Waiting for the Tulips to Bloom

These days you will find me on my terrace soaking in the last rays of sunshine before the grey of Mersin’s winter takes over.  I will no doubt have a cup of çay (sorry guys it’s not particularly Türk – white with two sugar) and, depending on the time of day, perhaps a biscuit (or two) to tide me over until akşam yemeği (dinner).  Basking in the sunshine is also the perfect time for me to catch up on my reading.


As a blogger I am always on the hunt for fellow bloggers and writers that live in Türkiye, telling their own anecdotes of life, love and the numerous catastrophes that befall them living in this crazy country.  One of my favourite’s is fellow Aussie, Lisa Morrow, with her blog insideoutinIstanbul.  Her blog is filled with tales and photographs of her life living in one of the most incredible cities on earth – İstanbul – so when I received a copy of her most recent book, Waiting for the Tulips to Bloom, I knew that I needed to find a comfy spot in the sun where I would no doubt be entrenched until I had finished the very last line.

Lisa’s descriptive style captures the sights, sounds and even the smells (remind me to never catch the no. 2 bus with her) of modern day İstanbul, giving me, the reader, not only a personal tour of her favourite haunts but drawing me in with little known stories of what is, without doubt, one of the most amazing cities in the world.  Her anecdotes of language barriers and Government bureaucracy or even her partner’s difficulties with something as simple as his name (Who?) was something that any expat living in İstanbul (or any other city for that matter) will recognise.

To quote the wonderful Molly Meldrum (I am now picturing anyone who is not Australian googling “Molly Meldrum” right now), “Do yourselves a favour”.  With the Christmas season fast approaching this will make an excellent stocking stuffer, in fact, I can think of one particular friend back in Sydney will be receiving it in the mail very soon.

Does anyone else have any recommendations for good Türk inspired reading?  With winter fast approaching it is time for me to hibernate until spring so any suggestions to help pass the time while in my self imposed exile will be greatly appreciated.


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The Week That Was

There were still two things missing in our home in Mersin.  One was The Turk but he was arriving on Pazar (Sunday).  The other was our cargo and I was starting to think that it was never going to arrive.  The belief that it is available has been hanging in the air since the first week of October but between then and now we have had public holidays, a mountain load of paperwork and numerous other issues with customs so when my brother in law called me to come downstairs with my passport early on Monday morning, well, frankly I thought it was going to be another wasted day before I would return home angry and empty handed.


Arriving at the Free Trade Zone (Mersin Harbour) to collect the cargo my brother in law was advised that I was unable to enter the area (presumably because I do not have a penis) so I waited outside the gate in a small metal cage a-la Berlin Wall pre-1989 while my brother in law disappeared behind the fence (the promised land?) to collect the cargo on my behalf.   The hot Turkish sun beat down on my brow . . . wait really?  Yes really!  I sat in this cell for two hours in the sun (the security guards did thoughtfully bring me a chair) waiting for my brother in law to return but when he did it was with a huge smile on his face.  We had our cargo!  The back of his truck was filled with boxes and suddenly my dehydration dissipated – we had our cargo!

The hard part was over – or so I thought.

I stared at the boxes on Monday afternoon but perhaps exhaustion (and heat stroke) got the better of me and I just could not face the daunting task of unpacking.  I would get it done on Tuesday.

Tuesday came a little too quickly and I felt my nemesis better known as procrastination tapping on my shoulder.  *Sigh*

Wednesday.  I opened the boxes – I know I am running out of time and The Turk will be here soon.  I have got to put everything away today!  My sister in law Songul offered to come and help me but I chased her out the door.  No, this is my job and I will get it done today!

I do not want to talk about Thursday.


Today is Friday and Songul just could not take any more!  She and her sisters arrived and within an hour all 26 boxes were unpacked to the sounds of laughter and chatter.  It seems all I needed to get this done was a little motivation and a little help from my friends.  Eğer bayanlar teşekkür ederim (thank you ladies).

My kitchen cupboards are full.  Daughter has her clothes and games.  Hurley has his bed and Kedi is playing in the boxes.  So now the only thing missing is The Turk.

Bring on Sunday!!!

Let’s talk about cheese

My love of cheese is legend – wait for it – ary!  Legendary!  I will eat cheese anytime, anywhere and in any manner.  I will have it for breakfast, as a snack, as a main meal, hot, cold or even as a cake.  Cheese.  Peynir.  Nom, nom nom!

Last week I was called by my mother in law down to her kitchen.  Bubbling on the stove was a huge pot of milk (which I subsequently learned was in fact yogurt).  Once boiled she strained the yogurt (separating the whey) into three parcels wrapped in clean cloth, tied it up and let it hang in the kitchen.  Cheese!  She made cheese!

I returned to her kitchen yesterday afternoon to find her mixing the cheese with red pepper paste (which we had made a few weeks earlier), dried thyme and a butt load of salt.  She rolled the cheese into balls, placed them on a large metal plate and put them in the sun on top of my garage where they will stay until they dry.


If I ignore the flies that are constantly congregating over the cheese at the moment I am sure it will taste delicious when ready.  This spicy cheese is usually eaten in the morning with ekmek (bread), domates (tomatoes) and a drizzle of yağ (oil).


My mother in law tells me that she has made this cheese for The Turk as it is his favourite.  Yes the prodigal son will return to her next weekend and she is very excited!  I guess I am excited too.  Daughter is currently indifferent but will probably change her tune when he actually gets here.

Life is a roller coaster, live it, be happy, enjoy life

Our family has been riding an emotional rollercoaster for some time now.  As many of you know my beautiful Dad passed away last year and the heartbreak and loss that I have felt has dragged me down into an abyss of forlorn.  A few of you have pulled me aside and questioned the decision to go to Turkey was merely me running from the pain that I felt but after some soul searching I realised that I am not running away I am in fact coming home.  The Village is my home, at least it will be for now.


So over the past few weeks I have strapped myself in and held on for the rollercoaster ride of a lifetime!

Like most rollercoaster rides it starts off pretty painlessly, and I found packing up our lives was actually the easy part (although the two box allowance blew out to about 10 boxes each!), however before too long the rollercoaster started to gain momentum and my life began to spiral out of control.  From changing schools to exporting live animals each morning brought me a new set of problems that had to be solved (and after I solved the problem it then had to be translated into Turkish). Family arguments have been of global proportions and on more than one occasion I have contemplated leaving both The Turk and my daughter in Sydney and escaping to Turkey (or anywhere) alone.  I have spent countless days running between the Turkish Consulate and various Australian departments in the puerile attempt to secure a Turkish passport for my daughter however this appears to be more elusive than a “hippogriff” and I am pretty sure that I will never see one of those either!

But rollercoasters are supposed to be fun aren’t they?  So rather than dwell on the crazy of the ride I celebrate the memories that I have created over the past few weeks.

I drank to my last day working in the best office in the world (although I imagine a few of you would not agree with that statement).  I have sung (yelled) Cold Chisel at the pub, visited my favourite haunts on the Northern Beaches and have even driven past my childhood home in Cromer bringing tears to my eyes with the memories.  I have had many farewell lunches and many more farewell evenings with wonderful friends that I will miss more than I can say.  And yes I know there are many more that I did not get to hug that one last time but I have not forgotten you and will write to each of you until we can have our next hug.

And in the blink of an eye the rollercoaster has come to a halt and it is time to leave Sydney.  Time to leave this beautiful city to begin again in the Village.


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