3 years ago yesterday, I had just made the biggest move of my life, and was now sitting in my new house, 2000 miles away from ‘home’.
On the 26th April 2011 I moved to Turkey, to live with Berkay, despite only having actually spent a total of 2 full weeks with him. What a crazy move. Do I regret it? Hell no.
I can’t even remember the day I got on that plane, not a single second of it. Perhaps it was over-excitment, worry, fear? I couldn’t tell you, because I honestly can’t remember a thing.
When I moved there, none of my family had met Berkay. My mum flew out with me, so she could meet him and judge him for herself… over the week that she was there, he proved himself, issues arised which left mum’s partner-at-the-time in hospital, and without Berkay to help, it would have been even more stressful for them. Although she was still worried about leaving me there, and the end of the week I think she felt much better knowing I was in safe hands with Berkay.
^^.Photos taken during my first few weeks living in Turkey.^^
Moving to Turkey wasn’t as I had expected it to be – I knew Berkay would be working all day everyday, but I hoped that sometimes I’d be allowed to go to the hotel he worked at and sit there for a few hours – even just to be nosey at the guests and do some people-watching. His boss didn’t let me – so I ended up home alone for most of the day. He worked from 7.30 in the morning til 10/11pm at night. He used to get 4 hour breaks in the day, so we’d go to a pool somewhere or eat lunch at home together. Thinking back on these days now makes me smile… even in just the 2.5 years that I was there things changed a lot.
I was at home alone most of the time, I talk to people who assume that because I was in a resort, I had a party lifestyle, met up with fellow expats or girls who were out there for the summer season, and spent all day on the beach or in bars. NOT TRUE. In the years that I was there, the most I spoke to fellow expats was when recognizing them from their Facebook photos as they were walking down the street and saying ‘Hi’. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not rude, and I don’t dislike these people, I’m just stupidly shy.
How did I deal with the loneliness? By buying a pet. I’d only been in Turkey for a couple of weeks when we went to the pet shop looking to buy a hamster, and Berkay persuaded me to get a rabbit instead. We named her Abbie. Sadly she died a year ago…we really loved her!
When I first moved to Turkey those 3 years ago, I honestly don’t think I really missed anything about England. I’m not someone who gets homesick, which is weird, because normally I really hate change. It took a lot of adjusting to living in the house – I’d never lived alone before and our house wasn’t a luxury holiday apartment, no central heating, air con, double-glazing windows or constant running hot water like I was used to at home! Of course I missed my friends and family, but I had 24/7 access to the internet, so was always able to contact them.
This is my favourite photo from my first few weeks in Turkey. I’ve mentioned it before. It was taken on a trip to Oludeniz, it’s like I’m looking out to sea, miles away from home. You really feel small when you stand beside the big, blue ocean. The world is a big old place, and there I was, 18 years old and exploring another part of it.
Although I’m no longer living there, (actually I moved back to England exactly 7 months ago today) the two and a half years I spent in Turkey were the best of my life so far – somehow I feel a stronger connection to there than I do to England. Some people can’t understand why I decided to move there in the first place, some don’t understand why I want to go back, others belittle the experience and assume it was easy because I was living in the sun and not working.
Whatever anyone thinks, I’m pretty proud of myself for getting on that plane 3 years ago, it was the best decision of my life so far, I don’t think I’d still be with Berkay today if I hadn’t.