It’s been 3 months since Berkay walked through the gates to the army base, put on his uniform and started serving his country.
The first 2 months he was in Izmir everything felt a bit surreal, and it was really hard, but he was doing ok. We got to speak every single day over the phone and had 3 or 4 skype sessions during his few hours off at the weekend. Then, once he’d finished training in Izmir, he had 10 days holiday and I flew out to him in Fethiye for a week, I was worried how strange it’d feel being back together after little contact for 2 months, but it was like we’d never been apart. It was the first time we’d really talked about his army experiences as the phonecalls were too short to have any conversation other than ‘hi, how are you? What are you doing?’. He told me stories, and he showed me photos of his friends and the base, it made me understand it all a lot more. Reality really hits that you have a soldier boyfriend when all his life possessions are taken everywhere with him in a giant army holdall.. and even more so when he opens the bag and the stink wafts out… apparently they can only wash ‘small’ things at the base, the big jackets, trousers etc are expensive to wash so nobody bothers.. this resulted in the apartment we rented for the week looking like a camouflage explosion in a launderette, after I’d washed them all for him!
On 13th April he made the 13 hour bus journey to Kayseri where he’s spending the rest of his army service, as far as we know, although he did say he might be moved elsewhere. He’s currently still training to be an ambulance driver and is a commando which means he gets to wear a fetching blue berret! He doesn’t get paid a penny, they’re supposed to get something ridiculous like 30tl a month, but he’s not received any yet, not even for his bus fare which he was told he’d get something for. As with everything else in Turkey, it’s all very sponaneous, no such thing as forward planning!
He’s not had a day off at the weekend since he’s been back, due to a couple of fellow soldiers having a fight and sacrificing everyone else’s days off as a result! He’s hoping he gets a day off this weekend though, when I spoke to him earlier they had just finished washing and cleaning their dorm and different areas of the base, a ‘boss’ was coming to inspect it and if it meets their standards they get their day off back!
These photos are the official army ones that everyone has taken when they start their service, they are SO cheesy, superimposed onto different backgrounds..
We’re a quarter of the way through now, so that’s good. Even though time is not going fast, it is ‘going’. I have a countdown on the go, it tells me there’s 270 days to go! The part I find hardest is the lack of contact, even though Berkay calls me everyday it’s for a couple of minutes at the most, and its hard to have any kind of meaningful conversation, I can’t tell him about my day and he can’t tell me about his, it’s quite sad, really. You all have probably heard that new song in the charts right now with the words “it’s been a long day without you my friend, and I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again” – that sums it up perfectly on so many levels. Definitely a favourite of mine at the moment.
Berkay doesn’t have a phone or internet access in the base, so when a photo was sent to my Facebook last week I was very pleasantly surprised! He had been sitting in a field with his army friends who were picking flowers and arranging them into their girlfriends names, then taking photos and sending them. His friend let him borrow his phone to send me the photo, it was so cute. I did giggle though, nothing says big, strong, scary soldier like picking flowers in a field, eh?! Bless them. He even said there weren’t enough to make the letters in my name so his friend ran off trying to find more… They are a funny breed, these Turks!
270 days and counting.