Once again we have to leave. M would have liked to stay longer but the boys have to be back and school and I have to go back to work. So, like the storks, we are migrating back. While they are off back south, we head north to a cooler climate. We managed to see the storks this year as they set off on their migration, it’s an amazing sight and for a massive bird they are very graceful in flight.
This year has perhaps been the most relaxed I have had here for quite a while. That may be due to having three weeks to myself while the boys travelled around Turkey. But what is quite surprising is that this year I actually have a list of things I will miss, in no particular order:
Scents of jasmine and fig trees. Nothing quite beats the wafting scent of a fig tree as the fruit are ripening. While in Gozne we kept catching it on the breeze but could not see a tree nearby. In Troy standing under the fig tree means you are surrounded by this glorious smell. As for jasmine, that is a beautiful night time scent that follows you on evening walks. There is something about scents that are released at night that make them magical.
The swimming pool. I say this but I also know that they empty it as soon as the kids are back in school here, around mid September. It’s a shame because Brits would probably like to carry on using it till November. Lai had wished we could get a magical crane and take it back home but he didn’t quite understand that perhaps he wouldn’t like to swim when it wasn’t heated by the sun. I think the reason this is the first time I will miss this is because, despite the 17 rules (they have a new board so they are much clearer) it feels more relaxed and pool guy is not constantly on his whistle. He even ignored me wearing my sunglasses in the pool because I can’t stand the glare from the sunlight on the water if we go down in the morning.
Night swims. These are always a favourite. They aren’t quite as peaceful as they used to be as more people are taking their kids along. They have also changed the pool lights to blue this year and that gives it a different feel. Nothing quite like floating on your back, breathing in jasmine and watching the bats fly overhead or the stars appear.
Being totally cut off from work. This has probably made me more relaxed. Last year I was working so it was hard to switch off even when my annual leave started. this year I was totally uncontactable. Given that the past few years have been very stressful work wise and I haven’t been able to disconnect, which was really what I needed.
The sea. This year as we drove to Bogsak, the further away from the city we got the brighter the sea appeared to be. It felt as though it was a turquoise that was almost crystal-like. Seeing that can’t help but make you feel more relaxed.
Of course there are several things that I won’t miss, so let’s have a few awards again:
Most unidentifiable thing: a mysterious smell of wee. That’s right, a very strong pong of urine wafting through my window each day. At first I thought it might be the balcony drain but after putting bleach down, and the fact that it wafted in from the opposite direction made me realise that was not the origin. Sadly I have not been able to find the source and no one else seems to be able to smell it. And it is definitely not coming from me!
Things I will miss least (apart from the obvious) = This:
Turkish electrics. I simply cannot understand why they have such a crappy system. They are forever falling out of the wall and regularly spark when you remove the plug. If France and Germany, and frankly most of Europe, use the two pin plug system why is it that Turkey has such a crappy socket system? looking forward to sockets that stay in the wall.
Most persistent irritation: (Obviously) Bloody turkish drivers. I know I say this each year but I just can’t believe half the things I see. Mad lorry drivers trying to chase me off the road (his lorry may have been registered to the Netherlands but that was no Dutch driver behind the steering wheel); parents who put a child in a car seat but neither strap the child in or fix the seat into the car; racing up mountain roads without a care for themselves or anyone else; and best of all the moped families where dad wears a helmet but wife and kids?
Strangest feeling while here: that even skin is too much to have on. I know it hasn’t been the hottest year here but it has been pretty close. The real killer is the humidity though. This is the first year I have felt that removing some skin would have a cooling effect. Obviously there would be other dramatic consequences but even so, it’s not a country you can wander around starkers (even in your own home–some people have a tendency to leave the front door wide open).
The ‘vaguely frustrating award’ goes to:
This book. I bought it while at Hayfest because they had run out of Elif Safak, who I had gone to see. It sounded like a Turkish version of Thelma and Louise. Normally I get through a couple of books in the short time I am here but this took me ages. The ending is really good but working up to it was hard work. I nearly gave up 300 pages in. First work of fiction that can send me instantly to sleep, normally non fiction is guaranteed to cure my insomnia. But then I have been drifting off for little naps quite easily here. Clearly I am becoming a biddy. Even worse, I am now reading And the mountains echoed and have a distinct feeling I have already ready it.
Happiest time: meeting another Brit in the site, even for the short time she was here with her son. My boys and he played really nicely together and he even celebrated Lai’s birthday by coming bowling with us.
Nicest meal (and cheapest): an evening out in the Syrian streets eating falafel, fette, humous and salad. Rather a lot of chickpeas but a nice break from cheese pide.
Most brilliant discovery: kolonya is the most underrated cleaning fluid. I’m using it for everything now. Even cleaning ladies over the years haven’t managed to sort out the mess on the bedroom doors created by someone sticking stickers al over them. My um would swear by her ‘sticky stuff remover’ but I have kolonya and that is way less toxic. I now also have clean doors, no tar on the car, and no permanent marker on my furniture. Get in!
Weirdest thing I discovered: Some Russian hooker retweeted my blog. I don’t really do twitter twatter, even though I have an account, so I am not sure why I looked today. But there it was, a notification that someone had retweeted my blog link and after a quick nosey I found out it was some Russian ‘lady’ wishing to give strange men a great time.
All in all I have really enjoyed my shorter stay in Turkey this year. But I am looking forward to going home (if not the flight). It will be nice to see my garden again and find out whether the bees have been busy this year. It will also be great to get the kids back into a routine and back to school. Sadly my lot do not switch to holiday mode where later nights translate into later morning waking times. Their internal body clocks are firmly set to 5am so they have maxed out and are thoroughly mardy now. Here’s hoping they sleep on the plane and on the drive home but for Smelly and Fatso even the fall asleep while in the car setting seems to have broken or they removed it. However, they have compensated for it’s loss by ramping up their ‘stir up into a frenzied hyper’ setting, which is not a great exchange in my view.
Things I am looking forward to the least: school uniform shopping. I have a day and haven’t even prepared by doing any online. Even if I had they would still need shoes and that part is most definitely something I would rather not do. Fun times.