As easy as “bir, iki, üç”

With Daughter now back at the village school and with The Turk in the Land Down Under I find that some spare time on my hands.  What to do?  What to do?  I could lie in the sunshine and work on my tan?  Or I could go for lunch at the Marina or Forum with friends?  Nah.  I need to do something constructive with my free time and so I decided on having some private Turkish lessons with Daughter’s Turkish tutor.

Daughter’s tutor is a cousin of a cousin of a cousin or something and is absolutely a delight.  She was recommended to us by an English teacher from one of the private schools in Mersin but we seriously hit the payload when we realised that she was related and not just some random teacher.  Bonus!  Her enthusiasm to teach Daughter has made it a breeze for her to pick up the language and Daughter loves her because she is young, beautiful and funky.  She and Daughter bonded over their mutual love of Starbucks and shopping!  If only all teachers could be Ipek!

I admit that hang my head in shame knowing that I have been in the country for over a year and my Turkish is still ridiculously bad.  I had every intention of enrolling at Mersin University and taking Turkish classes (also a great way to meet other expats) but the idea of making my way on two buses at the crack of dawn 4 days a week did not inspire me to learn.  I had also assumed that immersing in the language would mean that I would pick up the skills in no time.  Yep.  Nope.  I just did not realise it was going to be quite so hard.


Ummm …

In just one lesson I have learned that half of what comes out of my mouth is complete gibberish and it explains why Daughter gets so darn embarrassed when I attempt to speak in public.  We end up coming to blows most of the time because she is embarrassed by me and I am annoyed at her attitude in return.  Last weekend we were on the dolmus and usually I leave it to Daughter to ask them to pull over but I thought I would have a go and ask the driver myself.  “Musait bir yer“.  I sounded great.  Well I thought I sounded great anyway.  Daughter said I sounded like I was speaking an Alien language and now, after my first lesson with Ipek, I realise I was speaking an Alien language.  I sounded like a dead set goose. Incidentally musait bir yer does not say “stop the bus” or “let me off” it translates literally to “suitable a place”.  Can you see why I am having difficulties.  Who talks like that (other than Yoda and Google translate).

I survived my first lesson by learning my alfabe (alphabet). “A, B, C’s” although I now know it is not “aye, bee, see” it is in fact “ah, be, je”.

Right, so back to kindergarten for me.

Don’t get shot!

I am embarrassed to say this but Daughter is nearly 12 and never had a bike.  Living in North Sydney it was easier to walk everywhere and after moving to the suburbs our street was a cut through so was exceedingly busy.  Now living in the Village Daughter has the opportunity to ride until her hearts consent with only one little hiccup.  I had never taught Daughter how to ride a bike.  I am a terrible parent.  Parent failure 101.  I hang my head with parental shame.


As you know yesterday The Turk surprised Daughter with an extremely early 12th birthday present (her birthday isn’t until June and we will be in Australia on the celebratory day of her birth) of a beautiful, shiny new bike.  She was a little worried about not being able to ride and also she didn’t want her cousins to see her potentially fail so Daughter and I walked right up to the other end of the village where we found a nice quiet lane and yavaş, yavaş (slowly, slowly) Daughter slowly but surely learnt the art of riding a bike.

Our first attempt was a bit of a failure.  A car turned down the street and scared Daughter witless.  She yelled at the car as it went past, “student driver, student driver”.  I was laughing as she yelled but then she started wobbling, lost control, lost confidence and stacked the bike into a wall.  I was still laughing but only on the inside.

On her second attempt I ran alongside her to give her the confidence to take off on her own.  She was doing ok.  She didn’t crash.  She kept it in a semi-straight line.  She had mastered bike riding in 15 minutes.  “Bloody kids a genius” and then “BANG”!  I heard the distinct sound of gunfire!  I ground to a halt but, of course, she kept going (having not used the brake before). “Don’t get shot” I yelled at her back as she worked the brakes.  Eventually coming to a stop at the end of the lane she fell off the bike and ran back to me.  I knew where the shot came from.  I knew which house it was.  I had seen them before with the rifle doing target practice in their yard.  I yelled through the wire fence – just to let them know that we were there.  The owner of the rifle waved hello and asked how I was.  Well you are randomly firing bullets as we are going past so I’m not that great at the moment thanks mate – and God help me he was carrying the rifle in one hand and his infant son in the other!  Daughter and I ran back to the bike and we waited a moment assessing whether the gunfire had stopped.  It had so she hopped back on the bike and again I ran alongside her until, finally, I let go.  As she rode off I yelled “Don’t get shot”.  Again excellent parenting skills.

She made it to the end of the lane when “bang” another shot ran out.  Phew we timed that well.  I ran passed the fence and back to Daughter.  Making a sound parental decision I suggested we choose another lane to ride in.  Daughter nodded in agreement and we continued down the street me walking and Daughter riding until we found an area that was a little less dangerous.

Daughter hopped back on the bike and with my catchcry “Don’t get shot” yelled after her she took off like a bull at a gate.  She didn’t look back.

Parental success.  Fist pump moment.  She had had a few stacks but there was no stopping her now – and she wasn’t shot which was good too.



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