A Boncuk update..

 
It’s hard to believe that we’re already in April, a quarter of the way through the year! It’s really bad that this is only my 5th blog post of the year, but I find myself really struggling with things to write, despite having hundreds of photos and things to share, I just struggle to find the motivation or the words! Something people always ask me about, is Boncuk. I haven’t really had an update on her for a while, partly because WW3 seems to have broken out between Berkay’s family, which has left us not even sure if we’ll be visiting them when we go out there in June… but the argument between Berkay’s brothers seems to have worked in my favour as they seem to be in competition with each other to send me photos of Boncuk and outdo each other! Last Sunday, one of them sent me some photos of her, I posted a few on Facebook and the next day the other brother sent me some, for the first time since Christmas… not a coincidence I think, but no complaints from me hehe!
 
Isn’t she still just the cutest thing? She’s always had those gorgeous puppy dog eyes, how can anyone resist that little face? She’s so expressive! She can look happy and sad and knows how to use her cuteness to get what she wants, even Berkay’s dad was persuaded into giving up his last biscuit to her as she sat there staring at him with those eyes, she didn’t even have to beg. Boncuk still lives at Berkay’s family’s house/farm in the village, although we did think we might have to move her depending on what happens within the family, but I hope not as I have no idea where else she could go. One of Berkay’s brothers has recently moved back to the village from Fethiye, and has fallen in love with Boncuk as well, he said she loves cuddles and as soon as he sits down she runs over to climb onto his lap, bless her.  She always enjoys getting a little fuss and chin tickle from them, and as you can see from the photos, she likes to reward them with kisses!

I’m so glad to see she’s still a happy little woofer!

 

A Boncuk update …

It’s been a long time since I last did an update on Boncuk on my blog, and since it was 5 years ago last week that we found her, I thought now would be the perfect time!

As you know, Boncuk now lives with Berkay’s family on their farm in the village. We went to spend a few days with them in April, and again in September, so I’ve seen her twice this year. Although we don’t get to see her very often, she definitely has not forgotten us and still greets us with an excited waggy tail every time she sees us. The few days we spent with her in April she was very clingy to me and would sit outside the gate waiting for a glimpse of us when we were inside the house. She followed me everywhere when I was walking around the farm, it was so cute. She wouldn’t even let us drive off in the car without trying to jump in.. and one day we gave in and let her come for a little trip up one of the mountains – she laid on my lap, head on my arm, face looking out of the window, ears flapping in the wind. Then when we got out of the car and went for a walk it was just like old times, when we used to take her on lots of walks around Fethiye and Calis. Bless her. Leaving her in April broke my heart, I bawled my eyes out knowing she’d wonder where we’d gone again. I hope she doesn’t think we abandon her over and over again. Someone told me dogs have no sense of time and I hope that’s true, I hate to think of her waiting for us and wondering when we’ll be back.
 
 
In September we went to visit again for a couple of days and she was her usual, cute self. Greeting us with a waggy tail and big smiley face.  I was also really amazed that she still knows the ‘tricks’ we taught her –  ‘sit’, ‘lay’  & ‘paw’! One night I was searching for her for ages, calling her name, trying to find her around the farm, under the cars, in the hay shed, but she was nowhere to be seen. After a while, Berkay found her asleep, curled up in a ball under the sofa on the terrace. So sneaky!

She really is the sweetest dog I’ve ever known. I was worried when we first took her to the village that maybe she’d lose her loving, soft temperament since she’d have less human interaction. Turkish people don’t really look at pets the same way we do, no baby talk to the dogs, minimal fussing and stroking and definitely no cuddles on laps like she used to have with us… they have their own dog who is chained up all day and is very much a guard dog, who wouldn’t think twice about chewing your arm off! Boncuk has kept her loving personality though, she’s still timid and never growls at anyone, all she’d do is lick you to death! She’s a bit of a wimp to be honest! Although she’s not allowed indoors, apparently whenever it’s thunder and lightning she runs in and jumps on the sofa if she spots the front door open!
 
It’s so hard leaving her but I know she’s well looked after in the village. Berkay’s brother loves her and she likes her life there. She loves to roam free around the farm and plays with the lambs and lets the little chicks run all over her. She plays with their other dog and follows Berkay’s step-mum around on her farm duties! Sometimes I feel really bad for her, wondering if she misses the old days, when we’d take her for walks along Calis beach, playing fetch in fields and up on the hills overlooking the sea.. she used to love playing fetch with her ball and now she doesn’t even have any toys… but I hope she doesn’t miss it.
 
People often ask why we don’t bring her to England and I would love to, the money isn’t an issue I would happily pay it, but she wouldn’t like it here. We both work all day 5 days a week, so she’d be on her own in our flat (with no garden) for 9 hours a day and that’s just not nice for her. She’s never been an indoor dog, she only knows life outside, so she’d hate being cooped up indoors alone all day, it wouldn’t be fair on her.

We’re lucky she can stay with Berkay’s family and we can still go and visit her – it certainly makes visiting the village more bearable for me. When I get too stressed or overwhelmed with village life I just take myself off outside, call for Boncuk and sit having a little chat with her.

I can’t believe it was 5 years ago we found her as a teeny tiny puppy!

 

AUGUST PHOTO SERIES – DAY 31 – SITTING IN THE SUNSET

I can’t believe the whole month of August is over and this is the final day of the photo series! I’ve saved my best photo til last, it’s without a doubt my most favourite photo I’ve ever taken. I hope you don’t mind that I’ve shared it a million times before, I just LOVE it. This is Boncuk as a puppy, we’d had her 4 months and were just taking a late afternoon stroll one day in February, along Calis beach. I was trying to get some good sunset photos and she just sat down and posed – pure luck, it’s not easy getting a puppy to sit still! I love her little smiley face, tongue out, ears flapped over, sitting up straight. The sunset in the background, the waves rolling in and Boncuk’s little doggy paw prints in the sand. She was the cutest puppy!

I’ve enjoyed looking back over my old photos this past month and sharing them, showing you all the beauty of Turkey in it’s many forms! I think this photo sums up everything I love most about Turkey personally, Calis beach, sunsets, the sea and our beautiful Boncuk dog.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the photo posts too, thanks to everyone for liking, sharing and commenting over the last month!

AUGUST PHOTO SERIES – DAY 6 – PLAYFUL STREET DOGS

I took this photo last March in Calis. We were sat on the wall along the beach enjoying the sunset, and I realised we weren’t alone. Three little street dogs were just running along the beach chasing each other and rolling around in the sand. I just love how happy they all look with their tails in the air and ears flapping – it’s not an easy life for street dogs in Turkey, so it was lovely to see them just running along having fun together. My favourite is the little dog at the front, so cute. I love how they look like little silhouettes against the orange glowing sky behind. I guess humans aren’t the only ones who can appreciate a Calis Beach sunset!

Happy 3 years Boncuk!

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Exactly 3 years ago today Berkay and I were sat on our little balcony in Calis, eating dinner when we heard a high pitched crying puppy… it sounded very close so we popped our heads over the balcony but couldn’t see anything. We finished eating our dinner, and still hearing the noise, we went down the stairs to see where it was coming from. What we found was a teeny, tiny cream coloured puppy who was tied to a post outside our landlord’s apartment below ours.

The puppy was obviously very scared and had been left there, with no food or water, and just a piece of rope tied tightly around its foot, so tightly that it couldn’t put it’s foot down or walk. We had milk in the fridge so Berkay went upstairs to get some and made a make-shift dog bowl out of the end of a plastic coke bottle… Our landlord came back from wherever he’d been and Berkay said ‘what’s this?’, the landlord looked and didn’t even notice the dog, then did a double-take and realised what we were talking about… “allah allah, bu ne lan?!”. He insisted he didn’t know where the dog had come from or why it was there but that we could keep it if we wanted, so long as it was kept in the garden and not in the house (I think he was hoping she’d act as a guard dog for his farm animals too). Him and Berkay then proceeded to make a temporary dog house out of an upside down crate, a plastic sheet, hay and some bricks. Luckily we had a small harness and lead in our apartment that was used for our rabbit (yes, a harness and lead for our rabbit… don’t ask..) and even though it was intended for smaller animals, it fit the puppy perfectly.
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An urgent trip to the pet shop for food, collar and other supplies and a phonecall to Berkay’s vet friend and we were all set up. The vet came out and checked the puppy over and gave it some injections and estimated it was around 5-6 weeks old. None of us had any idea where the puppy had come from, or why it was left there, but we all fell in love with it instantly and Berkay decided to name it Boncuk…

Why do I keep referring to her as ‘it’ you ask? Well… that’s because for the first 3 months we had her we thought she was a boy. The landlord told us that it was a boy when he first spotted her, and for some insane reason we never thought to check… So our little girl dog Boncuk was known as our little boy dog Boncuk for 3 months. Hilarious, embarrassing, and it also led to a fairly mad rush to the vet in February 2013 once we realised that he was actually a she, so that we could get her spayed before she ended up having puppies herself.

Now, 3 years on, our cute, tiny Boncuk is more than 10 times the size, weight and height of that little puppy we found (not that she realises this, she still insists on trying to fit on your lap), but still just as cute. She was the cutest puppy ever, I don’t know how anyone could ever have just left her. She had the exact definition of ‘puppy dog eyes’ and the most adorable, innocent, scared little face. One of my favourite things about her is her funny little nose, it was always black with half the colour missing and pinky… it’s still like that now.
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Such a special little doggy. Berkay’s brother sends me photo updates every few weeks but I miss her a lot. I can’t wait til we’re reunited again! I’m so glad she was left near our apartment and that we found her.

Happy 3 years Boncuk! ❤

Army start date and a new home for Boncuk…

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.
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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!IMG_0842 IMG_0840
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!
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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.

Be good Boncuk, wait for us.. 53 weeks and counting… ❤juu

Autumn in Calis – waggy tails, pretty flowers & cold pools..

I’m sat writing this watching the lightening flash through my windows and the rain pelting down on the roof, but yesterday was the first day of bad weather we’ve had for 3 weeks, November has been spoiling us with daytime temperatures of around 24oc, although the evenings are very cool, I’ve even managed to get tan lines back!

November meant the hotel Berkay worked in closed, so he has been looking for work since, he’s found a temporary job at the moment but the pay is so bad and unreliable, I don’t think he’ll stay there long. We’ve been spending some much needed time together and alot of that time has been spent at the closed hotel, playing with Boncuk!
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As soon as she sees us approaching the hotel she comes running over to us with a fast wagging tail. We sit for ages with her and play ball, she’s begun to love the water and has been running in and out of the shallow pool although all this rain we’ve had today probably means it will be slimy and green very soon as its not cleaned during the winter season …
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We even braved the pool ourselves last week, I don’t know what possessed us, it was absolutely freezing! It was a particularly warm day for November, around 25oc, but the pool water was definitely not warm. It was the first time we’ve been swimming in over a month, Berkay jumped straight in but his face said it all, I eased myself in and after about 20 minutes ended up in the deep end although only for a couple of minutes as it really was so cold, it made my head hurt!
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The hotel grounds aren’t very well kept in the winter, although there are still some beautiful flowers around at the moment keeping the place looking summery and cheerful.
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Boncuk absolutely loves it there, when we walk past to get the bus to Fethiye we can see her through the fence wandering around and enjoying herself, although it breaks my heart everytime we leave her she runs up and down the length of the fence poking her face through the holes and crying for us. She knows now when it’s time to leave and runs in front of us trying to stop us getting to the exit, bless her! She’s being really spoilt with attention at the moment.
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Just before I started writing this post, we popped down to the hotel to feed Boncuk and place her back in her kennel as she’s safer in there during this bad weather. The underneath of the hotel was all flooded and Berkay had to turn pumps on to get rid of all the water, it’s funny how quickly the weather changes, I hope the sun arrives back on Monday as forecast! 
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Happy 2 years Boncuk!

The 3rd of November marked 2 years since we found and adopted our little Boncuk.

We were sat on our balcony when we heard a puppy crying, we couldn’t see where it was coming from so went downstairs to investigate, and that’s where we found Boncuk!
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She was tied to a post outside our apartment block, tied up with a piece of rope around one of her legs so tightly she couldn’t move it… she had no food or water and had just been left. We called our landlord down from his apartment asked why there was a dog outside, he had no idea either, but said we could keep it as long as it stayed outside. He later remembered that a friend of a friend had asked him if he wanted a puppy and he said he’d consider it… so we assume they took that as a yes and just dumped her there a few weeks later, but we don’t know for sure.

Luckily we had a tiny lead and harness that we used for my rabbit (don’t ask…!) and it was the perfect size for the tiny puppy, so we used that to keep her tied somewhere safe. Our landlord and Berkay made a shelter for her from an old vegetable crate, bricks, plastic and some hay, and then we headed off to the pet shop to buy some dog food and a proper lead.
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We decided to name the puppy Boncuk, Berkay chose it, it means ‘bead’ but apparently is a very common and unoriginal name for pets in Turkey, I’m not entirely sure of the relevance! Funny story – for 3 months we thought Boncuk was a boy… don’t even ask how that happened…

Looking back on photos I can’t believe how tiny she was. The vet estimated that she was around 5-6 weeks old. I remember her running around with Berkay’s shoe which was bigger than her! She looked so sad and had the biggest, cutest eyes. I love her ‘broken’ nose – it’s always been like that, half black and half patchy pink…unique!
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Two years on, she still looks exactly the same, only much bigger, with longer legs and an extra 11kgs in weight! She still has the same facial expressions, this is her sulky face, she still does this when we give her a wash or take her to the vet!
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She was the cutest little puppy ever, and is now the most beautiful grown up doggy… but still very naughty! We love you Boncuk (:

Vets, infections & injections…

We spent the afternoon at the vet with Boncuk yesterday.
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I noticed a few days ago that she was shaking her head a lot and she had started to cry when we were stroking her left ear, I tried to get a look inside to see if I could see something stuck in it but couldn’t see anything. It was Bayram so our vet was closed and we decided to wait a few days to see if it would get better itself or if she was still in discomfort – obviously if she was in pain we would have taken her right away, but she was her usual crazy self, jumping all over us and wagging her tail!

It didn’t get better over the holiday period – and I could tell it was infected as it was red and crusty… ewww. So this afternoon we took her. It was really hot and humid today so I was dreading the 2.8km walk to the vet, and the 2.8km walk back again… luckily Berkay spoke to his friend and managed to persuade him to take all 3 of us in his car, with Boncuk in the boot on a bedsheet. She hates being indoors so I thought she’d be scared in the car but she seemed to quite like it, no fussing, she just laid down, bless her.

She’s a clever doggy, she knows exactly what it means when she sees the outside of the Vet’s surgery, we attempted to walk inside and she sat her bum firmly down and wouldn’t move, she definitely is not a fan! We eventually had to pick her up to get her inside, she always gets so much attention in there, the vet and his mum are so friendly, you can tell they really love animals!

He had a look in her ears which made her yelp in pain, I felt so sorry for her. She was so good just laying on the table, a lot of dogs would growl or bite them if they felt threatened but she just laid down, she’s so sweet-natured! The vet was so gentle with her and his assistant stood and stroked her head and was talking to her. He decided he needed to give her an injection to make her sleep so he could look inside and clean them properly, he told us to go outside and sit with her for 15 minutes and that she should fall asleep – she was really fighting it bless her, she refused to sit or lay down and just stood up next to us with her nose resting on Berkay’s leg. Look how sad she looks in the photo, her ears were all floppy, eyes all droopy… but she was still fighting it and even managing to wag her tail at us!
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Eventually she did go to sleep, the vet managed to clean her ears and confirmed that she had an infection probably caused by ear mites. We were worried about how much it would cost, but it wasn’t too much. It was 65tl (£18) altogether for the injection, cleaning and ear drops… we ended up paying another 20tl (£6) and getting her booster vaccination and flea prevention done too.

The best thing about the whole experience was when we walked out of the surgery, and the vet said ‘geçmiş olsun’ (get well soon) to Boncuk. Is that not the cutest thing?

By this point Boncuk was feeling very sorry for herself. Again we were really lucky that the vet had to drive past our house in order to drop another dog home, so he let us take a free ride in the back of the car. The whole car journey home Boncuk wouldn’t look at me, she had her head down and was definitely being a sulky pants. Her face just said “I’m not talking to you anymore – you made me go to that nasty man who poked my ears.”
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Boncuk’s sulky ‘I’m not talking to you anymore’ face.

I think she’s gotten over it now though, Berkay’s been at work all night so he’s been at the hotel with her, he says she’s happy again now with her little waggy tail and no more sulky faces! Hopefully the ear drops will work and we won’t have to make another vet trip anytime soon.

It’s really hard to find a decent vet around here… some I feel are very over-rated, while others rightfully have a bad reputation. I think we’ve found a good one though – Suckun at Ankavet. He obviously really loves animals and is so gentle with them. Boncuk went there last month to have her hair cut and they ended up giving her a pom pom fluffy tail, she looked so cute! They are so friendly and really helpful too. Today they let us take home a 80tl (£22) 15 kilogram bag of dog food on a ‘pay later’ promise… we’ve done that before so they trust us to pay it back. We also purchased Boncuk’s kennel from them previously and they have boarding kennels for dogs to stay in short-term. If anyone is in the Fethiye area and needs a vet, I definitely recommend them. A link to their website with contact details – http://www.e-fethiye.net/ankavet.html
Here’s hoping Boncuk is back to her normal, crazy, rolling in grass, hyperactive self soon!IMG_5060 IMG_5061IMG_5063

Settling in?

So, I’ve been here in Turkey for 5 weeks now, where on earth has the time gone?

It’s been a while since I done a personal thoughts & feelings post, I’ve been focusing more on writing about days out and things to do and see. When I started this blog it was just going to be something personal, a kind of diary to look back on, but as time has gone on, more and more people read and as grateful as I am for the nearly 160,000 views I have, I’m less comfortable with sharing now, you can’t trust anyone on the internet and writing posts sharing personal thoughts and feelings gives people a lot of information to judge you on.

I do want to be as honest and as real as possible though. That being said, I thought it was time to do a post about how I’ve settled back into life here in Turkey and what I’m missing about England.

The first night I was here alone as Berkay had to work, and it hit me that I’d be spending a lot of my time alone again, I started to question whether I’d done the right thing and that maybe the grass is always greener on the other side… I also didn’t feel as ‘safe’ in this house, it’s much more central than our old one and there are more people around, it’s not as private.

The first few weeks I was here, I didn’t want to be in the house much, I was always bugging Berkay so we could go out and do something, walking, swimming, pointless trips to Fethiye… I think I wanted to spend as little time as possible in our house so that I didn’t get attached again, if it feels like home it’ll be harder to leave…

Well after being here 5 weeks I’m well and truly settled, our house DOES feel like home, there’s nothing I like more than sitting on the balcony with Berkay after dinner and just playing backgammon or watching a film. It’s just like the old days. I feel totally safe in our house and love it here. It took some getting used to living in a basic house again, no bath, no walk in shower, just a wet room with a tap and shower on the wall that makes the entire room and toilet seat soaking wet after each use! Not being able to flush the toilet paper took some getting use to again too!

I honestly do not miss England. I miss my family sometimes obviously, but I speak to my mum and grandparents everyday on Facetime without fail. I miss my little sister the most because we’re so close, no matter my mood she always cheers me up – I’ve been facetiming with Dad and seeing her, she always says ‘are you coming home yet Dan’ or mentions something about me coming back so I think she misses me too (:

I thought I might miss English food, a nice roast dinner, Cadbury’s chocolate, Monster Munch, ham sandwiches but I don’t really – although I am now drooling at the thought of all of the aforementioned! I love a lot of Turkish food so it doesn’t bother me much – perhaps the only thing I do miss is being able to chuck a ready made jar of sauce on the pasta or get some easy to cook, ready flavored Birdseye chicken out of the freezer. Everything has to be made from scratch – not much frozen food exists here!

I do not miss work at all, but I do miss having structure to my days. Anyone who knows me knows I have to have plans, I have to know what I’m doing and at what time, I’m not very spontaneous!

I’ve fallen into the habit of adapting to Berkay’s work/sleep pattern again. He works from 8pm – 9am everyday and sleeps either during the morning or the afternoon. I’ve started following that and not sleeping all night which is really bad – I’m still awake the same amount of time as anyone else, just all night instead of all day, which sometimes is a blessing as I don’t feel the unbearable heat. I’m still reliant on Berkay most of the time, when I lived here before I never went out without him. This time I walk the dog on my own and walk along Calis seafront a couple of times a week when he’s gone to work and just sit on the beach alone and watch the sunset. I love that.

All in all, I’ve settled back in and am still determined to make the most of every minute here. On Tuesday 8th Berkay and I have been together for 4 years. That’s really crazy, it seems like just yesterday we met, but then again sometimes it feels like we’ve been together so much longer, we’re like an old married couple, yet we’re not old and we’re not married. (;

I cannot believe it’s July already, how scary. More than half way through the year and I only have a few more months in Turkey… it’s not going to be any easier leaving this time than the last.
I’ll leave you with a few photos of the beautiful sunsets I witnessed in Calis last week. ❤

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