On Sunday I packed up my life into a suitcase once again, boarded the plane alone and arrived back in the UK, this time for longer.
I’d been putting it off for weeks, but a month ago I booked my flight and tried to make the most of everyday I had left there in Turkey. Each day was marred by the constant thought of ‘this is the last time I’ll do this’ or ‘this is the last time I’ll eat this’, ‘this is the last time I’ll go here’. Those thoughts filled my head and everything just felt different, I could no longer enjoy my time there, once I’d booked my flight the countdown began and it was awful.
While everyone else was excitedly opening their advent calendars and counting down the days til Christmas, I was wishing time to go slower, hoping that by some miracle the 14th December would never arrive. Inevitably it did, of course.
Berkay had been able to get the day off work so we could spend the day together, we done a lot of our favourite things, had a lovely Turkish breakfast outside on the balcony, played backgammon with a cup of coffee, walked Boncuk along the seafront and had a gorgeous BBQ outside. The hours ticked by and once I was all packed and ready we went to the beach to watch one ‘last’ sunset. (See what I mean? Always ‘lasts’ on my mind!) It reached 5.30 pm, I took my case and walked out of my front door for the ‘last’ time (again…). “Bye house”.
We went and waited in the hotel garden for Berkay’s friend to arrive, he was taking us to the airport in his car. I played with Boncuk and explained to her what was going on, although of course she’s clueless and is probably still waiting for me to go back and play ball with her and wondering where I am now. We saw our friends car drive around the corner and then it hit me, it was time to go.
Berkay took my suitcase to the car and I sat on the steps cuddling Boncuk, telling her to be good and that I’d see her again soon. I gave her a little treat and she ran off with it, bouncing around all happy and none-the-wiser. She was so happy with her little treat that when I climbed over the fence and walked away she didn’t even come to say bye. She usually stands with her paws up on the fence, crying or howling as we walk away, but not this time. At least one of us wasn’t!
A 45 minute minute car journey later and we were in Dalaman. Our friend hadn’t had dinner so we stopped at a Çiğ köfte place to kill some time and eat and then carried on to the airport.
My flight was the only one flying out that evening so the airport wasn’t very busy but the queues to check in were very long as the flight was one of the last ones direct from Dalaman before Christmas and it was full of expats flying back to the UK for the holidays. We queued for around an hour, but I didn’t mind as that meant delaying the ‘goodbye’ further. Eventually the inevitable happened, I got to the front of the queue and after trying to reduce the weight of my case from 25kg down to just 20, I was all checked in and ready to go.
After a tearful goodbye and a cuddle, I walked through security and passport control where they stamped my passport with an exit date stamp, that was it, the point of no return. I looked back and waved at Berkay and he blew me a kiss, cheesy! Then that was that, I walked around the corner and found my gate, which was full of people already waiting. I spotted a Facebook friend who had previously told me she was on the same flight with her husband and daughter, she too has a Turkish husband and has faced the same teary goodbyes. I went over to her and she asked if I was ok and gave me a big hug, at which point I burst into tears. Poor woman! Still, I felt better after that and I didn’t have to wait very long until we started boarding the plane. The plane was full of young children and before take off there were alot of screaming babies, they looked exactly how I felt on the inside!
On take off I said ‘bye Turkey, bye Berkay, bye Boncuk’ and had one last look out of the window, I even gave a little wave.
Before I knew it, the plane was landing back in Gatwick. “Welcome home” the pilot said. Not really home for me though. I got through passport control quickly and retrieved my baggage. I saw my friend again and apologised for crying on her, “it’s ok I know how it feels” she said, which was reassuring. Then I walked out through the doors and saw my mum and dad waiting for me with more hugs, along with a cheddar cheese and HP sauce sandwich and packets of pickled onion monster munch, yum!
I can’t tell you how strange it is to be back here. The moment I walked into my room again it just hit me, but it was like nothing at all had changed. My calendar is still stuck on the page of June, the month I left. Everything is the same here, yet different. It really does feel like I’ve never been away, like the past 6 months were all just a dream, like I wasn’t really there. I have to keep looking at photos of our house to remind myself that it wasn’t all a dream.
It upsets me that I’ll probably never step foot in my house again, a week ago I was there, sleeping next to Berkay, waking up next to him, eating breakfast together on the balcony, making dinner in the kitchen, watching films in the living room… now all traces of us are removed from that house, and someone else is living there.
Berkay is now living under the hotel (which is still closed for the winter) in a concrete room which is used for staff accomodation during the summer. Boncuk is staying there with him for now and will go somewhere else once he’s in the army, we’ll get her back again once he’s finished in February 2016, which seems like a lifetime away.
Forget about the arrival of 2015 in 2 weeks time, roll on 2016 when we can finally settle and live together without the worry of these goodbyes again, that’s what I say!
See you soon, Fethiye. ❤