I live in a tourist destination, surrounded by sun, sea and sand. But does that mean my life is one big holiday? Definitely not.
I apologise in advance, this will be a rant. There is nothing that frustrates me more than people making comments about how my life must be one big holiday since I live Turkey. Friends, Facebook friends, even family, there have been plenty of people commenting exactly that.
I suppose it depends on what your idea of a holiday is really. To me, and from what I observe of a lot of holiday makers, a holiday in Turkey is a get away from the stresses of home, a week or two in the sun with the ones you love, worrying about nothing more than which restaurant to go to for dinner. Relaxing in the sun, getting a tan and swimming. No worries about paying the bills, no cooking, no cleaning. Room service, restaurants and maids to do all that for you. No working. A fun few weeks abroad, knowing your house and all the familiarity and luxuries of home are waiting for you to return at the end of it. Of course, not all holidays are like that, but this is just my opinion from observations.
Sure, I don’t work, but that is where the similarities between a holiday, and my life end.
The sun is lovely, and I’m lucky to live in a place where it’s guaranteed sunshine for almost 6 months of the year, but the 35 oC+ heat is not so lovely when you don’t have the option of laying around a pool all day. As I have previously mentioned, I don’t have a pool, or air con, so getting up, going to the market, walking everywhere, cooking, cleaning and doing housework in the heat are all part of my everyday life, not something I’d consider part of a holiday. I’ve commented in the past about how much British people love to complain about how it’s too hot to do anything when the temperatures reach 20oC + in the UK, people always reply ‘its different when you’re abroad’ . Its not the country that makes it different, its the lifestyle, of course the temperatures feel a lot different when you don’t have the option of sitting by a pool and doing nothing all day.
We don’t have a holiday lifestyle at all. In the 2.5 years I’ve lived here, I have never been to a bar. We don’t drink alcohol. I’ve been to a seafront restaurant with Berkay a handful of times (unless it’s in a turkish cafe, we do go to those more often). We’ve been swimming a total of 6 times this year (apart from when family were here, and yes, I counted).
I don’t consider spending the majority of time on my own while Berkay is working 15 hours a day, a holiday. It’s isolating. It’s lonely. We never get to spend more than 5 hours a day together, let alone a week or two. I also don’t think people realise just how little money we have, in summer it’s not so bad, £460 a month. I’m willing to bet a person on holiday here would spend that, or more, in a week. Winter in Turkey is the hardest, living off £250 between two people is impossible. Spending the end of every month wondering where our next meal is going to come from, whether or not the internet supplier is going to cut us off if we pay it late, that’s not part of a holiday. Getting into debt with friends in order to pay bills, that’s not part of a holiday.
It’s not a holiday not knowing when you’re going to see your family again, always having to say goodbye to someone, always missing someone, whether it be my parents, brother and sister, my boyfriend or my dog. There is always someone. My holiday is when i go back to the UK with Berkay, I get to spend Christmas with him and my family, stop worrying about money for a few weeks and enjoy the luxuries I had back in England. That is my holiday.
Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m lucky, and of course there are tons of reasons why living in Turkey is great, the good outweighs the bad perhaps, but that is for another post. I know this is the lifestyle I have chosen for myself, for now. I love living here. I know there are millions, billions of people worse off than me. This isn’t a post to make you feel sorry for me, its a post to make you realise living in Turkey is not a holiday. Not for anyone. No more so than living in London- a huge tourist destination, is a holiday for the millions of people who live there.
It is really infuriating to see people dismissing my life as ‘one big holiday’ when that is a million miles away from the truth.