Good news!

We got some great news on Thursday…
Berkay got his visit visa!

This means he can come to the UK for Christmas, New Year and back again in March for mum’s wedding. So happy!
It’s only a 6 month visa, and he’s only planning on staying for a total of 6 weeks out of that time, but it’s such hard work to get visas to the UK, as I have mentioned before.

I really didn’t think he’d get the visa this year, so it was a lovely suprise and I’m so glad, this one was more important than the rest as previous years I was living with him, but this year if he didn’t get his visa who know’s when I’d see him again.  I have spoken recently about not feeling like I fit in here anymore, so having Berkay with me for Christmas is going to make me feel a lot happier, I can finally start to look forward to the holidays like everybody else! (:

Still yet to book his flights, but hopefully he’s coming mid December for 3 weeks. Our friend will be looking after our lovely Boncuk, if only Berkay could smuggle her in his suitcase! 😦 ❤

If anyone has any questions about visit visas, feel free to ask, always here to help!


Berkay & Boncuk settling in..

I can safely say Boncuk is LOVING being at the hotel 24/7 and being able to walk around the grounds with no danger of her getting out. The hotel is closed and Berkay is the only one there, apart from the security man, who happens to be Berkays best friend! (: Boncuk is being a good little guard dog, barking and waking them up to investigate when someone/something is there who shoudn’t be!

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Berkay’s not having the best of times, he still hasn’t found a job for winter, although he has one promised starting in January. He has no money and if it wasn’t for his friend always inviting him to his house for dinner, he’d be starving. The hotel has no running hot water either, so everytime he wants a shower he has to boil water on the gas, oh i do not miss those days.
At least they have each other, Boncuk adores Berkay. Everytime he goes in his room, she sits outside the window looking in at him, bless her. They really are best buddies.
It just goes to show that dogs really do stick with you, no matter if they’re in a lovely, cosy house or a small, cold room underneath a hotel with bare minimum. Animals are so much nicer than most humans ❤

Adapting to life back in the UK- Reverse culture shock.

I recently read a quote somewhere saying ‘the hardest thing about living abroad is returning home’. There have never been words more true.

I may have been back ‘home’ for over 7 weeks now, but adapting to life back in the UK is not easy. After researching, I found out that what I am experiencing is not just me being silly, it’s something that is real, something that others experience too. Reverse culture shock.

We’ve all heard of culture shock, I sure experienced that too when I first moved to Turkey. Moving thousands of miles away and being thrown in at the deep end, oceans away from all my family and friends and the life I had known for 19 years. No more ready meals, no wearing shoes inside, the fact it’s not uncommon to meet someone in the bus stop, instantly learn where he’s from, how old he is, and be invited to some random family occassion they’re holding soon. Adapting to ‘Turkish time’ and accepting that nothing will ever be done quickly. Learning to sleep through the call to prayer at 5am. The infamous Turkish toilets, and not being able to put paper down the normal toilets. Haggling in every shop you come across. Not being able to walk down the street without being called over by everyone you might have met once upon a time. Not hearing any English conversations… none of these are bad things, just very different. I adapted quickly and ended up living  99% like a local minus the village baggy flowery trousers. 

Culture shock, you expect. But reverse culture shock is different. On return to your ‘home country’ you don’t expect to feel like a foreigner, which is exactly how I still feel. The two and a half years I lived in Turkey I lost my connections to ‘home’, I felt less and less like an English girl, whilst obviously not being Turkish either. It’s a strange feeling, one that I can’t explain. It hits me at the most random times, sat on a bus and hearing English conversations all around, seeing English sign posts, seeing all the food in the English supermarket, it’s all quite overwhelming.

I suppose one of the main things which is difficult to adapt to is the fact that the lives of the people I love and care about at ‘home’ have moved on. Family and friends have new lives, some have attended and graduated university, others are married and have children, my mum has found a boyfriend and is engaged and my little sister who was a 3 week old baby when I left, is now over two and a half years old. Whilst I was not naive enough to expect everything to remain the same, it’s still hard to cope with things being so different to when I left them. Everyone else has moved on, and I’m back starting from the beginning, having to find a new job, adapting to life back with my family, and trying to find time to see friends who are all busy with their own lives. I don’t feel as close to my friends or family anymore, I left my own ‘family’ back in Turkey. I do feel like a foreigner in my own ‘home’. 

Living back with my family is hard, after living alone with Berkay for two years. I miss the peace. Quiet evenings without a moody teenager and excitable toddler running around. Selfishly, I miss not having to worry about anyone else and just doing my own thing, washing up when I want, eating when I want, having control of the tv 😉  I feel less independent. I love my family but it’s still such an odd feeling being back, I feel like I’m intruding, this is their home, and not mine.

Another thing hard to adjust and adapt to is the whole ‘want it-get it’ attitude that is common here (I’m not saying every English person lives this way, please no nasty comments!) If someone wants something, they go out and buy it. Food, clothes, a phone.. whatever. While in Turkey I lived on the bare necessities, I had no luxuries. My dad has been bugging me for weeks to go out and buy a coat, or a pair of tights without a hole in the toe. He took out a new phone contract for me last week, despite me telling him I was happy with my ancient LG phone with a black and white screen and no internet capability that belongs in the stone ages. To me, that’s not the normal thing to do, If I were back in Turkey I’d just deal with it and carry on, make do and focus on the more important things like paying bills. I find that people’s priorities here are so backwards.  I am starting to fall into that trap now too, especially where food is concerned!

I’m much more judgmental of the UK now I have lived somewhere else, perhaps wrongly, perhaps not. I have seen a different side of life that some have not, people assume I lived like a tourist, had what I wanted when I wanted it and had a life of luxury and a two year holiday. That’s so wrong.

People can’t understand what’s so difficult about returning to their own culture, customs, and language, they say ‘just move on get over it’. It’s really not that easy. The ‘just move on’ attitude doesn’t help, it only makes me feel more isolated, more like I don’t fit in. People not understanding has led to arguments. I was reluctant to do this post as I know any family reading will still be annoyed and upset about the things I say. Having read fellow ex-expat’s blogs about this subject, I decided to post it anyway, it’s important to know these feelings are real and if just one person reads and feels less alone and isolated, then it’s done it’s job.

Fethiye Fountains..

Feeling a bit ‘homesick‘ lately, so was looking through some old photos and thought I’d share some from my last night in Fethiye back in September which we spent watching the fountains in Fethiye.
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They’ve been here for a year now, but because Berkay works nights we hadn’t had a chance to see them as he was always working.

The fountain show’s happen two times a day and are accompanied by music, very loud music! They are so pretty and I love them, even if they  a little cheesy. They’re in the new park built opposite McDonalds in Fethiye town and look fab, brightly coloured and very cheerful. (: What do you think?
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Visa time..

It’s been 6 weeks since I last saw Berkay, thankfully time is going by quickly, he’s currently in the process of applying for a visit visa so he can come to England for Christmas. 

He’s actually on the bus for the 5 hour journey from Fethiye to Izmir as we speak. We completed the application and made his appointment at the visa application centre for 9am tomorrow morning, fingers crossed everything goes to plan and he gets it granted with no problems, but we won’t find out for up to 3 weeks/15 working days. 

He’s had two visit visas granted before, and one refused 2 years ago. Despite what most people think, the UK’s borders are not open for all and it is not easy for citizens of non-European countries to come to the UK, even for a 3 week holiday. The whole process is a very long, detailed one and it is very frustrating. I have spoken before on here about how annoying it is to hear Brits complaining about having to pay the £10 visa fee on arrival in Turkey, and moaning about having to wait for 30 minutes in a queue for the visa stamp. If you compare that to the process of a Turkish person visiting the UK, it really is nothing to complain about at all.  The visa fee for non-EU citizens to enter the UK is £80 and even after paying, it is not guaranteed that the visa shall be granted, as we discovered the first time Berkay applied, and was refused. 

The amount of paperwork we have to provide is also ridiculous, not only does Berkay have to show his entire life history, prove his ties to turkey in the form of property, land, employment, family links etc, but me, as his partner also have to prove that I exist, copies of my passport, proof of address, evidence of our relationship, photos… Then there is the issue of having enough money. Berkay has no money saved as wages are rubbish, and so has to have a sponsor. My dad is his sponsor, who also has to show bank statements, work contracts, invoices, tax returns, earnings, passport copies, letters, etc. If British people had to show all of this to travel to Turkey, nobody would ever bother going, can you imagine the amount of people who get into debt to pay off holidays etc, they’d all be refused unless they just so happened to have a friend in Turkey who had money saved in the bank.

The previous times Berkay has travelled to England, I have travelled with him. On arrival at the airport we felt like criminals with all the questions asked and people watching us. I understand that checks have to be made, but the whole visa process is ridiculous and horrible. There is always a risk of people overstaying visas or working illegally, but when you’re genuine and know you are going to stick to the rules, it’s frustrating having to prove yourself and have strangers judging your life and making important decisions just by reading pieces of paper.

Fingers crossed he hands in his huge pile of papers ok tomorrow morning, and that we get the decision back as soon as possible. The wait to open that envelope searching for a refusal letter or a visa stamp in his passport is a horrible one too, glad I’m not there to go through that this time.

Let’s hope we hear ASAP and Berkay can join me in the UK for 3 weeks over Christmas and New Year. Wish us luck please! ❤

New home, Boncuk & work..

Loooooong time, no speak. Apologies for the lack of posts lately, have been really busy and struggling to find time to think about what to write.

A few new things… number one, I have a job. Nothing exciting, it’s only at Argos and only part-time, but hopefully I’ll get alot more hours in the next few weeks with the Christmas rush! Anything is better than nothing (:

Number two, Berkay has moved out of the apartment we shared 😦 He has moved into a room under the hotel he worked in during summer, and is staying there for the winter. The hotel is all closed up but he’s staying in a little room underneath and has taken Boncuk with him too, hopefully she’ll settle in okay and not miss her home too much 😦 The good news is this means he won’t have to pay rent, and will hopefully be able to save some wages. The bad news is he has no internet there so we won’t be able to Facetime each other, boo.
Here are a few photos of Boncuk checking out the new abode!
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