Where do I start? I know it’s been a year but what a year! Or more to the point what a few weeks leading up to our annual trek across a continent. The only excitement last year was that Ozzy and Lewis were found safe after escaping yet again (the plastic grater tortoise is a much more reliable pet). And me managing to work an unofficial agreement with bosslady that if I worked my arse off accruing hours, I could take a bit more leave and see if all systems worked here. Thankfully they do, so no sudden and expensive return home.
So after weeks of planning, and crying actual tears over Brexit in the mean time, just when I thought that things couldn’t get much bleaker for Smelly, Dosh, and Lai Lai’s future–how wrong could I be? Possibly a lot more wrong that someone arguing about chem trails in the sky, or that the world is flat, or that armageddon was due this week. Scratch that possibly and replace it with totally.
Unless you have successfully gone ostrich in the past few weeks, there has been the minor issue of an attempted coup. For me it all started with M flying through the door from work at 9:30pm saying ‘turn the telly on, put it on the news’, followed by both of us trying to get the Turkish internet TV system to work before relying on Al Jazeera and staring in disbelief for a few hours. Creating all kinds of deja vu from a couple of weeks earlier when I stayed up till 3 am watching BBC as the % slipped from no to yes only to go back to no again.
As it turned out the coup was pretty quickly put down, but it felt like longer with a sense of no one quite believing what was going on. Then all the dark stories, conspiracies, and backlash started. M was never flinching that we would be arriving on the date our tickets said but with airlines cancelling flights and uncertainty, I certainly did not share his Mr Rusty type reassurance to a sad Florence of “Don’t worry, everything will be alright. And I’m not often wrong about these things.” (Obscure Magic Roundabout reference not Ms and her machine).
I’m not going to bang on about the politics of it all. I became quite disengaged politically, especially regarding Turkey when the man who is now president, first came to power. Let’s just say that there is now an odd period of retribution going on along side a sort of unity with people standing up to support democracy (however flawed) and condemning the coup as a way to resolve the polarising nature that has been Mr powerful’s creation. For some their entire life has been devastated and turned upsidedown, while for others–even under this state of emergency–life goes on as normal. Those who have the option are considering whether this is a place they wish to stay in, some have already left, and others haven’t been affected by it too much and wish to stay as this is their home. This doesn’t mean that bad things aren’t happening, nor does it mean that things will get better, worse, or stay the same. Ultimately it didn’t change our plans, we had our tickets, THY had only suspended flights for a matter of hours, we were coming.
While all of this was happening I was trying to sort out how we were supposed to get to the airport in the first place. M had booked night flights. Not a happy bunny. Insomnia meant that I had 4 hours sleep the night before our flight, not a great start. Tired from packing and cleaning, collecting kids, the driving to the airport, I was buzzing by the time we got to check in. Minor panic about upgrade but we got it and seats almost together. Being past 9pm meant lounges were closed so a buzzing mum, bobbing around duty free with a sales woman who couldn’t believe her luck in that I seemed to just buy whatever she suggested. We had £45 in vouchers to spend at this bar place that only did burgers at that time. Do not ask why I decided that we all should eat. But in spite of disapproval I announced I planned to have a drink to calm my nerves. Who put that idea in my head? Not doing that again, really doesn’t work. Alcohol, even in small amounts does not relax me when I am buzzing.
I would have done anything not to have got on the plane. I would be very happy never to get on a plane again but given that the only other option is to drive, and therefore far more likely to result in death, I went down the ramp and sat on the plane. I’d love to say that all was well. I made a valiant effort to distract myself with some film that I cannot remember now. But then the turbulance. I flipped out just a tad. M even offered me to get me a stiff drink but I had flipped way beyond a drink being of any use. The air hostess was all ‘it’s OK I’m walking around, don’t worry’ until she was told to sit and the pilot announced it was going to last a minimum of 15 minutes and he planned to go lower to ride it out. It did stop but it felt like an age and so Smelly started to freak a bit towards the end (he wasn’t sat next to me so he flipped all of his own accord). Lai Lai slept through it all, and Dosh’s main worry was that he was nearly sick. I was beyond all use to be reassuring to anyone, total mum fail. Perhaps it was the exhaustion because by the time we landed (very softly thank you nice German pilot) I had gone over 36 hours on 4 hours sleep.
We rocked up in the VIP lounge and I was not a pretty site. I was kind of thankful for the post coup crackdown of travel bans, which meant the lounge was virtually empty. I think it being a Sunday helped too. I was a trembling, snotty, teary mess. So while Lai Lai slept for another 3 hours till the connecting flight, and the other two hogged the computers I finally wound down for an hour’s sleep. I had lost the ability to care.
The next flight was serenity in comparison. Apart from Dosh, again trying to be sick on take off (something to do with a smell), I do hope this hasn’t become a thing for him. This time Lai Lai distracted me with some kind of angry birds rip off on the screens (no films working on a short flight). He got to level 12 while I just scraped level 9. And then we were in Adana. Just the drive home left. So glad that bit wasn’t down to me.
We made it. We got through our front door. Kids went straight to the telly. I went into inspecting mode. Turns out that the cleaner niece hired was the worst in the world: flat not clean, things in weird places like she had clearly rifled through our stuff. Given the crap that is going on around these are first world moans. We got here safely, we have been in the pool, the kids are going to a summer school, my work stuff works, the washing machine exploded, I’m countering things from the summer school–such as left hands and satan–with “ignore that shite, it’s about a lack of soap and bum wiping” and “no it’s not enough to just clean your teeth with that stick.”
We’re here, all in one piece. Normal may not be what it was but it is what it is. And I am still thinking of titles from lyrics unintentionally. So have some Shania Twian even if she is a tad soppy.