“They’re called boobs Ed”

No I have not flashed my boobs at some unsuspecting Turk here in Mersin instead I am going to get on my Erin Brockovich styled high horse and talk about something serious.  Boring!  Close the page and go back to your cat videos or photos of naked Kim Kardashian or whatever quickly because Janey is off on another tangent!

Starting off small I hate the fact that The Turk says all the fruit and vegetables are “organic” but I watch sprays and poisons being used by my neighbours on a daily basis.  The smell will waft up to our terrace and I know I am breathing in God only knows what type of cancer causing toxins.  Hate it!

blinkyWhat is worse is that I live quite near a chemical factory.  According to their website the factory manufactures “calcium ammonium nitrate and diammonium phosphate as well as fertilizer as nitric acid, sulfuric acid and phosphoric acid production”.  What are these things?  Who the feck knows as I failed 8th grade science but I am pretty damn sure that the yellow smoke that spews out of the factory at 3 in the morning isn’t good for your health and it is probably spilling its overflow into our waterways causing Blinky to mutate.  Perhaps if I serve Blinky up as Marge did then people will start to realise just how dangerous these chemicals are to our environment.

To go a little further on the subject of our water here in Mersin recently we had a water filtration system installed in our kitchen which, although incredibly expensive to install, in the long run will ultimately save us money.  It also means we are not lugging huge bottles of water up stairs twice a week.  While the system was being installed they tested our tap water for contamination and pathogens and I am calling it – it was putrid!  Interestingly they also tested a sample of our well water and I was surprised to learn that the well water is so dirty that it would be dangerous to even bathe in it which leads me back to the three eyed fish comment above.

What else?  Oh, yes, I know I have questioned this before but why are they building a nuclear power plant in a country where earthquakes are regular occurrences?  Did they not learn anything from Japan?  There has been a lot of interest in the legality of the approval to build this environmental disaster in the making and there are many current court cases on the dock regarding the legality of the Environmental Impact Statement.  Turkey’s Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) have replaced the judges overseeing the cases filed against the power plant although as the HSKY is frequently criticised for interfering in high profile cases I cannot see a fair trial any time in the near future after all money talks.  Should I point out that this power plant will be operated by a Russian company.  Hello?  Chernobyl anyone?

While I am finally climbing down off my high horse and adjusting my pants I just want to give you all a final example of stupidity – the proposed development at Gallipoli/Gelibolu.  I am appalled at the possibility of any development on this peninsular.  This should be a World Heritage site protected so future generations have the opportunity to visit, to learn and to pay their respects.  To my Aussie friends and followers spread the word and let your local representative know about this ridiculous approval.  The money that Turkey gains from Australian tourism would have to have some bearing on any potential development surely?  (See story here).

Ugh I have brought you all down haven’t I?  Sorry guys but I just shake my head at the ridiculousness of the situation here sometimes.  Everything is just so fecking difficult and it just shouldn’t be!

On a bright note a friend has just returned from Bodrum with bacon.  BACON!  Imma gonna eat bacon for breakfast on Saturday morning!  If life is bringing you down … well get a friend to bring you bacon and everything will be alright!

BACON!

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Enough is enough

I feel like I have fallen down the rabbit hole here.  Writing this post took time but it also took a hell of a lot of research on my part and at each breath I found another shocking revelation regarding women’s rights here in Turkey.  I had no idea of the shocking statistics – 300 women were killed by men here in Turkey in 2014, an additional 100 more were raped.  Enough is enough.

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My recent post drew such an amazing response from you but more importantly it has helped get the message out, not just here in Turkey, but all over the world.

With the hashtag #sendeanlat (tell me your story) trending on social media,  with over 800,000 hits, the message is simple – Turkish women have had enough. Enough of the innuendo by the young men who trail you home.  Enough of the man rubbing himself against you on the train (which happened to me recently in Istanbul).  Enough of the suggestion that you may have asked for it by your choice of dress.  Enough of an employer using his power to gain your favour and enough of your husband, your father, or even a complete stranger raising their hand for the slightest infraction.  Add to this the hashtag #ozgecanicinminietekgiy (wear a miniskirt for Özgecan) and you can see that Turkish people really do want their country to change.

With the heightened media attention spurring Turkish politicians into action with promises of harsher punishment against perpetrators here in Mersin billboards have begun to appear with Özgecan’s image asking the question ““Have you heard the screams of Özgecan?” This refers to the recent suggestion by Government officials that women should scream loudly if assaulted.  I just want to point out that Özgecan did shout, the authorities confirmed this.  She screamed.  She scratched.  She used pepper spray against her attacker but no one could help her.  The fact is that women should not need to scream.  Women should be safe to walk down the street, or catch a bus.  Rather than teaching women to scream or to protect themselves perhaps it would be better for men to be taught to respect women.

I have to ask myself if teaching respect is enough though as there has also been instances of shaming women in recent days.  The most public example was the host of Survivor All Stars Nihat Dogan who, rather than showing sympathy towards what happened to Özgecan he chose to make inappropriate remarks about her attire at the time of her death.  This eşek was put in his place pretty swiftly though and was fired from his hosting gig.  Good work Channel 8.

Change begins with the current Government.  With a little adjustment to their current attitude (do you remember when I wrote this President Erdogan’s recent perception on women’s equality back in November – yikes!) and with an acknowledgement of equality between women and men then lives will really change here for the better.  The next step is education which is crucial in the prevention of violence against women and that education needs to start in the schools.  Specialised training should be given to teachers to help them identify children at risk and also to teach awareness and behaviour towards not just women but to each other as a whole.  Teach children that raising your hand is not the answer and within one generation – only one generation – this antiquated behaviour will be wiped out.

Did you know that in January of this year 27 women were murdered by men here in Turkey.  Stop making excuses Turkey. There was no excuse for what happened to Özgecan.  There is nothing that can give back that young woman her life, to return her to her family and her friends.  Enough is enough.

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Normally here I would ask you to like my blog for all updates.  Today I am asking you to share this post.  The more people who spread the word the better.  x

My Letter to Özgecan

I never had the pleasure of meeting you Özgecan.  I never had the chance to hear you laugh with your friends or sing along to your favorite tune.  No I did not know you at all but I know you now.  Your name will forever be etched into my heart and into the hearts of millions of others here in Turkey and around the world who woke on Valentine’s Day, the day of romance, to the sickening news of your death at the hands of a monster.  We are shocked beyond words hearing of your suffering and of knowing that the simple task of stepping on a bus is no longer safe here in Mersin.

Aslan

What happened to you happens to other women every day, all over the world.  Whether it is in New Delhi or Melbourne monsters can be found everywhere.  But with your death comes the news that tens of thousands of people are marching in cities all over Turkey angry for your pain and suffering.  They are angry that this has happened to you.  For too long women have not felt safe as they stand in their kitchen, walk down the street or even step onto a bus.  For too long society has looked the other way at certain behaviour but today it is time for Turkey to change and you are an important part of that change.  What happened to you Özgecan and the reactions of people here in Mersin and all around your beautiful country prove that they too want things to change.

I watched with tears of pride as your friends and family defied the imam as he told them to “let the men” carry your body.  Hayir.  They stood by you and helped you to your final resting place.  These women will never forget you Özgecan and they will stand up for you and yell your name with honour.

People no longer want to hear that women are secondary to men.  We no longer want to listen to politicians who outlandishly state that “violence against women is just about selective perception (thank you Fatma Şahin, AKP Family Minister)” or “equality between men and women is against nature” (thank you Recep Tayip Erdogan, President). No Özgecan we will no longer allow politicians to sprout nonsense that should be basic human rights.

Today people are calling for much needed change and, although you had to lose your life, I hope that the powers that be will realise that changes must be made to ensure that no one else must spend their last moments in fear at the hands of another.

Özgecan your soul is now soaring in the sunlight.  You have no more pain.  We will remember your name and we will remember you.

I am reminded of something Maya Angelou said, “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

Rest in peace Özgecan.

Let’s Pretend that Today Never Happened

Everything I type in today’s post can be filed under the heading “Shit Happens”.  It does you know.  Shit really does happen. All the time.   To good people and to not so good people.  To people who, you might say, deserve a karmatic (this is a real word) explosion of diarrhetic (alright this may not be a real word) deuce and it also happens to people who are as heroic as Ghandi or as pious as the Pope.  But today I feel like I was handed a bucket load of bok and I am hovering pretty close to the edge right now.

Shit Happens

Let me set the scene.  Candles?  Romantic music?  No people, this scene requires more dark clouds and depressing music.  Possibly elevator muzak playing Depeche Mode.  Is it muzak or music?

Wait!

I was on the dolmuş yesterday when a tiny Turkish man with a rather hairy moustache sat down beside me … and sneezed.  All over me.  I felt his germ-filled gust of Turkish breath whoosh over me and I could feel his festering microbes invade my throat, my eyes and my nose.  Ick!  I wiped my face as he apologised but it was too late.  The damage was done and within 8 hours I was coughing and sneezing.  I was a Codral tablet away from death.  Bastard!  So now I have the dreaded grip.  Again.

Now you can imagine my state of mind when I woke this morning after a night of snot and phlegm.  Adding to the joy of the grip I awoke to the bonus of no electricity.  “Shit happens” I hear you cry.  Yes, too true but I won’t be beaten by the lack of electricity.  This is just a blip on my day.  Soldier on.

I made myself a cup of tea and opened the refrigerator to grab the milk.  No milk.  “Shit happens” the Gods from above declare.  Maybe, but maybe Daughter could have left me a mere drip for my tea this morning.  I made a mental note to pull out my voodoo doll with her name on it and I left the house to go to the market.

Of course it is pouring with rain and I cannot find my umbrella so I ran through the rain dodging the puddles only to find that … the market wasn’t open yet.  Yep, “Shit happens”.

My next “Shit happens” moment needs a little background – The Turk has arranged to build yet another apartment above ours (because you can never have too many apartments) however as one of our lovely neighbours complained about the building work the belediye (Council) recently handed us a stop work order.  We now have a partially built apartment above us but this isn’t the “Shit happens” moment, not for me anyway.  My “Shit happens” moment is the fact that because the building work has been cut short by this jealous, asshole neighbour today’s downpour is allowing a stream of water to pour into every room in the house through the partially built walls and holes in our ceiling.  As I run around placing buckets and pots to collect the rainwater I can be heard yelling, “Shit happens!”

So here I am, suffering from the grip with no electricity, no hope of a cup of tea and water pouring through the roof.  It’s not even 9am.  At that point I contemplated purchasing a hallucinogen, maybe I could find a Turkish equivalent to LSD or some mushrooms, to take me away from myself.  I could float off to my very own magical Willy Wonka-esque world filled with unicorns and fairy floss.  No, I cry, soldier on … plus the electricity came back on.  Bonus!

And can I just amend the above statement, thankfully the electricity came back on as Daughter came rushing down the hallway yelling that she needed to straighten her hair before school.  Oh the horror, the trauma, of leaving the house with frizzy hair!  It shall not be!

I finally got my cup of tea (with milk) when my father in law arrived at the door.  He arrives on my doorstep every – single – day.  Without fail.  From breakfast to dinner he is here.  Except Sundays.  On Sundays he can be found at my sister in law’s (SIL) home, after all her food is better than mine and she puts up with his crap.  Plus she bathes him.  I would rather eat my own toenails than bathe him.  Anyway my father in law arrives complaining.  Yagmur!  Really?  It’s raining?  I look out the window in feigned wonder.  Oh?!  It is raining?  Thank you for stating the obvious.  He then proceeds to tell me it is cold and that he needs a blanket.  And a cup of cay.  Drop everything folks.   Get Dede a blanket!  Get Dede cay!  Go on, say it – “You wanted this life.  Shit happens!”

Finally it is noon and Daughter leaves for school, with perfectly straight hair, but still complaining and my father in law is quietly snoring on the couch.  Finally.  Peace.

I grab the television remote and started flicking through the channels.  The telephone rings.  Oh no.  Please.  God no.  I looked at the ID on the telephone.  SIL’s work.  I contemplated not answering it.  I knew what would happen if I did.  I sighed as I reached for the telephone.  It seems that the Cabbage Patch Kid is crying – again – and her older sister has had enough of her whining.  Oh wonderful, so now I get to enjoy the whining!  “Shit happens”.

I am now sitting at my desk with my earphones on.  They are blasting Beyonce (don’t judge me) to drown out the crap going down behind me.  The Cabbage Patch Kid has thrown herself on the floor and is sulking – loudly.  Her sister Tatli is ignoring her and yelling down the telephone at her mother.  My father in law is asleep on my couch with Planet Turk blasting away and the bucket in the middle of the salon catching the dripping water is nearly full.

Yep.  It really is true – shit happens!

Addendum – I actually wrote this yesterday but after I finished tapping out the last exclamation point my SIL arrived on my doorstep.  She too had had a terrible day and she sat at my kitchen bench and cried.  She is tired.  Tired of working hard for little thanks, tired of her family (which probably includes me), of her children (which I for one totally understand) and definitely tired of her shitty life.  As I handed her a glass of cay I realised just how lucky I am.

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Snippets of Wisdom

As an expat from sunny, organised Sydney I grew up very entitled to way things should be done.  Since moving to the melting pot of crazy that is Mersin I have had to learn, and sometimes the hard way, that shit just don’t happen the way it is ought to.  If you are making plans to move to Mersin or in fact to any city in Turkiye my earnest advice to you is this –

mersin

Nothing ever happens according to schedule

The Turkish way of life may seem crazy and hectic but on closer inspection it very much operates on a slower pace than most.  Time management is obviously a course not taught here in Turkey.  Just take it as a given that things don’t happen according to schedule and embrace the chaos.  Save your sanity.  You are going to need it.

The Turks love overcomplicating things

Speaking of schedules if it can be done quickly and efficiently then it is being done wrong and should be thrown out the window.  Who doesn’t love a little red tape with their morning kahve?  Me that’s who!  I have spent more time in notaries, the Emniyet, the Nufus, Polis and any other Government department you can name having papers stamped then running to the other side of the city to pay a lodgement fee (why you cannot pay your lodgement fee at the time of lodgement is completely beyond my pea sized brain’s understanding).  If by chance you are in the right place at the right time then you are dealing with a worker who will no doubt tell you that you do you need additional documents, or additional photos or even additional stamps, to sort out whatever it is that you’re trying to get done.

Don’t forget that everything shuts at lunchtime.  I know!  The idea of going to the bank on your lunch break just doesn’t exist here.  Instead you spend that break standing at the door of whichever bank, post office or Government department in the hope of being the first through when it re-opens an hour later.

Bonus advice –passport sized photos.  Get them.  You have them already?  Pfftt!  Get more.  You are going to need them.

Queuing is not a thing

Ahh how I miss the simplicity of the queue.  Particularly in places like the Emniyet where you may step up to the counter in the Foreigner’s Office only to be inundated by a crowd of sweaty men (generally it is always men) who will yell over you to get their point across.  My advice?  Don’t stand there patiently waiting your turn while the crowd drifts along.  Use your elbow and throw out a curse word in your native tongue on occasion.  It may not help but you will definitely feel better.  Learn to do as they do or you will never see the light of day again.

Personal space is but a pipedream  

Remember that scene from Dirty Dancing “This is your dance space, this is my dance space”?  Yep it doesn’t exist here.  Everything is their dance space.  Your dance space just doesn’t exist.  Sure come and sit next to me.  No don’t be silly, of course a little closer is fine.  Stare at me intently.  Who doesn’t appreciate that?

Family comes first (and sometimes second and third as well)

This is the most important point to learn if you wish to survive here in Mersin (or Turkiye).  If you are fortunate enough (or unfortunate enough depending on how you feel at the time) to be married or living with a Turkish man (or woman I don’t discriminate) remember that their family will become part of your existence.  The love of their family, the strength of this bond is one of the most intense emotions I have ever witnessed.  They idolise their mothers.  She can do no wrong.   Learn to embrace that now or pack up and move back to your point of origin.  Expect them to be on your doorstep at the crack of dawn, to tell you how you should clean your home, how you should cook your meals and how you should raise your child.  Oh and buy yourself a couch that opens to a bed – you are going to need it.

Is there anything you think I have missed?  Let me know below.

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Turkiye’s Very Own Polar Vortex

In case you have been living under a rock the past few days social media in Turkiye has been blowing up with both the expats and Turks alike going on about the crazy cold weather we are having right now.  Soğuk, çok soğuk! (It’s cold, very cold!). Talk about “Keeping up with the Kardashians”, Turkiye goes and freezes over just to be like their fancy neighbours.

All over the country the weather has been abysmal.  Villages and towns have been snowed in, flights cancelled and even here in Mersin hell has literally frozen over.  I mean really – it snowed!  I know right!?!

Mersin snow

This shouldn’t happen.  I was only writing here about how hot it was a couple of months back.  This is an extreme turnaround and it really isn’t acceptable to me.

Electricity is scant and this transforms The Turk from his manly man Turkish self into, well, into a bit of a girly princess.  As expected this transformation has also pushed The Turk into his “I want to go back to Australia” phase of his re-entry into Turkish life.  We don’t have a soba here (Turkish fireplace) so when the electricity dies then icicles begin to form over any uncovered appendage.  The Turk is definitely concerned about his favourite appendage freezing and breaking off and has been checking it regularly.  Last night I threatened to move into the Hilton just for a hot bath and internet access (side note – what is it with Turkey not having instantaneous hot water?  Install a fecking Rheem for Christ’s sake!!).  But no I stayed and suffered in silence, well relative silence compared to The Turk that’s for sure!

But it is not just us who are suffering in the cold.  I feel for the stray animals that live in our village.  The kediler are breaking into any house with an open door trying to find a warm spot and I swear I saw a pack of kopekler milling around an open fire on an empty block.  I am not going to say that they started the fire but … it looked very suspicious.  My Hurley Dog is refusing to go outside and when I finally got him outside his pee froze mid-stream!  True!  I swear!!

I know I am ridiculous.

Yesterday was my birthday.  Did you know?  Yah happy birthday and all that!  I made a pretty strong statement on FB the other night saying it might be cold but there’s no way it will snow and certainly not on my birthday.  I will eat my hat.  Well as I was reminded by a well-wisher yesterday that it did in fact snow – soooo – would I like fries with that hat?  Humfph!  The Turk also reminded me of my wording off this morning and handed me his beanie and the salt and pepper shakers.  I didn’t eat it as that was his hat.  I agreed to eat mine.  Technicality?  Yep but I am going with it.

So happy birthday to me – and welcome to the Ice Age!  Bbrrrr!

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I (Didn’t) Feel The Earth Move

We have had a few tremors here in Mersin over the past days.  To be completely honest with you I did not feel any of them when they struck despite being at the epicentre of the first quake in Mezitli on Saturday.

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One of the many haber sites that subscribe to sent me their news roundup this morning with a few vaguely boring posts which I glanced over but then one post stood out with its heading “City Wiped Off The Map”.

Um excuse me?

It seems that they were not actually talking about Mersin today, they were talking about Mersin or more specifically Soli Pompeipolis which was flattened by earthquake in 527AD.

Soooo not the earthquake that happened on Saturday yeah?

The next post went on to discuss a proposed nuclear power plant and its obvious danger should there be a sizable earthquake.  Now I don’t want to sound like a Negative Nancy but how sensible is it to build a nuclear power plant in a country that has earthquakes, real earthquakes not these little baby things that are currently niggling around.  Did we not learn anything from Japan?  Surely the all mighty dollar (or lira) is not more important that the environmental impact and potential danger to life?

Regardless this is definitely journalistic sensationalism at its very best.  Jeeze you would think it was Fox News or perhaps a Murdoch newspaper the way they were acting!

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Today’s weather forecast is … crazy!

Oh my fecking God!  Yes it is a little chilly outside but, please, people, calm the feck down. Let’s not lose our head about this.  What is cold anyway?  To those of you visiting from the UK it is in fact rather pleasant in Mersin at the moment.  Yes there is a chill in the air.  There is a fresh layer of snow on the mountain range behind us and yes it was raining earlier in the week but is it cold?  Ummm, I really don’t think so. 

Right now I am wearing short sleeves although I admit you definitely need a cardigan at night.  Around me though people are dressing as if we were dealing with a polar vortex, discussing whether they need to dissect a Tauntaun (sorry nerdy Star Wars reference) and deciding whether to wait it out in the New York library with Jake Gyllenhaal (well alright if you insist).  Sorry folks it is just cold and it is not really all that cold for that matter.

day after tomorrow

You know once the weather changes here Turkish people literally lose their minds.  They verily believe that if it is not 400 degrees then you need to layer.  Actually even if it is 400 degrees you still need to layer but not with the same intensity. Cover your back!  Cover your neck!  Do you need a scarf?  *Sigh*

Flash back – middle of summer and I take Daughter and her cousin to the park.  Daughter is running around in shorts and a singlet and Tatli is wearing  – a singlet.  A t-shirt.  A long sleeve top.  And she is carry a jacket with her.  A jacket!  She must keep her jacket with her at all times.  OMG!  It is literally – literally – 400 degrees in the park and Tatli has a jacket!  Calm the feck down people!  Daughter is drenched in sweat in her singlet and is throwing water on herself at any opportunity yet she’s the crazy one?

Truthfully though right now Daughter is sick.  I am told by my kardeş (sister) that it is my fault because I have allowed Daughter to go outside in 25 degree heat wearing her short sleeve school shirt and without woollen stockings.  Diagnosed with akut bronşit (bronchitis) she has spent the past few days in bed.  Actually that is not accurate.  She has in fact spent the past few days lying around on the couch, surfing the internet and watching old episodes of Pretty Little Liars.  She has been prescribed a butt load of medicine (which she is, of course, taking reluctantly) although the clinic doctor is well aware of how I feel about enjeksiyonlar (injections) so he refrained from prescribing the Turkish equivalent of a headache tablet – the all secretive aşı (vaccine).  This “vaccine” is suggested every single time I go to the clinic.  What is this secret shot?  God only knows but I can assure you I am not pumping Daughter with some unknown aşı by our neighbour whose official title is “village injector”.  Trust me Doc once the antibiyotik kicks in you certainly don’t need the magical aşı pumped into your ass twice a day for a week!

So yes it is a little chilly here. Will Daughter wear a jacket next week?  Probably.  Is there a Snowpocalypse forecast?  No, but if you are coming to Mersin in November, bring a cardigan alright?

Rant over.

Kedi Update No. 2

It has been a while since I have mentioned the stray cats here in the village so I thought today I would give you an update on their welfare.

Last December I had managed to find homes for two of Nanu’s kittens.  Two little girls were lucky to have a home where they will be loved and cherished.  Or so I thought.  While Daughter and I were in Australia the two kittens who were now fully grown cats were abandoned back in our yard.  Not only were they abandoned, they were both pregnant and they were left to try and acclimatise in an environment that was completely foreign to them.  These were two house cats, completely domesticated and they have had a hell of a rough time fitting in with the other Village Kedi’s.  I was livid.  Both of them have now had their babies although only one has survived from each litter.  Meet Sheldon and Penny.  Daughter and I are fast running out of names for all these kediler.  Sheldon’s mum has disappeared but thankfully Penny’s mum took Sheldon as one of her own and fed him.  These are two of the sweetest little kittens that currently live in my yard and are scheduled be taken to the vet next week for their first round of shots.

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penny

With The Turk now away Evil has wormed her way into our home.  This is a huge bonus for Evil as up until now she has been very welcome to live in our stairwell but entrance to the “promised land” has been off limits to her at The Turk’s insistence.  She is now spayed and has had her shots as well so welcome Evil, make yourself at home.  And she has.

evil 2

For those of you who have been wondering how the infamous Stanley has been faring (yes yet another story about Stanley) well he has taken up with the Rottweiler next door.  I assume it is because they both have no tail – kindred spirits and all that.  Regardless they love each other and it means that Stanley no longer craps in our stairwell as he can usually be found giving all his affection and time to Hercules.  My Hurley Dog finds Stanley a little overbearing. A little too much love, too much affection.  I love you.  I need you.  I miss you.  I love you.  If Stanley was human he would definitely be one of those stalker types.  He is just so full on with his affection!

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I continue to feed all the strays and, if possible, capture them for spaying.  It is a slow process.  Nanu has had another set of kittens (I have lost count as to how many kittens she has had over the years) although I am yet to find where this litter is hiding.  Pretty also had babies but I am certain they have all perished.  If I find no sign of her babies in the next few days I am going to grab Pretty and take her for spaying. She is generally a pretty unhealthy cat and I suspect there will be more to her visit to the vet than just spaying and some shots.

It is a never ending battle with these cats but I cannot abandon them.  It takes only a few lira a day out of my pocket to feed them and, although the spaying or vet bills do build up, I always reimburse the vet for his efforts (although sometimes he may have to wait a week or so for payment).  I cannot imagine how these girls (and Stanley being the only male of the group) would go without The Turk and I helping them.  Sadly I cannot help all the strays in the Village and it is not unusual to find the remains of cats and kittens (and dogs for that matter) on the side of the road.

Just a side note about the stray dog situation here in the Village.  There is usually one or two gangs of köpekler (dogs) that roam the streets here although I wonder if the Council have rounded them up as I have not seen any for a few weeks now.  I hope they have all been re-homed but realistically I suspect that this may not have been their outcome.

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Sometimes being an Expat Sux!

I can probably count the number of close friends I have had in my life on two hands.  These are the friends that I know will be there for me through thick and thin.  They are the ones with a box of tissues or a bottle of wine and they are the ones that remind me that I can have a dream and turn it into a reality and they will be right beside me to cheer me on.  These friends, these soul mates, these are the people that I miss more than anything living here in Turkey.

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Sure I have The Turk’s family.  They have welcomed me with open arms but they are not my girlfriends, the ones you tell your deepest secrets to (although I think we can all agree my life is a pretty open book – or blog).  Plus that whole pesky issue of not speaking the language makes it tough to form close bonds.

With The Turk away I have become increasingly lonely and with the Daughter at school during the day I find myself mind numbly bored.  I have come to the realisation that I must actually like him (at least a little bit).  His health scare certainly scared the shit out of me and now I am just waiting for him to get the all-clear from his doctor before he can come home.

I am told that an overwhelming sense of emptiness and loneliness is normal for an expat and the waves of loneliness comes and goes leaving you either gutted or living on a high.  Being so far away from home the onset of depression can occur suddenly, the tiniest thing will set me off and when that happens the most I can hope for is to be left alone in my blackness until clarity re-sets.  I think if I lived in a more expat friendly city I would thrive but living here in Mersin it can be an incredibly hard slog.

It is my own fault you know.  Having this blog has opened up a huge window of contacts but I squandered the opportunities that I had and did not go out of my way to cultivate friendships and relationships with people.  I was always too busy and I know how difficult it can be to form friendships.  It can be a hard slog but do you know what else I have realised?  I realised that if I don’t make the effort then nothing in my life will change.  Deep I know.

So this is what I did.  I got off my ass.  I made contact with people.  Plans were made.  Dates were set and I can happily say that I now have a great little group of friends to play with.  I have learned that I am not the only one that suffers from the blues living so far away from home.  We are all missing our family and our friends.  A support system needs to be in place for us expats.  We need to be each other’s family and to step in and be that shoulder to lean on when needed.  Coffee in Carsi?  Sure.  BBQ in Yenikoy?  Definitely.  Drinks in Viransehir?  Of course!  Also I need to be friends with someone who can get me ham and yes there is such a person here in Mersin – hello Danny Boy!

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Like I said it can bloody difficult living here.

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Loving this blog? Please help me build my audience and share with like minded people who, like you, sometimes feels a little bit blue and loves Turkey. You can also subscribe or like me on Facebook for all updates.