grab a bira and let’s watch the show.”  I went with the latter and in fact invited my sister in law to come up and watch with us from the terrace.

The outsiders

I just need to paint this picture for you.  Do you remember the rumble scene from The Outsiders. You know between the Greasers and the Socs. In the rain.  Patrick Swayze in a wet t-shirt?  Rob Lowe who seriously never ages?  Tom Cruise before he got his teeth (and his nose) fixed?  It was dramatic and very, very hot wasn’t it?  This was NOT that.  This was two groups of middle aged men, none of whom resembled Patrick Swayze or Tom Cruise, and all of them who, frankly, should know better.  We have The Turk who, of course, recently had heart surgery.  We have Vito who back in March fell down some stairs (while drunk) and ended up nearly breaking his back.  We have the older, slightly balding, brother who feels that negotiation is the key to any argument (although he is not very good at it) and we have the younger brother who, although I love him dearly, really is a bit of a simpleton.  Along with these four middle aged dumb asses we have Romeo and his brother.  On the other side of this tense situation was a truck, a load of furniture and four very much middle aged men.  Similarly these men would never be confused for Patrick Swayze or Tom Cruise and no doubt their own medical histories, but these four men were surly and grim, and oh so ready to protect their daughter/niece/cousin’s honour, if necessary.

SIL, Daughter and I took our seats on the terrace just in time to witness The Turk grab one of the surly, grim visitors by the face and physically push him away.  Yikes!  I know I should probably have run downstairs and pull the leash on The Turk’s behaviour but I knew better than to get involved.  Keep the feck away and get ready for the fallout!

The neighbours all started to arrive because The Turk’s foul temper is legendary and no doubt this was going to be some great entertainment for all.  There was a lot of yelling and hand gesturing.  There was the occasional jostling; a hell of a lot of swearing and “he said, she said” but by the end of it all the secret was no longer a secret and the wedding was officially canned.

Two weeks have now passed since the secret came out and Romeo doesn’t seem too distraught by the break up (although he does update his Facebook status with some very deep, quite disturbing statements).  He has already replaced Juliet with a newer model (who apparently is, in fact, a model) so kudos to him.  Juliet has been seen out and about (although she will no doubt never set foot anywhere near this place again).  The Turk sheepishly went to visit Juliet’s family and apologised for his unruly behaviour and the gossiping ladies of the Village have more than enough to keep them busy for the next few weeks.

I still bring up The Turk’s unruliness at any opportunity and he still tells me to get fecked regularly.  So all is good in the world.

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A Little Bit of Everything – and a lot of Nothing!

I have found it difficult to blog recently.  I didn’t want to jump straight back into my usual humour after the last few posts about the refugee crisis.  It seemed rather insensitive.  So I gave it a little rest and for those of you who ‘like’ my FB page I have just been putting up some political and humorous links about Türkiye.

So I will ease into it and just spit out a few little tit bits to get us started.  Is it ‘tit bits’ or ‘tid bits’?  ‘Tit bits’ sounds wrong.

First up, it is Bayram right now.  For those of you who don’t know what Bayram is here is some lay person information.  Think of it as Bayram for Dummies.  When I was pregnant I brought Pregnancy for Dummies and it was extremely helpful.  Thankfully so far this year it has been a quiet one.  Do you remember when you were kids and you would have one Christmas at home and then the next at some other relo’s house?  This is what appears to have happened so far this year.  Everyone in the family has disappeared – except my father in law.  Never my father in law.  We still have to make the obligatory trips to extended family members and, of course, there are the constant trips to the fecking cemetery, but I think I am going to get through this Bayram stress free!  Finger’s crossed though as I don’t want to jinx myself.  Iyi Bayramlar!

baby goat

Next up on my list is this – I don’t think it is every going to rain in Mersin again.  EVER!  There is the potential for a good rain.  There are dark clouds, really ominous clouds.  There is even excitement but, sadly, no follow through.  The sun comes out again and the never ending heat continues to taunt us.  LIKE A BITCH!  And it’s been raining fecking everywhere in Turkey right now.  Bodrum has had flooding.  Marmaris has storms.  Even Adana has had some crazy downpours.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am still a summer girl.  I hate the cold and generally I hate the rain as well but after a rain free zone of some 120+ days I really need a downpour to take the edge off.  I need a fix.  Yes, yes I know we had a storm after that recent earthquake but that was more of an addendum to the earthquake and, anyway, that was more wind than anything else so it doesn’t count.

So I am still waiting.  And it is still motza hot here.  And I am kinda over it.  And of course I will complain about the cold soon enough but right now – I just want a little rain!

On the bright side school goes back on Monday after 8,765 days off (well it seems like it anyway).  That is 8,765 days of Daughter loving Calum Hood (from 5SOS), dreaming about Calum Hood, talking about Calum Hood and hating absolutely everyone and absolutely everything else.  That means you!  And me!  And definitely The Turk!  When I was 13 I was going to marry George Michael.  I didn’t.  But I am holding out that Daughter gets her dream wedding to her dream man.  I mean they both love Hawaiian Pizza so it looks like they could be a perfect match!  So if any of you happen to know Mr Calum Hood let me know would you.

calum 2

Finally I am still holding onto my dream of becoming the next J.K. Rowling (or more correctly a Turkish-inspired Jackie Collins – ooh la la!) and have been plugging away on completing my first novel.  I start.  I stop.  I delete.  I start again.  But I am pushing myself this time thanks to a little bit of encouragement from a friend here in Mersin.  So if I disappear I will be back.  I should probably keep going while I have the enthusiasm.

Oh and speaking of my blog I was recently contacted by a mainstream news channel to give an opinion on the freedom of press in Türkiye.  Thank you very much but I as I said to them I am merely a little blogger and not nearly as knowledgable as I could be or should be to give an opinion on pretty much anything.  Plus I kind of like being anonymous (I know I am not really anonymous) but I don’t want to get blocked (or worse) so I’ll just keep smiling and writing about kittens and unicorns! I was totally chuffed at being noticed by them though.  For those of you interested in seeing the report the link is here.

So that’s it for now.

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Fantasy v Reality

Well it is that time of year again when I hear from those who have fallen head over heels, met their one true love and are looking at moving (or perhaps have already moved) to Türkiye to live the fantasy with their beloved.

Holiday romance

This is the epic love story isn’t it?  This is the love story that The Bard wrote about centuries before, a love more powerful than Napoleon and Josephine and a love that will last through eternity like Jack and Rose.  But just before you go packing your bags and dreaming of a new life in Türkiye with your true love let’s go over what you are getting yourself into – a little bit of a reality check shall we say.

For the sake of this post I am going to assume that you have met your true love in Marmaris or Fethiye or Bodrum (like me).  A holiday romance (like me).  And for the sake of this post I am going to assume that you are female (although no discrimination intended guys).  Finally for the sake of this post I am guessing that your man does not live permanently in Marmaris, Fethiye or Bodrum and instead comes from a small village some 18 hours away (or 12 hours or even 4 hours) where he will return to his family home for the winter months (again like me).

Right – let’s get started.

Can you imagine a life living in a quaint Turkish village?  Would you be happy living with your in-laws, his family, literally surrounded by hundreds of people and yet somehow being incredibly lonely?  Are you ready to immerse yourself entirely into a culture that is incredibly foreign and can be relentlessly unforgiving at times?

Take off the rose coloured glasses people.

Look again at that quaint village?  In daylight what it might really be is a bit of a dump.  If this place was back in your homeland you wouldn’t be caught dead living here.  Right?  Am I right?  I’m right.  Electricity comes and goes.  So does the water.  And speaking of water, is it safe to drink? Maybe.  And those people around you?  Are you merely a slave to wait on them or perhaps you are seen as nothing more than a yabancı and generally get ignored from morning to night.  I am not saying that they are going to treat you like that so don’t start losing your mind and writing me horrid messages, I am saying they might be.  It happens.  You, as the gelin, may be expected to do a lot of running around for the fam bam.  Be prepared for that possibility.

What about that lifestyle you were after?  Do you picture yourself spending your days on the farm, perhaps walking through the quaint village, arm and arm with your love, waving to your neighbours and having time to smell the roses?

That’s not roses you are smelling people – its horse shit, or cow shit, or goat shit, or … well you get the picture … and it is everywhere!

Are you designed to live on a farm or did you grow up in a wing at Buckingham Palace (or in my case Manly Beach).  Trust me when I say the sounds of chickens clucking and cock-a-doodle-dooing is like a jackhammer to my ears and I believe that meat should be purchased from a supermarket and not retrieved from your driveway after Baa Baa was slaughtered before your very eyes.

But you will make allowances after all you will be together with your love.  It will be wonderful.  A happy life.

*Cough, cough*

As long as you realise that he has been working away from home for over six months and, now that he has returned home, he will no doubt need to get another job to continue to support his family (and you) for the next six months until the summer season re-starts.  Work can be scarce for many here in Türkiye.  He will no doubt work extremely long hours leaving you at home with his family or maybe all by yourself.  Perhaps he will disappear for hours to the local cay ev for cards leaving you to stare at the four walls making you feel like your home is your prison cell.  Of course he will need to visit all of his extended family and you will be dragged from home to home like a show pony.  Are you ready for that?

Don’t get me wrong people, I love Türkiye but I arrived here in The Village with my eyes wide open.  I had travelled here every year for a decade before we made the decision to pack up our lives.  I knew what I was getting myself into and I still find it difficult.  Every single day.  Difficult.  If you think that this is going to be your very own Shirley Valentine or Eat, Pray, Love then do yourself a favour and unpack your bag right now, get on the telephone or on Skype or Whatsap and nut out some ground rules for you and your love.

He will need to support you 110%  I don’t mean financially, I mean emotionally.  You have moved here from your comfortable home, from a country that is your mother tongue and you have left your family and your friends behind.  He cannot get angry at you.  He must not get frustrated or ignore you.  You will have questions.  Hundreds of them.  I still do.

You will be lonely.  Thank God for Facebook (don’t diss me I mean it).  Find expats groups.  Find likeminded people.  I know this might be difficult in the small village (I’m the only one in our village) but look in the neighbouring towns.  Some from our expats group here in Mersin come from small villages in the mountains or even from neighbouring cities to spend the day with friends.  Offer to help at the local school.  Your English is a gift to the teachers here.

Really, really do your research.  Find out where you will be living and what it means to live in that area.  If it is a teeny, tiny village you need to throw yourself into that lifestyle wholeheartedly.  Find out what allowances you will need to make – culturally that is.  Will you be living in a conservative area?  Can you do that or do you want to wear your cut-off shorts and to hell with them all?!  Perhaps you will be living with his family.  You will have no privacy.  They will come and re-arrange your drawers or walk into your room unannounced at all hours.  Boundaries.  Draw that line in the sand and make sure he (and his family) abides by it.

Finally a little bit of advice for your partner from me –

This lady is your true love.  She has moved here to be with you.  Don’t make her regret that decision.  Do the right thing.  Treat her with the respect that she deserves.  Treat her like a fecking princess!  She IS a fecking princess!! Spend time with her.  Don’t disappear for hours on end leaving her to your family to entertain.  Help her settle in to her new environment.  Please don’t get agitated at her when she is unsure of herself or of what is going on around her.  Understand the difficulties that she is having with the language barrier or the culture.  Most importantly don’t be a complete douche or you will lose her forever!

Now breathe … and go pack those bags!

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Loving this blog? Please help me build my audience and share with like minded people who, like you, love this beautiful country called Turkey and unicorns.  Yep you also love unicorns. You can also subscribe or like me on Facebook for all updates.