Just over a month ago, I was stood at Gatwick airport with my family, waiting for Berkay to walk through the arrivals doors. Me, my mum, my dad, stepmum, sister, nan and grandad all met up at the airport armed with welcome balloons and banners. We waited for what seemed like ages, playing ‘spot the Turkish person’ as people walked through the arrivals doors, hoping to see a glimpse of Berkay. “What a lovely welcome ‘Berkay’ will have” said one passer by, “Aww, you obviously don’t love me like they love Berkay!” another woman said, as she walked through the arrival door to be greeted by her husband, who didn’t have balloons or banners! I swear we took up the whole area in front of the arrival doors. Finally, I spotted Berkay and announced to everyone ‘there he is!’ – at this point Berkay had hidden behind the doors, half in jest and half real ‘oh shit, I’m really here in England’. He then walked through the doors, I gave him a cuddle and most of my family burst into tears and joined in the hugs and kisses.
Airports are always emotional, and that was a really surreal moment, a moment we’d been waiting for for years.
That was 5 weeks ago, although it feels like even longer, and now he’s been here for over a month slowly settling in. Does he like England? No, not really, but I always knew that would be the case. It’s so different to Turkey and it takes a lot of getting used to. I know how hard it is to leave everything you know and move to a foreign country, and I also know how hard it is to leave the beauty of Fethiye and move to England. When I first moved back here I hated it, but now it’s definitely home and once he adapts I’m sure Berkay will like it too.
Berkay’s first week in England was spent running around from place to place (with the help of my dad!) picking up his biometric residency permit, registering at the doctor’s surgery, sending off for his national insurance number and getting a bank account. All of this involved so much paperwork – I thought that once he had the visa the hard part was over but it was really only just the beginning.
After being here just 3 weeks, Berkay found a job in a Wetherspoon’s pub in London. A very lovely Turkish man is the manager, who actually reads my blog and only knew of Berkay via reading it. He messaged Berkay when he got to the UK and offered him a job. Berkay went to meet him one Friday evening to chat and sign some paperwork, and when I met up with him after work he was so excited telling me all about it and how much he thought he was going to enjoy it. Since then he’s had two weeks of shifts and has done lots of overtime hours, especially with it being Christmas. He really enjoys it and it’s great for him to get out of the house, he hadn’t worked properly since October when the hotel in Calis closed for the winter so it had been the longest he’d ever not worked, besides being in the army. Its work that he’s used to doing, waiting on tables etc, and he’s used to being on his feet all day. The best part is that a lot of the other staff are Turkish too, some even from Fethiye, and I think that really helps him feel a little more at home. Being able to get out of the house, get the train to work and find his way around, get paid into his own bank account etc all helps him get his independence back and I think he’s feeling a lot more settled now that he doesn’t have to rely on me as much, he’s getting used to the system and day to day life here. He’s definitely a hard worker, all the extra shifts and how quickly he found/accepted a job are proof of that!
Last week, Berkay celebrated his birthday here – we met up after work and went to a BBQ crab shack restaurant. I know how much he misses fish and going to the fish market in Fethiye so I think this was the next best thing. Lobster, mussels and crab – I think he’ll admit I did a good job choosing that, even though it was a bit messy trying to eat it!
Overall its been a lot of adjusting for us all the last few weeks, Berkay especially, but he’s getting there and settling in. It’s funny to think that this time last year I was in England, he was in Turkey and in the army and we were spending Christmas apart with just a minute’s phone call to each other everyday. I thought we’d never be in a position to apply for the spouse visa. Now, we’re married, in the same country, living in the same house, I have a permanent job, Berkay has a job, we’re saving money, working towards moving out and very much looking forward to our first Christmas together as husband and wife.
I’m sorry for not keeping this blog updated as much as usual, I’ve been so busy with all of the above, as well as working, Christmas shopping, present wrapping and everything else! I hope that after Christmas things will settle down and I’ll have more time again.
For those who ask about Boncuk – she’s absolutely fine and happy on Berkay’s family farm. It’s not possible to bring her here, but she’s happy and we still get to ‘speak’ to her on Facetime and Skype. We miss her a lot, but she’s in the best place and well looked after. I love this very festive photo I took of her two years ago.
I hope you all have a very merry Christmas and a happy new year, lets see what 2017 holds for us all!