If you’ve been following my Facebook page or Instagram, you’ll have seen that we were in Turkey for 2 weeks in September! We flew out on Thursday 14th with Turkish Airlines, via Istanbul, stayed in Calis for a night and then drove to Beyagac, Denizli, to surprise Berkay’s family. When we booked flights back in July I suggested we keep it a secret and surprise them but I wasn’t sure we’d be able to pull it off. When we arrived there on Friday morning and pulled up in the car outside the family business they were very pleasantly surprised and had to do a double take to check it was us.
The first few days were spent in the village, where we did the least ‘touristy’ things possible – picking fruit and vegetables from the garden, sitting on a tractor, crashing a village wedding, squashing in the front of a pick up truck and sitting in the middle of a corn field at midnight, with a bonfire to keep a look out for wild boar, and of course lots of Boncuk dog licks and cuddles. Then we spent a few hours in Kale, where we visited a family member’s tobacco farm, then off to Denizli city centre where we spent one day and night. Then after a long drive and detour through Mugla, we arrived back in Calis and spent 6 days in my new favourite place, ever, Jiva Beach Resort. (After a few days in the village, covered up in 36oc heat, sweating from every possible body part, I was SO ready to get into the 5* luxury and jump into a pool!)
Fast forward 2 weeks and it was time to board the flight back home to London, and we were both very sad! I always say that going back to visit Turkey isn’t like having a holiday to me, it feels like going home and after a day or two it feels like we’ve been there forever. Calis and Fethiye are full of memories for us, at every turn. When we walk down the streets we remember walking there with Boncuk, or walking through the market where we used to buy all our fruit and veg, the shops, the beach, going past our old houses… and then suddenly it feels like we never left at all, which makes it all the harder to leave again!
Then comes the inevitable, moping around the house for days once you’re home, facing the reality of going back to work to a million and one emails, washing all the holiday clothes and shoving the shorts, bikini’s and flip flops back in the cupboard, never to see the light of day again until next year. I think everyone gets post-holiday blues, but for us it goes a bit deeper, our minds go into overdrive wondering if actually we done the right thing by choosing to live in England over Turkey.
The problem is, it’s so easy to look back and romanticise Turkey and life there, especially after coming back from a lovely holiday, but living there was not one big holiday at all, it was very lonely. Berkay worked 12-15 hour days or worked all night, slept all day, no days off in summer, rarely a day off in Winter. Sometimes in the winters he worked all month and didn’t get paid a penny, so changed jobs often. Living in Turkey wasn’t all swimming pools, fancy food and nice accomodation. It was spending all summer swealtering with no aircon and all winter freezing with no insulation or heating, it was having to heat up water in a saucepan to have a ‘shower’ in winter when the solar panels didn’t get enough day light. Ask me 4 years ago and I would have said the opposite, I was living in Turkey and the thought of moving back to England would bring me to tears! But now with my more sensible head on, I’m certain we’re better off here in England (although Berkay wouldn’t agree…) We wouldn’t be able to have what we do here, out there. We partly own our own flat, both work and have some savings, and we wouldn’t have that in Turkey. We certainly wouldn’t have been able to afford a holiday in Jiva Hotel in Calis either, one night would cost almost as much as a month’s rent there which we’d never be able to justify or afford.
Of course it’s not just about the material things, but when weighing up the pros and cons, money is a big part. I’m sure maybe one day we’ll end up living back in Turkey, maybe when we’re old and retired, but for now we’ll just have to make do with holidays and when I’m sat at my desk in Canary Wharf, head in hands, grey skies outside, I’ll just have to fight off the ‘grass is greener on the other side’ thoughts!