New Years Resolutions 2017

As 2016 draws to a close I find myself looking forward more than back. I dont particularly care to reflect on the previous year, as it has been a real struggle for me. 

 Honestly, I’m  just not happy.  I’m not.  I don’t want to call it depression because I never went to the doctor for a diagnosis (mostly because I don’t have a history of depression, so any negativity is just situational right now and I don’t want to medicate for that). I can’t really pinpoint when I took this turn, since it’s been just a constant stream of disappointment and struggle. 

On top of general money moods, I’m angrier, swearing more, praying less, feeling ungrateful, picking fights, being petty… 

 I know it’s mostly related to my living situation.  Having no space to call my own, no privacy, no ownership of my life. Not to mention my grandmother passed away somewhat suddenly last month. 

I’m not ready to talk about that just yet. 

And of course I haven’t seen my family for over a year. We talk, but it’s not the same. 

Turkey is wearing me down. 

I’ve found myself pushing against the Turkish language, the culture, and even sometimes I won’t eat the food. I don’t know how to describe this feeling but to say I’m not me anymore, and I don’t like it.  I don’t like this homesick, hate my life, and hate everyone around me feeling. 

But I let myself be a victim of my circumstances, and no one/ nothing can affect me if I don’t let it.  

So in 2017 my resolutions are these:

1. Boost my imaan : I need to make an active effort to reconnect with my religion. A religion I actually chose myself. I thought being in Turkey would make it easier, but I think it’s been harder.  Either way, I need to get back into prayer and listen to more religious lectures. 

2. Count my blessings: Every day I want to reflect on at least 3 things I should be grateful for. Even the small things, like hot soup on a cold day.  When I start looking for the good instead of the bad, I know my mood will improve. 

3. Take control and live NOW: I’m going to do more to have more of an influence on my own life.  I intend to start that by moving out of this flat before winter is over, but that’s a post for next week. And instead of waiting for things to happen, I will take an active role in my fate and live in the now. 

4. Swear and complain less: In the states, the majority of my friends don’t swear terribly much.  I also made a concerted effort to not swear either. But here… Well, I have been seriously slacking.  And all I ever talk about are the bad things that are happening to me and how miserable I am (sorry,  friends) .  No more! The occasional venting is ok, but I don’t want to complain more than once a week. Let’s be honest, cold turkey isn’t going going to work. 
I know it’s cliche to make resolutions, but it’s something I need to do.  Be it December or June, positive changes are never a bad thing… 

What are your resolutions? 

Advertisements

Our New Apartment!*

*disclaimer: neither new nor ours

Sorry,  I needed a catchy title to reel you in.  But I did include a disclaimer right at the beginning,  so no harm no foil,  right? 

So we have decided what to do about our living situation – final word! Kind of good and kind of bad… 

We decided to finish building the second floor flat in my in laws house for our use. 

WHAT!?

I know what you’re probably thinking.  We are never going to be free again! Probably not, but it’s better than the current situation  and it does have some benefits. 

Namely;

 No rent. 

No landlord.  

Close to work.

Completely by my design. 

When I say finish the second floor,  I really mean finish.  It’s been bare bones since the house was built 30 or so years ago. 

And its been used as a kind of storage space ever since. 

But it’s pretty big (3+1, around 130+m) and all ours.  We need to move everything out and pour leveling concrete (which is the hardest part of what’s left to do), install the floors, paint, attach proper fixtures and outlets, totally finish the bathroom, and install cupboards… 

Oh wow,  that’s a lot. 

But the windows and doors are done, electric and water works, so we just have to finish the inside. It’ll take a chunk of cash, but for less than the price of one year’s rent in another apartment we can have our own built up to our specifications. 

I try to think of it more as an empty canvas. 

And at least we are moving in the right direction. 

(sorry for the lack of posts, a lot going on lately that I hope to be able to explain later…) 

Knee Jerk Reactions

Whenever something bad happens, you tend to have that initial “knee jerk” reaction. A reflex, if you will.  My previous post basically covered hubby’s reflex to losing his job. 

You know, the “we can’t move out now” , “we will move to new city” , “everything sucks” kind of stuff.  

Well, we are trying to take a few days to step back and really evaluate the situation and the best next move. 

For both of us.  

At the moment, moving out is back in the table, taking some time off to take more professional/technical courses, and other personal development stuff is also a possibility. 

While nothing is clear right now, the only thing we can be certain of is that we have each other- and that’s what matters. 

Prayers and positivity appreciated.  

House Hunt Struggles 

Guys. 

When did it become so expensive to live in Izmir? 

We’ve been on the hunt for an apartment for a few months, just recently visiting locations and whatnot since the prices have been going down for the winter season. 

But dang. If it isn’t expensive, still!

Hubby and I work quite close to each other (he is at a factory and Im at a school, just two metro stops apart). So valid living options are centered in one 5km radius.  You think it would be easy, since there are many new apartments, old sites, etc to choose from.  I mean, there are “for rent” signs everywhere. 

But the PRICE!! 

Not many places have shown up on our radar for under 1000₺/mo, and that’s not even considering proximity to amenities, public transport, pazar locations, etc.  That’s not even taking into account the size (I’m talking tiny in some cases!) of the apartment and its having proper heating systems or not (we need that natural gas!). 

Like, base price for a poor looking, run down, old apartment on the first floor on this side of town is minimum, 900₺. Woah now.  Woah. 

For folks that live in Istanbul, you’re probably laughing at me.  Like, that’s not bad for living in the city.  But considering you make more in Istanbul… We do want to save money from our pay checks, and hope to buy a car and stuff one day in the near future. 

So far the two places we seriously considered from sahibinden were a fantastic price, but the location was terrible.  I mean,  you’re going to get kidnapped on the road terrible. 

And so we continue to live in a room in my in laws apartment… More about that later. 

Note: between work and looking for an apartment, time to write has gone down to near zero.  I hope to pick up soon! Sorry! Check my Instagram for more activity starting today! I ran out of data too fast last month… 

This is My Life Now

It hit me last weekend, you know? 

This is my life now. 

When we were invited to a sunnet on Sunday night, and my response was “I can’t,  I have work in the morning”.  That’s when I realized things are starting to become normal. 

I was writing just a few months ago about how I felt like I was in some twilight zone.  When I first came to Turkey it was like a vacation, I wanted to do everything and go everywhere. Then I was in a rut, not doing anything (not by choice), and not leaving the house for weeks at a time. 

That was a dark time. 

But now I’m starting to find that balance that people have when they live a normal life.  I have work responsibilities, come home, clean and cook,  get up and do it again. On weekends I do stuff with the hubby or see friends.  When did I flip the switch towards normal? 

I mean,  we aren’t totally settled in to our lives yet. We still live with my in laws,  but they’ve been gone for a few months at the summer house so we’ve had more space. Before you know it they’ll be back and maybe their presence will light a fire under hubby’s ass to get us out of here. 

But then again,  now they are talking about moving us downstairs into the gross bottom floor apartment. But that’s a story for another post.  

In the meantime, I’ll keep striving for a new normal. 

Wedding or Not…Here We Come.

One of the things I had been looking forward to when moving to Turkey was our big, fat, Turkish wedding.

You know, the one that didn’t happen because our lives were turned upside down.

Well, after I had finely started coming to terms with the idea that our wedding bonanza wasn’t going to happen, my mother in law was suddenly injected with the wedding bug.

Probably because there are two weddings in the family this summer,  one of which is this weekend.

So out of the clear blue,  Anne is insisting we get married this summer.  Like, in a few months.

Uh… What?

 

image

Let me make it clear that at this point in our lives, neither of us (hubby nor myself) want to deal with planning/paying for a wedding.  Neither of us have a job,  we are living with my in laws, we clearly have other priorities. Are we saying no wedding EVER? No… We are even open to discussing early next year (I wanted it to be on our wedding anniversary, like a vow renewal).

But noooo… It HAS to be NOW.  And with literally no warning. I’m sorry if I can’t get behind that.

Naturally, this leads to plenty of fighting in the house.  Anne will kick and cry because she wants what she wants, and hubby will shout and stomp because he wants what he wants.  Me? I want everyone to be quiet.  When I told Anne that this much notice is not enough for my friends and family to make plans,  she wasn’t swayed.  When I said we didn’t want to pay for something so expensive in our financial situation (hell,  we can’t even move out and pay RENT), she said that she’d pay for it.

Funny that,  when they just asked us for money towards a car and an awning at the beach house.  With what imaginary money were you planning on paying for our (expensive) wedding acaba?

What I don’t understand is why it can’t wait another year, once things settle and İnşallah we will both have jobs.  She keeps saying that “oh we were planning to do it when you came back,  next year is too long to wait.”

I have news for you.  We had a lot of plans for when we came back. I assure you,  our current situation was not in them.  We were supposed to have jobs,  a home, maybe even a kid on the way.  But none of those things happened.  And all of them are much more important than a wedding. And oh yeah,  we’ve been married 3 years already,  one more isn’t that much.

At some point OUR (potential) wedding stopped being about us and started being about her.  And it’s making me very frustrated.  Very. Very.  Frustrated. As if we didn’t have enough to stress us out already.

Baby Steps AKA: What sucks (initial months)

The full title of this post should be “Baby Steps AKA: What sucks about moving to a country that doesn’t speak your language (the initial three months experience)”, but I thought that would be way too bulky a title and clutter up my blog space.

I know I’ve been singing the praises of Turkey and showing all of the good times I’ve been having (the best that I can while remaining anonymous), but there are some difficulties to moving to a new country…particularly one where the main language is not your own (or close to it- but the alphabet is almost the same so I guess that’s a win).  I like to think of the “learning curve” I’ve been experiencing as baby steps…both, because you learn things slowly and in small pieces, and because I feel like I’m two years old.

DSCN2986

There are so many aspects of living in Turkey that I didn’t even think of that could become a hurdle for me to overcome.  Going from 25 years old and managing my own house (apartment…shack…cardboard box.) and holding down a job/academic career to being basically a child who can’t work or speak or really do much of anything without assistance is quite difficult.  No, it’s freaking hard. FRICKIN’ HARD (read with a southern accent).

These are a few things that I have been having to learn from the beginning. AGAIN.

Language

Honestly, this is a no brainer, and I was pretty prepared for it.  I knew that there was going to be a language barrier- especially when it comes to speaking culturally.  Even with the vocabulary and grammar understanding of a five year old, I’m managing alright.  The hardest part, really, is that some things don’t translate directly from English to Turkish.  For example-  you don’t take a picture, you pull a picture.  Yeah, I know it seems so weird- but if hubby can overcome these obstacles going from Turkish to English, I can too!

Cooking

If you have perused my recipe tag at all, you will know that I am no novice in the kitchen.  I’m not a supreme chef, but I can cook.  However, everything in Turkey is different.  I’m really struggling to adjust to propane ranges rather than electric.  When I first came, I was scared to even turn the things on.  I lean slightly towards being a pyrophobe- no thanks to the ubiquitous stories we are told as children of people burning their faces off with propane tanks/stoves, in an attempt to make us careful.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then I’m sorry, but your parents don’t love you.

Along with the methods of cooking, the spices, I swear, are different.  Is there an enhancer in American salt? I know I should know this already since I’m a food science major- but I focused more on microbiology than production.  Here, I have to use a pound of salt where I used to use a pinch (slightly hyperbolic, but it feels that way). Also, most of the spices Anne uses are freshly ground, so the taste is different.

I used to be able to cook up a breakfast, lunch, and dinner like a pro- but now…I poke around and help where I can.  And some people here are picky… Sometimes, I feel useless.

Laundry

Even the washing machines here were a conundrum to me! They are not the same!  If you are accustomed to a front loading washing machine with buttons for temp/cycles/ etc then you would be fine- but I’m a good ol’ southern gal who uses top loaders with a dial.  While I have now gotten the hang of the washing machine- it is still something Anne does most of the time, because I just don’t know what I’m doing…

And also, drying machines aren’t a thing.  I think this is the case for most of Europe though.  Did you know there is a technique to hanging clothes on a line? Yeah, I didn’t either.  I’m still trying to figure that out.

Those are just a few things for now.  Grocery shopping, hosting, and cleaning the house are a few others that I haven’t written here…maybe another post.  I often feel like a burden on the family- like a useless little girl that doesn’t know how to be an adult.  Especially since brides/daughters play a big role in the upkeep of the house. I really can’t explain how hard it is to go from a card carrying adult to a child.  I really can’t. It’s just something you have to experience.

Fortunately, I have a very patient mother-in-law who doesn’t hesitate to help me, and also accepts my poor attempts at assistance when I offer them.

#expat problems

That Farm Life Though

Anneanne owns a field out in a koy area in Izmir, and a large portion of the family came out to help pick up the walnuts from the three trees that are out there in early September!

walnurt1

It was an all day event- and I got to be a farmer for a while.  The youngest dayi climbed the trees and beat them with sticks to make the walnuts fall, and everyone else picked them up and threw them in buckets and sacks.

And by everyone else, I mean mostly the second oldest dayi and Baba.

I mostly played with puppies.

walnut2

It was still a lot of fun!  Hubby played with a pellet gun and practiced his aim.  He started out not hitting anything, but by the end of the day he was knocking cans off tree stumps. We made tea over an open flame and ate lots of walnuts and figs.

walnut3walnut6walnut5

As the day progressed and our tummies rumbled, the oldest dayi prepared kofte. He used to own a restaurant at one time, and he has quite a way with knives!  I was mesmerized by his technique of chipping an onion into finely diced pieces using only a knife and his hand- no cutting board!  He even laughed at my amazed expression.

Since the summer has mostly come to an end, the nights are coming sooner.  We ended up eating our dinner by lamp light- 12 of us huddled around a blanket covered in food- fried potatoes, kofte, peppers, salad, and bread.  You don’t know how dark darkness really is until you sit in a field with no lights at night.  I even caught a glimpse of some heat lightening in the distance.

Little did I know that that heat lightening would be followed up by two days of rain.

It is actually quite interesting how much I enjoy these simple things.  When I was young you couldn’t pay me to be outside more than five minutes.  As I’ve gotten older- I’ve come to embrace the outdoors more and more…sweat and all.

walnut4

Now is the right time for me to be in Turkey, huh?

Life Beyond the Screen

It amazes me how much life there is to live beyond the computer screen.  Without having internet readily available at the beach house we’ve been staying at- we’ve had to find other things to do…

family picnics

day trips to the beach

preparing a feast with the family

tending the garden

Making a garden gate

  I used to hold my breath from boredom as I waited for my favorite TV shows or youtubers to upload a new edition to my computer.  But now, I’m too busy living my life to watch someone else’s.  As we settle into this Turkish life my routines will probably return…but maybe not.

  I hope to include our latest adventures from the last month in October.

beach