Two versions of myself?

Standing at passport control at Gatwick airport having just stepped foot onto British soil once again after 10 wonderful days in Turkey, many thoughts were whirling around my head.

12 hours beforehand I was tucked up in bed with Berkay in the apartment in Calis that we had called ‘home’ for 10 days. It felt like suddenly I was ripped out from that life and plonked down back into my other one again.

It’s very difficult to explain, unless you’ve been in that situation, but I will do my best. I have researched other people’s blogs and articles on the internet and know that it’s normal to feel this torn, like there are two different versions of myself, existing in two different countries, and that the two versions of myself rarely, if ever, cross paths.

I have the life in Turkey, the one I go back to every few months for a week and immediately switch back in to the mindset of ‘less is more’. While I’m there I’m happy to live with bare minimum, wait for hours for the solar panels to heat up the water for a shower, wash up the plates without the help of a dishwasher and walk for miles up and down the market to find a fruit or vegetable a couple of kurus cheaper than another stall. I sit on the floor eating food and drinking cay with our Turkish friends, I eat Turkish food, I embrace the culture and way of life of the Turkish people and slip right back into that mentality easily. I have someone there to wake up with, eat my dinner with, walk hand in hand with, and fall to sleep with. Life is simpler. Here in the UK I’m alone. Although I have friends and live with family, I wake up alone, go to sleep alone and more often than not eat alone due to everyone’s busy schedules. I travel to work alone, walk at lunchtime alone, and my only contact with Berkay is through a facebook message or skype conversation every now and then. I walk into a supermarket and spend £1 on a packet of 6 tomatoes and think nothing of it, if I want something I buy it, and I succumb to the more materialistic way of life. I sit up the dinner table and eat ready meals, I put my plates in the dishwasher and take advatange of the fact I can take a shower at any time of day I want and there will be hot water. It’s a different life, and I am a undoubtedly different person.

My two lives rarely cross paths. Berkay hasn’t visited the UK for 2 years, my family haven’t seen him for 2 years either. Although they’re very supportive and acknowledge him, he’s not a part of my everyday life and to them I’m just ‘Dan’, I’m not ‘Dan and Berkay’ here. Christmas and special occasions are always when I notice it most, when his name is missing off the cards… In the UK I’m basically a single person, in Turkey we exist together.

When I knew Berkays army leaving date and I had booked my flight, I was worried about returning to Turkey, having not been there for nearly 10 months. I’d settled into the UK version of me, the version of me who has money and a job and a fairly solitary life. I was afraid of going back and worried if I’d still appreciate Fethiye as much as before. As soon as I got off the plane and into the car with Berkay it was like I’d never been away. We visited our friends and it was like I’d just seen them last week, not 10 months beforehand. When I arrived back in the UK I sat around a dinner table in a restaurant with my family and it was like a totally different version of myself, not quite 100% present, almost like an out of body experience from the outside looking in. When I got into bed the night I arrived back in the UK I had to seriously lay down and think if the previous 10 days had actually been ‘real life’ or a dream. Looking back at photos I thought to myself ‘was I really there just 24 hours ago, sat on that balcony with Berkay?’ because it felt so surreal once I was sat back in my room in England and existing as the ‘other Danni’ once again.

It’s entirely bizarre, and I’m aware that this post makes me sound slightly crazy – I’m not. I’m sure everyone experiences this on some level when they return from a holiday or travelling, but this is more than that. I had a life in both countries for a long time, and I still do, I spent most of my adult life living in Turkey. I have friends, family and a part of me in both countries. I guess that makes me lucky, although sometimes I really wish it wasn’t the case and that life were simpler. Although physically my body is only in one place at a time, my head is always split between the two countries, and it’s really mentally exhausting.

“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.” ― Miriam Adeney.

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11 comments

  1. Did he manage to get work in Fethiye ?

  2. I can’t even begin to imagine how you feel Danni. I’ve read your blog from day one following your life,your dreams and your frustrations. You come across as a sensible young woman,you’ve been through so much and still manage to find the time to share your life on here. No matter where you are there will always be someone left behind. You only live once,follow your heart when the time is right for you. Lots of love you you all x

  3. Danni………..I can’t even begin to feel or imagine how you feel or deal with this. I just hope that this situation will finalize for you both and you will be together forever……For me I think with my brain but I follow my heart……I’m glad though that you have a supportive family and friends….take care and sending you lots of love XXOO

  4. Hello Danni & Berkay,
    I am using your mans name for both of you,because he is always with you in your heart and soul
    wherever you are……i see the smiles you share between you …….. your love so heartfelt…………
    I can not begin to understand the lonely thoughts that cross your mind when standing in your hot shower or making a simple cup of tea.I imagine you find yourself talking to yourself…………………
    The essence of you life i imagine is really where your truly happy……..simple walks to the market
    a different level of comfort,yet only material things that are of no importance to your actual being
    except work ,and money to live.

    I visit Turkey for holidays Danni ,i try around 4 times a year with my son,i have no man there never have.
    Only very good friends ,so i have to say at home i have 3 boys and a good life,yet one thing we
    share for some reason i spend all my time awaiting my next visit ,i would love to stay for longer
    eat basic fresh cook food take long walks catch the dolmus bus

    For that is where i am happy,my son enjoys all the everyday life there his little Turkish friends

    since 2 years old we have travelled as a family yet alone far more now because his older brothers
    attend uni .
    His questions every six week holiday term is when are we going to Turkey he is different to my
    older boys he as the experience of life without a fridge full of junk and comfort his views
    and memories are the love of friendship.

    This blogg is not about us, its sharing your emotions,i felt a times did i belong in a different life
    my future i can never plan someone appears to always need me.
    Yet my heart lies elsewhere.
    A complete different reason from your yet all the same understanding of the intoxicating belonging.
    Strange i cried just reading you beautiful words as though i was in your shoes……………………..
    Please follow your heart what ever that maybe ,but before you find more and more reasons
    to keep juggling your life.
    you have youth on your side mine as passed i adore my 3 sons but the real me never surfaced
    until i reached 4o,i hope your life is full of love and smiles Danni sending you a massive hug.

    May all your dreams come true.
    remember life is nothing more than a series of special moments that you make happen the rest
    is trimmings

    love
    Shirley xxx

  5. Sharon Wheatley. · · Reply

    Yes Iv felt exactly the same Iv been married ten years, and have the same life as you. It’s very confusing at times. We unfortunately have drifted apart, due to no visa, and my bad health, unable to travel now. Good luck with everything. I pray it all works out for you both.

  6. Definitely not crazy. I used to go through this every summer, from the age of 5 to the last time I went for a full summer with my grandmother, at 21 or so. Every year, 3-4 months of my life was spent in Turkey. In the sun, with the good food, with friends who (except for one family that went back to New York when we returned to Montreal) had lived all their lives in Turkey and of whom very few had ever even travelled outside the country. And a lot of this was before the Internet, even before cell phones. Once in Turkey, my sister and I were IN Turkey, and we only had contact with friends in Canada by one or two snail mail letters, and with our parents by costly, difficult, and short long-distance calls.
    It was all so wonderful… We didn’t mind going back to Canada, despite school and the cold 🙂 but we definitely had some of the feelings of dislocation that you describe. I wish I could write more stories exploring these feelings…

  7. Great quote! Love the photos of the two of you – hoping soon your two worlds mesh.

  8. I can 100% relate. Although I haven’t lived in Turkey like you, I have spent several months there for the last few years and a part of me is always there. Like u, when I am there, I don’t care that I am in the tiniest room with an awful bathroom and no air con because I am with the person I want to be with and I am totally content in this life. I am care free, little to no make up on, hair natural and I love it. Back in the UK, I wouldn’t be seen dead like this and suddenly I am rushing around, uptight and materialistic.

    I am regularly conflicted in my own mind about how these two sides of me can exist and if they will ever be able to merge together. It’s like two worlds colliding and I have no idea of the outcome but right now I am just trying to balance the two.

  9. I know exactly how you’re feeling! (Although mine is with England and America!) You’ve summed it up perfectly! I wish everyone could just be in one place together!

  10. I did have a bit of a sniff at your quote. I’m three days away from making my final trip to the USA to join my husband and I am feeling the weight of loving people on two continents. Good luck with your journey!

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