This week Berkay received his army start date – 4th February. That means there’s no more putting it off, in 11 days time he’ll be starting his 12 month national service. He’s been given Izmir as his training base, he’ll stay there for the first 3 ish weeks working in ‘transportation’ and then where he’s going after that we’re not sure.
He’s going to his family’s village on Saturday and will stay there until 4th Feb. Its tradition for friends, family (and pretty much every single person in the village) to visit the men before they go to the army and give them a small amount of money, they also usually have a ceremony in the town centre for all the men going to do their service as they have 3-4 intakes a year. I went to the ceremony when one of Berkay’s brothers went to the army, it was way out of my comfort zone, all the men on the outside of the square, all the men in the middle saying a prayer and going up and shaking the hands of the men about to join the army.. followed by everyone driving around in cars with huge Turkish flags draped over them and beeping their horns as they drive around the streets. Madness, passionate and very patriotic, I suppose it’s an exciting time for them, going to do their national service is a rite of passage for Turkish men, something everyone has to do.
Obviously Berkay going in the army means we needed to find a new home for Boncuk for a year, the plan was for her to go to Berkay’s family in the village, but when his dad couldn’t come and pick them up in his truck due to work, it meant we had no way of transporting Boncuk for the 4-5 hour journey – if only the buses allowed dogs on board! I had a last minute panic about where she’d go but luckily Berkay got permission from our friends (and their landlord) to allow her to stay in their garden. They’re our best friends out there, the ones I’ve mentioned previously with the twin babies, and I’m confident she’ll be looked after well. I just hope their own circumstances don’t change, because whilst I’m sure they’ll grow to love her, they won’t ever be as attached to her as we are!
After one last walk along Calis beach together, Berkay packed up the dog kennel and transported her the 20 minute journey to her new home… seeing her kennel all loaded up made me really sad but Berkay spoke with me on FaceTime afterwards and showed me Boncuk settled in her new home and she seemed happy enough. She had already made friends with the man looking after her as he’d given her a few plates of food and if there’s a sure way to win Boncuk’s heart its through a bowl of food or a game of fetch!
I feel so sorry for Boncuk, she has no idea that she won’t see Berkay for a long time, and she is probably already wondering where I disappeared to, I hope she doesn’t think we’ve abandoned her, if I could have her here in the UK with me I would! She always looks so happy when she’s with Berkay. I also feel really sad for her that she’s going from having free reign of the hotel all winter, to being tied up in the garden.. but she’ll be safe, fed, watered and have shelter and that’s a lot more than a lot of the dogs out there have. At least we know where she is, and I can contact her new ‘foster family’ on Facebook to check how she’s doing and get photo updates.