What Time is it? It’s Salça Time!

I used to say that making salça (paste) with my SIL was the most fun you could have in the Village with your clothes on.  In fact, I even complained a few years back about my SIL’s family taking over my salça making duties and ruining my fun.  I take it back now.  All of it.  Salça making ain’t fun.  In fact, now I think that making salca is the equivalent of giving birth.  It’s long, painful, incredibly messy, it can take weeks of recuperation afterwards before you feel yourself again but, surprisingly, in the end, you’re prepared to go through it all that pain again next year.  And of course you’ve got all that fabulous salça at the end of it all.

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Well that day is here again and I was chomping at the bit to make our kırmızı biber salça.  200kg of kırmızı biber (red capsicum) ready to be transformed into salça by me, my SIL and her mother.  Oh, and My Hurley Dog who assisted by chasing kediler (cats) and rolling in the mess until he was stained red.  He is not happy right now and is well aware that a bath is in his immediate future.

Back to my story.  200kg of kırmızı biber is a lot of biber.  My SIL called me down at 5 am, not to start work but to help make the ekmek (bread) for kahlvatı (breakfast).  To me making the ekmek is more work than its actually worth.  I’m happy to nick to the market and grab a couple of loafs of bread for 1TL each!  After the ekmek we started on the salca and it was just freaking exhausting.  Toiling away (before the real heat of mid-morning hits) with the cutting, cleaning, mulching (is it called mulching) before lugging buckets of biber salca up three flights of stairs and spreading it out in huge bowls to spend the next ten days in the sunshine (I swear if it rains!).  Nine trips up those stairs today with two buckets each trip!  FML!

The stairs are now stained red.  My feet are stained red (blending nicely with my orange nail polish) and my hands are as red as my eyes.  I’m exhausted.  Time for a shower, a glass of red (same colour as my hands, my eyes, my dog and my stairs) and an early night (just like after I had a baby – well I didn’t have the glass of red but the rest stands true).

Quote of the day by my 7-year-old niece – “cok tatl” (“so cute”) upon finding a worm (or maybe a maggot) in one of the biber.  Don’t be horrified by the idea of a worm/maggot in the biber.  Anyone who has ever made salça is well aware that its luck of the draw with those massive bags of biber.  Some are good, some are bad and sadly, some are rotten.  Adds to the taste according to The Turk (although the worm/maggot in question did not form part of my salça I swear to you).

So, when I say next year that I am making salça someone point me to this post – and to the looney bin.

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What Have You Done For Me Lately?

Hello, it’s me, Janey … in Mersin (in case you forgot).  I know I’ve said this in the past but my life has definitely been really busy over these few months.  Some days are out of my control and by the time that I get home I’m usually exhausted.  It takes all my effort to pour that first glass of wine.  The second and third glasses do come a lot easier.

In all honesty, I haven’t felt particularly motivated to write.  Mersin has its moments but they are nothing new.  I’ve written about them before.  Roosters crowing?  Wrote it.  The Turk fighting?  Done it.  Random family members doing random crazy shit?  All over it!  I have done a little more travelling, went to a wedding or nine and maybe I will post a few blogs in the coming weeks but unless aliens land here in the village there won’t be an awful lot to write.

Australia 2017

Daughter and I were away for two months, spending quality time in Australia and a naughty side trip to Bali.  It was definitely good to get back to Australia and spend time with our Aussie family and friends.  I even had the opportunity to catch up with some school friends which was fabulous.  I will miss my 30 year high school reunion later this year (although do I really want to catch up with most of them?  Nope.  I had my core group and I loved them.  The rest can go and jump in the lake).  And it was definitely great to eat bacon.  Man, I love me some bacon.  Yes, I know you know that but I just needed to reiterate it one final time – I love bacon.

Even though I was away I had some pretty remarkable hits on the page mind you.  It looks like Mersin is slowly being considered a tourist destination in its own right (I know I’m as shocked as you are).  The Turk suggested to me that perhaps I was being stalked but I’m not sure why anyone would want to stalk me, because as fascinating as I believe I am my life here in the Village is truly dull and exceedingly uninteresting.  And before you laugh it has happened before people turning up on our doorstep having tracked me down.  No!  I swear it’s true!  But that’s okay, as long as they’re not Ted Bundy or that Manson fellow … or maybe IS.

Summer is definitely here and Mersin is feeling like Satan’s asshole right now.  Coming from a very pleasant Sydney winter (with its average temperatures of 22-24) I’m a little jealous of my friends up in the mountains with their mountain breezes although the two times I have been up to visit since my return it’s been 30 degrees both days.  Not so cool (although it was probably mid-40’s back in the village). Socially here in Mersin, many of the expats and locals disappear for summer.  Like me, the expats go and visit their homeland and the locals get the hell out of Dodge because it’s just so freaking steamy as feck.  A few of the expats have moved on to new cities and countries but when one goes another usually arrives although sometimes this can be more drama than it’s worth.

Socially here in Mersin, many of the expats and locals disappear for summer.  Like me, the expats go and visit their homeland and the locals get the hell out of Dodge because it’s just so freaking steamy as feck.  A few of the expats have moved on to new cities and countries but when one goes another usually arrives although sometimes this can be more drama than it’s worth.

Oh, and I’ve finished the first draft of my novel (which takes up an extraordinary amount of time).  Set in Turkey, it’s kinda sexy (I was told to reel it back somewhat or it’s going to get awfully ‘Grey’).  It has been read by a few trusted friends and I got some pretty realistic feedback so on their recommendation I’ve sent it off for an edit.  We’ll see where this goes.

So, keep an eye out for some new material in the coming weeks.  I will be in touch and remember to message me on my FB page (here) if you want or need to make contact.

 

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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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Work at ANZAC Cove

For many of us Aussies a pilgrimage to Gelibolu (Gallipoli) is a must do in our lifetime.  The area is steeped in history, an ancient history, a pained history and a history of heroism by the boys and men who left home yearning for adventure, ready to fight for their King and country only to lose their lives and lay buried far from home.

Anzac 3

We visit the memorials at Çanakkale Şehitleri Anıtı (Çanakkale Martyrs Memorial), the Nek or Kanlisirt Anıtı (known to us as ANZAC Cove), and these memorials are a reminder that war is full of unsung heroes and, whether they were part of the Allied forces or a Turkish soldier, we remember the sacrifices that they made so we could live today in freedom.  This bond between the Johnnies and the Mehmets was well expressed by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, President of Turkiye, who in 1934 made this uplifting and consoling comment to an official, Australian, New Zealand and British party visiting ANZAC Cove:

Those heroes that shed their blood, and lost their lives …
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore, rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side,
Here in this country of ours.
You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries …
Wipe away your tears.
Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace.
After having lost their lives on this land, they have
Become our sons as well.

Those words make hearts swell around the world in pride and are now an integral part of the Gallipoli story.   I remember standing at the memorial at Kanlisirt Anıtı  and I openly wept as I read those immortal words.

Tonight this news item passed my desk –

gelibolu-yarimadasindaki-kitabeler-onariliyor-89763

I felt sick to my stomach.

There were more photos but these appear to have been deleted.

Before we all jump the gun and turn into keyboard warriors (and believe me I was screaming blue murder and ready to call Karl Stefanovic who would fly over and single-handedly sort it out with The Powers That Be) the report attached to this photo states that the Canakkale Savaslari Tarihi group are undertaking maintenance and repair to the memorial due to natural erosion to the inscriptions and repair work and this work is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.  Although I understand that the work may have needed to have been undertaken this memorial is held in extremely high regard by Australians and New Zealanders.  I think that perhaps some discretion should have been taken by the officials undertaking this work to minimise the shock to visitors who have come to pay their respects.

I hope that the work is completed quickly and this site which is so important to all of us is returned to its former glory – for all our sakes.

(If anyone has any further information regarding this work please send me a link).

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Spirit in the Sky

Mersin is full of so much history and gorgeous scenery and yet, living here, I seldom get further than my front door so the opportunity to join a couple of amateur photographers as they travelled deep into the Tarsus Mountains to explore the ruins of a monastery was an opportunity just too good to miss.

Alahan 2

After an early start, we left the shimmering Mersin coastline behind us and followed the Gosku River up into the winding mountains, past fertile plains and sweet smelling pine forests before finally arriving at our destination – Alahan Monastery.

Alahan 7

Built over 1500 years ago the monks of Alahan must have known they were onto a good thing when they chose this spot.  It’s a prime location rising 1300 feet above the surrounding valleys with numerous caves, natural water courses and good crop land below.   The ruins are still in excellent condition despite earthquakes, a few wars and no doubt general tomfoolery of locals and can be traversed fairly easily (even with my banged-up knee).

Alahan 4Alahan 5

We entered the Monastery via the Basilica where the reliefs on the columns and remaining stone are a good example of the Byzantine era.  Past the Basilica is a small Baptistry for pilgrims to be baptised before following the remains of the colonnade to another larger Basilica.  Archaeologists believe that the larger Basilica is a good example of domical construction using carefully cut and assembled stone without mortar to build the domed ceiling.  The larger Basilica is highly praised for its resemblance to Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia (and arguably built before the famed Hagia Sophia).  The stone and slabs are decorated with reliefs of fish, foliage as well as clearly defined Christian crosses.

Alahan 8

Credit:  N. Habbas

Alahan 9

Credit:  N. Habbas

The Monastery has been extensively restored and was re-opened to the public in 2015 and is included on UNESCO’s Tentative World Heritage List.

After spending an hour at the Monastery, we travelled back down into the valley passing fields of red poppies as well as row after row of kayısı (apricot) trees before returning back to Mersin, stopping along the way for the well-known Mersin favourite – tantuni.

Entrance fee: 5TL or free if you have the Müze pass (Museum pass).

Getting there:  Approximately 3 hours (including 2 stops), take the D400 to Silifke and then follow the D715 to Mut.  Alahan Monastery is located about 20km past Mut.  Keep an eye out for signage as it is easy to miss due to current road works.

Best time to go:  We were here on a weekday and had the place to ourselves.  Locals tell us that weekends can be quite busy with bus tours visiting from neighbouring cities.

Tip:  If visiting in summer it will be hot, hot, hot.  Take water and wear sunscreen.

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After The Fall

It wasn’t really a fall, it was more of a complete transformation of a mild mannered *cough, cough* Aussie chick into a fully functioning, homicidal maniac but I must say I felt better getting it off my chest and I want to give all you guys a shout out as well.  So many of you wrote to me and told me your horror stories living here in Türkiye (and elsewhere) making mine seem perhaps a tad absurd but also giving me the strength to face a new day.

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I haven’t always been honest about how I was feeling mostly because I didn’t want to sound like I was complaining.  For many of us there is a romanticism to living in Türkiye.  I get that.  So many people say how lucky we are and how they would love to do it too.  Sure, we are very lucky – we chose this life but it isn’t always easy.

When I self-analyse my meltdown (thank you Google) I think it mostly stems from a depression that snuck up on me, so quietly that I didn’t even realise it until it swallowed me whole.  I had an inkling back in January that there was something askew while I was having a long weekend in London.  I caught up with my bestie who lives there and spent much of the day in tears.

Up front I don’t consider myself someone who gets depressed easily.  I am pretty chill and I think most people who know me would agree however since my knee operation and its very, VERY slow recovery I found myself becoming increasing depressed which has been magnified by the fact that I am living in a country that doesn’t really take its mental health all that seriously (as it fecking should)!

Putting aside Türkiye’nin domestic and regional tensions an expat here is also contending with bureaucratic bungles, visa issues, cultural differences, language barriers – ugh the list goes on – but all of this has the potential to send even the sanest among us kicking and screaming to the looney bin.  The simplest of tasks become untenable and, as an expat, it’s hard to make people understand that you feel lost and need help.

For me personally I find that, despite being surrounded by family ALL THE TIME, I still feel isolated and unsupported and very much alone.  I would lock myself in my bedroom and cry and cry.  I really started to resent the family, not just The Turk and Daughter, but the extended re-mix of family that lives within spitting distance.  I missed my privacy.  I can’t walk around naked (I would never walk around naked but now I don’t even have that option).  Cooking a meal requires every pot and pan in the house and for feck’s sake why do they all have to YELL????  ALL THE TIME???  It rattles me.  A family dinner is exhausting and takes me days to recover.  A bayram is my personal hell with family coming in from other cities to add to the chaos.  I’m getting the sweats just thinking about it.

The Turk isn’t really as supportive or sympathetic as he should be.  I think growing up in the Village he has seen it all and his mindset is to ignore the problem and it will go away.  Daughter is a hormonal teenager off doing her own thing and I often go days getting little more than a grunt from her as she passes me in the hallway.  So it’s just me.  Alone.  And being alone can be scary.

But what I DO know about me is this I am, in fact, one badass bitch!  I am fecking sensational!  I am Sensational Janey (such moniker given to me by an equally sensational Turk) and I am part of a group of Sensational Bad-Ass Bitches who navigate life here in Mersin.

Now I’m taking it one day at a time.  I find something positive and I run with it.  I went to the pazar in Menderes this week (it is seriously the best pazar in Mersin).  I spent much more than I had anticipated (tomatoes were surprisingly expensive with 4kg setting me back 18TL) followed by a delicious yogurt tantuni with one of the Bad-Ass Bitches that live here.  I am really pushing myself to walk again to build strength back in my legs and to improve my health generally and finally, I am back to writing, which I have always found to be very cathartic.

Oh and I have wine.  A LOT of wine!

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The Day That Türkiye Broke Me

I always refer to Türkiye as a woman.  Türkiye is strong.  She can be a little temperamental at times and has even been known to chuck a wobbly every now and then but usually things return to normal.  I mean it’s normal for relationships to have their ups and downs and yes I am aware that in psychology circles I would be called an Enabler.  Oh and upfront this is not a political post.  I will not make any comments in relation to that ridiculous Referendum and its outcome.  Oops.  Sorry.

Back to my story.

Yes Türkiye can be a little tempermental but usually I forgive and forget – but not this time.  What started as a day became a week and seriously seems to be moving into a month and everything here in the Village, in Mersin and even in Türkiye, is pissing me the hell off.  I held out as long as I could but enough is enough and finally, she broke me.  Türkiye broke me.

FireAnd even as I write this I know I am being a pouting princess and I know how lucky I am living in this beautiful country, but honestly shit should get easier, you know!

Alright let’s rewind and I will vent and then maybe, just maybe, I can move on from her most recent transgression.

It all started last Wednesday.  It was a normal Wednesday.  The Turk and I had kahvaltı on the terrace while below us Dede was screaming at the passerby (yes this is normal for us).  I mentioned to The Turk that we had no internet and no telephone – again.  “Sorun değil aşkım” was his reply and he rang TTnet to arrange for a service.  I pointed out that I think we needed an electrician but, of course, The Turk knew better (and God forbid he is never wrong).  At this point I just want to say that I am also dealing with a temperamental 14 year old who literally HATES THE WORLD so when she realised on Wednesday morning that there was no internet – again – seriously folks don’t worry about North Korea dropping a fecking nuclear bomb on anyone worry about Daughter blowing a fecking gasket!!!

By Friday the internet was still not fixed AND to add to my current woes we also had no electricity.  I thought this would be a good time for me to get out of the Village and do the grocery shopping.  I hit Migros and I brought up big!  Came to the register to pay, handed over my credit card and – declined!  WTF???  Of course I didn’t have the cash to pay for my groceries so I had to leave them at the shop and return home empty handed.  And that was it.  It was that simple.  I broke.

By the time I got home I was in tears.  I threw myself on the couch and cried for a good few hours before finally putting myself to bed.  At 4pm.  It was suggested to me that I needed chocolate and red wine – stat – but as my credit card was declined I didn’t even have these simple medicinal necessities to tide me over and so I lay in bed crying my eyes out and wishing I was back in Sydney where this shit just wouldn’t happen.

Sure I know these are all First World Problems, and yes, I know I am being a bit of a şımarık, but seriously no electricity, no internet, no telephone and now no cash!  What the feck did I ever do to you Türkiye?  Have I ever done anything but love you?  Support you?  Talk you up to my friends?  Yeah that’s right!  And you turn on me!  Well I’m pissed off and I won’t stand for it anymore!  In fact I’m breaking up with you!

friends breakup photovisiAnyhow, TTnet finally arrived on Saturday morning and confirmed that we did, in fact, need an electrician so The Turk called a guy who knew a guy who promised to be at ours by 2pm.  At 6.17pm four teenage boys arrived at our house.  They were the electricians!  Ugh!  One of the boys refused to come into the house because of My Hurley Dog so screamed instructions through the door (Çek!  Çek!) to the other three as they re-wired our telephone and internet.  By 10pm they had finished.  We had internet.  We had telephone.  Yah!!!  By 11.15pm? Gone!  Again!

It comes and goes now.  That’s okay.  I guess.  And we only lost the electricity once yesterday (although it was for 6 hours).

What I find so incomprehensible is that everyone seems to accept substandard workmanship and bad behaviour.  They have all these social niceties but when it comes to service they just accept that the work will be dodgy or the quality of their goods and services will be less than stellar.  It is the norm here in Türkiye but it shouldn’t be.  People should expect excellent service if they are paying for it.  The Turk just shrugs as says “Bu Türkiye!”  Nope more like Bu-llshit!!

And speaking of bullshit let me just tell you one more little story before I get dragged off to the looney bin.

After my second meltdown on Sunday to my BIL (as my television had no signal and our intermittent internet was gone – fecking again) a television service was arranged.  The dude arrived yesterday on time (a first) and proceeded to reconfigure our satellite dish for a better service.  I only really watch one or two shows on television, I don’t really care if there is service or not because I watch television via the internet (if we have internet that is) BUT there is one English news channel – TRT World – and even though it is a completely bias channel run by the Government (please don’t shut me down “Powers That Be”) it was, at least, in English.  Until our little friend serviced my dish that is, now we have lost the channel.  FML!

Anyway before he left he asked to use the bathroom.  He disappeared behind the door for a good thirty minutes.  What on earth did he do in there?  Well I certainly found out within moments of him leaving when an entity crossed my path.  A shit entity.  A smell so foul that it was as though he had smeared shit from one end of the guest bathroom to the other!  I literally had to open all the windows and sit on the terrace for an hour before the house had been cleared of the putrid smell!  I still haven’t gone in there either.  I’m a little scared of what I might find that he left behind for me.  I’ll send The Turk in to take the bullet.

Sorry for lumbering all this on you all.  I don’t know when I’ll be back.  But I will.  Eventually.

Ugh!

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120 Thoughts I had while watching Ay Lav Yu

A reader recently brought the movie “Ay Lav Yu” to my attention and I cannot believe that I hadn’t seen this Oscar worthy movie before.  It is my everything!  I laughed.  I cried.  I related.  I had a lot of thoughts — 120 thoughts to be exact.

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So here’s what I want you to do.  Grab some ayçiçeği çekirdeği and some çay and sit down to experience this piece of cinematic masterpiece while reading my commentary.  It will be like we are in the room together.

I watched it in Turkish but I have found this link on YouTube with English subtitles so a few of my thoughts may not make absolute sense because of my rubbish Türkçe.

Ready …

Let’s go …

  1. Is there a place called Tinne? *Google’s Tinne*  Bilmiyorum.
  2. I’ve jumped ahead of the story.  The village doesn’t exist to the Powers That Be or to Google apparently.
  3. Okay.  It is east of Mardin (probably not the best place to be right now).
  4. Our first glimpse of Romeo.   Excellent moustache.  Thick and well combed.  It is Sermiyan Midyat.  Not loving him here but like a fine wine he has aged well.
  5. Even better we meet Büyük baba. I already anticipate that he will be the real star of this movie.
  6. Are there two mothers?
  7. Ibrahim will be their saviour.
  8. I’m getting real strong Lion King vibes.
  9. That realisation that you live in a shithole.
  10. Ibrahim is in love and she is from Colarado. Colarado?  Colarado?  Yes fecking Colarado!
  11. Büyük babalar are the same everywhere in Turkiye. The exact same!
  12. Steve Guttenberg.
  13. The theme song seems to be the whole story to music. This will save time.
  14. It’s a love triangle and she is devo.  I will call her Bunny boiler.
  15. Her father might be an asshole.
  16. AND there’s a spinster.
  17. I’m ignoring the sheep jokes.
  18. Everyone is ripping everyone else off. Burası Türkiye!
  19. Gossiping villagers. This is my life.
  20. What’s with the crazy kid with glasses?
  21. He just smacked himself in the face!
  22. And again!iloveyou-kid
  23. I’d throw a rock at him too Baba.
  24. The lovebirds met in Adana. At the otobus terminal.  I’ve been to that terminal.  No way anyone would fall in love there.
  25. Cue flashback music.
  26. The Bunny Boiler is his cousin!  Yikes!
  27. Ibrahim’s like “you tripping girl”.
  28. I’m getting very thug.
  29. Here she is.   Of course she is blonde.  All yabancı are blonde.
  30. Her Turkish is worse than mine.  I bet she’s a teacher at the Incirlik base.
  31. Ooh ha! $120US!
  32. Fight! Fight!  Fight!
  33. True love right there folks.
  34. Meanwhile Spinster is clearly desperate to bang the yabancı brother.
  35. Good luck with that visa (especially in today’s political climate).
  36. Bath scene. That’s hot.
  37. “Cesika” LMAO! I so relate.  They call me “Yane”.
  38. The musicians are back giving us an update just in case we stopped to make çay or something.
  39. Büyük baba puts on his good silver teeth for company.
  40. Has Steve Guttenberg done anything since 3 Men and a Baby?
  41. The mother is clearly a Stepford Wife.  Diet Coke  pfftt!
  42. Steve Guttenberg’s acting skills are totes unappreciated. He’s channelling Brando right there!
  43. The priest is Ibrahim’s father? They must have some crazy key parties in Tinne.
  44. Wait!   Oh I see.
  45. I’m pretty sure that The Turk wasn’t that excited when I first came to visit his family.
  46. Did they sacrifice that sheep?
  47. The halı isn’t big enough. Is anyone else laughing at that?
  48. Phew the sheep is still kicking.
  49. Actually no one in The Turk’s family was this excited when I arrived.
  50. Control yourself girlfriend.  The whole village is watching.
  51. Let’s all make you feel welcome by shooting guns in the air.
  52. Two things – the sheep is dead and the yabancı brother is a pussy.
  53. Feck Steve Guttenberg. Büyük baba is the real star of this film.
  54. “Türkçe konuşamıyorlar”.  Clearly.
  55. Where the hell are the lovebirds? Are they off having a quickie?
  56. Yes love is love but watching this is like passing a kidney stone.
  57. Ibrahim speaks even less English than The Turk did when I met him.
  58. He won’t kiss her! Such a gentleman.
  59. Wait he kissed her. She must be a yabancı slut.
  60. The Bunny boiler is scoping them out.
  61. Time for some çekirdeği.
  62. They’re all going to end up with haemorrhoids.iloveyou-steve
  63. Aviator sunglasses makes Büyük baba look cool as feck.
  64. Yes it’s funny, the futbol topu is irregular.
  65. What’s with this crazy kid with the glasses? What metaphor am I missing?
  66. Baba just told the kid to “Siktir git!”. Well done Baba.
  67. Now he called the kid the “child of a prostitute.” Did he?  Feck me!
  68. Ibrahim and Cesika have finally graced us with their presence.
  69. Oh man I’m laughing. The Turk is the same, never explaining the long diatribes and simplifying everything with “good” or “no problem”.
  70. Küçük piç! Steve Guttenberg said a funny.
  71. The sleeping arrangements! I’m dying!
  72. She’s converted.
  73. Steve Guttenberg is truly a master.  How has he been ignored by the Academy for so many years?
  74. Hold up. She knows enough Turkish to have this relationship but she doesn’t know about the Nazar?  Give me a break.
  75. BWAHAHA Cesika’s FACE!!!
  76. Bunny boiler is pissed.
  77. “I am a Muslim but my sin is not.” Someone should put that on a t-shirt.
  78. The yabancı brother is rocking some pale abs. If he sparkled he would be a vampire. danny-abs
  79. The kizlar are going deli for that white boy.
  80. We realise that the freaking futbol topu isn’t round. That joke has been done already.
  81. The bunny boiler just got a slap down! I knew he was an asshole.
  82. Is she dead?
  83. Now people are dancing. That seems harsh.
  84. Open buffet!
  85. They’ve been in the village for two days and this is the first time Steve Guttenberg has gone to the toilet? He must be totally backed up.
  86. Sit and shit! Sidenote: my family here had a sit down toilet installed for me when I first came to the village.  My MIL was so happy she cried!
  87. The bunny boiler has a bun in the oven!
  88. Chinese whispers … and that crazy kid is hitting himself again!
  89. Well that’s that then isn’t it?
  90. Oh bok! 9/11.
  91. They don’t have water and they steal their electricity but DNA testing is a viable solution.
  92. Büyük baba is channeling Einstein.
  93. Ibrahim is not the father. Tebrikler!
  94. This wedding is jinxed.
  95. An immaculate conception.  Seems legit.
  96. It took the US 10 years to track down Osama Bin Laden but Steve Guttenberg did it in 10 minutes.
  97. This is taking a very dark turn.
  98. Spinster is going all Terminator on everyone.
  99. This really is going to be a shotgun wedding.
  100. OMFG they just circumcised the yabancı brother! OMFG!!!
  101. American toilet’s for everyone!
  102. So very confused.
  103. Groundhog Day.
  104. Again nope.
  105. Can anyone tell me why the baby chicks are pink and yellow?
  106. I now realise that the musicians are timed so The Turk can go for a cigarette.
  107. Okay now I just feel bad for Baba. He doesn’t exist.
  108. I am upgrading Bunny boiler’s father to a moose knuckle. Trying to steal the village away from Baba.
  109. Are they waiting at the Devlet Ofisi for an answer? They could be there for two lifetimes.
  110. Moose knuckle got denied.
  111. Blah blah blah. Joke done already.
  112. Seriously it took me 3 years to get my kimlik but in Tinne they are handed out like candy!
  113. Wedding – Take 4.
  114. Steve Guttenberg is all up in the funk.
  115. I am totally shipping Yabancı brother and spinster.
  116. It was the musician! Vindication for Ibrahim!  Does anyone else think it should have been Saito.
  117. 10 years later …
  118. The cow has eaten the whole car.
  119. Ibrahim and Cesika standing on Pride Rock (The Turk called it Fraggle Rock).
  120. My Lion King analogy is not complete without a baby and Elton John.

Wait.  That’s it?  THAT’S IT??

But … but what about the yabancı brother and spinster???  There had better be an Ay Lav Yu 2 with the yabancı brother and spinster moving to Colarado.  They have five children.  Yabancı brother has chance meeting with ex-girlfriend and embark on a torrid affair.  Spinster goes all deli and kills him.  Meets a TV reality star (maybe a Kardashian) at her hearing.  Gets a boob job and moves to Hollywood where she becomes an actress and meets Steve Guttenberg.  Full circle.

What did you think of Ay Lav Yu (or of my outline for Ay Lav Yu 2)?

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No Winter Blues

When we lived in Oz we always arranged our holiday to Mersin during September.  It was still deliciously warm but there was that cool breeze that soothed the rocking hell-fire that usually descends on the province during August (which has been known to send even me a little deli).  Winters, on the other hand, were a non-starter, no way I was skipping my summer in Sydney for the grey backdrop that would no doubt be Mersin during December or January.

Now that I live here I realise that that was my loss because while Mersin in the heat of summer no doubt rocks, it’s also got some pretty cool moves in the dead of winter as well.

Mersin snow

Falling temperatures sprinkle new magic on the small villages in the mountains and the medieval kalesi (castles) along the Mersin coastline and although I have not done much in the way of exploring thanks to my bung knee this winter I can say that over the years the chill brings a moody new perspective to the province.

snow in mersin 2

Daughter and I did zip up into the mountains a few times this winter and while the city of Mersin or our little village may be grey the Toros Mountains were gloriously sunshiny.  We took My Hurley Dog for a doggy snow day as Daughter had recently seen a video with dogs having a sensational time frolicking in white stuff but, of course, our asshole dog hated every moment of it.  He did, however, manage to find the carcass of some poor animal in the snow and try to drag it back to the car – I swear that dog disgusts me sometimes.

hurley-snow-3

With a smattering of snow the traditional Turkish villages are so enticing that a trek through the lower hills of the mountain range is something not to be missed.  Oh and for those of you who actually want to attach those silly wooden planks to your feet Kayseri is only 3 hours away with 8 lifts and no doubt more than enough apres-ski nightlife to suit everyone.

The coastline takes on a new role as well.  The beaches are still pristine but now they are empty.  Surprisingly the water isn’t icy either.  I mean I wouldn’t swim to Cyprus or anything but a paddle is pleasant enough.

kizkalesi-winter-4

One of the bonuses during winter is it is much easier to visit the ruins (without self-combusting in the heat).  I have been known to lose myself for hours while exploring the many castles that dot the coastline and winter allows me to continue my exploration without breaking a sweat.

Winter also has salep, which is a mix of hot mastic milk, sugar, and flour made from orchid tubers, served with cinnamon.  Sold from street carts in the old part of the city you can enjoy your salep alongside a paper bag stuffed with kestane kebap (freshly roasted chestnuts), also purchased from street carts.

Today The Turk and I are off to Sarniç, a village 15 minutes outside of the city.  I’ve visited there so many times that he is beginning to question whether I’m having an affair with a local goat herder so today we will go together for lunch to celebrate our wedding anniversary (see we still adore each other – sometimes).  There is a fantastic lokanta on the main road that serves traditional Turkish food (the sucuk hummus is to die for) while you warm your weary bones by a roaring fire.  Yet another great reason to visit Mersin in winter I think.

sarnic-2

I mean if you really need another reason that is …

Disclaimer: my expat friend who lives up in the Yayla would not agree with anything said in this post.  She has had enough of the snow.  She (and her recently Home Alone kedi) wishes that the snow would feck off!

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The Thing About The Turk

The Turk and I have an extremely volatile relationship.  We are hot and cold.  Yes and no.  Up and down (no it’s not a Katy Perry song).  For those of you who know The Turk personally already know that he is an extremely difficult man to live with.  He is completely OCD.  Everything must be spotless.  Everything has its place.  I live with a more relaxed view of things.  Shit happens so clean it up whenever.  He also has a lot of vices.  Things that he cannot seem to control and, despite me giving him ultimatum after ultimatum he will not, or cannot, change his ways.

kemal collage

We have been living together for 15 years now (married for 14).  It has not been easy.  And it’s not that I don’t love him, because I do (well most of the time anyway).  We are just two extremely different people who are, for whatever reason, like oil and water to each other.

I’ve received a few messages from you guys wanting a clarification.  I have dropped hints on a few occasions (my terrace / his terrace) and the truth of the matter is this – The Turk and I no longer live together.  Daughter and I have our own apartment upstairs and he continues to live downstairs and so far this new arrangement is working out just fine.

We are not getting a divorce, we just happen to live separately.  I did ask him if he wanted a divorce and, of course, he said no, “I will never divorce you. Seni çok seviyorum tatlım.”  Ugh!  I mean its 2017, Brad Pitt is finally free of that skinny brunette … and he’s on my List so if the stars would just align then we could finally be together!  As it should be!

The Turk and I still spend time together, one might even say too much time together, and we still make decisions as a couple but our evenings are spent separately (unless we are at a family event of course).  We breakfast together every day.  The Turk still makes us his world famous pizza on a Sunday night and I still make him chicken cacciatore or his favourite meal, Tepsi Kebab.  We still sit each evening on his terrace and have a glass of wine together (clearly I am an Enabler) and talk about our day and go over our plans for the next day.

There is no more fighting (well less fighting) and little things, like The Turks constant need to tidy teenage Daughter’s bedroom, are a non-issue.  And anyone with a teenager will tell you – do not go into their bedroom.  You will regret it.  Or maybe get sucked into a vortex of dirty clothes and rubbish.

Speaking of tidying up my relaxed view on cleaning still sends The Turk crazy and he has been sneaking up to ours to clean when we are out.  I left the camera on the other day and got to enjoy a comedic film of The Turk moving a bowl on the dining table three times before being entirely satisfied with its final resting place.  In the past watching him fuss would have sent me over the edge but now?  Now I merely smile.

I’ve got to say this though … our relationship has never been better.  Everything about this is better.  He is happier.  I am happier.  Daughter is very happy.  The sex is better.  The tension is gone.  The stress is non-existent.  Had I had known that this was the way to have a perfect marriage I would have gotten on board years ago and don’t worry I am sure that every other post will be about me whining about The Turk driving me crazy still … ’cause I’m sure that will never change.

 

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