7 years together today!

Berkay & I have been together 7 years today! It feels like a lifetime, as we’ve been together basically my whole adult life, since I was 18!

I’ve written about how we met and our ‘cheesy love story’ before, so I won’t bore you all with that again, but you can click HERE to read it, if you’re curious!

From ‘holiday romance’ and ‘long distance’ love, to 3 years living in Turkey together, 12 months of the army service apart, to getting married last year and being separated just 4 days later, to applying for his visa last October, and him joining me here in the UK last November, and now buying a flat and settling in to that together, it’s been a busy 7 years full of adventure, happiness, sad airport goodbyes, visa stress and plenty of sad & happy tears. I expect the future holds more of the same, although hopefully more of the happy!

Here are some ‘Danni & Berkay through the years’ photos – I think it’s clear we don’t age well, 7 years, about 7 stone extra weight between us, 70% less hair on Berkay’s head… but still cute together, right? The first photo was taken 9/7/2010, the last photo just last week 3/7/2017.



Whenever we’re back in Turkey, we like to go back and visit the hotel we met in. If my Dad had never chosen this hotel for me and my friend to stay in, we would never have met each other! Back in May the hotel was all closed up for winter still, but we jumped over the fence and wandered around anyway, don’t worry, Berkay is still close to the boss, having worked there 10 years, we weren’t just trespassing! The hotel has not changed at all in 7 years, apart from maybe a fresh lick of paint outside and freshly grouted pool tiles, but everything else remains the same, including a lot of the staff, minus Berkay now of course. Even the famous rose bush Berkay used to pick the roses off for me and place on my sun lounger those days 7 years ago, is still there growing strong.

 
Whilst looking back at some old photos I’d taken during that holiday back in July 2010, I smiled at the innocent snaps I’d taken of places and things that would later be such important places in our lives. Not only the photos of the hotel we met in, or of the promenade along Calis we’d spend so many years walking along, the beach we’d spend so many evenings enjoying the sunset on, but also this one. This is a photo of the apartment we stayed in for 10 days when we got married last year, I’d just taken a photo of it during that week long holiday in 2010 not knowing or ever imagining in my wildest dreams that we’d be staying in one of those sea-view apartments on the left during our wedding week, taking photos on the balcony with my little bridesmaid sister, or where my dad first saw me in my wedding dress and cried, or where we’d spend our first night as husband as wife. It sounds silly really, but just seeing the photo really made me smile. Especially as my Dad actually booked that apartment for us last year, and one for him & family attending the wedding too, by accident, thinking it was a different apartment block further along the beach – it seems like fate, always meant to be! ūüôā

We won’t be celebrating today, since Berkay has been at work since 12.45 until 23.30 tonight and won’t be home til 1am, ever the hard worker! But we are off together tomorrow so plan to do something silly together, like go and watch the new Despicable Me movie at the cinema. I was telling my friend this and she looked me like I was mental ‘what, you’re going to go and see that kids film at the cinema with your husband and not take a kid with you?’ – ‘yep’ – ‘oh, bet it was hard getting him to agree to that!’ – ‘nope, he loves it too, we’re like big kids’ – ‘ahh, I see, a match made in heaven then’
Exactly, my friend, Exactly!

 

Next visit to Turkey & Visa Paperwork…

I haven’t posted on here for a month now, this is because every waking moment outside of work I have been preparing visa paperwork!

It’s been over 4 months since I last saw Berkay, after leaving just 3 days after getting married, but I am going back to Turkey in 26 days time on 1st October. While I am there we are planning on doing a little road trip to Antalya to submit his visa application. It has taken me months of planning to get all the paperwork together and we’re still only half way there!

In order to apply for the visa we need to supply evidence of every single detail of our lives and the people in it. The main things are proving that we are in a genuine relationship, proving that I earn above the income requirement, proving that Berkay has a safe place to live in the UK, and proving that he can speak English. We do this via piles and piles of paperwork as evidence. Letters, 18+ page application forms, declarations, passport copies, birth certificates, bank statements, wage slips, a letter from my employer, contract, a house inspection report, land registry documents, mortgage statements, letter from the house owner and other letters of support from my family, proof of address, utility bills, passport details of everyone else in the house, university certificate, army papers, English exam certificate, criminal record check, insurance papers, blog information, marriage photos, wedding cards, engagement cards, photos of us over the whole 6 years of our relationship, visa stamps, evidence of every flight I ever took to Turkey, extracts of Facebook, MSN and Skype conversations and call logs over the 6 years, etc, etc etc. These are just the things I’ve thought of off the top of my head, there are many more that I’ve forgotten.

Gathering all this information is painstakingly time consuming, especially scrolling through the 180,000+ Facebook messages we have had together and picking a few conversations from each year of our relationship to print out and show them – a nearly impossible task! It’s also frustrating trying to gather paperwork we need from other people, like getting blood from a stone! It seems people don’t realise the importance of this application and all the information that goes into it.

With all the documents, application fee, house inspection report fee, NHS surcharge, translation fees, travel to/from Antalya to the application centre and the £450 fee to prioritise the application and get a slightly quicker decision, the total of the application is well over £3000 Рa huge amount of money.

It seems so surreal that in October, when Berkay goes and hands in the paperwork at the application centre, it will be out of our hands, we will be totally out of control of our future. The decision of where we spend the rest of our lives will be in the hands of someone we’ve never met, sat at their desk reading through our pile of paperwork, all we can do is put our blood sweat and tears into that pile of paperwork to make sure it leaves no doubt in their mind that we are a genuine, loving husband and wife just trying to live together and settle down. It’s nerve wracking, and we’ve been working towards it for so long that when the application is submitted I won’t know what to do with myself or my free time – I expect I’ll spend every waking moment tracking the application status online and praying that we get a quick decision!

I’m trying to keep my blog updated in the meantime, but all my effort at the moment is going into work and the visa… In October I’ll hopefully have lots of photos and thoughts to share from my trip. Other than the road trip to Antalya, we’re also planning on going to the village to visit Boncuk too, with a stop-over at Pamukkkale, and the usual BBQ’s, sunsets and breathtaking views of Fethiye of course!

26 days to get everything ready to go! 

Passing the English test and booking flights..

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how Berkay had travelled to Izmir to sit his English exam. Last Wednesday he got the result – he PASSED!

We are so relieved! Berkay does know good English but it’s not perfect, so I was a little worried, although he said as soon as he came out of the exam he knew he had passed because he found it ‘fine’. Passing was the first step to getting his spouse visa so now we can start to get the ball rolling.

Since then I have been making a list of all the documents we need in order to apply, there are literally hundreds of pieces of paper I need to submit and it’s going to take months to gather all the information needed ¬†– in fact I spent all weekend writing just two letters and trying to plan the evidence we will submit, it’s a lot of work and is keeping me very busy.

We are going to apply in Antalya in October, and if the visa is granted he should be here before Christmas.. If it’s not, well, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it and re-evaluate things..

Last night I booked my flight out to Fethiye for 8 days – I had to plan it carefully so that I could make the most of my 5 days off work, those are literally the last 5 days of annual leave I have until January – my other 3 trips to Turkey this year has meant I’ve used all the days up. I go the first week of October so Berkay will still be working in the hotel, he usually doesn’t get any days off so I’m hoping his boss will have a heart and let him have a week, or a few days at least. I can’t believe how expensive the flights are at the moment, I paid ¬£300 return, which is a lot considering it won’t be high season then. I did find cheaper flights through Turkish Airlines, and¬†as lovely as my previous two flight experiences with them were, I just do not feel comfortable flying via Istanbul at the moment.

This week marked 6 months since Berkay left the army and honestly I’ve never been more glad. There were scary scenes in Turkey last week as I’m sure my readers will have seen, and if Berkay had been in the army now I’m not sure I would have coped! Thank goodness he’s out and we can start counting down the days until we’re together again.

73 days and counting!

6 years together..

Yesterday, 8th July, was our 6 year anniversary. Back on 2nd July 2010 I flew to Turkey with my friend and stayed in a small hotel in Calis, Fethiye. Little did I know that during that week I’d meet Berkay, one of the staff at the hotel, towards the end of the holiday we got speaking, went out one night and the rest is history.

Who would have thought that now, 6 years later, we’d be married? Proof that a ‘holiday romance’ can work out!
We have spoken to each other every day since 8th July 2010, ¬†we lived together in Turkey for 3 years, he visited the UK 6 times, we survived 9 months without seeing each other during his 12 month army service and managed with just a 1 minute phonecall as our only contact everyday for a year. We haven’t seen each other since a few days after we got married back in April, but hopefully we’ll be together permanently before the end of the year and then we can start a whole new chapter!

In order to apply for Berkay’s spouse visa to live in the UK, we have to provide a lot of paperwork and proof of our relationship so I have been going through old photos to show as evidence – since they were handy and saved into a folder on my computer I thought I’d share some here, Danni & Berkay through the years!
 
This was the first photo we had together, and the only one for months! I think it was taken right before I left to go back to Dalaman airport. It’s really funny looking back at this photo as when it was taken I never for 1 second thought we’d end up having wedding photos taken together 6 years later! The 2nd photo was taken in October 2010, when I went back to Turkey for a week alone, to get to know Berkay better. Before that week we’d only spent a couple of hours together, but after talking to each other every day for hours on MSN for 3 months, it felt like we’d known each other forever.
 
In January 2011 I flew back to Turkey for a week and spent more time with Berkay. This photo was taken at aksazlar koyu in Fethiye, the first time I’d ever been there. Today it’s our favourite spot to go to for a BBQ!¬†The 2nd photo was taken on our 1st anniversary in July 2011, by this point I had been living in Turkey for 2 months having only actually spent 2 full weeks with Berkay before moving.¬†
In December 2011, after 2 attempts, Berkay got his visit visa to the UK granted and we went to the UK together for Christmas, followed by another 2 years living in Turkey together..
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In 2013, I made plans to move back to the UK, but not before a little weekend getaway in Bodrum, where we had some fun dressing up as sultans!
 
I moved back to England for 8 months, and Berkay came to visit for Christmas and for my mums wedding – it was during this time I realised how hard it was to be apart and how much I didn’t want to live in the UK without him while we still had the choice, so I moved back to Turkey for 6 months in 2014. The 2nd photo is taken on Berkay’s birthday in December 2014, the day before I moved back to England once again.

2015 was without a doubt the most testing year for us, as Berkay had to do his 12 month national service which I ranted, cried and moaned my way through. In April 2015 we were reunited for a week during his army leave and the rest of the year was very tough with Berkay being sent to Diyarbakir and not being able to take any of the remaining leave. This meant I didn’t see him again until January 2016.
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A
fter 8 very long months without seeing each other, the longest we’d ever spent apart, I spent 10 days back in Fethiye with Berkay in January. It felt like I’d never been away, and like we’d never been apart. In April 2016, we got married. Unfortunately I had to fly back to the UK just 4 days after… and we haven’t seen each other since.

I’m hoping to go back to visit in September, and then we’ll apply for Berkay’s spouse visa around then. I hope that by the end of this year we will be able to settle, rather than be backwards and forwards between both countries, or having long periods of time apart. The last 6 years certainly haven’t been easy or without obstacles, and it’s so funny looking back on old photos and thinking how different things were back then.

We’re a little older, fatter and bolder, but still just as happy… even though we act like an old married couple most of the time! We have come a long way in 6 years, here’s to the next 60…¬†
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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.

‚ÄúYou 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.‚Ä̬†‚Äē Miriam Adeney.

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Two Separate lives?

Since I’ve been back from Turkey in this last week, it has never been more apparent to me that I am living two separate lives. One life here, one life there in Turkey, and the two rarely, if ever, cross over. ¬†It’s quite an unsettling feeling, being pulled in both directions, feeling ties to both countries and never really feeling at peace or at home. This is my favourite quote and one that I feel will stick with me for a long time.

‚ÄúYou 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.‚Ä̬†‚Äē Miriam Adeney.

It’s 100% true and goes a little way to describing how I feel on a daily basis. Not only are me and Berkay currently living very separate, polar opposite lives, which thankfully is only temporary, but I’m also having an internal battle within myself, one that I think shall go on forever, whichever country we end up settling in.

I have friends and family in the UK, and friends and family in Turkey. The two have never met. My family has never met Berkay’s family and I doubt they ever will because neither really has the desire to meet the other, and even if they did, communication would be non-existant.¬†This is always going to be awkward, because neither really has any idea how the other lives, and their lives are so totally different that any reunion would end up being like a terrible version of “meet the Fockers” or that Turkish film ‘ay lav yu’ (watch it, it’s hilarious).

The lifestyles I myself live in both countries is so different, it’s like I have¬†two different lives, two different personalities, two different homes.¬†In Turkey I rely on Berkay for a lot of things, he pays the bills, we do the shopping together, we visited friends together, got on the bus together… in fact when I lived there there were times where I’d go days or weeks without having a conversation with another person face to face (apart from Berkay, of course). This didn’t bother me, at all. We done everything together, I hardly ever went out alone, and I liked that. Here in the UK its the total opposite. I have to do things for myself, I’m always alone, travelling on the train, bus, going to the shop, buying things, I’m in a house surrounded by people but outside these 4 walls I’m alone, and that takes some getting used to after so long.

The whole mentality of people here in the UK is different – want something, buy it. Throughout my time living in Turkey I learnt not to be this way, I wasn’t fussed about the latest gadget, I wasn’t the slightest bit ‘into’ fashion and I really never bought things to treat myself, I don’t need to, nor want to. Being back in the UK though, I can sometimes feel the urge to splurge and waste money on stupid things, I find myself falling back into this habit, one I didn’t have for so long. For example, the other day I spent ¬£9.50 on 3 bottles of fancy shampoo. At Today’s exchange rate this is nearly 40tl. When we were in Turkey, we’d walk to the furthest, cheapest supermarket and search the shelf for the cheapest bottle. Here I went online, ordered a ridiculously expensive one and had it delivered. A moment of madness, although my hair is thanking me because it smells amazing.

The most difficult thing I’ve faced since coming back, is learning how to fit in again, and it’s really not very easy at all. I spent 19 years of my life here, It should feel like home, right? It doesn’t. You see, I’ve spent such a long time away from home, from family, from friends, that when it comes to sitting around a dinner table with them it feels weird, like I’m an outsider looking in, that’s the best way I can explain it. I’ve been back in the UK for over 4 months and that hasn’t really changed. These people, friends and family, who were once all I knew, are now so distant from me because they can’t comprehend the life I had in Turkey, for them it was all one big holiday, they only saw my life through the photos I posted online and the things I told them, last year none of my family visited me in Turkey, and my friends never have, they never saw my house there, the things I saw and walked past everyday, the places I went, the things that were a part of my everyday life, and somehow that makes me feel very distant from them.

In Turkey, everyone sees us as ‘Dan & Berkay’ – we lived together, had a life together. The last time Berkay was in the UK was April last year, 2014. That was the last time he saw any of my family, so I guess for them instead of ‘Dan & Berkay’ they simply see me as just ‘Dan’, this was particularly evident at Christmas when I got cards addressed just to me. “Why don’t they write Berkay too?” I kept asking myself, it’s not their fault though, it’s a habit. He’s not here, not a part of my life in the UK so why would they include him?

Everything is different, from the places I go, to the people I see and even the food I eat. Walking in supermarkets is always a weird one for me. I remember moving back here from Turkey and going to Asda with my mum, I was totally overwhelmed by everything on the shevles that I hadn’t seen for months, years. Cadburys chocolate, British brands, salad pre washed, cut and in a packet. The same thing happened this time when I went back to Turkey and walked around Migros. Things that you’d never consider have a way of making you reminisce. “Aww, we used to use that washing powder. Oooo look, remember this drink? Oh, we used to buy that rice.” Really, really weird things that just jump out at you and say “this was your life once”.

When I got off that plane at Dalaman 2 weeks ago and walked out through the exit doors, I immediately became ‘Turkey Danni’ again, rather than ‘England Danni’, I once again had Berkay by my side doing the daily chores, going shopping together and walking hand in hand. I once again saw all the familiar places and faces I once saw everyday, and it was like I’d never been away. We went to friend’s houses for tea and they welcomed us with open arms and full glasses. We visited places we used to go to every week, the market, the beach, Fethiye. Then, a week later, ¬†I got back on the plane, landed, turned the key in the front door, walked upstairs to my bedroom, unpacked and became ‘England Danni’ again. It’s truely bizarre, and really quite sad.

It’s something that will never really go away, I’ll always have ties to both the UK, and Turkey. Berkay will too.¬†At one point in the future, one of us is going to have to ‘give up’ one of our countries, and both of us will no doubt miss something from whichever country we’re not in. Any future children we have will also be torn between the two countries, both sets of grandparents, families, lifestyles.¬†As the quote above says, this is the price we pay.

Would I change it though? No way.

My 1 year blog-birthday!

A year ago this week I started my blog.

I made my first post on 18th August 2013 and started out with 0 views, now here I am a year later with 125¬†posts and 190,000 views. It still amazes me that so many people are interested in what I write and my experiences. I’ve met some people I consider ‘friends’ through writing this blog, and I receive lovely messages from people almost everyday telling me how they love reading about life in Turkey from a different perspective and that it’s refreshing to read something that is honest. Some people read every single post¬†and comment on each one, I am so grateful.¬†I’m grateful for everyone that reads, likes, comments, shares… anything. It baffles me that people take time out of their day to read something that I’ve written, I’ve always been painfully shy¬†and have trouble getting my thoughts out in person, that’s one of the reasons I started this blog, so knowing that my words are read by people who I’d never normally share my ‘story’ with is a weird, but lovely feeling. I also started it to try and show I’m not just a¬†naive 22 year old girl living in Turkey with her ‘Turkish waiter’, although that’s up to you readers to judge.
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It’s been a year of many emotions, most of which I have written about on here. A lot has changed in the past 12 months, but somehow, I find myself in exactly the same position as I was in this time last year – trying to make the most of everyday I have in Turkey before its time to go back to the UK. I haven’t mentioned that much as it’s not something I’m looking forward to in the slightest, but it’s something that is inevitable, as Berkay is off to do his military service.

People in my ‘real’ life have mixed feelings about my blog. Some of them read it regularly and are supportive, my grandparents have even printed off every post I’ve made and collected them all in a folder to show their friends! (Hi Nan & Grandad, I know you’ll be reading! (: ) But I’ve had¬†others¬†say that I’m just writing posts for sympathy and that the people who comment don’t have my best interests at heart, how can they when they don’t know me? I don’t know what to say to that, but I do know that it’s often easier to open up to people who don’t know me, and that a lot of them can actually relate to my feelings since they’ve been in similar or the same situation – it’s¬†not sympathy I look for,¬†it’s empathy. But, besides anything else, I write my blog for myself, so that I can say what I need to,¬†look back and see what I was doing this time last year, or see how things have changed! I also just love sharing my photographs and experiences of the beautiful country I currently call home.

I’m going to continue writing this blog for as long as I can, I enjoy writing and interacting with people through here, and I’m proud of how far it’s come in a year. Thank you all so much for reading and being a part of it.

Here are some of my favourite posts from the past year, with many mixed emotions!

https://livingtheturkishdream.com/2014/02/09/howdiditbegin/ РExplaining how our cheesy holiday romance story began!

https://livingtheturkishdream.com/2013/08/24/one-big-holiday/ – Although this was written nearly a year ago, most of it is still true. It’s something I’m constantly trying to explain to people, but something that people constantly dismiss as ‘one big holiday’.

https://livingtheturkishdream.com/2013/09/26/movingbacktoengland/ – Not a happy post, made a day¬†before my flight back to England last September – at the time I had no idea I’d move back to Turkey 9 months later.

https://livingtheturkishdream.com/2013/09/28/back-in-england/ – An even unhappier post, trying to convey my thoughts and feelings after being back in the UK for just 24 hours.

https://livingtheturkishdream.com/2013/11/16/adaptingtotheuk/ – Written after I’d been back in the UK for 2 months and my experience of ‘reverse culture shock’ – something that is very real and that I definitely experienced.

https://livingtheturkishdream.com/2013/12/18/reunited/ – The moment me and Berkay were reunited again at Stansted airport after 3 months apart!

https://livingtheturkishdream.com/2014/01/06/saying-goodbye/ – And the moment we had to say goodbye after he went back to Turkey again just 3 weeks later.

https://livingtheturkishdream.com/2014/03/31/reunited-again/ – Another ‘high’ on the rollercoaster, when Berkay visited England again in March, just in time for ….

https://livingtheturkishdream.com/2014/04/01/weddings/ – My mum’s wedding. Interestingly, someone who regularly read my blog messaged me after I wrote this post and said ‘OMG your mum married my nephew!’ It’s a small world!

https://livingtheturkishdream.com/2014/05/10/moving-back-to-turkey/ – The moment I decided I was moving back to Turkey!

https://livingtheturkishdream.com/2014/06/06/back-in-turkey/ – Being reunited with Berkay and our doggy and my first time back in Turkey for 9 months.

Who know what the future brings? I do know that I’ll be documenting it all on here.
Happy 1 year birthday www.livingtheturkishdream.com, and here’s to many more! (:

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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ROLLERCOASTERS!

On Saturday Berkay & I decided to go for a little trip out. We were planning to get the train to Southend to have a walk along the sea front, visit the aquarium and go on the rides at adventure island, but after looking into it, and realising what would normally be a 45-60 minute car journey was going to take 2.5 hours and cost ¬£40 on the train – late on Friday night we decided we’d go to Thorpe Park instead. It’s crazy to think that this actually worked out slightly cheaper, as it’s 100 x better!

We caught the 8:30 am train from our town to London Waterloo, then another train from Waterloo to Staines. Then we got the shuttle bus from Staines station to Thorpe Park, which was only 10 mins down the road! ¬†I was suprised at how quick the journey¬†was, it only took an hour and a half ¬†to get there¬†altogether,¬†but it seemed a lot quicker. I’m also pretty impressed that I didn’t get us lost once.
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When we arrived Berkay got concerned about the HUGE line of people queuing to get tickets, luckily, we paid for ours online the night before and printed them out so literally walked straight in past the massive line of people and through the ticket scanners.

We went on a few ‘tame’ rides first of all to warm Berkay up, then we attempted the bigg’uns! We queued for an hour and a half to get onto the next ride – Colossus. I can’t believe we waited so long really, not sure if it were really worth it, but we did get back row seats – nothing quite like sitting at the front or back of a big rollercoaster!
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After that we went to go and get some lunch, but on the way we spotted a ride with no queue whatsoever – not even one person. So we made our way over to that. Now I’ve been to Thorpe Park before, so I knew what to expect- but it didn’t take Berkay long to figure out why exactly there was no queue for this ride on a¬†grey, not-too-warm, April day in Surrey…
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The ride in question was ‘Tidal Wave’ – clue is in the name really isn’t it? Up we went in the boat, sat in the front row I must add, we got to the top, the boat went around towards the steep drop and baaaam, it all became clear to Berkay – the huge tidal wave splash flowing into the boat was pretty much like having a shower, we were SOAKED, that’s why nobody else was queuing – who wants to be wet and cold during an English Spring?! I bet the ride is really popular in summer though! ¬†This is my favourite ride in the whole place ¬†– I’ve always loved it because of the theme, 1950’s American fishing village hit by a tsunami- the surrounding area of this ride all blends in well, all the buildings look like they’ve been hit by the ‘tidal wave’ – including the KFC we went into for lunch, the roof is all caved in and wonky with a giant shark poking through the building! I love the 1950’s theme going on – reminds me of Grease, which incidentally¬†I’m currently watching on tv!
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After KFC for lunch, we went to the other side of the park and went on the water raft ride – a nice tame one to keep our KFC safely in our tummies. After that – the spinning teacups – and after that … the big one… Stealth!
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The queue for this ride was suprisingly not as long as I thought it would be – we only waited 45 minutes, and it’s arguably the most popular ride at the park. You really can’t quite comprehend how tall or impressive it is until you’re standing underneath it and hear the gas propelling the coaster, the roar of the cars on the tracks and the screams of everyone riding in it. It accelerates from 0-80mph in 1.8 seconds – impressive! If you’re not quite sat in the right position as it takes off up the track though, you really feel it, the first time it jolted my neck and hurt for a while.
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When your feet are firmly on the ground watching it climb over the tip of the arch, there’s always that bit of doubt in your mind that it might not have enough power to make it quite over and end up rolling back down – something which apparently it is designed to do safely – but that would be scary to experience! When you’re on the ride at the top, all you can see all around you is sky and cloud – no track – not the car in front – just sky. Berkay loved this so much the first time that¬†when we spotted a sign later on in the day advising that the waiting time was currently only 5 minutes for this one – we took advantage and went back on it for a second time!

After that we headed for the newest ride at the park – which was really cool and well designed – apparently it cost ¬£200 MILLION to create. Ouch! The whole area is themed around ‘unexplained incidents’ and riots/war – with a very realistic looking plane crash, upside down burnt out emergency vehicles etc etc. ¬†We loved this one so much we went on it twice too!
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Berkay tried to win me a giant minion teddy as we saw literally HUNDREDS of people walking around the park with them after winning them from the typical things – climb the ladder, basketball shooting etc etc, but it appears we’re just not lucky – he must’ve spent about ¬£20 trying to win one! ):
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After realising that the shortest queues of the day for the big coasters were after 5pm when most people had already gone home – we managed to squeeze in a couple more big rollercoaster rides before heading home. Berkay absolutely loved them and we had a really great day.
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We caught the shuttle bus back to Staines station and spotted a little Chinese/Indian buffet restaurant and took a little detour in there for some dinner. It was soo yummy – especially the cakes for dessert! Mmmmm. After that, we headed home via London Waterloo – I love how old that station looks with the massive clock in the middle! We were so tired and achey from all the walking and being bashed around on rides that as soon as we got home we went to bed, but we had a really fab day, glad we chose to go there, even if it was a last minute decision!
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Reunited again!

Massive apologies for not updating sooner, I’ve had people message me asking if Berkay arrived safely, wondering where the airport photo was etc etc, but I’ve been SO busy I hadn’t had chance to reply!

Berkay did arrive safely on Wednesday evening ‚̧

He left at 4.15 pm Turkish time, but not before having a little goodbye cuddle with Boncuk!
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Me, dad, my brother and sister all went off to Gatwick airport after I finished work. Berkay was due to arrive at 18:30 and landed¬†15minutes early, when we got there we sat and had a coffee while waiting for the arrivals board to change to ”baggage in hall” then that was our cue to head towards the arrival doors!
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My little sister was so excited, I don’t think I’ve ever seen her so crazy! In the car on the way there she was singing “we’re gonna get Berkay, we’re gonna get Berkay, we’re gonna get Berkay” to a little tune. So adorable! When we got to the airport she didn’t want to sit down with us, she kept saying to me “come on let’s go and get Berkay now yea? Come on Dan, let’s go and get Berkay!”

Just as we headed over to the arrival doors, he appeared through them with his suitcase. My little sister went over to him and gave him a cuddle, then wouldn’t let him put her down. Kept talking to him, telling him that it’s her birthday soon, that she’ll be 3 soon and that he can play with her presents with her, he had to sit with her in the middle of the car, open her car door..etc etc. He’s definitely her favourite person at the moment!

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Over 320 people liked this photo on Facebook, I’m amazed at the amount of people who care and have sent lovely messages or comments. Thanks to all.

After we had picked Berkay up, we headed home to pick up my step-mum and then we all went¬†out for dinner – anyone who follows me on Facebook or is a regular reader of my blog will know that Berkay’s favourite place is Nandos…. so of course that is where we all went to eat! Yum!
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He bought lots of Turkish goodies with him, bless him, he went out and got all my favourite things, one being this big face biscuit from Migros, something I always used to get on ‘market day’ when I lived there! He thought of my dad and grandad too and bought them back some Efes in his suitcase.
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It’s been lovely having Berkay back, ¬†the only part I’m not enjoying is the snoring – sometimes I really feel like shoving a pillow on his head, it’s terrible, and it definitely takes some adjusting to having to share the bed with someone, we’re both used to starfishing and end up fighting for the duvet or having one leg hanging off the bed!

I was off work on Friday as I had last minute things to do, buying wedding and mother’s day presents for Mum and a birthday present for my little sister… and yesterday was the day of my Mum’s wedding so I’ll do a post about that soon. It’s back to work tomorrow… I still hate it as much as ever, but knowing Berkay is waiting for me when I come home makes everything that little bit more bearable!